Are software solutions a panacea? Or just a simple tool after all.

.. Or even our demise? The digitalization of our entire (surrounding) world is one of the most hotly debated topics of the moment. We debate the alienation of people through social media as well as the abolition of human labor through intelligent programs. We consider the complete transparency of the individual by threatening large corporations such as Google, Amazon or Facebook, the permanent and complete surveillance by own and foreign secret services and much more. Besides these global, political and partly philosophical issues, we are also constantly supported in our working world by more or less intelligent software programs.

Although our professional – and private – lives would be unthinkable without it, the introduction of new solutions is not always met with undivided joy. On the one hand, expectations are raised that all too often are not fulfilled. On the other hand, a relatively lengthy period of acclimatisation and changeover is often necessary, which leads to more rather than less effort.

Our experience is that the actual question is often forgotten. WHY? You will be amazed at how many systems are used to capture, collect and maintain data and information. But what most systems have in common is that they increase the flood of information but provide little further benefit. Everyone talks about the knowledge society, but we are still deep in the information society. We currently draw little to no knowledge from all of these solutions. Yet this would be precisely the benefit.

Information is the basis for knowledge, but is not knowledge in itself. Information only becomes knowledge when it is placed in context with the help of pragmatics. It is therefore not uncommon for information to lead to different findings for different people (groups). In our view, however, this aspect is pushed too far into the background. People are being fed more and more information without thinking about whether this more information will also lead to more insights to improve our decision-making. In our view, therefore, the primary consideration should be who should receive what information and how it should be prepared. Only then should ways be sought to preserve this content and make it available to users.

By focusing on this issue, we can generate real added value for the company. Shorter and better decision cycles in an ever more rapidly changing world are the most essential competitive advantage. We are convinced that it is precisely those companies that are ahead of the game in this area that will be the winners in the future, regardless of which industry they belong to.

Decisions will not be taken away from us by machines in the foreseeable future, because decisions always have to be made under uncertainties that have to be weighed up. Otherwise, they would be mere logical instructions for action. Based on our experience, software solutions are therefore effective and powerful instruments, which, however, only unfold their effect if they are also used in a considered and targeted manner.

Harald Straßmair

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