The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 42

MANAGEMENT INSIGHT

We Are All Software
Companies Now
By Mike Walsh

"W

hat do you mean,
we need to be a
software company?" asked Lukas
Braunschweiler, recently retired CEO of
Sonova, one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-tech hearing devices. I
had just finished giving a talk to Sonova's
senior leadership team at the gorgeous
lakeside town of Stäfa, near Zurich. "We
already have lots of software engineers.
Are you saying that we need more?" he
continued. It was a fair question, and
one I had spent much of the prior week
thinking about, in a few unusual places.
How many software engineers do you
need to transform a company?
Actually, "a few unusual places" was an
understatement. A thick stack of ticket
stubs in my passport evidenced my
week's seemingly impossible tour of duty:
Brussels, Rwanda, Bangkok, Manila,
Hong Kong, London, Paris, Istanbul and
finally Zurich - all in seven days. Along
the way, I had some different conversations with leaders from a variety of
cultures about artificial intelligence (AI),
data and what digital transformation
might mean in a global context.
Here are a few fragments of conversations I found fascinating:
■■

Speaking with the leadership team at
Coca-Cola in West Africa, I learned
how their Nigerian division was
using sensors, data and machine
learning to discover patterns about
what a successful drink outlet looked
like, and then to provide location-specific suggestions for sales

42

agents on their tablets on how to
improve performance. For example,
the algorithm might recommend
moving the position of some bottles,
checking the temperature of a cooler
or using some provided discussion
points to introduce a new product.
■■ A senior leader from Safaricom, Kenya's leading mobile provider, told me
there are now more mobile phones
in her country than toilets or water
faucets. She explained that getting a
driver's license used to involve walking
many miles to a regional center, but
it now could be done entirely online
with the payment via their payment
platform, M-PESA. M-PESA, with
more than 26 million subscribers,
has become a kind of national digital
platform. Safaricom is now pushing
further into new services such as
M-KOPA, which seeks to provide
access to lighting and power to more
than 500,000 homes, with payments
also made via M-PESA.
■■ At the other end of the spectrum,
later that week in Paris, I had coffee
with Mohamed Marfouk, who is the
director of operations of the LVMH
Group, the world's largest luxury
brands conglomerate. We also discussed data, but from the perspective
of how brands might embrace digital
platforms to reinvent luxury experiences. Mohamed revealed that one
of my favorite brands, Berluti, might
soon allow its customers to follow in
real time as their shoes are handmade
and personalized for them. In the new
world of digital luxury, there is no
more waiting time, just an immersive
experience of purchasing something.

So as I discovered, whether you are
selling soft drinks or luxury handbags or are operating in an emerging
market or a mature economy, leaders
face the issues. What makes "being
digital" difficult is not deploying the
latest enterprise technology, but rather
orchestrating people, assets and brands
to reinvent the overall experience.
And in a way, that is also how I tried
to answer Braunschweiler's excellent
question.
"You don't need more software engineers," I explained. "There is a difference
between making software and designing
your company to run like software."
We are all software companies now
because the most valuable thing we
can create, protect and leverage is data.
"Being digital" is ultimately about applying the same agile, data-driven, iterative
approach that engineers use to design
software to do more interesting things
for your members.
Mike Walsh is CEO of Tomorrow, a
global consultancy on designing companies for the 21st century. He advises leaders on how to thrive in the current era of
disruptive technological change. Walsh's
bestselling books include Futuretainment
and The Dictionary of Dangerous Ideas.
Each week he interviews provocative
thinkers, innovators and troublemakers
on his weekly podcast, Between Worlds.
He will be a keynote at the NAFCU
CEOs and Senior Executives Conference
in April (www.nafcu.org/executive).
THE NAFCU JOURNAL  MARCH-APRIL 2018


http://www.nafcu.org/executive

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018

Conferences
From the Chair
Your Washington Watchdog
Advocacy Snapshot
Washington and Industry Briefs
Growth Strategies
Understanding Risk and Managing It
The Board of Directors
Best-of-Class Strategies for Retaining Top Talent
Executive Spotlight
Management Insight
Compliance Central
Inside NAFCU Services
From the President’s Desk
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Cover1
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Cover2
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 1
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 2
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Conferences
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - From the Chair
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 5
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Advocacy Snapshot
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 7
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Washington and Industry Briefs
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 9
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 10
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 11
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 12
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 13
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 14
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 15
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 16
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 17
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 18
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 19
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Growth Strategies
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 21
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Understanding Risk and Managing It
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 23
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 24
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 25
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - The Board of Directors
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 27
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 28
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 29
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 30
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 31
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 32
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 33
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Best-of-Class Strategies for Retaining Top Talent
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 35
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 36
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 37
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 38
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 39
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Executive Spotlight
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 41
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Management Insight
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 43
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Compliance Central
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 45
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Inside NAFCU Services
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - 47
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - From the President’s Desk
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Cover3
The NAFCU Journal March - April 2018 - Cover4
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