The figure will not be exceptional but it is still positive and in the scenario of uncertainty dictated by the prolongation of the pandemic it is definitely a good sign. In 2022, almost half of the large Italian companies and SMEs will increase the budget allocated to Information and communications technology and the estimated growth of investments is 4%, a percentage that returns to pre-Covid levels and which significantly exceeds the increase expected for this. year, steady at 0.9%. The indications that emerged from the latest edition of the Startup Intelligence and Digital Transformation Academy Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano, which involved over 1,800 between Chief Innovation Officers and Chief Information Officers (in addition to CEOs and C-levels) of as many companies, also confirm that the adoption of open innovation already sees 81% of large companies operationally involved and almost half of these (49% to be precise) have started collaborations with startups, hiring the latter as a key player to explore new technologies and new business opportunities.
“Innovation is not a luxury good”
In short, the Italian digital market seems to have overcome the 2020 stalemate imposed by the various lockdowns and after a settling phase it is back on track and traveling at an even faster pace than those known up to two years ago. “Startups, companies and public administrations – observed the Director of the Observatory, Alessandra Luksch – are facing the new normal, bringing with them two lessons learned from the crisis: the first concerns digital innovation, which is not a luxury item , but a fundamental lever for survival in competitive contexts and for the ecological transition; the second is that no one, in a period of strong discontinuity, can save himself alone and for this reason the need to innovate has led many companies to look outside ». The ecosystem of actors to which it is addressed is therefore increasingly broad and varied and also involves less traditional actors: in 69% of cases, collaborations with universities and research centers were activated, in 47% startup intelligence actions and in one case out of three partner scouting initiatives with established companies.
Security at the top of the shopping list
Investments in 2022 will focus (again talking about large companies) above all on security systems and Business Intelligence, Big Data and analytics solutions, while the areas of e-commerce and smart working, which have remained at the center of the attention in the past 18 months. For small and medium-sized companies, on the other hand, the priority will be investments in IT security and following the applications linked to Industry 4.0 projects. In general, it is interesting to note that 63% of large Italian companies confirm the pandemic as an accelerator of their respective digitization projects and how 69% believe the NRR, which will allocate around 49 billion euros to digital, a useful component.
The internal organization changes
Effective governance, adequate organizational models to spread the innovation process and a “digital culture” throughout the company: the recipe suggested by the experts to accompany the resumption of spending on technologies is clear and calls Italian companies to step forward important from an organizational point of view. In this regard, 39% of large companies have already decided to structure an “innovation department” or a single figure assigned to this task, while 44% have drawn from other company business lines to create figures in charge of facilitating their management and diffusion. In SMEs, on the other hand, roles dedicated to digital are still very rare.