digital world

Germany's Need for Speed

Reinhard Clemens, Christoph Papsch, Handelsblatt
T-Systems' Reinhard Clemens is optimistic about Germany's digital future.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Digitization is taking an ever-stronger role in global industry and society, but Germany limps behind in infrastructure and application.

  • Facts


    • At the German government’s IT summit in Berlin, Deutsche Telekom’s Reinhard Clemens and others discussed the opportunities and risks of the digital transition.
    • The IT event was attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel, Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel and other cabinet members and leading industry executives.
    • Germany will have to invest more in high-speed Internet to connect the Internet of Things and digital transformation of its industry.
  • Audio


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Reinhard Clemens, chief executive of Deutsche Telekom’s IT services arm, is optimistic about the digitization of industry – even though some say Germany lags behind. Speaking with Handelsblatt, he said the country needs to move faster toward high-speed Internet – and plenty of opportunities abound for companies prepared to make the digital leap.


Handelsblatt: Two years ago, you said in the first round of the race toward digitization, Germany had missed the boat. How are things looking now?

Reinhard Clemens: I think we can probably agree that we lost the digital race for private customers internationally. But when it comes to the digital transformation of industry, we still have a chance and we have to use it. Germany is an export nation; manufacuturing is our strength. There’s still a lot of potential for us in digitizing processes inside and outside factories.

How is Germany doing today?

Major corporations are well aware of how much potential there is in this area. Small and mid-size companies held back for quite some time, but that’s changed recently. Around 80 percent of them will have digitized their processes in the next five years – 20 percent of them have done so already. It’s a topic they’re increasingly aware of.

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