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In light of current economic and geopolitical developments, the strategic importance of digitalisation for sustainably increasing business performance and resilience is greater than ever. The top 40 business entities listed on the DAX have a leadership role in this regard, and they also set an example.

In the DAX Digital Monitor 2022, for the third year in a row, we show where the DAX business entities are in terms of their digital transformation: What are their areas of focus? How is digitalisation anchored at the top management level? Has digitalisation become established as a strategic function in the corporate organisation? What makes digital leaders successful?

With regard to these questions, the analysis of the annual reports for financial year 2021 offers interesting insights to learn from the best.

Digitalisation measures more comprehensively reported - but rarely bundled

Digitalisation measures will be reported much more comprehensively and in more concrete terms in the 2021 annual reports than in the previous year. The focus areas have evolved in recent years from cost reduction to the digital transformation of the business model. The first DAX 40 business entities are reporting performance indicators for digitalisation.

In the clear majority, however, the information on digitalisation is spread throughout the reports. This makes it difficult for stakeholders to understand this important topic for the future. Due to the growing importance of digitalisation for sustainable business success, this topic should receive its own section in the annual reports in the future.

Digital leadership is insufficient at the top management level

The biggest areas of action prove to be

  • further anchoring digital leadership at board level,
  • establishing digitalisation KPIs as a remuneration component at the board of management level,
  • strengthening the digital competence of the employee side in the supervisory board,
  • strategically using corporate digital responsibility (CDR) for digital leadership.

An independent chief digital officer (CDO) who explicitly represents the digitalisation function and competence as his own area of responsibility at the board of management level is only available in a few DAX 40 business entities. No explicit statements on corporate digital responsibility can be found in any of the DAX 40 business entities’ reports.

Nine recommendations for action

The DAX Digital Monitor 2022 presents the analysis results in detail and derives nine measures from them with which business entities of all sizes can be among the digital winners of the future.

About the Study

The DAX Digital Monitor 2022 is the third edition of this study. It follows the expansion of the stock market index and therefore analyses the associated 40 business entities in Germany for the first time. The analysis is based on the published 2021 annual reports, including non-financial reporting, and, if required, the curricula vitae of the members of the board of management and supervisory board. The study was created in cooperation with professors Dr Dirk Stein (FOM University of Applied Sciences for Economics & Management) and Dr Tobias Kollmann (University of Duisburg-Essen).

Download the DAX Digital Monitor 2022 now.