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Mar 26, 2019


Devon Watson and Thomas Karakalos discuss emerging trends in retail and banking services.


Blog: Services for a Connected World

Diebold Nixdorf AllConnectSM Services Transforms Bankdata IT Strategy

Diebold Nixdorf Website:

Podcast site:


Amy Lombardo:                           00:00                    
This is Commerce Now.

Devon Watson:                 00:14                     My name's Devon Watson, chief marketing officer at Diebold Nixdorf. I'm joined this week by Thomas Karakalos, who's our head of the services business in Asia Pacific. So Thomas, why don't you give us a quick background. Who you are, what you do out here. Fantastic to have you on the show.

Tom Karakalos:                 00:30                     Thank you, good to be here. So I've been with Diebold Nixdorf for the last three years. So prior to the integration with Diebold, heading the managed services business for Asia Pacific.

Devon Watson:                 00:39                     Okay.

Tom Karakalos:                 00:39                     My history, my background is deep in the systems integration room. So, heavy in tier one, systems integrators ... did a decade there, then moved into more niche kind of data storage security.

Devon Watson:                 00:50                     Okay.

Tom Karakalos:                 00:51                     Working in a global role, driving engagement, driving sales, driving project management. From there, a little entrepreneurial blood in the system.

Devon Watson:                 00:58                     Fantastic.

Tom Karakalos:                 00:59                     So then moved out, did my own thing. Still having in the background, but then it got to the point where I said, "Okay, next challenge." The next challenge was, Diebold was transitioning at the right time. Jump in really help move this ship towards services.

Devon Watson:                 01:11                     Fantastic, fantastic.

Tom Karakalos:                 01:12                     Yeah. So the focus is all about managed services, yeah.

Devon Watson:                 01:14                     Great and that's a perfect segway. And I love the fact that you have an entrepreneurial background because, as I look at how banks and retailers are going to have to navigate all this change that's happening around them, you need some entrepreneurial blood there. Because we're solving new problems, we don't even know sometimes what the next problem's going to be and how to kind of navigate all these forces.

Devon Watson:                 01:32                     So talk to us a little about what you're seeing is kind of the emerging trends in the services business in managed services and how our customers, in Asia Pacific in particular, are kind of looking at the partners, like us, that they have to help drive their business.

Devon Watson:                 01:48                     What is it they're trying to get out of this general shift towards services?

Tom Karakalos:                 01:51                     Well, as we know the whole industry is transitioning. It's transforming at the moment. So an organization, be it either in the financial industry or a retailer, is really thinking about, "What is core to my business?" There are so many moving parts, there are so many technologies and input points that they're interacting with their consumers, that they really have to take a seat of, "Okay, I cannot do everything, I cannot be everything to all men. I need to really focus on what is my core business and I need to trust partners that can come in and support."

Tom Karakalos:                 02:16                     So, there is a tendency and an increased tendency towards outsourcing, that's something that we're seeing heavily in the region. We're seeing it on two sides, we're seeing organizations that have never ever outsourced anything that are actually saying, "You know what, I've finally realized, take the whole thing because it really isn't part of my core business." And we're also seeing a lot of organizations come together as consortiums and think, "How can we drive the investment that we've already put into either solution or product or technology," to bring high utilization, a better card holder experience for their people.

Tom Karakalos:                 02:46                     So that situation is opening a lot of conversations with us because, from a managed services perspective, when we come in and give them a business outcome, that's exactly what they're looking for. So, they're great conversations what we're having.

Devon Watson:                 02:57                     Absolutely, absolutely. Obviously, that storyline around focusing on your core competency and then taking the things that are ancillary to that and pushing them over into the partnership landscape, right to those subject matter experts, like ourselves, that can take that on. It brings a lot of operational efficiency of course, but one of the things that I think is particularly interesting, and I'd like to have you add some color to this, is the agility that that brings, right? So in particular, one of the things that I know we're working with customers around the world on, is things like branch and store lifecycle management, total implementation services, things like that. And to me that's also the cost story and it's a lot more of an agility story. So, maybe shed some color on that.

Tom Karakalos:                 03:38                     Absolutely. Well, I'll hit the retail one to begin with because that's more predominant. So if you think about store lifecycle management and our offering, which is new store opening, this is something that is accelerating our customers' ability to go out there and actually dominate and participate in new markets.

Tom Karakalos:                 03:54                     So, even here in Asia Pacific, we've got customers, be it H&M, be it Decathlon, be it whoever it is, where, the fact that we're in there with a cookie cutter way of basically getting them from an initial thought on, "I'd like my retail store to be there," to an up and running VIP night, is painless. It's cookie cutter, it's risk free, and we can do the whole thing while they're concentrating on, "Where do I put my products? And which VIPs do I organize for that event?"

Tom Karakalos:                 04:19                     So, it is very much a risk component that they're able to shift across to a company like us that has done it time and time again, where we don't have those issues whatsoever.

Devon Watson:                 04:29                     Got it. I love that storyline because, to me, that's really taking your physical infrastructure, those branches and stores, and almost turning it into an as-a-service model in some ways, and ... If I think about how our customers are going to compete with online incumbents, right? Being able to take that physical distribution, that physical infrastructure, make it more agile, make it more responsive, change adaptation to the market demand, we can help them do that. That seems incredibly powerful.

Devon Watson:                 05:00                     So, we talked a little about the efficiency side, we talked about the agility that we're bringing to our customers ... Maybe give our listeners a just little flavor of what's new, what's top of mind. You know, what are you really gunning for?

Tom Karakalos:                 05:13                     Well, one of the big ones that we're really trying to head out there, in terms of being a forefront of power in the industry, is to give a complete end-to-end integrated solution to our customers. So, ATM as a Service, or Store as a Service is something that we're heavily pushing. We've spent a lot of time investing in building this offering in a way that is extremely robust, that gives you the flexibility that you need to deal with the nuances of each retailer and financial organization.

Tom Karakalos:                 05:36                     So, an end-to-end solution where they don't have to think about the asset, they don't have to think about the technology, they can disconnect themselves from some of those IT, technical decisions, and they can basically take the position of, "The business outcome we want is x."

Tom Karakalos:                 05:50                     We can assure everything, so we can give them the business outcome they need, but we can manage behind the scenes. Everything, in terms of how the technology comes together, how the software layer integrates with the hardware layer and all that kind of stuff, without them having focus on it.

Tom Karakalos:                 06:01                     I think that's something that's going to radicalize and really change the way that they go to market.

Devon Watson:                 06:05                     Got it. And, if I'm a customer hearing about this for the first time, it's a pretty new approach, right? They probably haven't heard a lot of other partners out in the market place talking about this kind of soup to nuts as a service model.

Devon Watson:                 06:19                     So, if I'm a potential customer thinking about that, who are the right people within my organization to bring to the table to explore that with us? Because it's a different way of thinking about an end-to-end problem and an end-to-end customer journey, and that's something that we've talked to the customers a lot about, is thinking about, "What is it you're trying to enable across the spectrum, for the consumer."

Devon Watson:                 06:40                     So, what's the right time to engage with us?

Tom Karakalos:                 06:42                     So, I think there are a number of people in both banking and retail, where, from a banking perspective, you really need your CTO, your CIO, a lot of that C-level. I mean, these are senior-level conversations that you need to have, right? Because it means that the company has to ... to make a decision as to how much it wants to hold parts of the pie that it will hand across to you.

Tom Karakalos:                 07:02                     So, having the technology part of the business, the business itself and having the innovation and information part of the business coming together ... They're the ones that we need to have that effective conversation.

Tom Karakalos:                 07:15                     From the retail side, it's really looking at ... the people that are involved in driving the expansion of that business out, and looking at, both the profitability of the stores but also the site location, the placement and the markets that they want to enter into. They're the ones that we want to be speaking to.

Tom Karakalos:                 07:29                     If you look at the spectrum of solution that we're providing, it is something that is soup to nuts. It's everything, right? So, a lot of times what happens is, you commence the conversation at a senior level, so that, from a vision perspective, you're seeing eye to eye. And then you see very quickly it trickles down. So it really means that we partner at every level of the organization, be it at a direct, technology level, at an infrastructure level, at a solution level. Even at a business vision level.

Devon Watson:                 07:53                     To me that's such a great way of going to market and engaging because, really, it's their team powered by ours, right? And that's just a great storyline.

Tom Karakalos:                 08:02                     Powered by Diebold Nixdorf, absolutely.

Devon Watson:                 08:04                     Fantastic. Well Thomas, thank you very much. This is a great conversation. Really appreciate the time. I hope our listeners are learning from these and look forward to seeing you again somewhere else around the world.