Press Release

German Business Leaders’ Strategic Vision Needs ‘Significant Change’ to Adjust to Changed Priorities and Disruption

Nation’s Businesses Planning Technology Overhaul to Facilitate More Dynamic Working Practices    


LONDON, 13 April, 2021 -- Smartsheet (NYSE: SMAR), the enterprise platform for dynamic work, reveals that 71% of technology decision-makers are rethinking their longer-term strategic decisions around workforce technologies, according to a commissioned survey* conducted by 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

This rethink comes amid recognition that the majority of German businesses are not ready for what lies ahead: just 42% of respondents feel that their organisations are prepared to adjust and respond to changing priorities and disruption, compared to nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents in the U.S. When asked what should be done to address the situation, more than half of respondents in Germany (55%) cited “strategic vision and guidance for company leadership” as needing “very significant change” - more than double the figure in the U.K. (26%).

The finding comes as the nation debates the importance of accelerating its digital transformation efforts and modernising outdated workflows that are often heavily dependent on manual processes, and even pen and paper - a phenomenon referred to as Germany’s ‘Zettelwirtschaft’. Of the markets polled, Germany had the highest percentage of respondents (41%) concerned about not having in place technologies to effectively support remote work.

The Smartsheet and 451 Research report indicates some urgency among German businesses in addressing these shortcomings. The desire to get to grips with digital transformation is fuelling spending and pushing business leaders to make technology decisions more quickly. In Germany, more than half of respondents (53%) stated that purchasing cycles around workforce technologies would be shorter. Leaders also stated that they plan to spend more on technology tools over the next six months, including: team collaboration tools (36%), project and work management tools (23%) and workflow automation (26%).

“The pandemic brought to light many long-standing workforce dysfunctions, resurfacing the need to bridge the gap between technology and culture to empower the workforce,” said Chris Marsh, a Research Director at 451 Research. “Now, these disruptions have switched the leadership mindset to prioritize workplace technologies, streamline their purchasing cycles, and make culture-driven decisions that empower employees to take ownership over their own projects and workflows.”

These considerations were also reflected in how Germany’s businesses viewed the priorities for their IT-led digital transformation initiatives: 46% of respondents see improving the overall workforce productivity and collaboration experience as a priority: 34% identified the modernisation of legacy back office applications; and 39% the deployment of productivity tools across multiple cloud platforms to support flexible delivery of business applications.

“Digital transformation is top of the agenda right now in boardrooms across Germany. As personal and professional lives have moved online, the pandemic has transformed expectations of technology,” said Gene Farrell, Chief Strategy and Product Officer at Smartsheet. “Leaders should take a fresh look at what they need to compete in a world where work flows in and out of businesses across extended teams and locations. Employees will increasingly expect flexible, dynamic technology that empowers individual work styles.”

Marsh added: “Not all businesses are starting from the same position, and some are at risk of being left behind. Those that are more confident, digitally mature, and proactively invest in operational, cultural, and technological approaches to engage and empower their employees tend to have workforces that are more productive, engaged, and innovative.”

You can access the full “Get Ahead of Change by Empowering Employees with New Operational Cultures and Tooling Strategies” report here. Marsh will also discuss the findings in a webinar titled, “Get Ahead of Change by Empowering Employees,” on Tuesday, April 13 at 6:00pm BST. You can register for the webinar here.

*Survey methodology

The survey was conducted by 451 Research among a sample of 400 U.S. workers at enterprise companies with 1,500+ full time employees and three or more office locations, 200 U.K. workers at companies with 1,000+ full time employees and three or more office locations, 200 German workers at companies with 1,000+ full time employees and three or more office locations, and 200 Australian workers at companies with 500+ full time employees and two or more office locations. It was live from September 23 to October 8, 2020.

About Smartsheet

Smartsheet (NYSE: SMAR) is the enterprise platform for dynamic work. By aligning people and technology so organizations can move faster and drive innovation, Smartsheet enables its millions of users to achieve more. Visit to learn more.


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