The way back to growth and progress is through technology. However, it will be crucial for a digital economic miracle to free oneself from the current crisis mode and to think positively about the future, appeals the managing director of Microsoft Germany, Marianne Janik.
It was a small surprise of great importance when the Federal Statistical Office recently announced: The German economy grew in the third quarter. Admittedly, not very much (0.3 percent) and a recession has not yet been averted. But the sign comes as surprising as it is urgently needed: Oops, we’re growing! The feared big wave of bankruptcies? So far it has fallen into the water. Encouragement for a country in multi-crisis mode.
From pandemics to war to the climate crisis, from supply chain problems to energy shortages to inflation – we were spared little in the end. And there is still a lot ahead of us. The synchronicity of the crises exhausts us. In talk shows and articles, the tenor is often: The fat years are over, Germany’s business model is at an end. But when war, crisis and catastrophes dominate perception, fear and uncertainty cloud the senses.
The more that hits us all at once, the more urgent the question becomes: How do we actually get out of this misery? How can we create sustainable growth without destroying the planet? If we are no longer able to think of a positive future, we are also no longer able to create a positive future. That is why we need new confidence and new optimism.
dr Marianne Janik has been CEO of Microsoft Germany since November 2020. Born in France and with a doctorate in law, she has many years of sales and management experience in various companies and sectors. Marianne Janik started her career at Daimler Benz AG in the Public Affairs department. Marianne Janik is strongly committed to digital change, especially in the areas of innovation, security and education and training. Among other things, she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Bitkom industry association and “Member of the Board of Directors” of AmCham Germany.
What if we were at the beginning of a new economic miracle in 2025? And not just in a figurative sense, but actually in the form of growth rates that we have not seen since the days of the economic miracle? Or even never? The American computer scientist and AI researcher Mohammed Bavarian believes that growth in the USA can increase tenfold given the pace of current developments in artificial intelligence. That could mean rates of 20 percent per year – and Bavarian wonders whether we were even prepared for such enormous growth.
It is difficult to forecast and in detail not undisputed which technologies will prevail and how much growth which will bring. But the major trend towards more digitization and digital growth is stable. He will keep going. KfW chief economist Fritzi Köhler-Geib sees digitization as “the main driving force for future economic growth and increasing prosperity”.
In a paper, KfW came to the conclusion that German companies would have to double or triple their IT investments in order to catch up with international competitors. But money alone is not everything. And looking at companies alone does not go far enough. So let’s ask how we can have a digitally strong Germany in 2025. And what we have to do about it now.
With the digital strategy, the federal government has set its goals for this legislative period up to 2025. It must be the first digital strategy that is finally implemented consistently. The digitization of the state is lagging. By the end of this year, with the Online Access Act (OZG), all state services should actually be available digitally for private individuals and companies. The target is missed with a bang.
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We need a successor quickly in order to have a digitally strong state by 2025. Numerous offices are already at their limit in terms of staff, appointments with the Citizens’ Registration Office are almost impossible to get, and processing times are long. Digitization is necessary for the state to remain functional and able to act.
The shortage of digital experts is already enormous. The digital association Bitkom estimates that around 137,000 IT specialists are missing. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the gap could grow to 1.1 million by 2030. Regardless of whether it is a state or a company: A lack of skilled workers is one of the most important limiting factors for successful digital transformation.
Training them takes time. If you want to have vocational training as an IT specialist or a bachelor’s degree in computer science in your pocket by 2025, you have to start now. The faster digital training and further education offers are expanded, the better.
Germany is 84 million people. Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world. Germany likes to present itself as modern and cosmopolitan. But there are many places in our country’s engine room that are stuck. The effects of Corona and the Ukraine war are clearly noticeable. Of course, we are by no means lost. On the contrary! FOCUS online has asked bright minds from science and practice, from associations and think tanks to draw up a roadmap in their respective fields for the future of our country, for Germany 2025. The question was what Germany must do now in order to be successful in the short, medium and long term. For example in the energy supply, internal and external security, public finances, the fight against pandemics and many other topics.
Nobody has to wait for the state. Every company should have its own digital strategy. We see with our customers how digitization is already acting as a lever to solve current problems.
The situation may be difficult at the moment: Right now is the worst time to save on future projects. Reduced digital investments are reduced opportunities. The corona pandemic has shown that companies with a high level of digitization were better able to react to a changed environment. In regions with a high degree of digitization, they even had to register short-time work less frequently.
Innovative strength, agility and adaptability are the prerequisites for companies to be successful. Whether they have to adapt to crises or rapid developments in their market. The more digital they are, the easier it will be. We are now deciding how digitally strong Germany will be in 2025. Let’s take the chance.