Futurologists, economists, and entrepreneurs all agree: digitization will change the business world more rapidly and comprehensively than did the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago. Major new developments are expected to take place by 2020 that will affect the underlying structures of industry as such and extend far beyond the current circle of “digital players.”

Highly flexible newcomers – often from other sectors – are putting the dynamic developments in information technology to use in sophisticated ways and leaving established competitors behind. Until very recently, top-brand companies that make high-grade industrial hardware could still rely on sufficient demand. But by tomorrow, they may no longer hold the key to customer access. That key is now in the hands of owners of digital platforms that automatically connect demand with supply. For the “old economy,” it is now of crucial importance not to succumb to inertia but rather to see the opportunities that lie in combining their experience and tradition with the new digital possibilities.

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