How can the digital transformation of the industry succeed and what contribution can service providers make in overcoming the many challenges? Jörn Petereit, COO at Cloudflight, talks about this in an interview:
Mr Petereit, could you please give us a brief introduction to your company, Cloudflight?
Cloudflight is one of the leading service providers for the digital transformation of business-critical processes, products and business models. Cloudflight’s end-to-end portfolio includes artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and web applications, embedded software development, human-machine interface design, cognitive systems, and global e-commerce solutions for B2B and B2C companies. Almost 1,000 highly qualified employees support companies in their digital transformation – from the idea to the implementation and further development of customised solutions. We build on the experience of over 1,000 projects and the excellent expertise of our employees to be a flexible, reliable and innovative long-term partner for our customers.
Which digitalisation topics are particularly important to you?
Our focus is on the successful digital transformation of the industry. In our view, the value chain and the shop floor have one of the greatest potentials for digitalisation. This is where complexity often still meets analogue inefficiency – but this can be remedied. We believe in competitiveness and resilience through digital solutions. There are many perspectives and ideas, but we get to put them into practice, because this is precisely where they often falter.
Another important topic is the customer experience (CX): The user or customer must be brought more to the fore, because digitalisation is still mostly an inward-looking process that shows too little foresight. It is crucial to think in a customer and process-oriented way and to clearly identify the requirement so that the solutions fit. Measured against the everyday digital interactions of users, the bar is also high for B2B software.
In the field of AI, the value of data has still not been fully harnessed. Creating a data flow between the company divisions – keyword “platforms” – is currently one of the companies’ hottest topics. Making these applicable is then a further step. This is about forecasting and concrete process optimisation. However, for various areas of application in the industry, everyday public life or even in medicine, innovative topics such as NLP, computer vision, reinforcement learning, etc. are also particularly important to us.
Cloud native is the “sticky glue” of all digitalisation activities. We see cloud native holistically as a combination of technologies, organisational models and standards. It is about accelerating the speed of development, intelligently using new services and standards, and specifically customising and expanding.
What are the special challenges of your industry at the moment and how are you working on them?
The shortage of skilled workers is a major challenge. For example, Germany has around 96,000 vacancies for IT specialists. Also, the insufficient digital infrastructure is challenging, especially in rural areas, as is the roll-out of mobile communications and gigabit networks. There are further challenges in IT security, but differentiation and innovation are also becoming increasingly complex due to fragmentation and technical debt, hybrid working structures, bottlenecks in IT components or even in change management.
Cloudflight addresses these challenges and sees itself as part of this system, which is mostly subject to the same requirements. We are therefore also intrinsically looking for solutions. Basically, we work end-to-end and, in contrast to many other competitors, we can also map this in a really scalable way. We look deeply into the specific challenges of our clients, many of whom we work with in partnership for years. We then develop solutions together with our customers using customised software and continuously monitor the technical and content-related success.
How do you expect your membership in the eco association to support you in this regard?
In our view, the eco Association has two essential functions in this context: Raising awareness and tackling problems. The association is to draw attention to the above-mentioned challenges and collectively develop solutions that focus particularly on regional companies. In addition, eco has a community and networking function and creates new contacts, synergies and alliances between several companies – co-creation! Both of these are important in order to be able to meet today’s rapidly changing issues.
What opportunities does digitalisation offer us in the future?
There are multiple opportunities, including increasing efficiency, resilience and competitiveness of companies or optimising processes, for example through AI. However, we are also increasingly seeing that digitalisation is becoming a differentiating factor for our customers in their core business – be it that new product features are increasingly digital and/or entire business models are being digitalised. While those who rely on standard solutions and standard software here can gain maximum efficiency advantages, they don’t get to differentiate themselves in the market.
Mr Weiss, thank you very much for the interview.
Jörn Petereit is COO at Cloudflight and a proven technology expert with many years of experience in digital transformation. Prior to Cloudflight, he was Vice President IoT/M2M at Deutsche Bahn, where he was responsible for the implementation of cross-business digitalisation projects and held management positions in national and international companies. Jörn is also a member of the Board of Bitkom, Germany’s digital advocacy organisation.