Swiss State of Digital Transformation – Take aways from the Namics Smart Business Day 2013

The Digital Transformation is over. Welcome to the Digital Reality. How this new World looks like, was unveiled in inspiring afternoon presentations on Oktober 28, 2013 at pleasant GDI in Rüschlikon.

Bodgan Sutter, Digital Transformation Leader with PWC outlined that Business who are not digitally transforming are in danger. He illustrated it with statistical data to outline the demographic development in Switzerland. We are now in a Transformation phase where the digital converts say goodbye to the old world paradigm of traditional consumers.  In five years the Digital Native – the Generation Y – will represent the majority of the active Swiss population. And introduce a new world Paradigm, how to engage with customers and employees.

Patrick Comboeuf, Director E-Business with SBB illustrated it with the percentage of Toddlers know-how to play a computer game 38 % compared to those who know-how to bind their shoes 9 %.

This virtualization of our everyday live is changing and here is what customers expect, they:

  • take Smart decisions
  • expect to be part of the company
  • know more about your company than you
  • expect to be able to change things
  • share more personal, but also more consumption related data to receive added value
  • expect that the world is at their 24/7 service
  • are impatient
  • are louder
  • are more networked

Also the employees mind-set is changing, Christian Maass, Leader E-Commerce with Bertelsmann outlined. A company does not necessarily attract digital natives with an incentive system offering a free corporate parking lot. They want to be part of something meaningful and do not like to start their career as the “Assistent von Herr Meier”.

Changing Business Models
If you don’t anticipate your consumer’s wish for freedom over control you might end up like the music industry, outlined Tim Renner, Music Producer, Journalist und Author. He illustrated, that the disruption is attracted to successful companies. It manifested with P2P-Plattforms and Napster to the Music Industry. Patrick Comboeuf warned, that there is a danger ending up among those 87% of Fortune 500 companies in in 1955, that no longer existed in 2011.

Digital Communication
Besides changing business models the resources are shifting towards digital communication. The number of touch points have multiplied and the digital marketing toolset broadened. Markus Heusser, CEO Technical Components Division and member of the Executive Board of Dätwyler unveiled his online marketing budget allocation: 40 % Online, 30 % Display, 15 % Mobile, and 15 % Social. With high growth rates from 24 % in Social to 128 % in Mobile.

Data-Analyzis Competencies
For Christian Maass new core competencies have manifested in the analysis of big data. He outlined an example where search trends are used to forecast the consumer behavior to optimize the logistic allocation in a warehouse.

Real Time System
To fulfill the costumer’s wishes, you need flexibility in the IT-Systems. The APIs need to exchange in real time. Daniel Röthlin, CEO with Ex Libris AG outlined, that the system architecture is key for a timely and cost effective delivery of information. He illustrated it with an example where the communication with their suppliers is made trough a real-time-bidding system to guarantee the best price/value-ratio.

Technology Innovation
Further drivers for transformation outlined by the SBB are:

  • 3D Printing
  • Augmented Reality
  • Digital Wallets
  • Location Based Services
  • Media Commerce
  • Quantified Self
  • Wearables

Change of power structure
Markus Heusser stressed, that the biggest challenge in the transformation from an Offline to an Online Business Model are the people with an example in digital communications, where the right usage of tools is key. That’s why all of a sudden highly specialized employees not older than 20 need to collaborate with logistics veterans. This is not only a generation conflict, but a change in power structures.

Christian Maass gave a good example on how a corporate business networking platform helped his company to increase a bottom up dialogue from the base to the top management. Beside the involvement of the employees at the front, there are more interfaces needed to translate between Business and Digital.

Transparent Leadership
All of the speakers agreed that in large corporations a paradigm change is needed. Cultural Change trough transparent leadership is the solution. And Christian asked: wouldn’t it be strange, if the CEO of BMW doesn’t like to drive cars? The ability to transform will be an important capability in tomorrows world: no one knows how our industry will look like in five years, you have to be prepared for all scenarios, Daniel Röthlin added. Courage is needed to change. And Patrick gave an advice, how he is doing it:

„I’d rather ask for forgiveness than for permission“



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