Innovation: Driven by Startups and enablers of Digital Transformation

There are 4 core enablers of the digital transformation that are key for today’s innovations and technologies. These 4 core enablers are:

  • Automation
  • Connectivity
  • Digital data
  • Digital customer access

In addition to these core enablers, there are interdependent / correlated enablers of course, i.e. cloud computing, adaptive manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, etc.

Leveraging these enablers lead to so-called Smart Products and Smart Services which heavily base on collected data (from Big Data to Smart Data), hence create an ideal Product-Market-Fit and at the same time accelerate innovation cycles and the competitive pressure.

A Smart Product can stand for very different tangible assets and therefore includes complex industrial machines and plants as well as privately used devices e.g. in a smart home and even your smartphone. Within the industrial sector, smart products (technical systems) are usually cyber-physical systems (CPS) that allow the coupling and coordination of computing power and mechanical elements. These products or systems typically “talk” to each other (machine-to-machine; M2M) and exchange relevant operational data, which they typically collect using different sets of sensors, and they can event (re)act on that data using actuators.

Smart Services are individually configured packages of (smart) products and services over the Internet. The focus is on private and commercial users. With the help of digital data from all areas, smart services are tailored to their preferences and situation-specific “as a service” to generate value-add. Digital platforms and marketplaces play a central role: Here, products and services are displayed virtually, combined, refined with additional digital services and offered as smart services.

A smart product typically ends up in a smart service, and both nowadays are mainly created / invented by startups. Not only since founding a startup has never been so easy – just take a look at all the crowdfunding possibilities – but also due to the importance of diversity and culture within a company: corporates typically do struggle with employee engagement and with their amount of hierarchy levels, which makes them very slow in becoming digital leaders:

DMM

Hence today, corporates do rely on startups, driving external innovation or by hiring from or M&Aing them, but also using accelerators, incubators and innovation hubs and labs to not doom in the digital transformation age.

Cheers,
Sebastian

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eSports – Boom!

Since eSports is one of the trendy business opportunities this year, let’s take a look at its potential today and in the coming years. The industry is still in its infancy with great commercial chances across several areas, such as:

  • Infrastructure / Hosting
  • Accessories / Merchandising
  • Betting
  • Training / Teaming-Up
  • Events / Tournaments
  • Streaming
  • and much more…

eSports report - statistics excerpt

In Newzoo’s 2017 report on the eSports market they predict growth rates of almost 36% CAGR till 2020 to roughly €1,3 billion globally. Well that’s not huge but don’t forget that the amount of market-players is rather small compared to other more mature, saturated markets. Following to the report, today the majority (51%) of eSports enthusiasts – that’s the frequent watchers – is in APAC, with a forecasted global audience growth of roughly 20% CAGR till 2020 to 589 million fans; thereof 303 million occasional viewers. An important metric in this space, like across the entire Media & Entertainment vertical, is the total revenue per fan. The US National Foodball League (NFL) – which is the most commercial league globally – generates €37,80 per fan. The average revenue per eSports-fan in 2017 is expected to be €3,15 and €4,50 by 2020. But there are big regional differences between Europe, NA, etc. So take a look at the entire report for more details:

To summarize some key takeaways, I would also like to bring in a few facts from Business Insider:

  • eSports is still a nascent industry
  • It is undervalued at the moment
  • Potential revenue streams are widely spread across the entire space
  • Traditional sport clubs have great opportunities to enter the market, although the markets/target groups differ
  • VR and AR companies are predicted to benefit greatly from eSports

If you are interested in business opportunities within eSports and/or eGaming, feel free to reach out to me. Same if you’re planning to launch an eSports/eGaming business or would like to discuss go-to-market approaches.

Cheers,
Sebastian

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality… and Microsoft’s great new Go-to-Market Strategy

The virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) markets become more and more interesting…and mainstream. Crosscheck here with Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies from 2015: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3114217 …and 2016: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3412017

Sure it will still take a bit, but I bet you it will go much faster, more common and longer-lasting than the (home) 3D market. You wonder why I’m so sure about that? Well, let me name the current players, and a fantastic strategy……the currently dominating market players at first, following a recent Business Insider report (http://www.businessinsider.de/microsoft-shows-off-hololens-power-2016-10):

  • Google,
  • HTC,
  • Samsung,
  • Sony, and
  • Facebook-owned Oculus.

(get some details about their VR headsets here: Google Daydream View, Oculus RiftHTC ViveSony PlayStation VR and Samsung Gear VR)

And now…the new kid in VR-town: Microsoft
Well, some of you might say now: huh? Microsoft? What about that Microsoft HoloLens?
Oh well, that’s an augmented reality headset.

Let me quickly get into some basics on VR vs. AR:
Virtual reality (VR) uses a headset to block the world around you and deep dive into stereoscopic, 360-degrees virtual worlds, to make you forget where you are and feel like you are anywhere else. Leading VR headsets are connected to a powerful gaming PC via cable, others use a console or a smartphone to display content to a user.

Augmented reality (AR), in contrast to VR, blends the live view of your real world, either through a camera or directly through clear lenses, along with virtual objects or animations put into/on top of this real situation. AR is able to analyze your surroundings and add content to it so that the virtual may seem interacted with the reality. This way you could see Pokemon Go monsters, or any other digital object, sitting on your couch for instance.

Alright, so we got that.

Now, what about Microsoft? Natya Sadella, Microsoft’s CEO, initiated a great strategic move: Microsoft is going to create a new, more advanced, VR+AR headset…and provide it to their partners for OEM business. Wanna know some of those partners? …here we go:

  • HP,
  • Dell,
  • Lenovo,
  • Asus, and
  • Acer.

You know what that means? Hm, maybe bundles of (all) new laptops and PCs with VR/AR headsets from Microsoft?

Plus, the current market players will continue to bring the technology to smartphones and consoles anyway.

So…the only thing left for mainstream is…?
Content!! (ok, besides a bit more hardware power to get rid of cables, and to improve the display resolution ;))

But yes, the VR/AR content needs to be created…and it will be…
Not only the applicability in private and business of VR/AR is much bigger than with 3D. Also, the invest is smaller.

Let’s look at some facts of that upcoming Microsoft headset – an excerpt from above mentioned Business Insider report:
Less space requirements. The devices will have inside-out tracking, a technology also introduced during Facebook’s Oculus event, that allows the headsets to track users’ movements without additional sensors. This means the devices require less room, which could encourage buyers with limited space to purchase them. Low price point. The devices will start at just $299, vastly undercutting many existing products from competitors, like PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, which can cost as much as $800.”

And what are some of the areas/industries leveraging VR/AR already and within the next few quarters?

  • Healthcare/medical, i.e. teaching students and realtime surgery support,
  • Media and Entertainment, mobile, console and PC gaming,
  • Travel/tourism,
  • Publishers,
  • E-commerce merchants,
  • Social platforms, and
  • …of course: Marketing/ads

So, now…content is key to attract more users……let’s build some… 😉

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki

Event Update – don’t miss the rest of the 2016 I4.0 event season…

Hey All,

You might have read my brief IFA review…here is what comes up next, and you shouldn’t miss if you’re in innovative technologies, like the Internet Of Things, Industry 4.0 or the Digital Transformation:

29th – 30th September | code.talks 2016 | Hamburg
https://www.codetalks.de
Popcorn, Nachos und Code! It’s one of the biggest developer conferences in Europe, and covers all important trends and innovations.

29th – 30th September | CEE-Economic Forum | Velden (Austria)
https://www.forumvelden.at
Future markets – Export, Digitization, Industry 4.0
The 50 most exciting start-ups from east and southeast Europe will be there.

4th – 6th October | IT & Business 2016 | Stuttgart
http://www.messe-stuttgart.de/it-business
It’s the most important event for digitized (and digitizable) business processes and solutions, and it unifies all IT topics of companies within a single event.
-> I will be there in case you would like to meet and network a bit… 🙂

27th – 28th October | IoT Day 2016 | Stuttgart
https://www.t-systems-mms.com/unternehmen/events-termine/detail/iot-day-2016/27/10/2016/event.html
Learn how to manage the complexity of Internet Of Things (IoT) solutions.

8th November | Digital Transformation Exchange | Cologne
http://dialogum.de/wirtschaftsgipfel/digital-transformation-exchange-2016
The Digital Transformation and IoT event with CxOs from all industries.

Let me know if you have other important events to add!

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki

Reviewing IFA 2016 – Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin

Hi All,

I was joining this year’s IFA in Berlin as one the 240.000 visitors. It was a great show, and was pleased to see so many (young) start-ups there.

In fact, IFA had 13% more exhibitors than 2015, and was the biggest IFA ever – at least from an “amount of exhibitors” point of view. 1823 companies generated a (potential) order volume of € 4,5 billion (for the digital natives: that’s the number when you have to flip your smartphone over to make the calculator except such a huge amount of digits ;)) – anyways, on average that’s € 2,5 million in revenues per exhibitor…theoretically…

What where the hottest topics:

  1. Virtual Reality – honestly…all over the place
  2. TVs …TVs…and more TVs…yes very smart ones of course
  3. Drones..in several flavors…and they performed great artistic air shows…
  4. Smart homes…and connected devices….
  5. …the rest where all niche products… -> but check out my next blogs on more of those niche vendors…

…and of course I will also do a review of latest VR and smart technologies, besides looking at some smaller start-ups’ technologies…

Stay tuned…

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki

Arriving in a Digitized World Order?

Hey All,

There was a recent IDC study (Advanced Workplace Strategies in Germany 2016) talking about the quality of workplaces, the generation Y – our millennials – and home offices. The outcome is sort of surprising for Germany: more than each 2nd company wants to create cloud-based workplaces. Why is that surprising? Well only 31% of German companies have a strategy for the “Digital Transformation”, following to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. So, either there is now a shift happening in German industry’s mindset or…… no, there must be a shift…hopefully!

So what’s on the IT agendas in 2017/2018:

  • IT Security (no wonder, right?!)
  • Modernization of workplaces
  • Lowering IT cost
  • Improved support of business (LOB) processes
  • Faster reaction to LOB requests

This all really plays into the same direction when you look behind it:
IT Security needs to be in place if I want to move to (more) contractors or home offices (or “everywhere-offices” which is the most important requirement to make millennials stay), and this goes hand in hand with modernizing workplaces (making them available remotely via public/private clouds). This then will significantly lower IT cost, and will drive instant, everywhere/day-round LOB support. Also, we see a strong trend of in-application support by context-sensitive (self-paced; so-called employee led) learning…well, if all users get guidance inside an application, whenever or wherever they work…then this will definitely boost performance and at the same time bring down operational IT costs……..I just wonder if all generations are ready for such a new business-world order yet…

Thoughts?

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki

THE FIRST 100 DAYS WITH A NEW COMPANY

Hi,

Today I would like to suggest the ideal 100 day plan within a new executive Position. Have fun reading:

Day 1 – 30 / week 1 – 4
Touch base, read & learn
Get to know the product, value prop, (leadership) team, internal processes, go-to-market, company vision and exit plan. Check the product market fit, product development & distribution, customer sales & success processes.
What is the status quo: what works, what doesn’t? How is the product (portfolio) performing per region, vertical, segment, sales rep, etc.? What reporting/measurement of performance is in place?

Day 30 – 60 / week 4 – 8
Listen & inspire
Talk to the veterans who are in the company since years and have a bunch of experience, and join the sales reps out in the field – so you get best insights on good and bad, as they are at the pulse of the business – at your customers – and can tell what needs to be kept and changed.
Meet with key customers to learn firsthand which demand they have, why they picked your solution, what competitors they evaluated or used earlier.

Form your vision (with rough steps; too early for specific details) and make sure the team understands it to march into the same direction, and they get to know your leadership style and you.
Introduce monthly status meetings with business-impacting KPIs, reported by the team heads – and also make clear how you want to be measured yourself. Uncover issues in growth, profitability and innovation areas.

Day 60 – 90 / week 8 – 12
Plan & act
Challenge the plan of each team. Can we get better? Reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC)? Increase margin and usage/users? Accelerate growth and innovation? Etc.
How can we exceed on all targets? Execute internal workshops, and derive action plans with more business impact.

Drive individual handshakes across all teams.

Day 90 – 100 / week 13
Check & improve
Review progress and adjust/enable where required…

Looking forward to your comments.

Cheers,

Sebastian Grodzietzki

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION – BIGGEST ISSUE TO CIO SUCCESS: TALENT

All,

The “Digital Transformation” is here, right!?

Well, yeah…more or less: Talent has now been identified globally as the single biggest problem for CIOs to achieve their objectives. And guess where the biggest talent gaps are -> of course around information -> and not surpringsly -> this impacts big data, analytics, and information management — followed by business knowledge/acumen. And you know what?: many of these gaps are the same ones CIOs cited already four years ago!

Please check out this great 2016 Gartner report on “Building die Digital Platform”: http://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/cio/pdf/cio_agenda_insights_2016.pdf

Share your thoughts…

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki

Lead Qualification 1×1

Today, we would like to focus a bit on the customer acquisition process – specifically we want to discuss you can improve close rates by high quality leads.

Lead management is the one piece, but without a great product showcase, presentation/sales assets, and the emotional connection to the customer, we will not close sufficient opportunities from the pipeline. (leads-to-sales ratio vs. leads-to-close ratio). So, the overall sales cycle phases, the used assets, the demo experience, and the people (presales, sales) which perform the sales pitch are of utmost importance, of course. But let’s focus on higher quality leads as input and not the outcome for now.

Since the lead qualification in many companies is still done by sales teams instead of demand gen or marketing teams, we might need to look at the skills of current marketing and demand gen colleagues internally to brief them thoroughly on a marketing lead qualification strategy. We might need to introduce a more stringent target customer profile specification inside the marketing funnel, so a filtering/segmentation happens in a secure way, and only the hot leads are handed over to sales teams, into the sales funnel.

This could also introduce a risk though because the amount of total leads which are with sales teams will decrease, and without closing better over mid term, the company might lose chances and revenue. Another risk might be that such a change from a scattergun approach to a tighter focussed lead approach might lead to a reduced pipeline size in some regions, and so sales reps could be starting to take much more of their time for lead generation (i.e. of net new names) themselves, and so they would be able to spend less time on customer intimacy which makes future up-/cross-sells more difficult, besides some other challenges. Hence, if the sales strategy leverages up-/cross-selling heavily we need to be specifically careful during the transition period, and also look into the opportunity management strategy.

This being said, to allow higher quality leads which are handed over to the sales teams, we need to:

  • Analyse and rethink the stages in the marketing and sales funnels:
    • what stages do we see,
    • which flow leads to fastest closing,
    • what stages need to be passed before handing over to sales teams,
    • execute lessons learned to uncover best practices,
    • etc.
  • Try to automate certain stages, actions and steps inside the funnels, like showcase/demo access, test system access, etc.
  • Decide on thresholds and indicators of stages, revenues/opportunity sizes, industries, etc. which proved to identify a typical (fast) closing deal
  • Pick events and actions more selective, be more focussed
  • Execute professional opportunity management by sales teams (incl. global key account)
  • Address buying centers more specific with potentially different value props than in current marketing and sales assets
  • Check and adjust partner go-to-market approaches
  • Create/execute onsite and online user group events
  • Spent more time on alignment and lessons learned across all stakeholders and regions
  • Etc.

Please reach out with any questions or comments.

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki

TOP GROWTH MEASURES – A FOLLOW-UP

Hi,

I hope you enjoyed our past weeks of growth insights.

I wanted to quickly add: What else should be in focus to achieve growth:

  • Set the right targets / make them a challenge
  • Recognize the top performers / make them feel like winners; they need to stay
  • Have a clear, easy to understand market positioning with strong USPs
  • Have a bold vision and mission
  • Ship non-disruptive product innovations / aim for “zero” maintenance downtime / make upgrades easy and fast to adopt by all users
  • The product roadmap should be strategic – mix of market/business and existing customers needs (what can be sold vs. what reduces support tickets?!)
  • Bundling and packaging with own and 3rd party solutions in a creative way
  • Pricing: are we compelling? Could we be more expensive? Which models and options would increase total revenues per customer lifetime (up-/cross-sell)? Bundle prices? Reseller models? …
  • Service portfolio: what do we offer in consulting, training, coaching, support? Enterprise customers, standard vs. premium offers?
  • Internal enablement: do we know and are we doing what/how we should? Best practices? Employee onboarding, updates, briefings (new releases, new sales assets, etc.), shadowing, lessons learned, …

Happy to get your thoughts.

Cheers,
Sebastian Grodzietzki