Why do some companies find it so difficult to get to grips with
the changes of the digital age, while others succeed? Why is Apple now worth more than GE, Wal-Mart, GM and McDonald’s combined? And the big question: why is there not a single company in Europe that can take on the GAFAs – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon?
It is to be expected that the next five to ten years will decide who is going to be among the winners in the digital transformation and who will be a loser. Companies need to reinvent themselves, relinquish habits and modes of thinking that they have come to cherish and adapt internal processes to the pressure of the new. This affects all departments of a company, from purchasing to sales, from marketing to logistics, from production to human resources. At the same time, we must curb the worst excesses of the digital age – data monopolies and digital robber barons who help themselves to our data to their hearts’ content, shamelessly exploit their power and thereby do immeasurable long-term damage to society.
We must revise our thinking so that we no longer assume that the expansion of the digital transformation in business and society is a given and we no longer accept the exploitation of our data without resisting it. But without new, digital ethics we shall stumble blindly into the digital era. It is high time to act.