Internet, while only 37.9% in the wholesale/retail industry and 35.2% in the banking/insurance
industry, respectively, do so.
Extremely unimportant are government related factors which, consequently, cannot be regarded
as drivers for the usage of Internet technologies. Neither government demand for online
procurement capability (2.1%), nor direct governmental incentives or subsidies (2.0%) are
mentioned as significant drivers for adoption decisions. On the contrary, the results suggest that
lack of e commerce knowledge and projects inside the government will become an impediment
not only today but especially in the near future. While most business to business (B2B)
processes can be conducted online, firms have to prepare paper based and therefore inefficient
processes in parallel to the business to government (B2G) side.
While Table 12 shows that it is impossible to identify the most important driver or killer
application supporting the diffusion of e commerce solutions, Table 13 deals with the most
important barriers. In comparison to the global average, most mentioned barriers are less
important or restrictive, e.g., the need for face to face customer interaction (11.9% in Germany
in comparison to 33.8% in the global sample), is not at all interpretable as a significant barrier
for e commerce. Concerns about privacy of data or even security issues are no longer an
important obstacle in Germany (only 24.9% selected this issue as an important barrier) in
contrast to the global sample (44.2%). This might be a good indicator for the maturity level of
the offered online services and security applications, but also indicates that Germans have had
good experiences with the Internet and are losing more of their resistance to use it. Further
unimportant impeding reasons are Internet access costs due to the open and competitive
telecommunications market (only 1.6%), the inadequate support of business laws (only 5.2%)
due to one of the earliest e commerce and digital signature legislation in the world and the
taxation of online sales (only 1.5%), which is the same as traditional businesses in Germany and
Europe. While the latter factors are unimportant barriers in Germany in contrast to other
countries, German establishments have other important problems. Finding qualified and
experienced e commerce staff is more of a problem in Germany (41.2%) than anywhere else
(26.5%). The lack of IT specialists is especially critical in the retail/wholesale industry, where
nearly 50% of the respondents mentioned this as a significant obstacle.
As expected, the low diffusion of credit cards in Germany is an important obstacle in the B2C
area (21.6%). In fact, it is more common to use debit cards for payment at stores or gas stations
instead of using credit cards. Although the number of credit card owners increases the
corresponding possibility of abuse using the card number online, the recognition of this potential
has reduced the number of potential users notably.
An additional important barrier for German industry is the necessity of required structural
changes of existing business processes when implementing e commerce solutions. More than
30% of German establishments are worried or not able to implement needed organizational
changes. This issue is especially salient in the retail/wholesale industry (34.2%), where the
necessary prerequisites such as ERP or a general IT infrastructure are less likely to be available
in comparison to other sectors. In order to gain full benefits from e commerce, the needed
change efforts are therefore greater in the manufacturing or banking industries.