Summing up digitalisation, Jürgen Kunz stated that "data is the new currency." The Senior Vice President Northern Europe of the software and hardware manufacturer ORACLE, spoke on Wednesday at an entrepreneurs' conference at Landshut University of Applied Sciences about how digitalisation will change businesses - and how SMEs can arm themselves to deal with this. The event was supported by VR-Bank Landshut eG.
Taking the sporting goods manufacturer, Nike, as an example, Kunz showed the approximately 140-strong audience how a company might approach the subject of digitalisation. "You can have yourself measured in store and their staff will create a profile for you. You will then always receive the latest collections on your smart phone to suit your tastes and in your size, and can order them with a single click."
Today customers expect offerings that are tailored to them, be it for clothing, toys or even cars. And businesses should not underestimate the role of social networks in this regard. Customers can share their experiences of products and services live with their friends via Facebook etc., as well as sending compliments and criticisms directly to the company. According to Kunz, "This feedback can help you to continue to improve your products, services and processes."
Digital Strategy is a Management Issue
The basis for this is the right digital strategy. According to Kunz this is a management issue. This is because managers must ensure that the structures are aligned with both administration and production. And they also need to motivate their employees to get on board.
The President of the University of Applied Sciences, Professor Dr. Karl Stoffel, who hosted the evening, opened the panel discussion after the presentation by asking what opportunities Kunz saw for SMEs. Kunz replied that "companies should try to help shape the digital revolution." "They cannot do this alone, but with partners. Together they can, for example, generate their own platforms for keeping in touch with customers."
To be able to do this, companies also need the right infrastructure - in other words very fast internet. This met with a critical response from some members of the audience, since in many rural regions there is still a lack of suitable broadband provision. Germany is currently working on improving this situation. In Bavaria, minimum broadband speeds of 50Mbit/s should be standard by 2018. The Free State is making up to 1.5 billion euros available for the task.
Landshut, too, is already changing with digitalisation - and providing structures, for example for start-up companies. By 2018 a start-up centre focussing on digital production is to be built close to the exhibition centre.