Digital Thinking Between Redbrick Walls and Steel Girders

Follow-up Report on the “Driving Digital Transformation” Topic Track at 2017 A disused engineering works in north Hamburg – the organizers of the could hardly have chosen a better venue for Germany’s largest digitization congress than the Kampnagel arts center. Surely nowhere is more suitable as a backdrop for discussing the possibilities of digital change than a site that was once home to heavy industry. A matching format was the Driving Digital Transformation topic track that mgm hosted on September 6 as part of the congress’s Strategy Day. mgm manager Ariane Hager, who moderated the day’s proceedings with skill and charm in equal measure, made the objective quite clear in her words of welcome. “We want to share knowledge and to learn,” she said. “We want to look at the future together and to inspire each other.” That being so and in keeping with title of the track, the invited speakers did not venture into theoretical deliberations, preferring instead to report impressively on their own experiences with digital transformation. In the process two digital challenges emerged with which companies must come to terms in the course of digitization. How, for one, does an established company harness the options and opportunities of digital change to make its business model fit for the future? And how, for another, is it to succeed not only in preparing its employees for the changes but also in convincing them that they are indispensable? Disruption is in full swing How revolutionary the power of digitization can be was made especially clear by Dr. Michael Merz, CEO of the software company PONTON, who dealt...

Impressions from 2017

“Driving Digital Transformation” – under this slogan, mgm organized a theme track at 2017. We have put together a few impressions of the event for everyone who missed the event and all those who want to review the exciting day. We would like to thank in particular our speakers Dr. Ing. Carsten Mielke (Digitization Lead / Uniper), Carsten Klingels (Head of Digital IT / E.ON Business Services), Bettina Stoob (Head of Global Innovation / AGCS), Uwe Kolk (CIO / Jungheinrich), Marc Ramelow (CEO / Ramelow Ventures), Martin Brücher (CEO / FASHION CLOUD), Dr. Michael Merz (CEO / PONTON), Dr. Fedor Titov (CEO / attenio), Herwig Fölster (Manager Digital Services / Jungheinrich), Dr. Ruth Betz (Director Audience Development Management / Bauer Xcel), Frank Kneschke (CEO / mgm consulting partners), Olaf Terhorst (Partner / mgm consulting partners), Anne Sendatzki (Communication Consultant / mgm consulting partners), Stephanie Fischer (Senior Consultant / mgm consulting partners), Benedikt Jost (Principal Consultant / mgm consulting partners) and Tim Bodenstab (Consultant / mgm consulting partners) as well as Ariane Hager (Manager / mgm consulting partners) for the charming...

“Dealing with digitization is like learning a new language”

How is one to succeed in making a 125-year-old, globally active large corporation fit for digital change? In her talk “How do win the America’s Cup with the Gorch Fock?” at on September 6, Bettina Stoob, Head of Global Innovation at industrial insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), will share with the audience a part of her personal experience. This interview offers a foretaste of what to expect. mgm: Ms. Stoob, you are Head of Global Innovation at AGCS. Which specific tasks do you face in this capacity? Bettina Stoob: For a long time innovation was not institutionalized at AGCS. Instead, developments progressed more or less at random. If an employee had an idea along with the power to anchor it in the company something happened. Otherwise it tended not to happen. That is why my position was created. I defined the concept, staked out the organization, developed processes and hired staff. On this basis we defined the subject area of innovation for the company. At ACGS innovation is a customer-centered function. We deal with everything that happens on the product development side or that relates to the business model as a whole and offers the customer significant added value – either by creating something entirely new or by changing perceptibly some that already exists. So the items on our agenda are mainly the radical topics. mgm: I assume that digitization is one of these radical topics. Bettina Stoob: It most certainly is. After all, we don’t make automobiles or other physical products that roll off the assembly line. In principle we sell an undertaking to take...

AI between comfort and loss of control

Data-driven decision-making models are regarded as important pillars of digital business. But are algorithms that make decisions a purely technical matter? We talked with Stephanie Fischer, speaker at, about the impact of such models on company culture. mgm live: Steffi, what was it that led you to deal with data-driven decision-making models? Steffi: My focus was originally on change management and organizational development. And one of the biggest drivers of change in companies in the context of digitization is currently the use of big data technologies. In many of my customer projects, automated decision-making processes were explored and introduced. At the same time, the question arose: What does this really mean for the organization and the people within this organization? mgm live: How do businesses deal with the new opportunities that Big Data technologies offer? Steffi: Companies are aware of the fact that employees are not strictly rational beings and often make erroneous decisions. At the same time, globalization is exerting pressure with entirely new competitors. This is where the intelligent combination of data and AI comes into play. It allows companies to make better, faster decisions – be it fully automated or as a support for a decision that continues to be made by people. Many companies are currently taking the first steps – but without considering the consequences for their operation to the full extent. They understand the algorithm only as a tool to become more efficient, faster, better as a company. They use their resources primarily to improve this tool. mgm live: What are the most frequently ignored aspects? And why is that problematic? Steffi:...

“Blockchain Application Thinking Comes Mostly Through the Back Door”

On September 6, mgm is presenting the Driving Digital Transformation track at the digitization conference. One of the track’s speakers will be Dr Michael Merz, founder and CEO of the software company PONTON. In this interview with the mgm editorial board he provides a foretaste of his address on the subject of Potential Uses of the Blockchain in Industry. mgm live: Dr Merz, how did you come to be involved in blockchain technology? Dr Michael Merz: A computer scientist by training, I looked into cryptocurrencies in the 1990s when I wrote my PhD thesis. Back then it was mainly a matter of eCash. In 2011 I rediscovered the subject personally in connection with bitcoins. A few years earlier I founded my company, PONTON. Our main focus is on B2B integration. Over the years we have come to specialize in the energy industry. As part of our classical business we mainly assist energy traders with various processes. By merging these two streams – my private interest in bitcoins and our market position as an energy sector integrator – we arrived at Enerchain, an initiative in which we use the blockchain in energy trading. mgm live: What exactly is Enerchain? Dr Michael Merz: We started to develop the Enerchain prototype last summer. It is a peer-to-peer trading platform on which traders can buy and sell their wholesale products directly without a third party as the middleman. It is thus a classical case of disintermediation. Energy trading was already a fully digitized process. In some cases, for example, robots – algorithms used by the traders in question – already trade with... 2017 – mgm will organize a lecture series on enterprise frameworks

From 6 to 8 September 2017 not only company leaders and decision makers will meet at in the Hanseatic City to discuss the challenges of digital change at the largest digitization conference in Germany. Within the scope of the experten.werkstatt, senior developers and IT architects also deal with the specific technical problems of digital transformation. In addition to the strategically oriented panel ‘Driving Digital Transformation’, which will be organized within the symposium, mgm will also present a lecture series at the experten.werkstatt named ‘Do it yourself – The way to you own enterprise framework’. In a total of three lectures, mgm experts will share with the visitors of the six most important experiences that they have accumulated during the development period of the framework A12, which is now based on React. Not only architectural decisions and experiences should be illustrated, but also the special importance of UI / UX in business applications. Image source: Silpion Events...

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