“We want to dare more democracy”—this is the famous sentence the then German Chancellor Willy Brandt used to summarize his political vision in 1969. The sentence is now half a century old and times have changed. At least, you'd think so. Interesting to historians, perhaps. But does this have any relevance at all to digitalization?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. So much so, in fact, that the current Microsoft boss Satya Nadella could have lifted his digital vision of the future directly from Willy Brandt himself: “As far as I’m concerned, democratization is Microsoft’s core identity”. This might sound strange at first. Democracy is not usually the first thing to spring to mind when dealing with software and business technology.
Democracy is a political term, but also a universal principle: it’s about everyone taking part. Nobody is excluded. Everyone has the chance to get involved, to make a difference, and above all, to improve things. This makes what Satya Nadella is driving at clearer: “It's about empowering every person in every organization on the planet to achieve more.” But what can a software and infrastructure supplier do to help?
First of all, they can create tools that help people develop their individual strengths. Routine jobs can be automated, for example, to create more space for actual creative activities, while intelligent assistants can help you make the best possible decisions. And you can draw on the knowledge of others and work closely with them—no matter where you are.
All this can only happen with modern information technology. But there’s more: democratization also demands that these tools must be made available to all. It would be disastrous if it were only the big companies, corporations, “big players” that could afford these technologies. Or, to quote Satya Nadella again: we must make sure that it is not just down to the “high priests” of industry to shape the future.
This is where modern cloud-based platforms come into play. Microsoft Azure is a prime example of how to ensure that all companies have access to digital high-tech, whatever their industry and size. And the figures clearly demonstrate that the whole thing really does work: Microsoft’s top-selling business is now the cloud—and not Windows or Office.
“More democracy” is certainly a question for technology. But technology is not everything. Cloud, AI and all the rest offer immense opportunities. But it should be understood that digital tools only make sense if they are useful to people and they can actually use them. Democracy lives through people: through their participation, through their enthusiasm and the special talents each individual has—today just as in Willy Brandt’s time.
If you want to know more about how COSMO CONSULT manages to inspire people for innovative technologies, then take a look at the new WELT online documentation series Innovation Germany. Or are you ready now to find out how to “dare more digitalization”? Then our free DigiCheck webinar is just the thing for you—you will learn here how to determine your digital status quo and get valuable tips for your own journey into the digital age.