eco YouGov Survey: One Third of German Companies Are Sleeping Through the AI Revolution

eco Chair of the Boars Oliver Süme: “AI must become a basic technology to make Germany fit for the future as a digital location.”

  •     33% of German companies neither use AI nor have plans to implement AI
  •     25% of companies are still in the evaluation phase.
  •     Corporate decision-makers primarily see benefits in artificial intelligence in terms of increased productivity (28%) and efficient use of resources (28%)
  •     The AI Future Tech project by eco Association and Microsoft showcases AI in practice

    The AI Future Tech project by eco Association and Microsoft showcases AI in practice

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most important key technologies for the digital transformation of business and industry. The global competition for a pioneering role in the most decisive technology competition of the century has long since begun. Pioneering companies in Germany are developing and implementing innovative solutions based on artificial intelligence in close collaboration with technology groups. However, the use of artificial intelligence is still in its infancy among German companies, as highlighted by a representative survey of 543 corporate decision-makers conducted by YouGov2 on behalf of eco – Association of the Internet Industry shows.

Economic upswing potential through AI is overlooked in many places

33 per cent of companies state that they have not yet started using artificial intelligence and at the same time have no concrete plans for the future. A quarter of corporate decision-makers are still in the evaluation phase when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI). In contrast, only 8 per cent of companies have a comprehensive AI strategy. Only three per cent of companies have a comprehensive AI deployment or their own AI solution in place.

“Services and applications based on artificial intelligence offer great potential for the economy and the common good. However, we must now seize these opportunities offered by technological progress in a very practical way,” says eco Chair of the Board Oliver Süme. Artificial intelligence enables a significant increase in efficiency in numerous sectors along the entire value chain. According to the eco Industry Monitor forecast, AI-assisted work could increase productivity in Germany by 0.8-1.4 per cent annually.1 “From automation in Industry 4.0 and the use of generative AI in internal knowledge management to AI-based driver assistance systems – AI applications lower costs, reduce error rates and increase productivity. This is also very clearly demonstrated by the practical use cases from the eco Association’s AI Future Tech project in cooperation with Microsoft Germany. These efficiency gains promote economic growth and relieve skilled workers of repetitive, monotonous tasks,” adds Süme. “The potential of artificial intelligence and the effects on efficiency, productivity and innovative strength are enormous,” says Florian Deter, Managing Director of Microsoft Germany. “Our successful customer projects in artificial intelligence show how quickly industrial companies, for example, can use generative AI to make human-machine collaboration more productive.”

Noticeable increases in productivity (28 per cent), cost savings (27 per cent) and more efficient use of resources (28 per cent) are also seen as the greatest benefits of using artificial intelligence by the surveyed corporate decision-makers. 23 per cent expect artificial intelligence to boost their innovative strength. 14 per cent stated that AI would improve their competitiveness. “In order to leverage this potential and the innovative power of AI for the entire national economy, from corporations to SMEs and small businesses, we need legal certainty and a standardised regulatory framework across Europe, as well as an efficient ecosystem of digital infrastructures and targeted training and information initiatives that spread knowledge about the possibilities and potential of AI. Business, science and politics must work together to make AI a basic technology in all industries and economic sectors if Germany is to remain competitive as a digital centre,” Süme continues.

AI Future Tech project by the eco Association and Microsoft Germany shows AI in practice

The effects on productivity and efficiency that companies are already achieving with AI-based solutions are demonstrated by the eco Association in cooperation with Microsoft Germany in the AI Future Tech project. Using practical AI implementations, for example at Bosch, Otto Group and Boehringer Ingelheim, the AI Future Tech project illustrates how artificial intelligence is being used in various industries and sectors to increase efficiency, reduce costs and develop innovative solutions.

1 Source: eco Industry Monitor, August 2023

2 The opinion research institute YouGov surveyed 543 business decision-makers between 24 May and 3 June 2024 on behalf of the eco Association. The results were weighted and are representative according to the proportion of employees per company size, gender, age groups and Nielsen regions. The survey is based on online interviews with members of the YouGov Panel Germany.

Grafiken zu den Umfrage-Ergebnissen zur redaktionellen Verwendung: 

Graphics of the survey results for editorial use:

What is the current status of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in your company?

What positive effects has the use of artificial intelligence (AI) had in your company so far or do you expect it to have in the future?

Note to editors

The AI Future Tech Summit of the eco Association in cooperation with Microsoft will take place on 11 June at 6 pm in the Microsoft Atrium in Berlin. Dr Michael-Müller-Wünsch, CIO, Otto, Wolfgang Dierker, General Manager Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, Tabea Rößner, MdB, Bündnis90/Die Grünen, among others, are expected to attend. As part of the AI Future Tech Summit, the eco Association will be discussing the opportunities and potential of artificial intelligence with representatives from business, politics and science. Decision-makers and leaders from renowned companies that are already successfully using artificial intelligence will have their say. The focus will be on the opportunities and potential of artificial intelligence for Germany as a digital centre as well as current political and regulatory issues.

You can find the full German-language agenda at: https://www.eco.de/event/ki-future-tech-summit/

Feel free to accredit yourself as a media representative via email: presse@eco.de, subject: AI Future Tech Summit

42 Per Cent of Germans Still Sceptical Regarding the Benefits of Artificial Intelligence 3