GlobalAutoTV
Click to watch Dr. Juergen Weber -
Click to watch Dr. Juergen Weber -
euro resources


Need an office in Europe or Eastern Europe? Office suites, meeting rooms, virtual offices, network access




free downloads
EUROPE: "October 2011 West European Car Sales" report

EUROPE: "October 2011 West European Car Sales" report. 3-page report by LMC Automotive.

proceed to download
eJournals





back to index backEUROtalk November,  2016


Manifesto calls for an end to Germany's digital lag

Delegates to Germany's 10th IT Summit warn the country is falling behind international competitors. They're calling for a push from industry and government to speed up the digital transformation.

On Wednesday (16.11.2016) the western German city of Saarbrücken will host the country's 10th National IT Summit. The German government and the cabinet members tasked with digitalization, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel evidently see the forum as an opportunity for self-congratulation.

"We have accomplished a lot," Gabriel said, describing Germany's electronic economy. "We are on an excellent path," Dobrindt added, touting the expansion of network infrastructure in the country.

And indeed, a study by TNS Infratest and the Mannheim Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) says: "Digitalization of the commercial economy is gaining steam." To paraphrase, the study says a quarter of the German economy is "good," just under half "average" and the final quarter "low" when it comes to digitalization. On average, almost half of all company-internal processes and work processes are now digital. In 2015, the figure was only a third.

In 2015, the German information and telecommunication industry was the world's fifth-largest, after the US, China, Japan and the UK, with 223 billion euros ($240.6 billion) in turnover. With a share of almost 5 percent of commercial value added, it ranks ahead of the country's mechanical engineering sector but behind transport and logistics. Around 111 billion euros are earned by the German internet market, which means that it also holds fifth place in terms of per capita revenue.

Billions to build up the net

The German government believes it is on the right track when it comes to network expansion. A "gigabit-capable convergent infrastructure" will be available by the end of 2025, Dobrindt said last week after a meeting of the "network alliance" of industry and government in Berlin. To this end, network operators will invest 8 billion euros this year and next, and the government will contribute 4 billion.

In economics and research, however, there are doubts as to whether this will be enough. A group of seven professors and bosses intends to use the summit to issue a wake-up call. In an eight-page paper, which they call the "Saarbrücken Manifesto," the authors describe mistakes in international competition and express their concern that Germany is not tapping into the opportunities of digitalization.

They say industrial policymaking on a grand scale is called for. "A European program is needed to make a real leap to becoming world-class, similar to the Airbus and Cern projects," the paper says.

The manifesto was written by August-Wilhelm Scheer, former president of the industry association Bitkom and founder of the IDS Scheer Group, and Wolfgang Wahlster, director of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.

Danger for traditional business models

The fact that former SAP CEO Henning Kagermann has lent his support to the appeal should attract attention. It's rare for industry leaders to warn in such strong terms about the shortcomings and challenges they face - let alone one so prominent, who has advised the government on policy. Too often, they are willing to coast along on past successes.

At the same time, the authors concede that a Silicon Valley, with its combination of entrepreneurial spirit, world-beating research, venture capital, business angels and successful large companies, cannot easily be copied. They describe the wave of software startups in the south-west of Germany, along with Berlin and Munich as "gratifying." But, the authors and signatories warn, "we have not yet produced a single world-class company. We are still living on the 50-year-old successes of SAP and Software AG."

Digital push needed

The current digitalization wave in the industry is seen as key to the success of many of Germany's leading international companies. Above all, car manufacturers, and companies in medical and mechanical engineering and infrastructure, are increasingly recognizing that data and communication are becoming part of the business model.

Take autonomous driving, for example: Concern is growing in German industry that corporations such as Google or Apple could out-innovate German makers such as Volkswagen or Daimler.

Added to this are the dangers threatening German companies by completely new business models. "International digital platform companies are entering markets dominated by manufacturing and threatening the classic market leaders," the IT manifesto says.

"New business models that can cannibalize existing business must be supported by spin-offs. Better to cannibalize yourself than let others do it."

Government wanted

The German government put digitalization at the top of the political agenda with the first German IT summit in 2006. But a decade later, industry representatives consider the achievements to be too few - and say the government isn't doing its job. A "push toward digitalization through policy, the economy and society" needs to happen, the manifesto says.

Germany can't just get a little bit better, Scheer says. It has to get much better and orient itself toward advanced countries like South Korea: "Gigabit networks must become a standard."

The authors show their annoyance that German authorities have lagged behind those of other countries when it comes to electronic administration: "In e-government, Germany is in the international midfield and has even been overtaken by the small Baltic states."

At the same time, they said, the government must set a good example for digitalization: "Obstacles in the form of the separate areas of responsibility of national, state and municipal governments should be cleared away and uniform systems should be introduced nationwide," the manifesto says.

Source: Deutsche Welle - GAI






previous page

go top
search our site


Loading

EUROtalk

Other articles from the same issue (November,  2016).

Germans shocked by Autobahn privatization plan
play read on

Europe's biggest markets enjoy best new car sales since 2009 - despite weak October
play read on

UK seeks to secure tariff-free trade for auto industry
play read on

The German Auto Industry Is Finally (Maybe) Done With Gas
play read on

German Automakers Sweat Over China's Draft Electric-Vehicle Quotas
play read on

Steady growth for UK new car market in October
play read on

New anti-dumping measures against China’s import proposed by Commission
play read on

Manifesto calls for an end to Germany's digital lag
play read on

German industrial order books shrinking
play read on

How to raise capital in Europe… and beyond
play read on

Luxembourg Investment Vehicles
play read on

EU researchers offer sustainable solutions for European manufacturing
play read on

Europe Finally Wakes Up To The New Silk Road, And This Could Be Big
play read on

Turkey: Now EU is talking about economic sanctions
play read on

EU and Canada sign free trade accord, but has to clear 40 European parliaments
play read on

European Union: AG opines Luxembourg VAT exemption for cost-sharing groups incompatible with EU law
play read on

France’s abolition of surtax exemption on tax-consolidated distributions will not apply retroactively
play read on

EU Re-launches Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base
play read on

Britain’s manufacturing sector is changing beyond all recognition
play read on

Although UK High Court Ruled that Only Parliament Can Authorize Brexit Divorce, Companies Should Still Start Contingency Planning
play read on

Brexit offers British firms opportunities to build business beyond Europe and create a new era of global trade for the UK, study finds
play read on

Study: Brexit throws £65 billion of investment into doubt
play read on

Rise of the working poor across Europe
play read on

Schengen visa reimposed on Russian-Polish border
play read on

Report: Guide to Taxes on Real Estate in Central and Eastern Europe
play read on

Investment in Slovakia 2016 - Guide
play read on

Spanish unions reject budget adjustment demanded by EU
play read on

European Family Business Barometer: Successful & Resiliant (fifth edition)
play read on

UK business execs lack confidence in generating trusted insights from data and analytics
play read on

Russian de-offshorisation law
play read on

France makes another U-turn on EU trade policy
play read on


Our Free eJournals
GlobalAutoExperts

To visit GlobalAutoExperts Directory, click here.


©2008 GlobalAutoIndustry.com | HCI Group, Ltd.
101 West Big Beaver Road, Suite 1400 | Troy, MI 48084 USA
USA Tel: +1.248.687.1060 | USA Fax: +1.248.927.0347
Fax UK: +44.(0)845.127.4765 | Fax Europe: +31.20.524.1659 | Fax Asia: +852.3015.8120