Global IT Forum
The intention of Diplomatic Council Global IT Forum is to serve as a platform for entrepreneurs and managers from the IT sector who, beyond technology, would like to assume responsibility in society. For this purpose, the two new leaders have developed a master plan to accomplish the following goal: The DC Global IT Forum has taken on the task to position the human being in the “Eco System IT”. The Eco System goes beyond mere technology and comprises social, economic and political impacts that are a result of the all-encompassing digitalization.
The Global IT Forum’s agenda includes topics such as information security and confidentiality, protection of privacy, new IT-based business models, requirements for national legislators through IT services, cross-border democratization through global IT infrastructure, sustainability, software as a reproduction approach of human thinking, cyber crime, bio IT and the shift from an information to a knowledge society.
Chairs: Thomas J. Graebe, Gabriele Becker
The Diplomatic Council has appointed two leaders for the chair positions of its DC Global IT Forum. The top managers Thomas J. Graebe and Gabriele Becker share tasks and jointly assume responsibility for the DC Global Information Technology Forum.
Thomas J. Graebe, Chairman DC Global IT Forum, is managing director sales of QualityMinds, a company with expertise on international quality assurance for software engineering. Beyond his entrepreneurship, Thomas J. Graebe has been devoted to social and humanitarian projects for many years. He is one of the supporters of the White IT Alliance and the DC Safer Internet for Children Initiative, both projects established with the objective to protect children against abuse all over the world. Moreover, Thomas Graebe is the smart creator of the „Diplomatic Council App for Apple & Android“, which in addition to further functions collects donations for charitable projects.
Gabriele Becker, Chairwoman DC Global IT Forum, is a well-knows top manager in the IT industry. She had been Chair of the DC Information Society Award in connection with Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prize 2017 of the International Telecommunications Union. In her business life she is responsible for SAP´s medium-sized businesses.
Board of Directors
- Werner Bezikofer, Director DC Global Corporate Database, CEO IIC
- Klaus-Michael Burger, Director Certification, Member of the Board VMAG Valuation & Management Group
- Joerg Hensen, Director Security Issues, CSO G2K Group
- Dr. Michael Fuchs, Special Representative CIO, CEO dr. Fuchs Senior Advisors
Mankind in the IT ecosystem
The Global IT Forum of the Diplomatic Council moves people into the focus of all considerations. The increasing digitalisation of all private, social, economic and also political areas of life has the purpose to serve mankind and each single person. Based on this perspective, the DC Global IT Forum has taken on the task to position humans in the “Ecosystem IT”. Going far beyond technology, the ecosystem comprises social, economic and political impacts which are results of the all-encompassing digitalisation.
- IT catapults the basic need of each single person for communication into a new dimension. The anytime-and anywhere availability through end devices and social networks is an excellent example for this development.
- IT puts new challenges to the basic need of each single person for safety and confidentiality: individual persons and finally also organisations will be more and more less certain that their confidential information are protected. As soon as information are digitalised, it will be easier to copy and manipulate them.
- The access to IT infrastructure as a basis for information, communication and the participation in the global society represents a second level of basic requirements, comparable to education and social attachment. In this respect, IT goes far beyond mere technology.
- IT represents a basis for new business models which will increasingly turn more and more branches upside down. These so-called disruptive business models have already begun to lead to fundamental upheavals in the economy. Hence, the current digital revolution in its dimension is comparable to the industrial revolution of the 19th century – with the respective impacts on the economy and business world.
- As a result of IT, the global business world will be subject to more comprehensive and faster changes than ever before. New jobs will be created while existing jobs will to be destroyed. This is nothing new – however, the speed and the number of upheavals that a generation of employees has to face – are new.
- The working generation IT strengthens and accelerates the globalisation, a trend which has been triggered off by sectors such as logistics and civil aviation. Whereas other industries have overcome country borders, IT does not know country frontiers at all due to the Internet. This again poses fundamental challenges to the national government in all states as well as to the national enforcement authorities.
- The globalisation accelerated by IT partly causes very different cultures to collide. However, there are means to respect the cultural diversity on the one hand and to lead the intercultural communication to peaceful directions that are acceptable to the respective cultures.
- IT based innovations such as drones and 3D printer will gradually become the substantial changes in supply chains in the broadest sense of its word.
- In light of the fast pace of the IT world, topics such as resource conservation and sustainability gain a particular relevance – starting from the rapidly growing mountain of electronic scrap to the environmental impacts of larger computer centers. With respect to the Post-2015 agenda of the United Nations on sustainability, this aspect becomes more significant for the work of the UN-registered Diplomatic Council.
- Software is the intelligence of digitalisation, in the end it is the reproduction and the attempt to optimise and exponentiate human thinking. In the near future, software will conquer more and more areas of live and business and will become a substation function for human thinking. This development raises social and ethical questions that need to be answered.
- By means of IT-based infrastructure starting from Internet to social media, nowadays each single person is given the opportunity to express his opinions in a simpler, faster and more comprehensive way in order to win over other people. As a consequence, a cross-border democratisation of mankind has developed to which states as well as enterprises need to adjust. Already today, the enforcement of technical innovations takes place more bottom up than ever before. This trend exclude political and social innovations.
- The incredibly endless diversity of offers, which are available for every individual with a mouse click, creates a nearly “ideal market” in the Schumpeterian sense. As a result, the loyalty towards of the individual towards brands and enterprises but also towards political, social and cultural institutions is about to decrease.
- IT has produced an entirely new kind of criminality which burdens society immensely – from phishing attacks on end users, online economic espionage to terroristic and military cyber attacks.
- The almost unstoppable information flow noticeably leads to a mixing of information and knowledge. For this reason, procedures are more and more needed to secure the quality and truthfulness of the information – this is the only way to generate a knowledge society.
- Bio IT, the mapping of IT functionality in biomass and the “penetration” of IT into the human body will require numerous ethical and social answers in the next decade.
The Diplomatic Council Global IT Forum considers the mentioned developments as an opportunity and by means of the “Eco System IT” to further the UN goal of promoting international understanding. The aim is to allow all states and thus all people to participate in the progresses IT entails. The focus on the opportunity, however, must not blur the vision that there are challenges that need to be overcome
Mainframe Migration to Server Initiative
IT Forum to Save Software Investments for the Future
The Global IT Forum of the Diplomatic Council has launched an initiative to secure the multibillion-dollar investment of the economy and the public sector in Computer Software for the long term. Given the high pace of innovation with new programming languages, computer platforms and new applications, we tend to forget that 70 percent of all applications important for the economy and public life today are still running in old languages like Cobol, PL/1, or assembler and work on mainframes.
If the oldie software remains stuck, the economy in all industrialized nations comes to a standstill. The Forum refers, for example, to IT breakdowns at airports and airlines every few years, in which all air traffic was paralyzed often for hours due to the failure of mainframe booking software. Even banks, insurance companies, manufacturing companies and many other industries also use mainframes for their core functionalities.
Two Trillion Euro Mainframe Software
To prevent future operation failures and potentially dire economically consequences, the new DC-initiative, Mainframe Transition, wants to help businesses and public administrations to save the over 2 trillion Euros that have been invested in the past few decades in inventory applications, especially into Cobol . About 30 billion transactions on Cobol applications are handled daily, running on approximately 45,000 mainframes. Around € 10 billion is to be spent annually in Germany alone for the maintenance of the outdated software.
New products and services, changes in business processes, increasing competition, new regulatory requirements, changes in customer behavior, mergers and many other factors are forcing companies to continuously adapt their inventory software. However, these changes are more difficult and costly because the often over 25 years old programs are inefficient and are very complex and confusing, by today’s standards. To make matters worse, most of the former programmers have long since retired or are nearing retirement age.
240 Billion Lines of Cobol Code
The changeover alone of about 240 billion Cobol programming lines (without PL / 1 and Assembler) to a modern and thus more maintenance-friendly programming would cost in total around 6 billion euros, which is well beyond the budget of public economies and the finances. In addition, the transfer would take decades and the modern environments of today would already be outdated by then.
It has to be taken case by case when checking whether the inventory applications should still be maintained, passed onto an outsourcing service provider, migrated to a modern environment or be replaced entirely by a new program.
Principles for the Transition
As a first step to secure the future of the oldie software, the initiative wishes to make programs available via DC-member company, which allow the transition of mainframe applications into a modern server environment without requiring any manual work with the program code itself. The application stays the same, it only runs in a contemporary environment. For the transition there are two irrefutable principles:
1. Emulating a mainframe on a contemporary server platform isn’t enough, since the restrictions set by the mainframe would just be carried over to the a modern hardware. Instead, the mainframe applications server code must go through a compiler, so that native (!) server code, for example forthe Internet, can be generated.
2. The compiler must be able to recompile the software, without requiring even a single line of code to be changed. Even so-called CICS and DB2 Call should be translated transparently. Every small change can, in the worst case, lead to catastrophic consequences by itself, right up to a complete standstill.
Maintenance Costs Can Be Reduced by 40 Percent
Just through the use of advanced maintenance tools alone, the maintenance work on the oldie software can be reduced by approximately 40 percent, which would represent an annual cost savings of EUR 4 billion for the German economy, according to the calculations of the “Denkfabrik.”
That holds true for the reduction of waste in development resources for new applications, too. Currently in the company, on average, new development accounts for only 20 percent of software cost; the greater share of 80 percent goes to adjustments, further developments and maintenance. To increase this ratio to 50:50 is a longer goal of the initiative.
Digital Novices vs. Digital Natives
How difficult it is for digital Novices and digital Natives to communicate, understand and learn each other?
Author: Steffen Rabus, DC United Nations Commissioner
Our society loves to awarded labels for everything. Therefore, there is a term for people who were born before the digital age but now live in the digital age. Rightly so, they are referred to as “digital novices”. We may know them more commonly as seniors, grandparents, senior management, seasoned teachers and anyone else of that generation.
The label attached to those born during or after the digital age are the “digital natives”. They have always lived in a world of digital technologies.
In the education world, you can have a mix of Novices and Natives and it may seem that a generation gap exists. But as more and more Natives immerse themselves in the digital world, the gap is closing, and perhaps disappearing.
The Digital Novices divide the world into hierarchies, mostly across lines driven by values. These can include race, religion, marriage and even government. The culture of Digital Novice is more a meritocracy, more aggressive, competitive and results- obsessed. The advantage here is productivity: Digital Novices are goal oriented as opposed to the value orientation of the Digital Natives
- Adopters of the web technologies Prefer to talk in person
- Logical learners
- Focusing on the task at a time
- Prefer to have interaction with one or few people rather than many
In contrast, the Digital Natives view their world more equalitarian. In a horizontal way there are no hierarchies. The sharing of ideas, things and even work can cross these boundaries.
The Digital Natives have learned the language of technology as they communicate instantly with their peers. These people, like all Natives, adapt quickly to changes in their environment and look for new ways to incorporate the latest technology into their fast-paced lives.
- Born during or after digital age
- Always on, attached to a phone or other device Intuitive learners
- Multitask and rapid task switch
- Multimedia oriented
Essentially different: The digital Novice is the latecomer in the technology revolution and as with any Native, there is a certain “accent” that is readily apparent to the Native speakers. Examples of this “accent” are things like calling and asking someone if a recipient received the email that was just sent, typing out text messages with full words rather than the standard abbreviations (icoe or bff!), or going to the library before searching the Internet.
Digital Novices may have invented the technologies that digital Natives use but didn’t accurately anticipate how they would use them. For example, text messaging (SMS) was developed in the 1980s as an easy way for service engineers to quickly communicate regarding outages and replacement parts. It would have been unimaginable then that young people (in the mean time – older people too) would chat and twitter using the service instead of talking on the phone. It is the combination of the two world views that has produced for better or worse a new form of communication. If we allow an opening for an ongoing dialogue between these two generations, we can all achieve things that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.
How do we bridge the gap between Natives and Novices and how can people of these two groups work together?
Suggestion: First, the Novices should step out of our comfort zones and meet the Natives where they are. Novices should realize that Natives are many steps ahead of us when it comes to technology and they know it. Novices should listen to what Natives tell them about how technology can be beneficial to how we conduct our lives, work with them, and value their knowledge.
From the natives, the novices can learn to be more open and willing to engage with learners of differing backgrounds. There is less reliance on an institutional structure in the open meritocracy the native lives in. Novices can learn from the natives how to sift through and focus the resources, which are aplenty and be not as overwhelming for the native. They can learn to scale the learning and build what is possible.
Digital Natives should recognize: The paradox here is that digital Novices, for the most part, invented the complex technologies and systems that Natives use fluently. Only the interaction between Novices and Natives has the inventions reinterpreted and perfected it.
Digital novices can teach natives to achieve goals quickly. They can help the techno wizards scale the learning and build what is possible. They can look at the existing institutions and repurpose them or rethink their vitality.
People of these two groups should recognize, as well as the digital transformation shows the development in the digital world there has to be a transformation process of our society.
“We may never become true digital natives, but we can and must begin to assimilate to their culture and way of thinking”.
In this way, digital Natives and digital Novices must grow to work together and learn from each other.
Measuring the Information Society (MIS) Basic – Changes & Numbers
As more and more people join the global information society and high-speed communication networks become an indispensable infrastructure, the tracking and measurement of developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) remain as relevant as ever. Our expectation is nearly 8 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions by the end of 2016 – almost as many as there are people on the planet. While the ubiquitous availability of mobile-telephone services is undeniable, with close to 100 per cent of the population covered by a mobile signal. Mobile- broadband networks are allowing more people to connect to high- speed networks and benefit from a growing number of applications and services.
By end 2013, we had just 2.7 billion people using the Internet worldwide. In other words, there were 4.4 billion people who are not yet online.
Over 350 million people came online over the last year, and almost 50 per cent of the world’s population will be using the Internet by end 2016. Mobile technology and services continue to be the key driver of the information society.
While both fixed- and mobile-broadband speeds continue to increase, the price of services is falling and (ICTs) are becoming more affordable: in the space of four years, fixed-broadband prices have dropped by an impressive 82 per cent.
Young people all over the world are the most active users of ICTs. Young people with solid ICT experience are drivers of the information society. While 30 per cent of the youth population are Digital Natives today, the report shows that within the next five years, the Digital Native population in the developing world is expected to double.
DC Certificate “Global Software”
The certificate “Global Software” is created on the initiative of the Diplomatic Council and the world´s biggest IT faire CeBIT. Based on the provider’s self-disclosure, it certifies that the software is suitable for worldwide use. The objective of granting this certificate is to first support software providers to place their programs on the global market and second to offer to users a decision-making tool and investment security with regards to selecting the right software. However, the certificate – due to its intentional simplicity in respect to the questionnaire – does neither replace a specification sheet nor an inspection prior to purchasing the software.
The certificate will be granted to the company which has passed the testing. During the term of granting this certificate can be used with no limits for marketing and sales purposes with no further incurring costs (website, brochures, distribution channels, banners, etc.)
The certificate may be used under the following conditions:
- The Diplomatic Council has granted written approval. The certificate may only be used during the approved term.
- The relevant criteria, upon which the certificate is awarded, are still complied with.
- The certification fees are paid.
- The Diplomatic Council may withdraw the certificate at any time in case neither criteria nor the DC regulations are no longer adhered.