Bye fax? German firms increasingly rely more on digital communications

Two-thirds of companies frequently use the fax, with a strong downward trend

Communications at companies in Germany are becoming increasingly digitised, with the percentage of firms “frequently” using fax machines for internal or external communications falling sharply over the past two years, according to a new study by German digital association Bitkom.
Over six out of ten firms (62 percent) in Germany said they frequently communicate by fax with customers, employees or business partners, a 17 percent decrease from 2016 when 79 percent percent of firms said they frequently did so.
Bitkom had 1,106 companies surveyed with 20 employees representative.
“The analog fax has slowly come to an end. Businesses are moving with the times and have realized that digital communication makes office life faster, easier and more flexible, “says Jürgen Biffar. CEO of the competence area Enterprise Content Management in Bitkom. An alternative to faxing is the digital signature. Their advantages are extensive, as they ensure that processes that require a signature can be designed electronically throughout.

 The digital signature now uses 13 percent of the companies, another 8 percent plan to introduce them in the next twelve months.All companies frequently correspond by e-mail (2018 and 2016: 100 percent), but other digital communication channels are also catching up. Most popular are online meetings and videoconferencing, which is common in almost every second company (47 percent, 2016: 40 percent). More than every third company (38 percent) now has an employee or customer portal that is frequently communicated. In 2016, only one in four companies (28 percent) frequently exchanged views.

While smartphones are by far the most important means of communication in the private sphere, only every second company (51 percent, 2016: 51 percent) often uses mobile phones or smartphones for internal or external communication. More than one in three companies (38 percent) also rely on short message services or messenger apps. Social networks are becoming more important. While only every seventh company (15 percent) communicated via social networks in 2016, today it is already one in four (25 percent). In addition, 13 percent of companies often use chatbots for digital communication with customers. 5 percent now communicate with employees, business partners or customers via company blogs or microblogging services.

At a press conference at Cebit, Bitkom will introduce the new Digital Office Index. It shows current figures for the digitization of business processes and determines the degree of digitization of office and administrative processes in German companies with more than 20 employees. The press conference will take place on June 12, 2018 at 11 am in the Convention Center (CC), Room 12 at the Hannover Exhibition Center.

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