Mittelstand champions leading digitisation

Our strategic partner, the Hidden Champions Institute (HCI) at ESMT Berlin, together with IDG Research Services, has examined the digital transformation of German companies. The study investigates the different levels of development during the process of digitalization in German corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as hidden champions.

Mazars is strategic partner of the HCI and, with its distinctive SME and Hidden Champions expertise, cultivates its very own interest in learning more about the situation and needs of the Mittelstand and the Hidden Champions. This enables us to meet our clients’ needs as closely as possible, all the more in a constantly changing competitive environment with its rapid growth in digitalization.

Hidden champions are predominantly larger Mittelstand companies that are international market leaders, although less known to the public. The authors of the study found that, while most of the German economy is already in the midst of the digitization process, there are clear differences among the various forms of enterprise. Corporations are decidedly in the advanced stages of the process, while hidden champions have covered about half of the way. SMEs lagged behind.

Highlights from the report:

  • Seventy-one percent of corporations and hidden champions are satisfied with the progress of their digital transformation, compared to only 51 percent of SMEs.
  • Hidden champions estimate that their process of digitalization is more than halfway complete. Comparably, SMEs reported slower progress, while corporations were further ahead.
  • Forty-two percent of all companies expect digitalization to have a major impact on their market position.
  • Analytics are considered the most important area of digitization for all companies.
  • The greatest challenges for hidden champions were reported to be organizational complexity, a pronounced silo mentality, inflexibility towards changes, and missing interfaces between different IT systems.

Mazars interviewed Bianca Schmitz, co-director of the HCI, about the study:


Study Hidden Champions
Study Hidden Champions