New Springer book co-authorship: “Artificial Intelligence meets Homo Sapiens“ in CRM GOES DIGITAL

It has been a privilege contributing as co-author for the fifth time to an inspiring book project. “CRM goes digital“ has been initiated by Dr. Martin Stadelmann, Mario Pufahl and David Lauch and is part of the Springer Gabler Edition Sales Excellence book series (ESE)

Artificial Intelligence meets Homo Sapiens – Possible applications and limits of artificial intelligence

Author: Jochen Werne

Werne J. (2020) Artificial Intelligence meets Homo Sapiens – Einsatzmöglichkeiten und Grenzen Künstlicher Intelligenz. In: Stadelmann M., Pufahl M., Laux D. (eds) CRM goes digital. Edition Sales Excellence. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden

Abstract

A special encounter. Algorithms developed by humans meet everything that man and nature embody – from industrial processes to our very own behaviour. A race between countries and companies has begun to decide the enormous potential of AI and its impact on our consumer behavior, as well as on our society. However, despite all the euphoria, it is important to understand the topic, its possible applications and also its limitations well, so as not to succumb to the danger of losing oneself in technology-believing magic.

About the book: CRM goes digital

Consistent customer orientation and digital transformation lead to completely new approaches in management: the focus is on omnichannel or mobile CRM concepts, big-data and social media instruments, and automation. But what does this mean in concrete terms for marketing, sales and service? What effects does digitalization have on product and service optimization or on sales management and customer loyalty? How can methodical customer orientation contribute to an improvement in sales performance? Answers to these and other questions are provided by the contributions from science and practice in this book. The authors illuminate the requirements and possible solutions of CRM systems along the concept of the customer journey using selected industry examples. They provide concrete recommendations for action and offer managers and users from customer-oriented business areas valuable orientation aids for the implementation of digital customer management.

From the content
CRM: strategies, organisation, controlling and employees
Concepts in digitisation
Best Practices in CRM: Case studies of customer-centric companies
Topics of CRM research

Handelsblatt Guest Column: Europe is more.

Preparing for the second half of digitisation.

A plea from Johannes Winter & Jochen Werne

1st published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt on January 8, 2020 – translated by DeepL.com. Photos: Pixabay

Looking at the world sometimes gives the impression that things seem to be much better outside Europe. Examples? The world’s largest airport, Beijing-Daxing, goes into operation after four years of construction, while at BER, construction continues after 13 years. The coffee house chain Luckin Coffee, valued at $4.5 billion, will replace Starbucks as No. 1 in the Chinese market by the end of the year, two years after its foundation. Digital platform companies such as Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Tencent & Co. have left the traditional commodity and industrial groups behind in terms of value.

What made these American and Asian companies so big? Absolute willingness to implement at high speed, massive state and private investments, sometimes industrial policy intervention, huge, scalable domestic markets and a just-do-it mentality favour economic and technological development alongside a number of other factors.

Is Europe, on the other hand, in a downward spiral? Is the continent now losing the much-discussed second half of digitisation, which is mainly about the digitisation of industry, now that the B2C race seems to be lost?

The recent history can also be told in a different way. The financial crisis of 2008/2009 has shown how valuable Europe’s and especially Germany’s strong industrial core is. A highly specialised, excellent SME sector and the leading groups from mechanical, plant and vehicle engineering to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries are anchors of stability. With Industry 4.0, the vision for the future of value creation comes from Germany, and there is a worldwide competition for its widespread introduction.

The strength lies in product innovation, especially in complex products such as machine tools, medical devices, vehicles or building services engineering. Germany also has world market leaders in engineering and in production and automation technology. Despite all the negative predictions, Germany has further expanded its strength in networked physical platforms with the integration of IoT, data and services in industrial environments and has secured a very good starting position. The German research landscape also holds an internationally good position in areas critical to success such as semantic technologies, machine learning and the digital modelling of products and users. And let’s not forget that the companies in the country have produced outstanding software products for the fast, reliable and scalable processing of big data and the integration of business processes.

While Germany wants to consolidate its pioneering position as the world’s supplier, the USA is relying on its expertise as a global networker and China is relying on short decision-making paths, capital intensity and a large domestic market in which it can scale quickly. In this situation, it is important that we concentrate on our strengths and resolutely tackle the digitization of industry and SMEs. However, this requires a much faster entry into the emerging B2B platform markets.

In Europe, we stand for a liberal value system, both economically and politically, which, as in the past, has proven to be the decisive differentiating factor in the medium and long term. The debate on the use of data is conducted in Europe in good tradition at an extremely high level and this in the good understanding that digitisation is not coming over us, but is made by people and is intended to serve them.

It is therefore the right moment to take a decisive step towards the future and to open up Europe’s path. To do this, we need a large, homogeneous domestic market that will make us almost competitive with the USA and China. We also need substantial investment in digital infrastructure and cybersecurity, as well as training and further education. Both competitive regions currently have the power to set standards in digitization as well. The goal of the European Union to create a single digital internal market is laudable, but final implementation is still pending. This implementation, however, is the important and very concrete next step in order to be able to achieve the competition-relevant scaling effects and to be able to play a competitive role in data-based business model innovations.

The second half is running and nothing is lost.

About the authors

Jochen Werne (48) is a member of the Executive Board and Chief Development Officer of Prosegur Cash Services GmbH, as well as a member of the Artificial Intelligence Learning Systems Platform and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jochen-werne-2292507a/
Twitter: @WerneJochen
E-mail: jw@JochenWerne.com

Dr. Johannes Winter (42) heads the office of the Learning Systems Platform and the technology department at the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech).
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johannes-winter-13048629/
Twitter: @jw4null
e-mail: winter@acatech.de

History lessons for a digital future: Why are our times comparable to the 1450’s?

On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, Managing Director Dr. Stefan Hirschmann and his team from VÖB-Services organised an inspiring BANKENNETZWERK networking event “Digitisation and digital competence in banks” with an auditorium of 70 banking professionals.

Bankennetzwerk am 5.10.2019 im Holiday in Düsseldorf Digitalisierung und Digitalkompetenz Foto und Copyright Bernd Schaller Kiefernstr. 18 40233 Düsseldorf www.schallerfoto.de info@schallerfoto.de 00491776769111

Learning from history is crucial to understand the current societal changes triggered by technological progress. It‘s the basis to be able to make smart strategic decisions in a fundamentally changing business environment.

Some examples in the keynote referring to Professor Niall Ferguson‘s inspiring book „The Square and the Tower“. Enjoy some of his insights here

Bankennetzwerk am 5.10.2019 im Holiday in Düsseldorf Digitalisierung und Digitalkompetenz Foto und Copyright Bernd Schaller Kiefernstr. 18 40233 Düsseldorf www.schallerfoto.de info@schallerfoto.de 00491776769111

See more impressions HERE

Digital Summit 2019

It’s a great pleasure supporting on October 28, this year’s DIGITAL SUMMIT together with other experts from the “Platform Learning Systems, the Platform for Artificial Intelligence” #DigitalGipfel19 #platformeconomy

The Digital Summit (previously the National IT Summit) and the work that takes place between the summit meetings form the central platform for cooperation between government, business, academia and society as we shape the digital transformation. We can make best use of the opportunities of digitisation for business and society if all the stakeholders work together on this.

The National IT Summit was renamed the Digital Summit in 2017. This was to take account of the fact that digitalisation comprises not only telecommunications technology, but the process of digital change in its entirety – from the cultural and creative industries to Industrie 4.0.

The Digital Summit aims to help Germany to take advantage of the great opportunities offered by artificial intelligence whilst correctly assessing the risks and helping to ensure that human beings stay at the heart of a technically and legally secure and ethically responsible use of AI

The Digital Summit looks at the key fields of action within the digital transformation across ten topic-based platforms. The platforms and their focus groups are made up of representatives from business, academia and society who, between summit meetings, work together to develop projects, events and initiatives designed to drive digitalisation in business and society forward. The Summit will serve to present the results of the work that has been done in the past, to highlight new trends and discuss digital challenges and policy approaches.

Looking forward moderating the Panel Discussion on “Digital Platforms for new AI-based Services”

Artificial intelligence in the financial sector

It has been pleasure being guest author for the DIGIPRAKTIKER, Finanz Colloquium Heidelberg.

What role does the human factor play in times of exponential technological progress?

Author: Jochen Werne, Director Business Development, Product Management, Treasury and Payment Services at Bankhaus August Lenz & Co. AG

I. Introduction

The only constant in history was, is and remains change. Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1450 was a milestone on the timeline of human development. Today we still take note of this invention, which was considered an innovation at that time, but we have long lived surrounded by smartphones and cloud applications, in which we can store the most private information and retrieve it from anywhere in the world. Today’s change is being driven by a veritable digital revolution.

Digital change already has fundamental consequences for individuals and their lifestyles, but it is developing its full potential when it comes to interacting with our social environment. In times of smart robotics and maturing systems in relation to artificial intelligence, the question arises again and again what role humans play on the stage of these technologies. Is he …

Read the full article by clicking here and being forwarded to the DigiPraktiker

Coined Liberty 2.0

Author: Jochen Werne

First published in German at LinkedIn Pulse on July 20, 2019. Please find article and sources in this link. Publication in English language pleas find below

On the role of cash in a modern society between technological progress and freedom

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, one of the most important writers of the 19th century, impressively describes in his works the great existential and spiritual conflicts in which mankind was caught at the dawn of modernity. Not only his observations during the turbulent times of the upheaval of the Russian Empire in the 19th century, but also his personal experiences are an essential part of his work.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky

At the age of 28 and at the beginning of a promising career as a writer, Dostoevsky was sentenced to four years in a Siberian prison camp. The reason for this was his participation in meetings of the Petraschwezen, an intellectual circle that spoke out against tsarist despotism and serfdom. In his novel, “The House of the Dead”, which also describes Dostoyevsky’s own experiences in Siberian captivity, he formulates the sentence that was later much quoted: “Money is coined liberty”. The sentence describes the vital relevance of the possibility of a free exchange of goods in an unfree environment – and this through coined cash money.

More than 150 years have passed since the first publication of the work. Europe needed to go through the age of Enlightenment, the experiences of two world wars and a long cold war to become a peaceful and very liberal place for its citizens. A place which is putting the dignity and freedom of the individual first.

The freedom in our payment options has also multiplied thanks to technological progress. It is part of our everydays life to pay the morning croissant at the bakery, the new monthly ticket for the subway or even the use of public toilets – even without cash. Technological progress, the smartphone revolution and also our user behaviour made this evolution in payments possible. “Digital payments” have become part of our progressive society. However, the aspect of not having money physically tangible sometimes entails interesting and also unwanted aspects.

Society in upheaval

Like Dostoevsky, we also live in a time of extreme social, economic and political upheaval. An age in which exponential technology developments, industries and business models are changing radically and countries competing for dominance in areas such as artificial intelligence. It is a time when transformation is the new normality and an agile corporate culture is the key to success. In these times, for many it became clear that, “Everything that can be digitized will be digitized.” And thus the question inevitably arises whether this also applies to the first “Instant Payment” solution humans invented, one of the earliest and most sustainable achievements of civilization – cash.

Germans love affair with cash

If we look at Germany, cash is still one of the most popular payment methods and – culturally speaking – will probably remain for quite some time to come. According to a survey by the Bundesbank, 88 percent of German citizens continue to regard cash as their preferred means of payment. This cultural imprint can certainly also be traced back to modern history and the personal experiences of the Germans with their money. Beginning with the traumatic experience of hyperinflation during the Great Depression of 1923 and the resulting deep-rooted German understanding of the importance of a central bank independent from politics.

A painful experience, which states even today – like Venezuela – live through again and again and whose causes are often identical. In Reinhard and Rogoff’s bestseller book “This time is different”, this phenomenon is brilliantly explained using an analysis of 800 years of international economic history.

The positive image of (cash) money in Germany was impressively advanced after the end of the 2nd World War. From the currency reform of 1948 and the beginning of the economic miracle with 40 D-Mark, which every German was allowed to hold physically in his hands, to the 100 D-Mark welcome money at the reunification in 1989. These personal experiences paired with a consistently brillant independent work by the German Bundesbank – which always gave the population the feeling of having a strong, stable and secure own currency – are all German experiences, which were literally “obvious” and shaped the cultural reference of the country and its citizens.

The current freedom of our payment options is certainly good, as long as we consumers are free to decide which means of payment we pay with. Discussions about a possible restriction of citizens’ freedom of choice, for example through the abolition of cash, regularly call on intellectuals to take a warning position. The poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger, for example, has the following opinion on the subject of “restriction”: “Those who abolish cash abolish freedom”. Also former Deutsche Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele said at a conference in 2015: “Abolishing cash would hurt consumer sovereignty — the free choice of citizens about their payment instruments“ and “Government agencies do not have the right to tell citizens how they should pay.”

Having “physical power of disposal” over money, i.e. holding the banknote in one’s hands, immediately establishes a much stronger relationship for the value of something than a number on a display. More than ten years ago, the US scientists Raghubir and Srivastava in their essay for the “Journal if Experimental Psychology: Applied” described that the degree of abstraction often poses a problem when it comes to means of payment. They found a correlation between the indebtedness of individuals and the use of credit cards.

In Germany, the trend towards digital payment became apparent for the first time last year. In this period consumers in the stationary retail sector spent more money on checking and credit cards than in cash, as the trade research institute EHI recently announced.

Source: Deutsche Bundesbank

However, this does not mean that customers will soon only pay by card or smartphone, the experts emphasized at the same time. Three-quarters of all retail purchases continue to be settled in cash. When it comes to the highly sensitive issue of “money”, many consumers continue to find it difficult to trust the comprehensive healing promises of an omnipresent digital world.

In order to ensure that cash and book money continue to be equally available, the players involved in the cash cycle, such as CIT companies like Prosegur, ATM operators like IC-Cash, banks like Bankhaus August Lenz et al., are working concentrated to make the provision of cash at all locations even more efficient and cost-effective. Both the providers of cash solutions and those of digital solutions experiment therefore with the latest blockchain and AI technologies to reach the before mentioned goals.

Technological vulnerability and fall-back option

Especially in extreme scenarios, such as catastrophes or other failures of a digital infrastructure due to cyberattacks, natural events or simply technical failure, it becomes clear how cash – by its very nature – proves to be actually the most robust payment method. Ultimately, it is not tied to electricity, digital infrastructures, passwords or other technical features – it is simply available. An interesting recent anecdote occurred in Sweden, which is one of the most advanced countries in cashless payment. A country where even the traditional church collection is now equipped with a card reader. At the Bråvalla music festival 2014, for example, the memory chips on the admission tickets went on strike. Thousands of thirsty fans sat on dry land and had to write out promissory notes for their drinks by hand. An experience that can be observed again and again when paying at the checkout, when the magnetic stripe of a card or simply the card reader does not work and the views of the people standing around in the queue are impatiently looking at the payer and trying to catch a glimpse of the name on the card of the supposedly non-solvent unlucky fellow.

Data Protection Best Practice

In an interview with Rheinische Post in February 2017, Klaus Müller, head of the Federal Association of Consumer Groups (Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen), said “Cash is data protection in practice”. He added: “Unbarred figures leave traces of data that can be used commercially to create a consumer profile. This data may be illegally “fished” by third parties.” Now Müller points to nothing new here and opponents of cash, use the argumentation to underline that the supposed anonymity of cash can be used for illegal business and transactions and that the suppression of cash stands above the protection of privacy. But since the first publication of the interview, the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the recently imposed $5 billion fine against Facebook for the Cambridge Analytica scandal and similar events, the sensitivity of the European population with regard to data protection and privacy has grown substantially.


Financial privacy


In the closing sentence of his speech at the Cash Symposium 2018 of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the former judge of the German Federal Constitutional Court, Prof. Dr. Udo Di Fabio, underlined the probably most important point in the current discussion about cash. He said that in principle it is “not to be underestimated” that every citizen has the souvereignity of the free disposal of his money – of his personal “exchangeable assets”. He further added that this is particularly true when “financial privacy” is considered legally imperative. In other words, a society whose entire assets would be managed in digital form only, could also exercise only limited individual control over its money and would have to ask itself, “whether the state would be entitled via its central bank to carry out a controlled devaluation through negative interest rates, accounting discounts or fees on credit balances”. Prof. Di Fabio further points out that this would then not only be a property encroachment, but as a result possibly also the imposition of a special levy, which is permitted in the German legal system only under narrow conditions.

For young Fjodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky the conversion to book money in the Siberian prison would have meant the withdrawal of his individual sovereignity over money, so that he would not have had any more the fortune of using cash for the exchange of goods and other things. He describes the quintessence of this situation as follows: The suffering of prisoners who don’t have money is 10 times greater.

Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the intellectual serious discussions about cash and civil liberty rights would delight Dostoyevsky, with his experiences in an unfree society.


Our open and liberal society is characterised by the fact that we have and continue the discussion about “Coined Liberty 2.0” at this level.

Event: The Future of Banking – Diplomatic Council Breakfast Talk with Jochen Werne

THE EVENT

The speaker this morning is Jochen Werne, a graduate banking and marketing specialist. As director and authorized signatory, he is responsible for private banking and corporate banking at Bankhaus August Lenz & Co. AG in Munich.  He is guest lecturer at universities and colleges, keynote speaker at banking and innovation conferences, author and co-author of books and articles on leadership, innovation, KI, FinTechs, Cyber Security and much more. He is a member of the platform for artificial intelligence “Learning Systems” initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and advising the German Federal Government as well as of the Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House, ambassador of the Peter Tamm sen. foundation and is listed by Focus-Magazin as one of the AI experts in Germany. He is the founder of the Global Offshore Sailing Team GOST and co-founder of the NGO Mission4Peace, which is dedicated to historical research, building international diplomatic relations and promoting international dialogue.

The participants will also get to know the Diplomatic Council (DC) this morning. It combines a global think tank, a business network and a charity foundation in a unique organization with consultative status at the United Nations. Stephanie Stoerk, Chapter Director DC Stuttgart, explains what distinguishes the Diplomatic Council from all other networks and what advantages it offers its members.

Breakfast is open from 8:30 am. At 9:00 a.m. we start our official program (whoever comes earlier has time to eat in peace), which lasts until 10:30 a.m. (including questions and answers). In between there is always the possibility to eat from the rich breakfast buffet.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

PROGRAMM

Der Redner an diesem Morgen ist der diplomierte Banking- und Marketing-Spezialist Jochen Werne. Er verantwortet als Direktor und Prokurist das Private Banking sowie den Corporate Banking Bereich bei der Bankhaus August Lenz & Co. AG in München.  Er ist Gastdozent an Universitäten und Hochschulen, Keynote Speaker auf Banking- und Innovationskonferenzen, sowie Autor und Co-Autor von Büchern und Artikeln zu Leadership, Innovation, KI, FinTechs, Cyber Security u. v. m. Er ist u. a. Mitglied der vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung initiierten und die deutsche Bundesregierung beratende Plattform für Künstliche Intelligenz „Lernende Systeme“ sowie des Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House, Botschafter der Peter Tamm sen. Stiftung und wird vom Focus-Magazin als einer der KI-Experten in Deutschland geführt. Er ist Gründer des Global Offshore Sailing Teams GOST und Co-Founder der NGO Mission4Peace, die sich der historischen Forschung, dem Aufbau internationaler, diplomatischer Beziehungen sowie der Förderung eines internationalen Dialogs widmet.

Darüber hinaus lernen die Teilnehmer an diesem Morgen das Diplomatic Council (DC) kennen. Es verknüpft einen globalen Think Tank, ein Business Network und eine Charity Foundation in einer einzigartigen Organisation mit Beraterstatus bei den Vereinten Nationen. Stephanie Stoerk, Chapter Director DC Stuttgart, informiert, was das Diplomatic Council von allen anderen Netzwerken unterscheidet und welche Vorteile sich daraus für die Mitglieder ergeben.

Das Frühstück ist ab 8:30 Uhr geöffnet. Um 9:00 Uhr starten wir unser offizielles Programm (wer früher kommt, hat also Zeit, in Ruhe zu essen), das bis 10:30 Uhr andauert (inklusive Fragen und Antworten). Es besteht zwischendurch jederzeit die Möglichkeit, sich vom reichhaltigen Frühstücksbuffet zu versorgen

Keynote announcement: International Banking Innovation Forum, Vienna

Banking Professionals are faced with many new challenges as PSD2 & Instant Payments in Europe at center stage which are driving automation and Innovations. It will be a great pleasure representing Bankhaus August Lenz with a keynote on the importance of the combination of all aspects of HUMAN, DIGITAL & CULTURE to create valuable business models for future banking. Looking forward joining other Top Industry Experts to tackle these topics with them.

Tradition meets modernity: Why more and more banks are relying on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is finding its way into the highly regulated world of banking. And not only GAFA Silicon Valley high-tech companies see it as the technology of the future, but also FinTechs and established banks. How it came to this, what possibilities and limits there are at the moment and why humans will remain irreplaceable not only when it comes to money – the commentary

by Jochen Werne, innovation and transformation expert
Munich private bank Bankhaus August Lenz

Original published in German in the IT-Finanzmagazin (31 July 2018). Translation by DeepL

After “FinTech”, “Blockchain” and “Crypto”, “AI” is the new buzzword in the banking world. Whether chatbots in the digital customer center or self-learning algorithms for highly complex investment strategies are being discussed – the omnipresence of the term suggests that the integration of artificial intelligence into one’s own business model seems to be virtually vital.

Artificial intelligence and big data are currently the strongest and most vibrant innovation trends in the financial sector …

… was also one of the guiding principles of Prof. Joachim Wuermeling, board member of the Deutsche Bundesbank, in his speech on “Artificial Intelligence” at the second annual FinTech and Digital Innovation Conference in February 2018 in Brussels.

The choice of the conference venue, which like rarely any other city combines both a belief in progress and a deeply rooted European tradition, can hardly be more symbolic of the forthcoming change. In fact, the topic is by no means new: the development towards an increased use of so-called non-human intelligence is based on approaches from the 1940s – with the invention of the first computers

Artificial intelligence: revolution as a reaction to mountains of data?

But what is now possible in times of exponential technologies is in fact nothing less than a revolution. The financial industry is sitting on a valuable mountain of data, the extent of which is currently difficult to estimate. The maturing AI systems would not only make the preparation and processing of this data easier, but also much more cost-effective, faster and more targeted. Data already collected could become the most valuable raw material and a resource due to the technological leaps in the field of AI, which, in combination with the enrichment of external, non-structured data, must be “usable” in a meaningful way.

The industry is asked to use private data in a sensitive way for the benefit of the customer, – a goal that should certainly apply to all AI-based approaches.

To find meaningful regulations for the handling and the effects of the use of AI on society, economy and thus on our life and the work of tomorrow is the task of politics. The fact that this topic is taken very seriously is evident not only in national initiatives such as the German Platform for Artificial Intelligence “Learning Systems”, but also in the European Artifical Intelligence shoulder-to-shoulder approach, which is being pushed forward by France and Germany.

“Digital hand holding” in the event of a financial crash is not enough

At present, it is still too early to say which operational areas of the financial world will sooner or later be supported – in part or even entirely – by the use of AI systems. However, the financial crises of the past have shown this time and again:

Trust is crucial when it comes to money. Trust in the markets, the banking system and the human contact as an intermediary in a complex issue”.

However, the banking industry knows very well from its own experience how easy it is to loose customer’s trust. An experience that Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook recently also had to make in connection with the Cambridge-Analytica scandal. As with every new technology and every new approach, the same applies to the topic of “intelligent” systems: a lot of trust, coupled with half-knowledge and a big dash of emotionality results in a popular trend cocktail, which, however, bears a certain risk of headaches on the following day.

Jochen Werne

Jochen Werne is the authorized signatory responsible for Marketing, Business Development, Product Management, Treasury and Payment Services at Bankhaus August Lenz & Co. After two years as navigator of the sailing training ship ‘Gorch Fock’, the international marketing and banking specialist completed his studies as client coverage analyst at Bankers Trust Alex. Brown International and in Global Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank AG, he has worked on numerous projects in other European and American countries. In 2001, he joined Accenture as a Customer Relationship Management Expert in the Financial Services Division before joining Bankhaus August Lenz & Co. AG in Munich, where he has since been responsible for various areas of the institute. As part of the Innovation Leadership Team of the Mediolanum Banking Group, a member of the expert council of Management Circle and the IBM Banking Innovation Council, Jochen Werne is a keynote speaker at numerous banking and innovation conferences.

You’re the captain, but with what ship and crew?

MANAGEMENT IN DISRUPTIVE TIMES

Author: Jochen Werne . Firstly published in the Academy for Leadership column in German. Translation supported by DeepL

“An analogy for business leaders in the financial industry that compares the challenging times of today’s technological enterprise transformation with the changes during the time of the industrial revolution when steam ships ended the centuries-long era of sailing ships.”

In 1971, the BBC began broadcasting a series on the history of James Onedin, who, as captain and later as shipowner, lived through the stormy times of industrialisation and the conversion of the entire industry from sailing to steam navigation. The series, which takes place in Victorian England in the second half of the 19th century, describes in a special way the subtleties of the interplay of a changing market. New technologies, new skills of market participants, increased conflict potential between entrepreneurs and managers and reorientation in an environment of shrinking margins – special challenges for those who tried to continue their business as before: with sailing ships.

The documentation shows impressively how highly hierarchical organisations like the Royal Navy react and often struggle in times of major technological changes

The captain is responsible for bringing his ship, crew and cargo safely and within a specified time and financial framework to the port of destination. But what if the ship is no longer able to do this and the competition suddenly moves across the blue oceans with completely different ships? What if the shipowner does not have the capacity to trust the new technologies or simply does not have the financial resources to re-equip his fleet? And what about the crew? Does the crew has the necessary skills to sail on the new ships?

Many captains of banks and financial institutions seem to have this scenario all too present. E.g. due to declining customer traffic in bank branches, the high costs for a broad branch network are hardly to be paid today. Germany as a financial centre is “overbanked”, interest rates in the basement – the conditions in Germany for successful banking have never been as challenging as they are now. To this end, customers are continuing to drive change in the industry with their changing demands on digital tools.

Outwaiting a problem or tackling it

The complexity of economic changes has been enormous in every epoch, the difference to current upheavals lies in the temporal component. If companies do not react immediate to market changes today, they might loose their customers faster than ever before. In such disruptive times, all those involved want an “efficient” change process. The only problem is that the term “change” is so omnipresent that it is often perceived as stress and overload. As a result, many levels of management fall into one of the following situations: either they try to sit out the situation and leave change to their successors, or they push many, often less effective measures in an attack of blind actionism. Active, thoughtful and vital change management is often neglected.

More entrepreneurial thinking

Processes of change require both superiors and employees. If the existing situation cannot be improved or adapted at any vertical level, it must be questioned. Concluding, this means for all those involved that situations must always be reflected and corrective measures initiated at an early stage.

Understanding the corporate culture is vital for a successful transformation

In many companies, however, this need for action, which has a high potential for conflict, is often insufficiently communicated. In some places there is a lack of interest for employee issues, a lack of error and conflict culture and a minimal willingness to change. If banks neglect these issues, change processes threaten to fail on a broad basis. This means that managers in a disruptive environment have a natural need for action. The implementation of new strategies, systems and structures and early adaptation to changing market situations are vital factors for survival. A well-known quote by former US President Wodrow Wilson (1913-1921) is particularly valid for today’s highly competitive financial sector: “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”

Those companies that create the change will share the large financial services market with the new market players and use instruments that did not exist in the classic banking of the past.

Just like James Onedin, who for the longest time was an advocate of classic sailing ships, finally added a modern steamship to his fleet. And to facilitate the change for himself personally, he named the ship after someone he loved.