If you want to renew your passport in Berlin, you need patience and strong nerves. An online search on service.berlin.de for any appointment at any location has yielded exactly 0 hits for months. Is the main reason for such poor digitization incompetence at management level, or are there other causes? One could be:

Skilled labor shortages.

According to experts, this can be observed across all industries and will become even more acute when many baby boomers retire soon. They are taking their knowledge and experience with them into retirement, because there is often a shortage of young people to pass on their expertise to. Many of the tasks to be done are now considered unattractive. Those who are changing careers are increasingly looking for meaning in their work – and better pay.

A problem that is not limited to government agencies alone. Companies, too, can no longer adequately fill many of the positions they need with skilled workers. Two approaches – cleverly combined – should lead out of the misery. They are called “becoming more attractive as an employer” and “digitization”. More demanding, better-paid jobs are being created for fewer and fewer people in the organizations. Computers and robots take over monotonous and repetitive tasks. That’s the theory.

In reality, however, many projects that are supposed to bring the longed-for automation stumble in the initial phase. The reason here, too: A lack of skilled workers. After all, digital transformation is demanding and experienced IT personnel are particularly scarce. A vicious circle.

For organizations that do not have sufficient IT expertise of their own, outsourcing projects is often the only way to go. Along with the task, some believe they can delegate complete responsibility for the project’s success. For this to really happen, however, it is primarily the commissioning party that is called upon. External IT service providers need competent counterparts in the organizations to ensure that they do not develop beyond the agreed budget. But here, too, the shortage of skilled workers is becoming apparent. There is often a lack of experience in dealing with digital transformation projects at both specialist and management level.

This gap can be closed with temporary experts. Teams like the econauten come on board as pilots to make organizations fit for digital transformation. The goal: Continuous know-how development in the ongoing project. Project participants from the organizations are empowered to manage even complex IT projects independently. In this way, organizations counteract the shortage of skilled workers on two levels. They create new, attractive tasks for motivated employees and use them to advance digitization.

Most of the people needed for this are already on site – including in Berlin’s administration.