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EITC'95: IT Forum focuses on "Managing Change"

The theme of this year's IT Forum at EITC'95 was "Managing Change". In his address to the Forum, Mr. Stefano Micossi, Director-General of DG III, stressed that "there can no longer be any discussion of whether Europe will join the Information Society. Some want to stop the clo...

The theme of this year's IT Forum at EITC'95 was "Managing Change". In his address to the Forum, Mr. Stefano Micossi, Director-General of DG III, stressed that "there can no longer be any discussion of whether Europe will join the Information Society. Some want to stop the clock and discuss its implications before going forward, but that is no longer an option. The pace of development is moving at breakneck speed. The goal now is to spread the benefit of information technology across society." Mr. Micossi stressed the broad implications of the development of the Information Society. "The information revolution will have as great an impact as steam and electricity did in the last century", he predicted. "IT provides a great opportunity to increase the standard of living. One major difference is that the development of IT is happening on a global scale right from the start, thus making its impact and development much faster". "By reducing barriers to market access, developments in IT are allowing more SMEs to become global players. Their entry into the global market place is forcing organizational changes onto governments and human service organizations. People are also likely to change jobs and companies more often as IT skills are not always required long term. Technicians that put computer systems into place for companies, for example, may not be the same personnel required to maintain the system. All these changes cause fear". Mr. Micossi stressed the need to confront changes in "company culture" actively. He also recognized that Europe is facing enormous potential change and pressures on society. He emphasized that these changes will not happen automatically nor without costs: "The EU is faced with a challenge, it is changing and adapting economic policies, but their is still too much resistance to change". The Forum also included a presentation by Mrs. Erica Mann, MEP (Social Democrat, Germany), who reminded the panel that emphasis should be placed on providing points of access where citizens traditionally sought information, such as libraries, schools, and post offices. She also reminded corporate CEOs that "policies without vision can put the breaks on technological developments". Mann noted that the Information Society will move issues from a regional to a global political arena, requiring politicians to clarify new visions for economic environments that will promote development.