Futurologist Joachim Graf: Companies still make too little of their data

This January the Virtual Conference “Software, Services and Tools for Marketing and Commerce 2020” took place. One of its speakers was Philipp Schlüter, VP Marketing of the Basefarm Group. In his contribution “AI, Big Data, Cloud – what do these buzzwords have to do with my business?” he explained how these three elementary factors are connected and what it takes to become a data-driven company. Reason enough for us, to ask the host of the conference, futurologist and iBusiness publisher Joachim Graf, a few questions.

Joachim, the Virtual Conference focused on “Software, Services and Tools for Marketing and Commerce 2020”. In the intro you showed where the journey is heading. Where to? What do you think are the most important trends?

There is a wealth of developments – from Headless to Progressive Web Apps. But I think the strategic meta-theme is the evolution towards truly integrated solutions. From backend to frontend.

How would you classify the subject of the cloud?

On the one hand, technical development is so fast that companies can only keep up with in-house software development, if they invest a lot of manpower in it. However, companies will only do this in the areas where tools and software are the soul of the company. Outsourcing makes sense where generally important functions are concerned – from appointment management and accounting to CRM, shop software or even ERP.

What about Big Data and AI?

I see the most important topic for companies is access to and ensuring the quality of their own data. The AI hype tends to make people forget that garbage-in always means garbage-out. However clever the AI used may be.

The path to data-driven business processes and business models is the central topic for companies in the coming years. But before that, they must do their homework and ensure their data quality.

Where do you observe the flaws in data quality? What do you think are the causes?

Almost everyone who talks about such projects on the company side complains about the difficulties. Whether it’s about personalization attempts that fail because of poor data, or internationalization projects that are delayed because, for example, product information is not complete or not available in the required national languages.

And how can this be solved?

You must invest money and resources in data quality management and give it a more prominent place in the company-wide food chain. In many cases, the issue is merely filled with the intern.

This and more was the topic of the now 31st Virtual Conference. Why this format?

Virtual conferences are the illegitimate child of a face-to-face event and a webinar. They combine the advantages of both worlds: They save time, costs and CO2 like webinars, but at the same time offer a comprehensive overview of a topic – much like a conference.

Who attends the Virtual Conference? Who is the format aimed at?

We exclusively address digital managers in German-speaking companies, with a focus on marketing and trade/e-commerce. These can be e-commerce decision-makers, agency heads, marketing managers, those responsible for digital transformation or managing directors in digital companies.

Thank you for these interesting insights!


Joachim Graf, futurologist,
iBusiness-publisher and host
of the Virtual Conference

This post is also available in: German