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Meaningful use of data

On the occasion of the German government's Digital Summit at the end of last year, which focused on "Data - Creating Digital Value Together," DSAG board members Sebastian Westphal and Karin Gräslund comment.
E-3 Magazine
March 20, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Digital Summit 2022 of the German Federal Government: Digitization from the Perspective of DSAG e. V.

The German government's response to the Digital Summit is as follows: "In order to actively and sustainably shape the digital transformation of the economy and society, we need a strong single European data market. To this end, it is essential to drive forward the development of data infrastructures such as data platforms and data rooms in individual sectors and to increase data availability and use across sectors.

"We as DSAG can only share this opinion," explained Sebastian Westphal, DSAG Board Member Technology. The user association emphasizes that it must be ensured that the political decision-makers do not try to meet the constantly changing needs in terms of data architectures with monolithic platforms and thus solutions of the past. Sebastian Westphal: "Hyperscalers and software-as-a-service providers already have a big head start here. One also can't help but notice that the governing parties have so far presented a very unfortunate picture in terms of designing first platforms. This applies, for example, to Gematik, i.e., electronic data transfer in healthcare, as well as to Elster in the context of data collection for property tax reform."

Sebastian Westphal, DSAG

We believe it is necessary to provide basic services in public administration.

Sebastian Westphal,
Chief Technology Officer,DSAG

But before an influential single European data market can be created, government bodies must finally implement a Europe-wide, seamless infrastructure, according to the SAP user association DSAG. According to a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Germany has lagged behind the rest of the world in terms of high-speed Internet for decades - but this is an essential prerequisite if the economy and society are to undergo further rapid and far-reaching digital transformation. 

Digitize quickly

"As DSAG, we believe it is necessary in parallel to focus on ensuring that basic services are offered in the public administration sector in order to rapidly digitize administration," explained Sebastian Westphal. "The electronic file and electronic procurement can be cited as examples here. More standards, interfaces and formats must be created for all authorities at all levels - and a strategy for the German administration cloud must be quickly realized."

In contrast, it is not absolutely necessary to develop central data platforms and spaces for companies, according to the DSAG association, because regulatory requirements, for example, make it difficult to harmonize the requirements of the individual industries without a great deal of effort. Sebastian Westphal emphasizes: "In addition, each manufacturer adapts strategy, standards and roadmaps to its own needs, so there is still no consensus on how reference architectures and integration scenarios should be designed. How the current, heterogeneous system landscapes and the comprehensive range of software manufacturers can already be adequately reflected is shown by the first well-known and expedient platforms such as the Industry Councils under GAIA-X."

Karin Gräslund, DSAG board member responsible for Financials and Sustainability, addressed the topic of "Data as a driver of innovation. At the Digital Summit, the German government defines: "Data determines production processes and supply chains just as much as our consumption and way of life. Harnessing the growing volumes of data is key to innovation and sustainable growth." With reference to the financial sector, robotic process automation (RPA) has been used for years, Professor Gräslund knows, which allows selected processes to run in an automated and standardized front-to-end manner using algorithms, optimizes data quality and makes data available more quickly. 


The gap between expectation and implementation is still too wide.

Karin Gräslund,
Head of Financials and Sustainability, DSAG

But decision-makers are still busy laying the groundwork, emphasizes Karin Gräslund: "And which employees actually have the technical know-how?

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