Challenge digital - it takes a change in culture, not in technology
This was one the most important lessons of the Wednesday's event called "B2B goes digital: Sharing European perspectives" organized by Luxembourg - Slovenian Business Club LSBC, in cooperation with Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Slovenia and hosted by CIP NLB. Over 80 guests from the companies from Slovenia, Serbia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands attended the event.
In his opening speech the Netherlands Ambassador, Bart Twaalfhoven, has emphasized that the worldwide web has made the world smaller, but it has also created new, virtual borders. The main challenge, also for the Netherlands presidency of the EU in the first half of 2016 lies in the removal of these virtual barriers between EU markets. To this extend the Netherlands presidency sees the Digital economy in Europe as one of its key priorities. The Digital Single Market Strategy is aimed at opening up digital opportunities both for business as well as individuals. It is composed of a long list of instruments which aim to make sure that you as a business can sell your digital goods services all over Europe. And that consumers can use them. But also that there will be a skilled labour force which is able to work with these technologies. On an EU level some of the key instruments include the tackling GEO-blocking (to apply the same rules for e-commerce throughout the entire EU), rolling out fast broadband for all, to simplify VAT arrangements and to abolish roaming charges by 2017.
He noted that "everyone now days in their professional work should digitalize - via the equipment, via the accessibility and opportunities outside one's office. It opens up the world and the connections further".
One of the key note speakers was Boudewijn Wildeman, VP Digital Initiatives, DLL - member of Rabobank Group who warns the companies about the most often trap when going digital. "When they digitalize, companies most often trap into an IT part. But it's a cultural change, not a technical change. It's a new way of thinking, new way of addressing business models, a new way of working. So it applies not just to IT, but also processes, culture, people, a new way of management." He doesn't believe digital will totally replace human factor in for example sales, but can contribute to humans interacting.
Which companies will win the game?
The other guest-speaker was Maxim Spek, CEO of ProSpex pointed out how important is to stay enthusiastic to sell and to improve. "Digitalization can help in sales and marketing, but the most important is to build up trust. To do that, you must share something - your knowledge", he says. Spek is convinced that in 10 or 20 years the systems will change. "For example, right now we are in a NLB bank, we could be in an IT company... and the most important asset they have is their relations with their clients. I think they're too much thinking still in their products, selling more products. I think they should value their current customer base more because the only really important thing is the customer base", said Spek giving the examples of RBNB or Facebook. "They don't have any assets; the only true valuable thing is a lot of costumers. So the companies should ask themselves how to serve their customers better, those companies will win the game in the future."
One of the guests Luka Ambrožič, Head of Sales & Global Accounts from Elaphe Propulsion Technologies Ltd. said that the "B2B goes digital: Sharing European perspectives" event connected some really interesting international keynote speakers with the best possible audience for exchanging experience and know-how. Hats off to LSBC, the Embassy of the Netherlands and NLB CIP for organizing such a lovely event.
He explained how his company copes with the digitalization: "For us, as a rapidly growing SME with solely global clients, digitalization and automation of our lead management is proving to be of paramount importance - and a great challenge in order to sustain our personal approach and keep on building trust with our potential customers. With so many tools and services available, it sometimes feels like the sky is going to drop on our heads. Fresh speakers with experience from leading global companies help us put things into perspective and reassure us that the journey ahead is a long-term one and that we have to take it step-by-step, constantly being agile. And most of all - we get relevant information about the tools we can use and gain knowledge on how to use already implemented ones more effectively."
That's why "since 2012, the LSBC are actively promoting and developing creative concepts in marketing strategies for foreign markets. The mission is to establish valuable contacts between Slovenian and Benelux companies for complementary projects and successful stories on global markets. This event was one important step towards this goal", said Iztok Petek, Chairman of the Board at LSBC.