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Take advantage of new opportunities and learn from ones you missed…

…this advice is the central theme running through „Enterprise 4.0“, the recently published book written by Prof. Dr. August-Wilhelm Scheer, doyen of European IT. We have immersed ourselves initially in the book’s opening topic, which looks at the drivers of digitization:

Rapid technological developments around the internet have enabled the creation of totally new business models, often destroying traditional business concepts irreversibly in the process. Who would have thought 10 years ago that Kodak, the market leading manufacturer of photographic film operating worldwide, would have to throw in the towel because the process of taking pictures would be turned completely on its head by digitization through the use of modern (smartphone) cameras? A driver for digitization is already manifesting itself in this case; production without marginal costs, in which the infrastructure has to be built and maintained, but where the production itself generates no new costs. Any number of photos created without cost can be sent free of charge via W-Lan to any number of people or posted online for them – immediately or later. In contrast, cameras using photographic film have no chance of remaining a mass-market product; they have been eclipsed and reduced to a niche product for professional photographers and specialists.

 

Other principles, which are not only becoming possible through the digital world, but are also becoming increasingly established in society, are also inspiring start-up businesses in particular to create new business models. Belonging to this is individualization, which allows us to become customers for mymuesli or, through e-learning sequences, gives us the preference of self-determining the type, time and location of our learning activities.

The principle of self-control has a no less disruptive effect – those who travel autonomously require no driver, those able to work with their laptops anywhere in a networked world create completely new aspirations as a knowledge worker for potential work – or for customers.

The retail sector is being changed by large platform companies, which, at least so far, have forced their way unstoppably, and with growing market power, between customers and providers as intermediaries.
These and other principles are opening up completely new opportunities for the economy, in Germany as well, thanks to technological leaps such as the successful use of neuronal networks in artificial intelligence. This is important to Scheer: it is imperative not only to analyse developments with foresight, but to learn the lessons from them in a timely manner. It is about having the courage to implement new business models Made in Germany or gladly also Made in Europe, so that the new wave of digitization becomes a driving force and not a destructive one!

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