6 Facts to Know When Creating Connected Customer Experience

Attending the Omnichannel Customer Experience Summit in Amsterdam was fantastic. I thought I share my lessons with you digital disrupters out there. Simple and short, easy to consume.

1. “Generation mute” likes chat commerce

By 2020, 70% of customer interaction will involve emerging technology to like messaging, chat bots and more. Live chat is dead said Christoph from Sparkcentral. The new gen is not willing to talk on phone calls, they just prefer messaging and voice messages.

2. Extrem complexity in the customer journey

We are #GenCX! This statement stands for generation customer experience, regardless of the age, said another speaker. Meaning customer experience matters the most.

3. Social media attention is ultra fast

4. Change management needs CxO support

… pointed out by Ioana from Mont Blanc. True this is not new, but always worth saying it again and again.

5. Connect the dots of data

Enabling omnichannel customer experience requires to connect the dots said chairman Fabian, which was music to my ears.

6. Your platform has to be able to grow with your need

A picture paints a thousand words. This can be my conclusion of the day. Find out more about how a platform can grow to any data need and download the white paper.

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

My 4 Takeaways from Riversand Connections Europe 18

Almost 100 customers, partners and influencers participated in Riversand Connections 18, our first Europe-wide community event.

Among hundreds of events I attended or helped creat in almost 20 years in the data driven market, this was the most important to me. Why? Here are my top 4 learnings:

Digital transformation drives new higher values

Measuring KPIs and business outcomes will always be important. But I learned two new aspects of the higher impact of Riversand: 

In context if a MDM project kickoff a person mentioned that she had a health situation which needs certain medication and it’s not released in market due to the time it takes to get the product released to distributors and consumers . If they reduce the time to market they can impact people’s life and evens save some. She personally had a very emotional goal tied to this project success. I heard about wet eyes in the room when she mentioned this. 

Another one: Carrefour is selling a milk where the price is defined by the consumer. By consumers who want to pay a fair price to ensure that farmers get a fair share of the value for their work. The brand C’est qui le patron makes this product selling at 0,99€ while usual market price would be 0,65€, but consumers see new sustainable value in it.

Great customer base who is keen to learn from each other 

Aside from a record Q3, Riversand has a great customer base across European counties and industries. This week we learned from Johan Ekegren (Orkla, Norway) that almost half of their revenue depends on the Riversand platform and it is growing.

Lars Beeckmann Head of International Marketing at tesa (Germany) explained that they put people first and human centered design to understand and optimize processes of product introduction. Sébastien Royon from Saint Gobain (France) shared his best practices of how to manage huge complexity in building materials and global MDM rollouts, based on quick measurable wins.

Many people came to me with nice feedback on the Riversand Community, such as:

Jasmin Quellmann, International PIM Manager at Beiersdorf said „I am really enjoying the deep learning from peers and their best practices.“

Phil Carelin from Kingfisher stated “It was a very well run, informative and engaging session.” 

Riversand has great partners across Europe

Within one year we have onboarded more implementation partners across all key regions in Europe. I was happy to see dedicated MDM experts from companies such as Avensia, Advellence, Comma Group, TCS, Infosys, PwC, Infosys, Parsionate and Yellowground to attend, along with complementary solutions such as Productsup, Inbetween, Loadbee and Priint Group. Watch out for new announcements to come shortly.

Disruption in the digital business era requires new tech

A common theme which was discussed was that if you want to win in the world of tomorrow, and you focus on disruptive business models, this also requires a new approach in data management. New ways of user experience, data processing and data storage are the new normal. Also cloud is not longer just an option, it is the new standard.


Values are probably the most important human factors which bring and tie us together. Being part of such a community where respect, appreciation, commitment and passion are essential, just feels fantastic.

Testing Chat Commerce: Levi’s vs. Instyle vs. Zalando

I am always on the hunt for new styles. Following people and brands on Instagram or reading fashion magazines to define my pick list for the new season.

I took a picture of Levis jeans with from GQ Magazine and from Instyle Men Magazine.

As I was not able to find the products by simple web shop search or google search, I started to reach out to brands on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

This is my latest fashion experience, which finally led to a comparison of brand vs. magazin vs. retailer. Obviously it is not a representative research but a snap shot of reality.

1. Levi’s:

Twitter: no response

Facebook: no response

2. Instyle Men Magazine

Twitter: no response

Instagram: no response – only from other users with same challenges

Facebook: … finally gave me the correct link to their web shop, but as the image was from an advertisement and not from editorial content the product was not listed. Would I pay for print adds to promote my product and have no chance to convert this into revenue? IMHO a missed chance of the magazin to create a happy commercial client and a missed chance for the brand for more revenue.

3. Zalando:

Twitter: I did not try it.

Facebook: The Zalando Bot was recommended to me by Facebook Messenger, so I gave it a try. The result was I just spend money. Well done Zalando. 👍

Fall & Winter Is Coming: 3 Jackets From My Shopping List

By September 1st, almost as hard stop happened to cut our wonderful summer to an end. Time to think about jackets for rain in fall and for winter. This short blog brings three recommendations from my shopping list:

Joint venture

Couture brand Ami Paris and K-Way teamed up to create a joint small collection. This requires to register in order to get access. Click here.

Raincoat: Le Vrai

Again from K-WAY. The return of the raincoat is there. If yellow is not your color, go for one of many they offer here.

Emory Parka in Military

Canada Goose is not new, but definitely consider a military green version of this Emory parka.

Why I purchased from Amazon & not from Adidas or Real Madrid

As a Bayern Munich supporter I still value and respect great achievements and style from other players and clubs. This the reason for owning a Ronaldo jersey, one of the greatest of all. This week at a press conference Sergio Ramos, has a red/ coral style shirt which I really liked.

Adidas is the equipment partner of Real Madrid as you know. After not finding it on the web shop of Real or Adidas, I started social outreach.

Sadly both brands (Adidas & Real Madrid) did not react on my question on Twitter.

So I did the obvious. As I have my account and payment details setup I found a similar one on Amazon. Really like the deign, but I was even willing to pay more for a Madrid jersey. A missed revenue potential, by not listening to social voice. One may argue if single client requests are worth it. Come on! In times of AI/ ML and chat bots…

Btw: “Thank you for traveling Deutsche Bahn” is often used with sarcasm here in Germany. But their response time is pretty fast.