Prof. Dr. Daniel Fürstenau

Digital Transformation and IT Infrastructures

“I have long been interested in the constantly growing influence of IT systems on economic processes and structures,” says Prof. Dr. Daniel Fürstenau. “I began my research on structures in companies. One example was a recycling company and its well-established IT landscape, where newly emerging processes led to several unauthorized IT systems, so-called Shadow IT. I am interested in how these influence innovation capability and economic parameters such as efficiency.”
Fürstenau studied business administration at the University of Potsdam and received his doctorate from the School of Business & Economics at Freie Universität Berlin as part of the German Research Foundation’s research training group “Understanding, Analysing and Steering Organisational Paths: Path Dependence, Path Breaking and Path Creation in an Integrated Approach Toward Management”. As a postdoctoral researcher, Fürstenau worked as a research associate in the Dahlem International Network PostDocs program at Freie Universität Berlin. He completed research stays at the University of California, San Diego, the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, and the Âbo Akademi Turku in Finland.
Before completing his doctorate, Fürstenau, who was born in Saxony, gained two years of practical experience as a consultant with BOC Information Technology Consulting in Berlin, where he guided digital transformation processes, for example at banks, in public administration, and for digital technology service providers. Fürstenau has been professor of digital transformation and IT infrastructures at Freie Universität Berlin in cooperation with the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) since December 2017.

In his research projects Fürstenau investigates the dependencies and risks that attend the increasing embedding of IT systems in structures and processes. “I am now increasingly concerned with overarching organizational structures and the possibilities and limits of establishing and scaling digital platforms and infrastructures. Examples include the health system and finance industries, where connections and systemic dependencies are playing an ever greater role. I use procedures such as network analysis and simulation,” says Fürstenau.
For example, he is working in an interdisciplinary project on digital health with colleagues from the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin. “We are researching the use of digital platforms and infrastructures and examining how incentives and dis-incentives influence use.” In a previous cooperation project with the Charité, Fürstenau looked at an integrated IT approach to healthcare with regard to operations for frail, elderly people. The goal was to improve patient safety using better risk identification and the direct exchange of information.
“I am especially excited about the possibility for interdisciplinary networking at the ECDF. All of my research is highly interdisciplinary and I think the ECDF provides great opportunities for cooperation with other fields in which digitalization also plays such a huge role. For example, we can use network analysis and simulation procedures in the areas of smart cities or mobility.”
Fürstenau also believes that he and his colleagues at ECDF have a social responsibility. “The ECDF potentially creates great visibility for research findings.  This is where we can and should make a mark. The goal is to work on issues with a high degree of social relevance. Key words for major topics are, for example, improving medical care using integrated healthcare provision processes or reducing risks on financial markets.” (kj)