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Digital Horizons

A series of reports exploring CEE's digital future

We are pleased to share with you our latest CMS thought leadership – Digital Horizons, a series of brief reports exploring CEE’s digital future.

Based on a recent survey canvassing the views of our clients and contacts whose operations span 18 countries across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), our latest thought leadership explores the region’s digital ambitions, as well as the risks, opportunities and regulatory landscape around CEE’s digital future.

Companies across a range of sectors in CEE believe that digitalisation is key to enabling them to achieve business goals such as reducing costs, increasing productivity and becoming more competitive. Almost two-thirds (65%) of companies in the region confirmed that digitalisation is a priority in realising these immediate goals.

As the volume of data generated by commercial activity continues to grow at an exponential rate, a digital transformation of the global economy is well underway. For the countries in CEE, which has already become one of the most attractive regions in which to invest, it will deliver up to EUR 200bn in additional GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey. This will create an economic boost for companies operating in CEE and increase prosperity for the 150 million people who live and work there.

While the trend towards digitalisation was underway before the outbreak of Covid-19, the pandemic has undoubtedly pushed the digital agenda of CEE businesses upwards: 38% of respondents have completed or initiated new projects while 45% say that the pandemic has served to accelerate ongoing projects. 

The majority (92%) of respondents believe that the pandemic will accelerate future digital change in their businesses and almost two-thirds (65%) anticipate an increase in their IT budgets next year to support digitalisation. Financial services and life sciences are the key sectors identified by respondents in which digitalisation is expected to be most driven by the fallout from the pandemic, followed by the manufacturing, automotive and energy sectors. Only 6% of businesses have delayed their digital projects due to the pandemic. 

The latest addition to our series – December 2022

Our latest addition to the Digital Horizons series explores the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA). Together, these two Acts create new rules throughout the EU that are designed to protect users and establish a level playing field for businesses. Forming another important feature of the CEE digital landscape, they require significant attention from digital actors operating in the tech space. Businesses operating in CEE will need to assess their services against the DSA and DMA definitions, comply with their obligations, and carefully review their governance processes.

Find out more

Read the full summary of the survey’s findings, offering deeper dives into the following topics:

  • Closing the gap – CEE’s digital infrastructure and business ambition
  • Data and ethics – what does the future hold for CEE?
  • Innovation vs regulation – can AI redefine CEE’s economic future?
  • Technology transforming industries in CEE – what’s next?
  • Data Centres - scaling up in CEE
  • Digital regulation: a deeper dive into the DNA of the DMA and DSA

You can watch some of our CMS experts discussing the headline data from the report in a special edition of our ‘Talking CEE’ video podcast here (20 mins).

The survey was conducted by CMS during the pandemic months of July and August 2020 focused on a range of topics in relation to digitalisation activities and priorities, which together form the strategic digital agenda of businesses. It also included questions around businesses’ investment plans as well as regulation and risk. The survey canvassed the views of nearly 100 participants whose operations span 18 countries across the CEE region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. 

Are you future-ready? 

Each report also includes a stress-test – some key considerations when building or reviewing your digital agenda. Test your business’ digital strategy here.

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CEE Digital Horizons: the DNA of DMA and DSA


CEE Digital horizon report - Executive Summary
CEE Digital horizon report - Digital Infrastructure
CEE Digital horizon report - Data Ethics
CEE Digital horizon report - AI
CEE Digital horizon report - Tech smart industries
CEE Digital horizon report - Stress tests

Digital Horizons: Data Centres - scaling up in CEE (virtual discussion)

The form of data centres is an important feature of the CEE digital landscape. As big companies operating in Europe need to house increasing volumes of valuable data, CEE is an attractive option. In terms of cost, incentives and access to skilled IT labour, the CEE region provides significant opportunities to build safe, secure and cost-effective data centres. This is underpinned by a sophisticated digital infrastructure, supportive national governments and real estate that enhances hybrid digital infrastructures.  

Watch our 60-minute virtual discussion on the development of Data Centres in CEE with our CEE TMT, Real Estate and Energy experts, Eva Talmacsi, Lukáš Hejduk and Piotr Ciolkowski, together with Tomasz Łosek (Director of Turner & Townsend, Poland) and Dominic Carman (journalist and writer). In this discussion, they shared their expert views on the legal implications associated with opportunities for large companies in Europe to effectively build and operate data centres in multiple locations across the region, in particular:

  • What are the key factors driving global demand for more data centres? 
  • Why is the CEE region well-placed to meet the demand for regional data centre hubs in Europe?  
  • How are CEE governments accelerating digital transformation that data centres need to flourish? 
  • How does the EU’s Digital Europe programme underpin and support that transformation? 
  • What are the main incentives, such as tax breaks, for investment in CEE data centres? 
  • How well is the CEE placed to deliver power that is reliable and secure for data centres? 
  • Can the CEE region provide sufficient skilled labour that is competitively priced? 


CEE Digital Horizons Report
PDF 5.2 MB


Portrait of Dóra Petrányi
Dóra Petrányi
Portrait of Olga Belyakova
Olga Belyakova
Portrait of Eva Talmacsi
Eva Talmacsi