Understanding digitalization as an opportunity

Copyright: EFA/Iryna Yeroshko

At the European Forum Alpbach, an interdisciplinary platform for science, politics, business and culture, international digitalization experts discussed the benefits of digital transformation for governments, societies and economy.

The private and public sectors are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization to simplify administrative processes and make citizens’ lives easier and more efficient. “We must learn to understand data as an opportunity and not as a risk. Unfortunately, the public discussion about data security is not always held rationally, “emphasized Markus Kaiser, CEO of the Austrian Federal Computing Center (BRZ) at the European Forum Alpbach. “Three and a half million Austrians have a Facebook account where they publish the most intimate details of their private lives. At the same time, people have problems with storing health data for emergency prevention. Rethinking processes is one of the key challenges of digital transformation. Let’s not always talk about the risks of digitalization when it offers us so many benefits and opportunities. ”


Data: opportunities and challenges

As part of the European Forum Alpbach, the BRZ organized a break-out session about the opportunities of digitalization for states, companies and people regarding the use of data. Following a keynote speech, the CEO of the Rwandan e-government portal “Irembo”, Faith Keza discussed together with Florian Marcus (analyst of the Estonian Digitilization Center), Karl Pall (digital evangelist from Germany) and BRZ´s Markus Kaiser concerning the latest opportunities, technological challenges and undetected business areas within the field of digitalization.


Digital transformation affects everyone

Digital transformation affects all areas of life and work and is becoming increasingly important globally. Today, data is generated, collected, combined and evaluated always and everywhere. That’s exactly the reason why it’s up to companies and government agencies to use data as effectively and securely as possible to create benefits for citizens. “People have a right to digital government service offerings. To do this, public authorities need to learn how to deal effectively with citizens’ data and derive the maximum benefit from it, for example for proactive offering of services” claims Florian Marcus. Faith Keza is also certain that “companies and governments, but also employees, need data to perform better in their jobs.”


Security and freedom

At the subsequent BRZ Business Lunch, BRZ CFO Christine Sumper-Billinger welcomed Wolfgang Peschorn, Federal Minister of the Interior. She  emphasized the importance of the development of a data economy in her welcome speech and drew attention to the major challenges in the public sector. Federal Minister Peschorn in his keynote called attention to that “ensuring the fundamental and freedom rights and reliability come first for the state. This requires a partnership between market participants and the community. “

Monika Gamper, BRZ (Austria)