7 Factors to build a data driven business – my learnings from #Unleashdata Amsterdam

This week I enjoyed the honor of being chairman of the Unleash Innovation in BI, Data & Analytics Global Executive Summit in Amsterdam. The biggest value for me was learning from segment leaders across multiple industries how they create a data driven digital business.

Please check if my lessons learned for a data-first-business are helpful for you:

1. Measurable business outcomes are the most important factor to convince any CxO or employee about the value of data or AI.

Results have to be visible faster in today’s enterprises. For example at Scotch & Soda, a new data, BI or AI project needs to show impact within 6 months.

2. Technology is no longer the issue (if you have the right one) said CDO Martin Hairer from Med-El.

3. People are the next frontier for AI says Loren Roosendaal from Nyenrode Business University. Many employees are doing the wrong job and tasks as in context of learning and knowledge explosion but lack of data and smart analytics.

4. Passion is the new currency. I really like this statement as it stands for the importance of customer experience, but also as guidance to hire hungry people.

5. At DSW Health Insurance 250 of 600 employees are IT and data specialists, because they have a #Digitalfirst approach. How is that in your company?

6. You need to understand what data is relevant

Thibault LEMARIE from Scotch & Soda showed by let all attendees put post-it stickers on him with their criteria for a successful event. He proofed that it is hard to capture the relevant data for better decisions making

7. AI & ML: Everybody wants to leverage it, but struggles to find a first small scope to show success. On my table we discussed examples in context of supplier master data. (Let me know if you want go deeper). All agreed that you need to get the data foundation right.

What you can learn from the Nordics on Digital Transformation

Henrik Pahlsson is a friend and Business Partner who lives in Gothenburg. He and his team at Avensia work with large food distributors, food manufacturers and luxury retailers to help them digitize their business. All are joint customers of my company Riversand and them in Norway and Sweden.

I recorded a chat with him as the companies in the Nordics are usually very fast and agile adopting new innovations.

WTF Data Chat 2: MDM programs cost millions and never end. True or false?

WTF? Is this an appropriate word in a headline, you may ask. I think discussing what’s the future (wtf) is more important than anything else 😜. And in Europe this joke is accepted.

I am discussing in this video series with Michael Weiss – who brings tremendous experience working with marquee brands such as Festo, Puma, Sportscheck and many others – what really matters in the digital business era, based on data.

Watch the video and feel free to leave your comments and views. We are looking at business needs, the MVP approach, commitment of stakeholders  and how to learn setting priorities to make your MDM program successful.


WTF Data Chat: Does a CEO have to worry about technology?

WTF? Is this appropriate, you may ask. I think discussing what’s the future (wtf) is more important than anything else 😜.

I am discussing in this video series with Michael Weiss what really matters in the digital business era, based on data.

Our chapter 1 addresses the question: should a CxO or CEO worry about technology? Let me know your view after watching the video.

What every company can learn about disruption from this watch maker

I admit, I am always on the hunt for styles. This company has impressed me by changing the game in the high class luxury watch segment. Clearly the issue for men is, that not everybody can afford a Rolex, Tudor, Omega or similar classic Swiss made watches. Christopher Ward started to change this game.

What are they doing different?

1. Hired talent from luxury brands

2. Removed the retail channel

3. Selling purely online

4. Using same materials as the Swiss born luxury competitors

5. No marketing with celebrities

Finally their concept is to simplify the business to reduce costs. This makes it possible to achieve their vision: putting luxury watches in the reach of everybody.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not glorifying Chris Ward. One curiosity is that they won my awareness by a print commercial on a airline magazine, but they claim to be an online player. Could their marketing budget be spend more efficiently in online targeting?

Would you be willing to buy from them, assuming their quality promise is true? Or will you continue stick to brands you know, like Rolex? I think classic, conservative Rolex customers will not take this step, but a new generation of people who are open for change, disruption and new thinking will give it a chance.

If I compare it to my software market I work in for almost two decades… there will always be clients who only will trust the market leader by Gartner to secure their careers. But their will also be brave disrupters, who want to change the game.

Imagine you could have both: the experience of many Rolex makers, in a new consumption model, simple with a better TCO….

PS: my two favorites on Instagram

Out now: My Q4 Column from Produktkulturmagazin

Everybody has a lot on their plates in the last quarter. Which is why I will not be beating around the bush at the end of the year, but getting down to brass tacks, as those without southern German dialects commonly say. And non-southern German for us southerners begins north of Frankfurt. If this offends you because you are one of these people, then I apologise profusely. You are missing out. Sitting in my accented Swabian glass house, I probably shouldn’t be throwing stones. Which is why I am writing here and not producing a podcast. A podcast? Dear Produktkulturmagazin, wouldn’t that be an idea for quickly capturing content and packaging it for easy consumption?

But back to language for the time being. Whenever I say my English is better than my German, the initial reaction of laughter is quickly followed by the question of whether it is as good as that of politician Günther Oettinger. I grin, simultaneously concealing my fury, and admit that I prefer to record my podcast in English rather than in German.

Dear reader, just be happy that I am writing to you here and not speaking to you in my Swabian dialect. The fourth quarter is the most important one of the year for software companies, often delivering in excess of 40 per cent of annual sales. Sometimes, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a matter of life and death. Yes, often it’s about your job, your career, your family, your home, your ego.

Today however, it is all about what really counts – which I would like to explain to you using three examples. I don’t claim to have invented all this, but it helps me, and maybe you as well, just as a refresher.

Please check out my full column in English or German from “Produktkulturmagazin” below:



My Xmas Style Wishlist

I thought I leave the best for last and try to help inspire some people, looking for Xmas gifts for their husbands, boyfriends, dads or any men.

With those brands new are never wrong. Where to find it?

Zwiesel 1872 – Hommage Comète tumbler or go for the Bond whiskey tumbler: https://www.davidshuttle.com/cumbria-crystal-grasmere-double-old-fashioned-tumbler/

Canada Goose gloves ARTIC DOWN https://www.canadagoose.com/de/de/arctic-down-handschuhe-fur-herren-5159M.html?cgid=shop-mens-gloves#start=1&cgid=shop-mens-gloves

New Lucky Luke issue: (German titles): ein Cowboy in Paris, das gelobte Land, meine Onkel die Daltons, Menü blaue Bohnen, Auf eigene Faust

Signet ring: https://www.trendhim.de/schwarzer-titus-ring-p.html

Dark turtle neck from Suitsupply https://eu.suitsupply.com/de/turtlenecks/navy-turtleneck/

Balr, https://www.balr.com/de/product/brand-t-shirt-black-on-black

Dsquared2 https://www.yoox.com/de/12225187/item

Hunter Boots Balmoral https://www.hunterboots.com/de/de_de/herren-tall-wellingtons/die-neuen-balmoral-verstellbaren-herren-gummistiefel-mit-3-mm-neoprenfutter/schwarz/2126

Dad Sneakers https://www.gq-magazin.de/mode-stil/modetrends/90er-jahre-sneakers-trend