Digitalization – yes, but how?


Digitalization is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment, demanding new processes, methods and systems. The most common approach to it is to ask the people involved what they need. At a recent podium discussion, a director of a large institution demanded that we “Don't ask what they need! Ask them how they work!”. We would like to build on this demand, i.e. modify and expand it.

We prefer the sound of “Do not *only* ask what they need!”. It’s not impossible that some of the people affected by digitalization have thought seriously about improvements and could contribute some worthwhile ideas. Generally, however, we agree that simply being involved doesn’t guarantee an objective outlook.

We would like to modify the second demand as follows: “Ask them how they are supposed to work and why!” The people involved do not always do what they are supposed to. The answer to this “why” is ideally an intermediate target that is relevant to achieving a larger strategic goal. However, possible answers might also be “I don’t know” or “Because it’s always been done that way”. It may be that there is no larger strategic goal.

These unsatisfactory answers bring our third demand into play, which is aimed at those who are responsible for strategy: “Think about whether they do the right things in the right way!” Surveying the people involved and evaluating their needs can be a good starting point. There is usually very little mention of forward-looking changes, particularly if such changes would entail unknown variables for those involved. Anyone responsible for strategy should therefore think critically, even if it may lead to unpleasant decisions. Digitalization projects are a tempting way to demonstrate activity in this area. However, these too often result in digital copies that look like paper but are completely unsuitable for subsequent digital use.

Complete Revision of the Federal Data Protection Act

Complete Revision of the Federal Data Protection Act: „As of 15th September 2017, draft and report for a completely revised Federal Data Protection Act is public. In a first step parliament and the people agreed to adaptations in order to be compliant with EU law. The second part of the revision is debated by the parliament since September 2019. Data Protection is to be increased by giving people more control over their private data as well as reinforcing transparency regarding the handling of confidential data.”


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