SOFTWARE AG | ANNUAL REPORT 2012 122 The impact of IT megatrends on society The role of IT is growing when it comes to responding to future economic and social challenges. The industry is facing a tremendous upheaval. The simultaneous convergence of four megatrends is extremely unusual. In unison they lead to trailblazing changes that can be compared to a digital revolution. They are already having an impact on all com- panies and customers in all industries and regions. It will also affect the lives of people in areas that before now could not participate in digital progress—large parts of Africa and Asia—because they had no modern infrastructure. Mobile devices and social media combined with cloud and big data technologies are becoming powerful instruments in coun- tries that can now use them for the first time ever to rein- force or even initiate broad social movements and even revolutions. Data and information will become the most important raw material in all areas of the business world. According to Gartner analysts, “Data is the new oil.” In contrast to other raw materials, there is a surplus of big data. Its volume is expanding each day. Innovation and growth in every com- pany around the world will therefore depend on the quality and analysis of an enormous amount of data. Software AG is in the unique position to be able to offer the entire range of solutions for shaping progress—from in-memory technol- ogy and automated flexible business processes to forward- looking cloud-to-cloud integration software. and organizations to leverage synergies, exchange knowl- edge and promote innovation. One way we do this is by working with strong, regional partners—in clusters—to secure long-term competitive advantages and economic growth. Software AG makes an ongoing social contribution with its regular involvement in economic-policy committees and forums. The seventh German National IT Summit took place in November 2012 in Essen, Germany. It has been organized each year by the Ministry of Economics and Technology since 2006. Representatives from politics and industry—including Software AG—worked in a variety of working groups around the theme “digitize, network, build” to develop ideas for strengthening Germany as a center of IT. The southwest of Germany is home to a software cluster spanning the cities of Darmstadt, Kaiserslautern, Karlsruhe, Saarbrücken and Walldorf. It is Europe’s most powerful net- work of training and research centers and companies such as Software AG. The international jury for the German gov- ernment’s competition for the best cluster issued a recom- mendation for the second stage of sponsorship in Summer 2012. This means that the cluster partners can resume proj- ects, which will provide the foundation for the enterprise software of tomorrow and position the German software cluster as one of the best in the world for the long term. Software AG takes its sociopolitical responsibility to heart and plays an active role in making Germany remain a top center of software.