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Yesterday’s predominating disaster zones are today’s flourishing landscapes. This is how current studies on digital change in Germany could be summarized. Because until well into the summer, analyses prevailed describing German small and medium-sized enterprises as laggard when it comes to dealing with the digital challenge. Now there are more and more signs that small and medium-sized enterprises are calling for digitization on a broad front.

The first was the World Economic Forum, awarding Germany first place in terms of innovation readiness in its Global Competitiveness Report. Now follow the analysts from IDC, who, in a similarly global study, see Germany as number one in Europe when it comes to the implementation of digital strategies in companies.

However, we at Microsoft have long recognized the trend. In our order books, projects around the Azure Platform have already increased exorbitantly in the first half of 2018 - with the result that Germany is the fastest growing sales region. And this trend is likely to continue. The expectations expressed by Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella at Inspire in July, namely that the share of technology spending in global GDP will double, are now also confirmed in the IDC analyses.

According to the study, two thirds of German companies have already started digitization projects - this is a top position in Europe. Only in Sweden - with a significantly smaller number of companies - the percentage of digitization projects is the same. And this figure makes us even more confident: Only every twentieth company in Germany still has no plans at all for digital transformation.

According to IDC, this will have a significant impact on how the economy functions in the future. In 2022, more than 60 percent of the gross domestic product will be stimulated by digital business processes, transactions and products. The range of digital solutions is developing rapidly. In the next five years, around 500 million new applications will emerge. This growth is not least due to a new generation of developers who are writing new applications with cloud-based tools - and increasingly with open source - without programming code themselves. This is partly due to microservices that are used in 90 percent of application architectures and support the debugging, updating, integrating and leveraging of third-party code. IDC estimates that the frequency with which digital innovations can be realized in companies will centuplicate.

Artificial intelligence becomes the core of practically every new application. IDC predicts that by 2024 AI-based user interfaces and automated processes will have replaced one-third of today's screen-based applications. Already in three years, every third application will be enhanced with AI-based language assistants - especially when communicating with customers. The influence of artificial intelligence on network security will become even greater. In three years, half of the security alerts from the network will already be processed by AI systems.

It sounds as if IDC has taken a close look at the product roadmap around the Azure Platform and aligned its forecasts accordingly. It's not like that, of course. But it is striking to see how much the IDC forecasts are in line with Microsoft's medium-term plans.

We are therefore convinced that the latest IDC forecast will fit perfectly into Microsoft's plans for the future: By 2022, IDC predicts, the four leading cloud providers will share four-fifths of the market for cloud-based platforms and infrastructure (IaaS and PaaS). We're definitely in!

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