More digital, more mobile, more interactive - how Swiss companies are facing the digital transformation

SMART BUSINESS DAY This year's "Smart Business Day" at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI) in Zurich was all about digital transformation. Together with renowned experts, Namics, hybris and sponsor Adobe invited participants to get to the bottom of the essential questions of digital transformation in e-business. Music producer, journalist and author Tim Renner [...]

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Music producer, journalist and author Tim Renner used the music industry to show what can happen when companies don't take their customers' needs seriously.Digital business processes are shaping modern economic life. However, the business models of many companies are not keeping pace with the technological possibilities and the associated new customer requirements. In order to continue to meet changing customer needs in the future, it is necessary to understand the new expectations of customers in the first place. The large amount of customer data and existing solutions for analyzing these data volumes can help companies to identify the needs and requirements of customers and to react to them in good time.Business models for customersAmong the speakers at the Smart Business Day of Namics and hybris was primarily focused on one insight: companies must understand customers' needs early on and meet them with new business models in order to survive in the market. Using the prominent example of the music industry, Tim Renner, music producer, journalist and author, shows what can happen when companies fail to recognize the needs of customers or do not take them seriously. For a long time, he says, the music industry failed to meet the changing demands of customers and to adapt its business model accordingly. The serious consequence of this, according to Renner, was that the industry lost 50 percent of its revenue in the last 20 years. The good news is that, as of this year, sales are on the rise again. "With streaming services and easy ways to purchase music online, the industry is managing to regain its footing," Renner added. The decisive factor here, he says, is that the music industry has been able to break away from old business models and create new offerings and services that meet customers' needs.Bogdan Sutter, Head of Digital Transformation at PwC, finds that many companies in Switzerland still have a lot of catching up to do in terms of technological possibilities. According to his analysis, technology in companies is further along than their business models. "This gap between business and technology means that the existing opportunities are not yet being fully exploited by companies," Sutter is convinced. He identifies three digital waves in technological development: The first wave includes the ability to complete transactions online. The second wave includes the analysis of customer data. Finally, the third wave involves customers actively sharing their data with the company in order to derive added value from it. Sutter uses the comparison service Comparis as an example of the third wave. Drivers can continuously tell Comparis the number of kilometers they have driven and the distance they have traveled. In return, they receive suggestions from Comparis for insurance services tailored to their driving behavior, or tips on the cheapest gas stations on their routes.Angelo Buscemi, Country Manager of Adobe in Switzerland, sees the greatest potential in the third wave: "If companies can show that they use user data to offer customers added value, they are also willing to share their information. This also opens up completely new opportunities for companies to build customer loyalty, create ecosystems and develop loyal communities that identify strongly with the brand. Tim Dührkoop, partner at Namics and moderator of the Smart Business Day, also believes that many companies are not yet taking full advantage of the profitable opportunities offered by digital channels. The most important thing here, he says, is to examine exactly which prerequisites are necessary in the company so that the online business potential can actually be realized. Dührkoop: "The concluding panel discussion showed that approaches differ extremely and must be considered individually in order to achieve an optimal solution."Customer data for customer requestsIn order to understand customer wishes at an early stage and identify new developments, the speakers agree that the evaluation of existing customer data and customer and purchasing behavior are central. They not only make it possible to develop offers tailored to individual customers, but also to anticipate future developments. Which channels are suitable for which customer segments? Which offers are relevant and interesting for individual users? Angelo Buscemi is convinced that tools for analyzing customer behavior are a key marketing element. However, he also sees a lot of catching up to do in the use of the corresponding solutions: "Many companies in Switzerland have detailed customer data, but are not yet able to use it for their own purposes. There is a great deal of untapped potential here. At Adobe, we were quick to recognize the opportunities that open up for companies when it comes to analyzing their customer data. Ultimately, we want to provide companies with simple solutions that allow them to translate the vast amounts of customer data into concrete marketing actions. In this way, we succeed in offering added value that our customers can measure in very concrete sales figures."
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