08. March 2019

The calm before the storm – or is disruption off the menu again?

Thomas_Wuest 1000px

Dear Reader,

When was the last time you uttered the word “disruption”? And what was the reaction? Most likely amused dismissal rather than raised eyebrows. Does this mean that the digital revolution is over? Is it the end of the world as we know it? Was it all just hype? Well, for one thing, a “Hello, World!” blockchain app is certainly not going to be a runaway success. But on the other hand, smart contracts that generate a digital identity and allow users to interact virtually, for instance to issue prescriptions, at the very least show the potential to make waves. Even if I consider Alexa something of a nuisance in my home, I still have to admit that the artificial intelligence hidden inside the box is quite impressive. And successful digitalisation projects, including a number designed by ti&m, have already made their mark on the Swiss market, too. lezzgo and the SBB app have transformed the customer experience on public transport, and banking customers can now open new accounts or extend their mortgages in a fully digital process. Mobile and e-banking are slowly merging into a single genuinely digital experience (see the interview with Markus Gygax, CEO of Valiant, on page 28), more and more people in Switzerland are making digital payments, and Zug Municipal Council is offering its residents a digital identity (see the interview with Martin Würmli, Town Clerk of Zug, on page 12). So there’s certainly something happening in digitalisation, even if it is not with the same momentum and speed that the oracles of trend analysis had predicted. Perhaps we’re witnessing a linear development, but it could simply be that we haven’t yet reached the tipping point that will trigger exponential growth.

At least this trend is giving established companies the time to take a bit of a breather and re-evaluate the situation. They can take a moment to think about how they interact with start-ups, the fintechs, insurtechs, proptechs and all the other techs that have been presented as the death knell for established companies. When it becomes clear that substance, experience and commercial power paired with high speed and a desire for constant regeneration are superior to looking for a quick profit to satisfy investors based on fragile business cases, then there will be light at the end of the tunnel once more. Some sectors seem to look like a frightened rabbit cowering in front of the digital snake, or else they’ve fallen into the trap of hectic and unfocused scrambling about. These days it’s far more a case of sit up straight, eyes forward, and prepare to ride the wave instead of being carried along by it. 

Trusting in your own strengths is the new mantra. Isolating yourself and protecting what you have are strategies of the past. The keys to success in the digital world are openness, collaboration, an innovative spirit and entrepreneurial courage. These are values that you need to develop and represent, not only within your own organisation, but also externally on the market, as ewz is doing (page 20). For the organisation, this means agility, collaborating across specialist areas, making independent decisions, and constantly adapting to the changing needs of your customers. In terms of market presence, doing your own thing when it comes to digital payments or rejecting PSD2 are not anything to blow your own trumpet about. Openness and trust in yourself

“This trend is giving established companies the time to take a bit of a breather and re-evaluate the situation.”

also guarantees that you will successfully adapt to new technologies. By understanding the functionalities of cloud computing, blockchain, and artificial intelligence, and grabbing hold of these opportunities by trying out the technologies – in the ti&m garage for example – you can turn the supposed threats to former business models into immense potential for the future. Far-reaching change is therefore still on the menu, and at the most the artificial word “disruption” will simply fade into insignificance once more. At ti&m, we look forward to continuing to work with you, our clients, to shape this change in the years to come. And we are also pleased to present you with another selection of visions, opinions, and experiences from renowned authors in the ti&m special 2019. May they inspire you to have open, exciting and fruitful discussions about digital transformation.

Thomas Wüst 

Thomas Wüst
Thomas Wüst

Thomas Wüst hat Informatik an der ETH in Zürich studiert und ist seit über 30 Jahren in den Bereichen IT-Consulting und Software Engineering tätig. Anfang 2005 gründete er die ti&m AG und leitet seither das Unternehmen als CEO und Hauptaktionär. Ausserdem ist er Präsident des Verwaltungsrates der ti&m.