Based on a recent survey canvassing the views of our clients and contacts whose operations span 18 countries across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), our latest thought-leadership series explores the region’s digital ambitions, as well as the risks, opportunities and regulatory landscape around CEE’s digital future.

Across a range of sectors in CEE, digitalisation is key to enabling companies to achieve business goals such as reducing costs, increasing productivity and becoming more competitive. Up to 65% of companies in the region confirm that digitalisation is a priority in realising these goals.

As the volume of data generated by commercial activity grows at an exponential rate, it is clear a digital transformation of the global economy is underway. For CEE, already an attractive investment region, the digital economy will deliver up to EUR 200bn in additional GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey. This will create an economic boost for CEE business, increasing prosperity for the 150 million people who live and work there.

While the trend towards digitalisation was underway before the outbreak of COVID-19, the pandemic has undoubtedly expanded the digital agenda of CEE businesses: 38% of respondents state they have completed or initiated new projects while 45% say that the pandemic has served to accelerate ongoing projects.

The majority (92%) of respondents believe that the pandemic will accelerate future digital change in their businesses and almost two-thirds (65%) anticipate an increase in their IT budgets next year to support digitalisation. According to respondents, financial services and life sciences will be the sectors identified most affected by the fallout from the pandemic, followed by manufacturing, automotive and energy. Only 6% of businesses have delayed their digital projects due to the pandemic.

Find out more

Read the full summary of the survey’s findings, offering deeper analysis of the following topics:

  • Closing the gap – CEE’s digital infrastructure and business ambition

  • Data and ethics – what does the future hold for CEE?

  • Innovation vs regulation – can AI redefine CEE’s economic future?

  • Technology transforming industries in CEE – what’s next?

You can watch our CMS experts discussing the report's findings in a special edition of the video podcast ‘Talking CEE’ here.

The survey was conducted by CMS during the pandemic months of July and August 2020, focusing on a range of topics surrounding digitalisation activities and priorities, which together form a strategic digital agenda for business. Questions also concerned business investment plans as well as regulation and risk. The survey canvassed the views of nearly 100 participants whose operations span 18 countries across the CEE region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

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