Wednesday, September 7, 2016 “When Otto technology plays an important role” – THE WORLD

Michael Müller-Wünsch, the group known as MüWü has spent the whole day in a CEO meeting. “Now comes the fun part of the day,” he says and teases with a staff member in the tech lounge on the Otto-campus where equipment and toys lying around to try out. On the screen, a Pacman character through the maze eating. “Can you manipulate so that there highscore: MüWü stands.” He asks

He could secure itself because the 54-year-old has already learned over 20 years ago, programming. But he leaves it in on the fun. On Wednesday, he sits together with other entrepreneurs on a podium of Digital Congress Kampnagel to discuss the challenges for traditional brands.

the world: a little over one year, you have come to Otto individual company to the IT new to structure and speed up the digitization of the business model. How was your first impression?

Michael Müller -Wünsch: I knew that it is a lot of work. But I also knew that one of the most impressive Internet and Digital Company would receive me. When it comes to digital transformation, not begins here in the primeval slime. Michael Otto, who has shaped the company for so long, has initiated the Internet age with the launch of 20 years ago.

The world: What measures have you introduced first

Müller-Wünsch: My first task was to determine whether the company is prepared for the challenges in the digital age. But I’m not having a pre PlayBook and precise instructions on how it has to run, come

The World:. what difficulties have you encountered

Müller-Wünsch: Otto is a traditional trading company that identifies always been strong with its employees. Today technology plays a crucial role. That means for me that I have to take the staff on this trip. This is a challenge that is ongoing. The second is that consumers constantly challenge us. For example, now ends up just over half of all visitors via mobile devices on Since we must consider how we can make on smartphone size a relevant offer

The World:. Can you explain how you manage to take people on a journey?

Müller-Wünsch: Just because Otto is a successful company, it is for staff not always easy to embrace change or alteration appeals the management team. I declare and therefore communicating much. One of the great challenges of executives is to provide meaningful work for people. In this respect, I spend a lot of time to conduct internal communications to educate and the idea that I have in carry, in this company.

the world: What is the idea

Muller? custom: My vision for Otto, the ‘Intelligent real-time enterprise’. A company that is constantly evolving by self-learning algorithms and improved and meet customer expectations in every moment immediately can.

“It must errors be possible”

The world: So that everyone probably do not immediately start something. Feel uncertainty

Müller-Wünsch: Yes, at the beginning before me, in front of me. This is also understandable. My little advantage is: I come from the Internet world, have sniffed digital Primal. I’ve done all my life IT, am a trained computer scientist and I know the surprise of many still quite good with technology from.

I have designed 25 years ago systems based on artificial intelligence methods and programmed. And so one is then CIO in a trading company. One who knows what “deep learning” is and knows how neural networks can be programmed. This is not quite usual

The World:. Is it in regarding the digital transformation is an advantage that Otto is such a large company

Müller-Wünsch: It gives us the chance to lift the necessary investments. To hold in our competitive environment, must also have the strength and possibilities, technologically try something. It must be possible failure. Insofar as the size helps only because of economic strength. Also here a total of around 1,000 people work on the campus in the various fields of technology. This gives us development and design options

The World:. corporations however, apply as sluggish

Müller-Wünsch:. It would not correct if I say that Otto is one of the fastest companies. It comes naturally faster in coordination and implementation processes, if you only have ten people in a company. In sum, seen we are definitely slower than small businesses, in relation to other large but damn fast

The World.: What really differentiates a digital transformation within a company of a normal change management process?

Müller-Wünsch: The digital transformation intervenes in areas from which it had previously never thought that IT could play a role there. We have to consider repeatedly and across all areas, how this can work. Luckily, there are always more people who embrace the subject technology, say I want to use that, I see the opportunities therein. So that the issue has been given a completely different impact

The World:. How do they encourage employees and their creativity

Müller-Wünsch: It always helps if you give people some freedom. I have fought in favor that we can no longer dictate so much of us meeting structures and formalities. We also provide creative jobs and formats in which you can paint on walls, in which one can be digital, where you can discuss intimate or open. We offer free space. And Space is also time above all. This often develop ideas and concepts.

“We are very pleased with our market development”

the world: change by working with Otto principle

Müller-Wünsch: We improve them. In that employees should see a meaning in their work, we have already spoken. We also want to involve them in decisions. With few exceptions declared as confidential all our documents for employees are accessible. Those who are interested in discussing what the management can see the position papers.

And in the future should the employee also make comments and can contribute even if they recognize aspects that were perhaps not yet considered. An employee can therefore then over several hierarchical levels provide input on a topic that is discussed four levels above him, perhaps not even to do with his department. We are creating a culture of trust and an environment in which we use the strength of the organization

The World:. They develop products and business models both in-house and in collaboration with start-ups. Is there the aspiration only themselves to work on the digital development

Müller-Wünsch: No, both will happen next. I think it would be narrow-minded when we say, could be everything myself and do better. To be so dogmatic, causes you follow rules. And by rules is still not an entrepreneur become successful

The World:. to speed up the digitization, we must also invest. When do you expect, earlier return on investment

Müller-Wünsch: they already do. We are very pleased with our market development. Last year we had ten per cent growth in the Otto-individual society, which corresponds to the annual turnover of many start-up companies.

We are a billion dollar company, and if that is continually growing and profitable, then one can say with complete justification that you do a few things right. Is that a carte blanche for the future? Certainly not. And yes, technology investments as they hover before me will accompany us in the coming years. But they belong to the business. They are used to shape our future. And to pay them off.


the digital Conference, which will take place from Wednesday to Friday at Kampnagel, dedicated to the question of how the digital transformation can succeed just in traditional enterprise. The theme of the conference is: digitization is team sports. be “We are visitors solutions give to,” says Oliver Hammerstein, CEO of the IT service Silpion and co-organizer of the conference, on the next mayor Olaf Scholz, the blogger Sascha Lobo and former national handball coach Heiner Brand Manager and digital strategists known companies speak , The “world” is the media partner.


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