Spotlight on digitization

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In just 55 days CeBIT, the world's largest trade fair for the digital economy, will open its doors. Key decision-makers are now gearing up for this huge event.

"The customer journey has already begun," says Oliver Frese, Managing Board Member of Deutsche Messe AG. In fact, the first significant press conference in advance of CeBIT just took place: The digitization of German industry and its effects on the CeBIT trade fair were the main focus of a fireside chat held on January 12, 2016, with representatives of leading media. In addition to Oliver Frese, SAP Executive Board member Bernd Leukert and Reinhard Clemens, Member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management, discussed the current industrial revolution and the importance of CeBIT 2016.

Germanys digital chance

"Germany was asleep during the initial phases of digitization," said Clemens to his somewhat startled listeners. But in terms of developments to come, Clemens painted a more optimistic picture. "In the consumer segment the US Internet companies have clearly outpaced Europe by far, but when it comes to the digitization of business and the economy, things look much different. Germany's great opportunity lies in the digital transformation of key industries that is now underway." This is where Germany is in a very good position. "We are the world's No. 1 export nation in terms of industrial goods and plants, not to mention our leadership in the global market for embedded systems – these form the basis for the digitization of machines – and we have made enormous progress in the area of standardization."

Connected value chains

Shared and accepted standards are absolutely essential for connected value chains. Businesses around the world are now working on this. SAP Executive Board member Leukert outlined the German approach: "The collaboration of the nation's large and medium-sized enterprises in the "Industrie 4.0" initiative had provided a framework architecture model for the digitization of industry (Reference Architectural Model Industry 4.0 - RAMI). This has resulted in guidelines that help accelerate the realization of concrete projects.

Standardization in pilot projects

Standardization is no longer defined by committees as was the case in the past – today standardization is taking place dynamically in actual pilot projects. To make sure that everyone has access to these developments, we have established a special organization – its members have already come up with more than 100 applications. This test environment has the largest number of practical concrete examples in the world – there is nothing else like it."

Pilots in complex digital world

Oliver Frese from Deutsche Messe AG pointed out the importance of CeBIT in this context: "The new business focus of CeBIT takes account of the industry's development. Top representatives from start-ups to huge corporations, both domestic and foreign, are expected to be in Hanover this year. CeBIT is the largest trade fair of its kind worldwide and continues to grow in importance internationally through the participation of new partners such as China." For Clemens the trade fair is a showcase event that puts the spotlight on digitization: "This is where decision-makers can get the really "big picture." No single provider is able to offer complete digitization to customers on his own. "That's why we are building partner ecosystems and collaborating to jointly help customers find their way through the extremely complex digital world."