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5 Questions with Andreas Bettermann

14 December 2020
Ida Lorenz
Andreas Bettermann is a German entrepreneur. He has been working in the 4th generation of the family business OBO Bettermann since 1999. In 2019 he moved from the management to the newly founded board of directors with the focus on digitalisation and new business models. He also founded the investment company and operates within NewRock Ventures Holding, of which he is a co-founder. Here, the focus is on digitisation in the field of building automation, as well as the value chain in the craft trades. Andreas Bettermann is also active on numerous supervisory and administrative boards in Germany and Switzerland and is on the overall board of the ZVEI's Electrical Installation Systems Association.

What does digital transformation mean to you?

I would like to start with what digital transformation is not. It is not digitization, because digitization is simply changing a process from an analog to a digital form. With IP telephony, for example, people still make phone calls.
Digital transformation,against that, also means changing a process. For example, if you no longer need a car, because the app, GPS and intelligent algorithms make it possible to share vehicles with each other.

Where do you see the greatest potential that a digitisation strategy can bring to a company?

Pure digitisation can accelerate processes and raise efficiencies that were not possible in the past. However, the greatest potential is likely to be in the product and manufacturing areas, if a product itself can become part of IoT. In addition, disruptive opportunities in sales and marketing can also arise if it becomes possible for a manufacturer to effectively generate leads and track them to the end of the value chain.

How do those responsible manage to get their team motivated for the digital transformation?

This is only possible if you work on the issues together with the employees and all team members involved become part of the process. Many changes in workflows, processes and business transactions may overwhelm the individual employee. Therefore, those responsible also need some psychological and pedagogical competence at this point. However, this was never demanded in the job interview and must also be developed. The biggest mistake in all companies often lies in combining digitalisation exclusively with tools. SAP Hana, Salesforce, Microsoft 365 and many other tools are required without clearly defining the company's goals in advance. If you do not have an IT department that also acts organisationally, this can lead to high misinvestments and overlapping projects.

What impact does the digital transformation have on customers?

Customers benefit greatly from simpler processes. Product solutions can be configured in no time and can be passed on within the value chain without media discontinuity. Delivery processes become transparent, prices comparable, information available. All in all, this offers a high savings potential through digitalisation as a customer ... and again the possibility to detect a disruptive element yourself.

What would you recommend to companies that are just starting to prepare the topic?

I would urgently recommend that small teams first get a picture of all existing procedures and processes and also go the first few metres of optimisation themselves. Only when you notice that your own competence in the company is exhausted I would call in external help. That way the brand core and the independent doing is preserved. I have gotten to know companies whose managers actually only conduct project assignments and meetings with consultants, without themselves having an idea of what has been discussed. In other words: if you buy the latest car model, you should be able to operate it - if you want to drive it yourself.

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