I had the pleasure to meet in Bucharest Margarete Schramböck, the Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, in a Round Table Discussion on the topic of ‘Innovation Nation Romania – Status Quo in R&D, Digitalization and Innovation in the Private and Public Sector’.
Because Digital Austria is a flagship initiative launched recently by Margarete Schramböck, I was curious to analyse it. This is what I like most from each direction of Digital Austria, an initiative for a successful digitalisation in Austria. The aim is to further ensure Austria’s role as a leading digital nation to guarantee and expand prosperity, job opportunities as well as the quality of life in the long term.
Focus on FinTech and financial innovations
Digitalisation leads to countless financial innovations which benefit the country as a whole. The FinTech Advisory Council at the Finance Ministry highlights potential improvements in economic policy on an ongoing basis. A ‘regulatory sandbox’ allows innovative business models to be securely tested and thoroughly evaluated within clearly defined parameters. The Federal Government also plans to create the legal framework conditions for digital securities, and to introduce a central data platform which banks can use to verify the identity of new clients (KYC – Know Your Customer) in order to prevent money laundering (AML – Anti-Money Laundering).
Many Austrian businesses want to make the most of the opportunities which digitalisation brings, but don’t yet know how to go about it. This initiative helps Austria’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) directly, allowing them to make the best use of their digital opportunities. Businesses benefit from funding for consulting, qualification, knowledge transfer and further training, thus strengthening the digitalisation expertise of Austria as a business location. The programme is being restructured and rolled out in 2019.
‘Once only’ project
In its role as a partner, the state holds – and uses – considerable quantities of information which businesses are legally obliged to provide, often repeatedly. By introducing its ‘once only’ principle, in which time-consuming, multiple disclosures to government authorities are dispensed with, the Federal Government is explicitly and permanently reducing red tape for businesses. In future, information will need to be provided only once, and government authorities will then exchange necessary information between themselves without any further action being required from the company.
Artificial intelligence strategy
Artificial intelligence is an important digital focus for the future, and an attractive opportunity which offers huge potential for Austrian businesses. The AI strategy for Austria ensures that companies, and Austria as a business location, gain the maximum benefit from associated opportunities for growth. With an established strategy in place, Austria should be a leading player in important future digital developments.
Digitalisation strategy for tourism
With booking platforms, visitor evaluations, and last minute online booking, digitalisation is changing the processes and workflows in tourism. That brings many new and attractive marketing opportunities for tourism operators here in Austria. With the Federal Government’s digitalisation strategy for Austrian tourism in place, these opportunities can now be exploited in a targeted manner. More cool ideas on digitalaustria.gv.at.