Digital transformation has arrived in almost every area of life today. It is changing the way we communicate and work and therefore requires new qualifications and skills from everyone involved in business and society. In an international comparison, Germany is currently in the middle. Changing this requires a sensible digital strategy that convinces people.
Digitized processes and technologies make it possible for yesterday’s visions to become a reality faster than some of us would like. Tablets, smartphones, or smartwatches, which were still considered a dream of the future three decades ago, are now a natural part of everyday life and business processes. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, digital platforms, big data, and the Internet of Things will shape the future. The trend prevails worldwide to map processes globally in digitized form and provide the necessary information via interfaces for each accessible and usable.
But interweaving data with the latest information and communication technologies requires new thinking and new skills. Germany lags in many areas. In the country comparison that the IMD World Competitiveness Center (IMD) conducts annually about digital maturity, Germany has slipped from 15th place in 2016 to 18th place. Those who do not understand the needs and goals of this new world will find it difficult to establish themselves successfully in it.
The barriers to the digital future evident in this country have different reasons: First of all, the necessary technologies and infrastructures are often still lacking in the area. Data that is openly available in a network also gives rise to reservations that government, business, and society, in particular, must take seriously.
Incomplete Expansion Of The Digital Infrastructure
The need to catch up digitally, is not only manifest in the much-cited radio dead zone. Schools and authorities lack the necessary technology. So it is not surprising that some offices still communicate by fax. According to a study by the market research company Lünendonk and the Business Factors network platform, medium-sized companies, which are Germany’s most important economic engine, face real challenges. To effectively advance the digital transformation, companies lack specialists with the necessary digital know-how. Essential measures such as the migration of corporate IT to the cloud are often at an early stage under an unlucky star.
Corona Paved The Way For Digitization
The corona pandemic has shown what is possible when everyday life suddenly no longer works as usual. Under tremendous time pressure, companies had to prepare their workforce for digital work from home. Homeschooling became mandatory in schools, medical practices suddenly held their consultation hours online, and the authorities opened up to new contactless payment options. Pressured by the pandemic, Germany experienced a digital boost within a short period. The digital beginner did not become a native, but at least a country makes serious efforts to make its way into a digital future. To succeed, all those involved must come together, Bundle initiatives more than before, and combine them into a sensible strategy.
Lots Of Impulses Instead Of A Sensible Strategy
There are enough government measures to accelerate digital change, but they are not always coordinated. For example, with the DigitalPakt School, the federal and state governments want to ensure that all schools have access to fast internet and digital learning aids such as interactive whiteboards. Teachers should also be sufficiently qualified not only to be able to use digital media but also to teach digital skills. With the Hospital Future Act, the Federal Ministry of Health explicitly promotes digital change measures in the healthcare sector. It supports investments, for example, in modern emergency capacities and better digital processes such as patient portals, electronic documentation of care and treatment, medication management, IT security measures, or cross-sector telemedical network structures.
Regional draft laws such as the Bavarian Digital Law want to set guidelines for the digital transformation of society, business and authorities. It defines the digitization tasks of the Free State, provides for a charter of digital rights and guarantees for citizens, and includes a program to modernize authorities.
Early last year, at the European level, the European Parliament passed a proposal for the Digital Services Act. It provides uniform horizontal rules on due diligence and liability exclusions for operators of online platforms and other digital intermediation services. This should make it easier for authorities to combat illegal activities on platforms.
Given the need for an overall plan intended to digitize society as a whole and all areas of life, the economy or the state, these programs, no matter how successful they may be in their area, no longer remain patchwork. Without a uniform strategy, authorities, companies, and the economy will standstill. At the same time, digitally well-positioned global e – players work together in virtual data rooms across locations, national borders, and continents and hold their international meetings using VR glasses. Participating in the digital future is difficult for citizens and companies
Tackle The Digital Transformation
Anyone who believes that digital potential is already exhausted with an online form and an app for arranging online appointments is underestimating the power of this subsequent social and technological development. When everything is networked, all processes are different. There is no way around the digital future.
Only with a comprehensive degree of digitization and the corresponding know-how will it be possible to use the opportunities of these new technologies in the interest of the people. To make digital Germany future-proof, livable, functional, and high-performance, an overarching plan is required to bring together many individual actions to form a sensible strategy.
Take Everyone With You Into The Future
It would send the wrong signal to view digital change solely as a matter for ministries, authorities, municipalities, or companies. Technological progress affects everyone, especially those who have to live with the passed regulations. Their views should therefore be heard and taken into account. Those affected should become collaborators when it comes to a digital plan and offers advice on how to bring the principles, guidelines, and direction to life in a meaningful way. In concrete terms, how should everyday life work for the individual? Which tools, applications, and systems are suitable? And why?
After all, it is a well-known fact that users – or rather, people – do not accept every suitable and helpful technology. However, the digital change will only be successful if the users support it. That requires new thinking. After all, anyone who uses the latest digital technologies daily must be able to understand them – at least to some extent. In the future, therefore, digital knowledge must not be reserved for IT specialists alone but must be available and usable as common property for everyone.
This digital plan should focus on technological progress and economic effects, but it must also have an eye on the people who work in this new digital world and want to live and feel good. This is the only way that digital change will not only prove to be a springboard for long-term economic progress and prosperity for Germany as a business location but also an opportunity to use digital technologies to make living spaces ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable.