Consulting X.0 – Networking. Digital Transformation. Convergence.

A review of the 2018 Steinbeis Consulting Day

The transformation sweeping through society, business, and technology, which is especially noticeable when it comes to digital solutions, is not just having a fundamental effect on companies, it is also changing different areas of business and technology consulting. Approximately 200 people attended the fourth Steinbeis Consulting Day, which took place in Stuttgart on June 27, 2018. The aim of the event was to look at the challenges posed to technology and management consulting by this (digital) transformation.

The first speech was given by Prof. Dr. Christof Schimank (Horváth & Partner), who presented the different guises of digital transformation and its impact on business models from the standpoint of a consultant. Thomas Hösle (Elabo) then took to the pedestal and gave a speech on Management and Technology Consulting X.0 from a client perspective by looking at the example of Elabo. During the second round of presentations in the afternoon, Dr. Ralf Finger (INFORMATION WORKS) offered an overview of the digital tools of Management and Technology Consulting X.0 and the ways in which its importance is now changing, also considering the factors consultants will need to adjust to in the future, plus how this is changing the nature of competition. In a talk given by Prof. Dr. Marc Drüner (Steinbeis University Berlin), an assessment was offered of “Networks and Platforms – New Consulting Markets X.0” by asking in what ways the interaction between advisory services and digital transformation is changing the nature of competition, also taking a particularly close look at the topics of big data and data transformation.

Four formats were offered for the interactive part of the event, providing an opportunity for guests to consider specific aspects relating to the challenges of Technology and Management Consulting X.0 and to discuss trends and developments. As part of a session called Meet the Keynoters, guests were given the opportunity to talk to the speakers and engage in conversation with other people at the event. The discussion, moderated by Klaus Jancovius, was a tremendous success and offered a chance for everyone involved in the event to exchange ideas, find areas of overlap, and forge new contacts.

The day also included guided tours of different Spotlight Topics, allowing guests at the Consulting Day to gain insights from the Steinbeis experts into current topics. For example, the Spotlight on the Industry 4.0 Transfer Platform showed how much emphasis is placed on actual business practice in leveraging the research and transfer potential offered at the universities of Aalen, Esslingen, and Reutlingen, which are also contributors to the Steinbeis Platform. Experts from the Ferdinand-Steinbeis-Institute were also at the event. As a research institute of the Steinbeis Foundation and a research faculty at Steinbeis University Berlin, they also fielded questions on a wide variety of topics covered by Industry 4.0 – from its impact on business models and business strategy to process models for successful transformation. The International Spotlight introduced expertise in the field of domestic and international funding programs, at which point the team of Steinbeis 2i answered questions from the audience. Two issues that came up for several Spotlight Topics were leadership and innovation. The Steinbeis experts at the event included a team from bwcon, which provides support to companies involved in the digital transformation process at all stages of the value chain, thus promoting technologies and markets that are key to the economy and society.

As part of another format offered during the day, a speedmeeting session, guests had an opportunity to hear more about three micro networks in the Steinbeis Network, as well as their partners: Steinbeis Consulting Group Personal (HR), the Steinbeis Consulting Group for Networks/IT Structures, and Steinbeis Expert Network X.0. Steinbeis Consulting Groups are networks of experienced experts with a focus on a particular area of consulting or specialist field. Expert Network X.0 is an alliance between component manufacturers in the field of Industry 4.0 solutions (connected manufacturing) and technology and management experts from the Steinbeis Network. It is seen as the answer to increasing levels of convergence between sales and consulting services stemming from “Business X.0.” The friendly conversation between the guests at the event and different members of the groups resulted in a number of new insights and personal contacts, as well as immediate project partnerships. During a “Makeathon” session on Design Thinking Essentials, Alexandra Hofmann (Innovation Academy, bwcon) outlined how design thinking methods can support teams during transformation processes, also highlighting how structures and processes in an organization can be reorganized. She used the session to give participants a chance to experience this firsthand with practical tools. A second Makeathon session on the future of innovation management, which was run by Ralf Haack (Steinbeis Digital Solutions) and Prof. Dr. Achim Walter (Kiel University, Steinbeis Consulting Center COMMIT), presented a recently developed Steinbeis Innovation as a Service concept, showing how the model can be used to master the current challenges presented by powerful, market-ready innovations.

After the event there was an informal get-together, which the guests used as an opportunity to talk more about the results of the highly rewarding day. At the same time, they watched the soccer match between Germany and South Korea at the World Cup Finals (not quite as successful as the rest of the day).


Marina Tyurmina
Steinbeis Headquarters (Stuttgart)