Effectively dealing with the pandemic and mitigating the adverse effects of the economic shutdown is quite a challenge for leading companies: they have to cope with high financial losses while providing support for others.
The last few months have shown how leading companies successfully and sometimes less successfully face up to their social responsibility, how partners, customers and users of the social web can react to it and which do’s and don’ts of crisis management can be derived from it.
For centuries, access to education was a question of gender and origin: women have only been allowed to study since 1908. Even today, it is still true that those who come from a wealthy, academic background are far more likely to obtain a PhD. To put it differently: only one in every 100 first-time students gets a PhD.
Rarely have two successive forecasts been so different: in December 2019, the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research predicted that the German economy would continue to grow in 2020 – by 1.1 per cent! This made sense because the world barely knew about the coronavirus in December 2019. It is due to its massive spread and the necessary shutdown measures in large parts of Europe that the mid-March 2020 forecast of the Munich-based institute was completely different: the institute predicted an economic slump of a whopping 9.8 per cent in the second quarter and an overall contraction of the German economy of 1.5 per cent in the current calendar year. Recession definitely is the economic word of the hour.
Despite these figures, new things seem to be created, especially in the retail industry that has been hit particularly badly by the crisis: the situation makes people creative and new cooperations as well as exciting business models are emerging.
The Corona crisis forces us to react to new circumstances in a flexible and agile way. Because many things are simply no longer possible given the current situation, we have to come up with new solutions. And of course, the first thought that comes to mind is often »How is this supposed to work out?« or »This cannot be digitally mapped«. However, the experiences we have had over the past few weeks have shown us that it is very well possible to find solutions for the new circumstances – because if we have to act, our creativity and flexibility will not let us down.
We use collaboration tools for working from home and holding meetings is no problem at all thanks to video conferencing. Events that had to be cancelled in the last few weeks and will probably have to be cancelled in the months to come have been hit particularly badly by the crisis and the omnipresent contact restrictions. This means that event organisers are also forced to find and implement new solutions, for example turning offline events into online events.
Prof. Drosten is pleased. The chief virologist of the Charité Hospital in Berlin, who has become a media star with his daily podcast on NDR Info and thanks to whom hundreds of thousands of laypeople are suddenly talking about viral envelopes, PCR tests and antibody serums, recently made the following observation: the isolation is effective.
It seems that the infection rate can be flattened thanks to strict measures, such as those imposed by Jena, the first major city to make face masks mandatory in supermarkets and public buildings. Through many tests and voluntary physical distancing between people, the lethality rate among those infected with the coronavirus in Germany might be contained. To formulate it in slightly exaggerating terms: couch potatoes save lives!
However, the word »potato« already contains the current challenge: even couch potatoes have to eat. This is where food delivery services come into play. Because those who want to stay at home right now and do not have any neighbours who would kindly buy groceries for them type »food delivery« into a search engine – and just like that, they end up in the so-called e-food industry.
At the beginning of March, a friend of mine who works in a Parisian design office posted on social media: »Salut, mes chers, je passe au télétravail!« She was asked to leave her open-plan office due to the coronavirus. Télétravail is the French word for something for which we do not have a proper German word in German: we call it home office whereas real native speakers would rather describe it as »working from home« or »remote work«.
The word component »tele« is not even French but ancient Greek. It means far away. The French thus work discretely from far away these days. At least conceptually, they do not let themselves be nailed to any place in times of curfews (sorry, I mean contact bans) when they are not working from their office.
No matter whether they are working from far away, from home or via mobile devices: while the world is standing still to flatten an infection curve, the global working world is in fact changing rapidly. But what was the so-called New Work all about before the coronavirus? Why can such impulses lead to great benefits, in particular for many companies that now believe they are sliding into a crisis?
For years, artificial intelligence has been increasingly influencing our everyday life, but also the economy, politics and science – as chatbots in customer service, GPS assistants or characters in video games.
AI can be used in many different ways and offers us new innovative solutions to problems in the most diverse areas. However, deepfakes show that AI also offers potential for controversy.
The piggy bank of children in Denmark looks weird: it is black, not pink. It is made out of plastics and metals, not porcelain. It is rectangular, not round and no coins disappear in the slot. Instead, the charger docks – if the charging process is not wireless anyway. This is because the average Danish child already receives his or her pocket money directly on the smartphone these days. 13-year olds like August from Copenhagen simply hold their phone close to payment terminals when they want to pay for a bag of liquorice at unmanned checkouts in the supermarket.
What is already common practice in future-oriented Denmark also slowly gets going in Germany: mobile payment via smartphone – that small supercomputer we all carry around in our pockets. Cash is increasingly becoming a case for the history books. Credit and debit cards are also used less frequently. But how do payment methods actually change?
Data is the gold of the digital age. Whether sales, marketing or service – no successful digital business without data. The collection, processing and analysis of all types of data, especially customer data, therefore plays a key role in many companies to break down data silos, drive omnichannel marketing forward and ultimately obtain a 360-degree view of the customer. Behind all these activities is the well-known mission – but also challenge – of creating a personalised customer experience across all devices and all channels.
The creation, spread and use of digital platforms are logical and necessary consequences to turn these missions in reality. Its major advantage is the direct data exchange between all parties involved (companies and customers, but also partners and employees) via the platform itself. To use data effectively and achieve real competitive advantages, however, it is not sufficient to only collect huge amounts of data. Whether ERP, PIM, MDM or CRM – an effective system is required to be able to structure, connect and analyse data. Real time is the keyword of the moment. It is becoming increasingly relevant as customers expect unique and individual experiences quickly, anytime and anywhere. Companies have to react to these expectations and find their single source of truth which, based on robust data, helps them better understand their customers and address them appropriately.
But despite all the possibilities and a variety of providers, systems and solutions, the one perfect tool does not yet seem to exist. Data silos persist. In the context of customer relationship management, a 360-degree view of the customer is too often still theory rather than practice. For this reason, software providers are working on a new solution that is to connect the remaining loose ends completely and cleanly. We are talking about customer data platforms (in short: CDPs). Which role do CDPs play in a crowded system landscape? What distinguishes them from other systems such as CRM? Which development stage are CDPs currently in? Who are the most important providers? We answer these questions today.
Digitisation requires courageous, well-founded decisions and a far-sighted strategy. To master digital transformation, many questions have to be answered and decisions have to be made accordingly. First and foremost the following questions: Which technology should I choose to support my company and to achieve my goals? Which type of software and which provider best meets my requirements and goals?
Once these key questions have been answered, a dilemma frequently arises among decision-makers. It is related to the selected software version: community or enterprise? Does this sound familiar?
Whether community or enterprise: the answer depends on the specific requirements of each individual customer and the selected digital solution and cannot be answered in general terms. Therefore, we will have a closer look at the differences and explain which version is more suitable in which cases.