The experiment, focused on improving digital and AI technology maturity among SMEs in the Czech Republic, was successfully completed. It involved selecting and supporting one to five SMEs with expert digital and AI consultations through DigiAudit. The process was overseen by a team from the National Centre for Industry 4.0 at CIIRC-CTU, who developed a unique digitization and AI audit methodology. This methodology allowed SMEs to assess their maturity levels in digital processes and AI technology integration, involving a comprehensive analysis of their production processes.
The initial step was a digital and AI maturity questionnaire, forming the basis for structured interviews and discussions with the company's management. This phase helped identify areas for potential improvement and thoroughly map existing technology. The evaluation was split into two parts: assessing general information, process digitization levels, and identifying improvement areas; followed by summarizing these findings, creating benchmarks, and designing a roadmap for enhancing digital maturity.
Finally, the outcomes were compiled into a feasibility study, which was then presented to the management of the selected SMEs for feedback and approval. The results were thoroughly discussed, ensuring that the management of these SMEs gained a clear understanding of the findings and their implications. This experiment significantly contributed to advancing the digital and AI capabilities of the involved SMEs.
The resulting digitalization plan tailored-made by CTU experts helped SMEs to boost their digital and AI performance and skills in the following ways:
Management of the selected SMEs should learn how to assess digital and AI maturity of their company, how to identify those areas in which to invest. Further, management of the selected SMEs shall be able to evaluate financial demands of the solutions, its returns and economic benefits for the future operation of SMEs.
Management of the selected SMEs will learn about the technology possibilities, suitable for their company.
CIIRC CTU aims to help the selected SMEs in their way of digital and AI transformation from low cost subcontractors to independent and flexible digital and AI based organizations with high value-added production. The aim is not only to identify areas of companies to increase their digital level, but to identify those areas in which "as little financial and time investment as possible" will increase the company's competitiveness as much as possible by increasing its digital and AI level.
Provision of clear and comprehensive information about the technical complexity of the solution, its return and economic benefits for the future operation of the company to the selected SMEs so to increase their competitiveness thanks to a comparison with the benchmark of the industry.