On 11 March 2020 (just before the lockdown) I attended a meeting of the ‘Digital Transformation Council’ of the German Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz). The Prime Minister Manuela Dreyer chaired the meeting. The Corona crisis was already looming and influenced the discussion. For information: One of the globally most promising Covid-19 vaccine trials is being carried out by BioNTech, a company from this State. They partner with Pfizer with the aim to develop a mRNA based vaccine by end of the year.
I took away two insights. First, the changes on the labour market and the consequences for re-skilling of the workforce are their biggest priority. Second, the transformation of the automobile industry will have a big impact on their regional economy as many suppliers are based in Rhineland-Palatinate.
In my presentation I described the drivers of digital transformation. I stressed the need to distinguish digitisation (from analogue to digital), digitalisation (making existing processes more efficient), and digital transformation (re-designing processes, disruptive innovation). This classification allows to assess the ambition of a digital strategy. When a government or a company talks about transformation often they just refer to ‘digitalisation’. Transformation means much more. Here is an example: Sending email instead of a letter is digitisation. Selling online is digitalisation of a purchase. Building a market platform with integrated services transforms the retail business.
When you look at the automobile industry, they well understand digitalisation, making driving safer and more comfortable, but technologies will transform a substantial part of the car business into mobility service.
Minister for Economic Affairs Volker Wissing
Prime Minister Manuela Dreyer