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Nov 21, 2018


Devon Watson and Michael Engel discuss all things Connected Commerce. In this episode, both touch on the unparalleled services and technology that are essential to evolve in an 'always on' and changing consumer landscape.


Connected Commerce: It’s Not Just for Retailers

Exploring the Path to Connected Commerce

Michael Engel on

COMMERCE NOW (Diebold Nixdorf Podcast)

Devon Watson:           This is commerce now. My name is Devon Watson, chief marketing officer for Diebold Nixdorf. Really excited this week. We have Michael Engel here with me. We're in Phuket, Thailand, meeting with our Asia Pacific team and talking about all things connected commerce. So Michael, if you could please just give us a quick intro, tell us a little bit about what you do with the company. You and I bumped into each other all over the world. Uh, give us, uh, just kind of quick background, who you are, what you do.

Michael Engel:           Well, my background has been in suffer all my life more or less professional life, um, and in banking. So, um, I've been traveling around the world talking to different customers and my job is officially being responsible for our software sales globally in banking. But the nice side effect of that is that you can talk to customers and you listen to customers and having that privilege, getting so much knowledge from the different geographies and then being able to consolidate all of that and drive that back into our R and d organization. That is the fun part really of the job. So really getting to know what is happening in the market, where the concerns of our customers, but also see the different cultures, the different drivers in those markets really bring together that knowledge that we can then utilize and transformed that into innovations and products and solutions so that that's what it's basically all about.

Devon Watson:           Yeah. So you're, you're kind of a really important glue between the customer base and the product slash r and d organization, which is just a fantastic place to be in. You obviously are in a global role. So I imagine that you might have a fantastic frequent flyer mile account. Do you know how many miles he did last year meeting with customers?

Michael Engel:           A bunch. So accumulated there probably in the seven digit number. So I'm not truly sure if that's a good number. Yeah,

Devon Watson:           it's kind of like winning the, uh, the race that you never wanted to enter. Exactly. Exactly. Well, so this customer connectivity, right? The amount of time that you spend around the world meeting with customers. Can you give us a little bit of flavor about the Fintech Revolution? Right. So, uh, I think last year there was some like $26,000,000,000 went into financial technology, startups and innovation and a lot of the customers that I talked to at conferences and in my travels they're wrestling with how do they respond to that? How do they incorporate that? Can you tell us a little bit about, you know, what you're hearing around the world.

Michael Engel:           Well, I strongly believed that fintechs are positive disruption of our industry. The reason why I say this is banks are there to provide the element of trust which very good and very important. However, in the past you to regulations and also the tendency to stick as human beings to the known and that's also in business and the business processes created an environment where although bangs for very sound, organizations that were also very hard to move. And if we look into our society today, then technology has made an amazing seeing happen. And that is the cadence and speed of innovation that we see today. So if you look into the past then you had like every hundred years and major invention then every 50 years, every 20 years, every year, and now we're not talking years anymore. It's really down to months or weeks or even days when you see the new and next thing coming up.

Michael Engel:           So that speed of innovation at the same time is a very good thing because it's enabling us today was utilizing that technology. So just think about what you do today with your smartphone or your tablet in terms of ordering your ticket for coming here, checking in, organizing transportation to the hotel, getting recommendations were to die and where to stay. So you basically organize everything that took in the past couple of weeks to prepare that trip. You do that and a couple of clicks. So that enablement is what people like today, this is what people want, but that is also what they know because in every commercial transaction there's this financial element involved. Now expect also from the bank to support that. So this is the big challenge where now these fintechs are coming in and say, okay, here is little sweet spot and we create based on that technology, a solution for that particular sweet spot, which is good because that gives some or bring some dynamic into this whole world at the same time it starts a thought process within the bank to say, okay, we need to be in a similar way like those fintechs. So how can we embrace the results coming out of the Fintech, how can we integrate that into our own it environment and how can we even leverage our strengths of the element of trust being a sound financial organization and that speed of innovation and bring all of that together. That's

Devon Watson:           the real trick, right? So, so at a, at a corporate level, you know, we've engaged some different ways in this wave ourselves. So we're a, we're a member of Fintech 71, which is a selarator primarily for financial technology companies, uh, bringing together a bunch of different innovation hubs in the U. S we're also a member of workbench, which is a venture capital and startup, a innovation fund in New York City, and we're working with startup companies and large companies as well in R and d portfolio. Clearly. So, you know, we're engaged in it. The banks are engaged in it. When you talk to a customer for the, you know, for the bankers listening to us, you know, what would your advice be on how our customers and dibels next door can work together to kind of ride this wave navigated as partners?

Michael Engel:           Yeah. You mentioned the term glue in the beginning in terms of how we transform, um, so to speak knowledge that we pick up from the market and bring that back into our own organization. If I'm in a certain way, bangs need similar glue because on the one side they, they sit on a wealth of data and information about what we do as customers was any financial transaction that we execute. Well, leveraging that information is still yet to come. Um, second thing is you have all this existing financial, uh, information including the business processes sitting in different core banking systems, but they're very much siloed, so there's not much connectivity between data in one bucket to the data turn, another bucket, and if you think about the evolution of the IT industry is all about taking data, taking processes that are manual today and automate them and really bringing this together as the fundamental idea of what we do in connected commerce.

Michael Engel:           So we're kind of the glue bringing all of these elements together and bring that to the end consumer because that's the important thing. So how can we get better, more automated processes to a customer because to me it's beyond the traditional view of you have a bank and you have a Fintech, the Fintech as the innovator that shakes things up and let you think to innovate and to thrive. Now some of the technologies that are used in there, like the whole idea of the API economy, blockchain, all of that. These are just enablers, but these enablers go beyond the financial industry per se. It involves us as a consumer. It involves every solution provider or retailer or merchant that's out there because in any transaction we don't think banking. We think buying a car, getting a new house, I'm traveling to book it now. That is what we want to do and if this consumer customer journey, we need to involve a sort of financial transaction, whether that's buying flight ticket or whether it's getting the mortgage for the house.

Michael Engel:           If we bring those elements together through an API economy, that is what really consumers are expecting from us and this is where I also see as the role of the bank being that aggregator, being that glue and as Sdi service provider, we need to provide the frameworks, the components that make that process faster so banks will not start from scratch building that way. So they are looking to guys like us to say, okay, is there something in the box that is open source technology that are prebuilt components that are frameworks, that are tools that are interfaces precertified based on all the government regulations that you have from the world. Services that you can give me to gain more speed to accelerate, to be in the best meaning of the word. More Agile.

Devon Watson:           No, that's very helpful. And I think one of the things that I'm hearing kind of loud and clear, you know, talking to clients, talking to you know, our subject matter experts and thought leaders like yourself is this mind shift from thinking in terms of channel silos to now thinking in terms of more holistic consumer journey and how to enable that end to end and play a larger role in that kind of commerce supply chain if you will. Well this has been a great conversation. I always love learning from, you know, our guys that are out there with the customers on the front lines talking to customers around the world and I think that ability to take knowledge from one place transpose it on a global basis is probably one of the more powerful things that we bring to the market. So like kindle. Thank you very, very much.

Michael Engel:           Maybe one last word on that. I'm traveling around the world has two aspects to it. On the one side, you'll see all the variety and differences in the different geos and is important for us to understand that there is no one size fits all on the one side. However, there are certain similarities and fundamental elements that we need to provide and to really find a balance of how much standardization infrastructure of frameworks that can be reused globally do we need to provide, which is important for r and d organization, but how can we also be very flexible to put in the regional flavors, what is really needed in a certain society, in a given economical environment. I think that is what we've learned out of history that no, there is not a one size fits all, that we drive from the US, from Europe, from wherever into the world is really understanding the local needs while bringing that together in a standardized set of components and frameworks and that is represented in the whole connected commerce idea.

Devon Watson:           Fantastic. No great stuff. Really appreciate the time. This was a fun conversation. I hope. I hope our listeners are learning from these and uh, look forward to seeing you again somewhere else around the world. Thanks.