3 questions to Dorothee Bär: resilience through digitalization

How can companies in the digital industry show a clear attitude and better prepare for future crises? Dorothee Bär, Minister of State for Digitalization at the German Federal Chancellery, shares her thoughts on these questions.

Dorothee Bär knows how crucial it is to drive digitalization forward.
Image: © Bundesregierung / Denzel

In our recent DMEXCO report, 62 percent of German survey participants and 53 percent of international respondents stated that they want to build a better buffer for crises in the future. What does that mean for the digital industry? We explore this question in an interview with Dorothee Bär.

Have requirements related to digitalization changed due to the crisis or have existing needs been intensified as a result?

The requirements regarding digitalization have generally stayed the same. Digitalization is still needed in a wide variety of areas if the German economy wants to survive in international competition. However, the crisis has highlighted that our progress is way too slow in many areas with regard to digital transformation, and digitalization processes are simply taking too long.

We are seeing that companies which have really driven digitalization forward for their business are generally coping better during this crisis than others. But it has also become clear in non­commercial areas, such as education, that it would have been better if digitalization had been driven forward more rigorously and quickly.

How can digitalization help companies build a better buffer and be better prepared for future crises?

Where possible, digital transformation processes should be implemented more quickly to ensure the performance of companies in a way that doesn’t impair productivity, the provision of services, and business operations, at least in subdivisions. With more advanced digitalization, we also become more resistant to crises like the one we are currently experiencing.

At the same time, the digital infrastructure must also keep up with digitalization. Above all, it must not become a limiting factor for our resilience when dealing with future crises. The German government recognized this long ago and has already initiated appropriate measures. In particular, these include increased funding for the expansion of fiber­optic networks and support for the expansion of the cellular network in regions that were previously unserved.

What attitude do you expect from the digital industry?

I would like the digital industry to become a poster child for Germany as an economic hub by demonstrating the performance of the country’s digital economy in the form of innovative products and projects. With many products coming from outside the EU, we are currently at the boundaries of our German and European sovereignty, and that also applies to the field of digitalization. There are areas in which Germany is a world leader, for example in the field of artificial intelligence. I want us to expand this leading position in research and development to other sectors as well and translate it into products and business models.