In the recently published book "Zukunftsrepublik - 80 Vorausdenker*innen springen in das Jahr 2030" (Future Republic - 80 forward thinkers jump into the year 2030) this is exactly what happens and 80 people from business, academia, science and other fields take a look into the magic bullet and draw an optimistic picture of the Federal Republic of Germany on the six topics of education, work, business, politics, health and society.
Under the umbrella of digitalisation, visions and ideas are described of how Germany could be positioned in the not too distant future and how all of our lives will be influenced and improved by this. The boundaries of these six topics become blurred again and again, but this is not a disadvantage of reading, because all six topics are sometimes strongly linked. The focus is clear: digitalisation is a huge opportunity that we just have to know how to use properly.
The content of the book is quickly explained: In 80 chapters (excluding the foreword and acknowledgements), the authors under the editorship of Marie-Christine Ostermann, Céline Flores Willers, Miriam Wohlfarth, Daniel Krauss, Andreas Rickert and Hauke Schwiezer draw a picture of the future of Germany, each with their own focus. The chapters are short, precise and thus provide a quick look at the ideas and visions of the person who wrote the capital.
For this, it is not only asked what would be possible in a utopia in 2030, but also what is needed to achieve this goal. And of course, sometimes great changes and visions also require great efforts, often also political ones. There is a colourful mix of topics such as mobility, new work, housing or sustainable entrepreneurship. But also basic prerequisites, such as courage for change and no more "German Angst", are addressed.
However, all the authors agree on one thing (and the book also promises this): the key to a successful Germany 2030 is digitisation and the exploitation of all its possibilities. Based on these sometimes very different areas, the importance of digital technologies in the classroom of the future is clearly explained.
It is certainly a characteristic of visions and big ideas that some of them can be described as very optimistic. And that's how we felt when reading some of the chapters, because 2030 is only nine years away and some of the changes mentioned are so big that Germany and the EU (at least based on the pace of the last decades) are unlikely to make such drastic changes politically so quickly.
But that is not the point. The book and the authors paint a picture that deviates from stagnation and eternal (political) discussions, but simply makes things happen. And that gives hope. Although not all the ideas are entirely new (location-independent working, AI in schools), it is fun to read the book and to see that very different minds are dealing with digitalisation and the issues of the future. Because that is important and without great visions, not even a fraction of the envisaged goals will be achieved.
Corona has shown how much Germany lags behind in the topic of digitalisation, how much it lacks ideas on digital teaching and that a large number of laws are not tailored to a digital economy.
But of course, we also have criticism of this book.
Of course, if digitalisation is the focus of a book, the topic of work also primarily mentions areas and professions that will particularly benefit from or be changed by digitalisation. However, in our view, the reading is simply too one-sided. Even in 2030, not all employees in Germany will be knowledge workers and will be affected or even enthusiastic about topics such as home office, completely flexible working hours or incentives for entrepreneurship. And no, not all people are eternally searching for a meaningful job or want to acquire new skills on the pretext of "lifelong learning" even shortly before retirement.
On the other hand, we see this as excluding many possibilities of digitalisation and its effects. This one-sided view is crowned by the vision of education in 2030, in which pupils learn at home and only show how to apply what they have learned at school. After a year of Corona, thousands of parents are probably horrified by the term "learning at home". For few, this is probably what a desirable future looks like.
Not least in the chapter on education, we get the feeling that these visions, this book, is aimed at a very privileged target group: People with a high and highest level of education, who are infinitely intrinsically motivated, who seek their own fulfilment in their job and who aspire to or pursue a job that digitalisation will only make more awesome. In our eyes, however, a book entitled "Future Republic" should recognise and appreciate that our national economy is more diverse. For little attention is paid to the systemically relevant people who are gladly applauded. Yet it is precisely these people who will get us through this crisis and the future.
The claim of the book "Future Republic" is not only to write down mere visions, but also to outline the way to get there. According to the authors, this can be done by changing or adopting laws, using technologies such as AI and VR, or completely restructuring entire ministries. These are very big starting points, which seem to be realisable above all through a strong political will.
Although the book is entirely dedicated to digitalisation and thus every chapter talks about it directly or indirectly, there is little discussion of how concretely this future republic will be achieved. And by this we mean the technical details. Because at the lowest level, these are concrete starting points for how digitalisation does not remain just a political issue.
Digitisation is only the prerequisite, the implementation is done by further technologies and standards: Automation (What's the difference?), software that MUST be based on open source standards, mandatory APIs(What are APIs?) for state and government-used software, data protection that advocates for data models and data processing. Yes, these are very concrete demands, but in our eyes such small steps are at least as important as loud and big demands to politicians (and probably quicker to implement).
Because if a book assumes that we will spend less time working because productivity continues to rise (which is cushioned by an unconditional basic income, among other things), the logical question must be how this is achieved. And the answers already exist: with cloud software automations, it is already possible to restructure jobs and professions. In this way, skills other than moving data come to the fore. The concrete implementation of such technologies and the accompaniment of the resulting change are decisive when we envision Germany 2030 and all subsequent years.
"Zukunftsrepublik - 80 Vorausdenker*innen springen in das Jahr 2030" (Republic of the Future - 80 Forward Thinkers Leap into the Year 2030) has great approaches and makes people optimistic about the future of Germany. However, concrete steps for implementation are unfortunately left out and the term equal opportunities remains an empty buzzword. More could have been done.
Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
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To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address.
02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.