People, computer & Knowledge with Martin Wettstein – E3

Release date: 10 January 2021

CX Goalkeeper with Martin Wettstein – S1 E3 is about People, Computer and Knowledge Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Martin Wettstein

LinkedIn Headliner: Digital Strategist | Corporate & IT Strategy | Innovation Leader | Transformation Manager | Cyber security | Startup support | Mentoring

Martin was the former CIO of Swica and of Swisscard AECS GmbH. Actually, Martin is the owner of mcw-consulting.

Martin Wettstein is an innovative and strategy driven senior leader with over 20 years of front-line experience establishing new IT functions from the ground up, rebuilding existing departments, and developing and implementing best-in-class systems, procedures, and policies. Martin is adept at creating long-term strategies, aligning IT deliverables with business objectives, and supporting drastic business transformations and disruptions.

He strongly believes that people, computer and knowledge are key to anything happening in our industries.

Martin shared following highlights and a lot more during this podcast:

in general:

  • “yesterday’s innovation is today’s legacy and tomorrow’s straight fall”
  • “to create a good user experience it sounds very easy but it’s a nightmare to get”
  • “automation starts from the core and not from the interface to the customers”

about working from home:

  • move from “presence management” to “ result management”
  • we believe in people
  • we still need to feel sense and see people

about industrialization of programming:

  • “we will get it as a service”


  • “be always kind to people, don’t judge them, listen to them”

“be always kind to people, don’t judge them, listen to them” @ncx1701d on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

Martin’s contact details:


#customerexperience #employeeexperience #digitization #innovation #leadership

If you like more to read:

Gregorio Uglioni 0:05
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the third session of CX idea by Greg. Martin is here with me! Buongiorno, Martin.

Martin Wettstein 0:14
Hi, Greg.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:16
I was working with Martin at Swisscard and he was the CIO at swisscard. And then he moved in the same role at SWICA And since a while, he is consultant at his own company. But Martin, perhaps it’s better that you explain what you’re doing and what you did in your career.

Martin Wettstein 0:36
So after swisscard, I actually finished my MBA studies, because I learned hey, you need to continue to learn something. Um, thereafter, I did some freelance work I actually worked with a lot of startups are very interesting thing because they people at startups, they are always driven. They don’t have bad days, they don’t mingle around about legal issues. Okay, they don’t understand bookkeeping properly. And liquidity is something that’s not always clear to them. But the side of that it was great. biggest issue is, how do you make a business out of supporting them? Because it takes a while until you know what wins and what doesn’t. So I came back to Speaker of the House, the CIO for seven years. And now it makes the COVID experience, I’m just starting my own consultancy business, which is quite an interesting experience, to say the least.

Gregorio Uglioni 1:34
Thank you very much, Martin. It’s a really, really interesting career. Before we deep dive in the other topics, how can you maintain your work life balance, because it’s really important to keep an eye off of what you’re doing in your private life?

Martin Wettstein 1:51
Oxy, I would say it’s caring about people. It’s not only about business, because most web costs go directly into business things. And I think we should care for them, people are the most important thing you have. Your leadership helps them to grow. And it’s the most important thing, because at the end, we do services for those people, with those people. And it’s actually all around people.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:19
Sure, I fully agree, it’s a people business, we discussed in another CX idea being in human to human worth, where we need to collaborate, and therefore I fully agree with you, perhaps to kick off and to start, we are now in a VUCA world, everything is changing on a daily basis. COVID, but also quite a lot of other changes, what are the main challenges that you are facing in your daily job?

Martin Wettstein 2:48
Okay, see, on the IT side of things, it really changed dramatically, because seven years ago, when I started, they were happy when they had their systems from seven in the morning to something like 60 leaving. In today’s world, they expect a seven by 24. And God made less if mail is not working. These are one of those interesting, interesting issues that you have. If you digitize, you will have dependencies and that’s the issue, you normally don’t have control of everything, you know that from the court business. So you have plenty of people in the Met, that may or may not do the work for you properly. So this means you need to have a grip around you pieces, their pieces, and then to end view on how the systems are actually working. On the other hand, you know, build out ecosystems, technology wise, that’s easy, because you know, you just share data and probably your customers. On top of that you have all those legal and other interesting issues, like the question who owns that 40 partner at which stage so he says much more interesting. Now you need to be to bring those things together. On the other hand, the timespan you have to bring something to life is getting smaller. Actually, it feels like by the week and and the most nagging thing for me is yesterday’s innovation is today’s legacy. And might be tomorrow stressful of which you don’t yet know that you are going to experience interesting things around it.

Gregorio Uglioni 4:26
I think we have a tweetable moment yesterday, innovation is the legacy of today. Ah I think this is really a great sentence. I never heard that but it’s reality. It’s really, really interesting. Thank you very much, Martin. Perhaps I use three words people, computer and knowledge. What does he do this these words mean for you?

Martin Wettstein 4:51
Oh, actually, it’s the words that I gave to my consulting company. Because in German mentioned Computer Vision are the most important Knowledge. But going back to people, people are the differentiating resource. People make good service work. Experience is another very important component because you need to know what works, what might not work, and where some of those pitfalls are. And computer to me, it’s the craftsmanship that I once learned. So, good programming is just the craftsmanship, you can learn that. I’m tendentially surprised by how people do those things in our days. Because if it doesn’t perform, you just throw hardware at since in my days, oh, now the gray years come along, it was all you have to work on the code to be better, quicker and much more understandable. On the other hand, see, get any certainty that things pass along several times. I could give you an example of artificial intelligence. Starting this year, you read plenty of things about artificial intelligence now coming along being the silver bullet solving more or less everything being my age in the 80s. I already had those ideas around me it was called expert systems. I learned to program Lisp and prolog. And I was prepared for the revolution. Sounds like this, the revolution didn’t come, please. I learned two programming languages, which is good. And I think we are at the moment again at the brink of such a potential revolution. You remember, Elon Musk promise that by the end of this year, we have self driving cars. This year is still five months. And I doubt debates that self driving cars will just show up in winter, at least for Switzerland, work. And now we are at the brink of loving it. Do we now have a breakthrough? Or do we just have another AI winter like the scenery we have after the ages? And that’s the knowledge and computers in but again, people most important knowledge helps and computer craftsmanship?

Gregorio Uglioni 7:06
I think that’s a really great, great answer. And I like very much that you started with people. Because this this is the key. And this is really, really important. And also based on what what you mentioned earlier. It’s the view division, I think it’s important to have such visions like Elon Musk, what do you want to achieve and by when you want to achieve and basically then you face the real problems of our real life. And it can be in business, legal and compliance requirements that you need to comply with, or also people that are not accepting or going as fast as these thought leaders that we have. We have in our worlds, I think fully agree and 100% with you. Thank you, Martin, you are a writer, you have a very interesting blog brain tank. And I often read about the board some song duck, I think let’s translate let each Sunday Martin explain one word and sometimes are so strange words that I don’t understand what we’re speaking about. But after reading the explanation, then you understand what’s about. And perhaps you can start also making the connection. Why Martin find out these these words. And let’s say today, it’s not Sunday. For me, it’s clear, but the word today is customer experience. What’s your view on customer experience,

Martin Wettstein 8:28
customer experience, or as I learned to know it as customer experience management makes the difference in today’s world, it puts the customer in the middle of things. On one hand experience may may differ based on the journeys that we presume he should follow. And on the other hand, it’s driven by the business belief that like wants the customer what is a service promised and so forth. For us on the IT side, customer experience is the overarching thingy for a good user experience design actually. So in every good say CX is a wonderful UX. Issue is having a good UX sounds very easy. And it’s normally just a nightmare to to deliver. So UX is actually part of the TEKS and that can give you a recent example from Suiko where we saw de we have every single control we did everything for a good customer experience and at the end we learned something. So first application that we did was a you can make a picture of your of your insurance or have your invoices and send them to us to do so in the signup process we politely ask you about your insurance number. Now, we piloted it with the whole piece the whole insurance. Never ever anybody came along with it. Where do I find my insurance number? So We went into production. And the most asked question that often from real clients was, where do I actually find my insurance number? The answer that we gave? Oh, yes, it’s on your insurance colored. If you have ever looked at the insurance codes we had three years ago, you would see yes, there were five numbers. Now, it wasn’t so easy to know which one was the insurance number. So this was the most asked questions, the learning that we got this next time we test with real, real, innocent customers. So people working with your in your company are probably already biased on some areas. And the other thing that we did on the last stream redesign of the court, we now put that fancy number in the middle. Put the proper right in front of it. And since then, we don’t have that question. But in hindsight, looking at it. Did I ever imagine that this this cart, this question would come along? Because it was that clear for me, for all the people we had in the pilot. And again, we just failed gratefully and made an interesting experience.

Gregorio Uglioni 11:09
We are facing exactly the same problem. You mentioned that earlier in credit card business. Everybody knows the credit card number. But it’s something that we need to do to regulation not is we are not allowed to use that. And therefore we are always asking for the account number. And everybody’s asking what their list is credit the account number, I have my 15 or 16 digit, can I use them? No due to regulations. And therefore I fully agree. And I think you you mentioned quite a lot of really important topics, creating something for the customer. And then that you need to start with the customer and understand what is doing, what does he need, and what will happen in future. And then step by step, implement the journey, again, something that you mentioned, and then test that with the customer to get feedback and to improve them. And as you said, Exactly, this is the key topic, what you said, you looked what are the most frequently asked questions. And based on them, you improve the product quite quickly, in order to avoid discretion that nobody wants to ask not the company is weaker answering this question, because it’s let’s say so stupid. And the customer asking this question, say whatever I am various disinformation, let’s use it. I think that’s, that’s, that’s really great. And it’s also connected, perhaps to the next question, I would like to ask you, you are really a thought leader in in the idea it area. And we had an exchange several months ago, let’s say years ago, because time’s flies, and you spoke about automation. And you said something that really, really stayed in my mind, the automation start from the core of the system, and not in the interface with the customer. And perhaps to make the question with more understandable also for other people is most of the companies start automating at the interface of the customer, and they don’t have time they don’t have the business case, then they don’t have the resources, then to go back and digitize everything that it’s required in order to deliver a proper, consistent customer experience at the client interface. And therefore, you said the sentence that is in there, and I will keep it with me for the next few years. What’s What’s your view? And how is it possible to push this information, this mindset through and getting also the budgets in order to automate the process from the core to the customer interface, and not the way around?

Martin Wettstein 13:48
See, I’ll start with the issue. Now you have that fancy interface on the front side that does something fancy, I bet luck 100,000 clients sign up in four months. And you will have issues working that thing through the backend systems. How will the customer experience be rather bad? Now? We can arguably say yeah, but at least he had fun on the front side of things. Yeah. But then if we stick to the, to the invoices from from from the health provider, if he doesn’t get his money, he’s at least not the newest, to say the least. So you need to sync what’s the important thing the customer wants to get his money in the quickest possible way. This means you need to really have the backend side of things under control just for the sake because if you’re overwhelmed by by the by the the success of your solution, it’s rather bad. And you will have a lot of nasty letters to write and all those good things. So start on the back end. So the good news is actually those ERP systems normally have all those cases. because it doesn’t need so much. And actually, you just need to automate one case the case that the customer fields. See, because if we actually think it through on the invoice example, what would the customer really want to have? He wants to make the picture. And actually 10 seconds thereafter, he would like to know, do I get the money? Yes, no. And if yes, how much and actually on no salary would love to tell you, if you would have had this already insurance, we would have given you or we would have paid for it term, then there are some legal issues don’t get into that actually, we wouldn’t be allowed to do so. But for the sake of the user experience accesses, this is what he wants a 10 second response time on a mobile phone actually, just to make things a bit clearer. i It’s a nightmare. Tech technology wise, we tried it we are we will bring it down to probably 30 seconds, kind of which already means that we will say later on, we will send you the result of the investigation. So I’ve just because the control systems that we’re on are actually too big to remain in that focus, because the focus of the plan will be five to 12 seconds. End of story. Now, if you can deliver that you you’re really differentiating on his service side of things. And actually, it wasn’t 10 care if we take two or three days to deliver the money thereafter. Because he already knows the result. In today’s setting, he he knows the result when he gets the money. Because he gets something sent to him telling him you will get or you don’t. So that’s that’s why I always say you need to start in your core systems do those things properly, then you’re never overwhelmed. And at the idea of sending letters, due to too many customer requests, we were unable to service you properly. Whilst Yes, I liked the idea. Craftsmanship buys would be a nightmare for me just to cover it. We were unable to have the end to end automation. If you have a experience will be great customers will love you. And as usually nobody sees it. It’s like our in water. You always expected our important works. Have you ever asked them? What they need to do that is always work. So it’s kind of good crowds, which is my view.

Gregorio Uglioni 17:24
Martin, I fully agree with you. And if you think this in from a customer experience point of view, you exactly describe the experience of the customer, and what is the moment of truth. And that it’s not something that you need to delight the customer to create Wileman moments to give a free card or a free gift or something like that. But to provide in a consistent way as quick as possible and answer to the customer. And I think this is really the key. My question is, it’s clearly understandable what you’re saying. But what you are explaining is extremely expensive. And it takes quite long or longer than only doing the nice stuff on the client interface. How were you able to convince your CEO, or was was giving the budget that also this piece of work was required?

Martin Wettstein 18:17
See, see the thing is, it’s where proper IT architecture and proper ID strategy come along. You need to have a vision you must foresee where the business needs stable and scalable solutions. And they have just built something to have a try and probably just throw it away. Actually, the piece of throwing away is is is a nasty piece in by itself. But don’t let’s go there. So you need to have interactions with them saying where do we need stable and scalable solutions? And if it is delivering that solutions? This is always a costly thing. Yes. But actually not being able to provide the service cost you much, much more. Believe me, we’ve looked into it. And yet the thing is, it actually takes time to build up of a proper middleware system takes him two years now, we all know yes, if I want to be an egg and a cat provider in due time, you actually need to start it today. And the good news is you can split those investments over over a period of years. So if you if you plan a bit ahead have a good feeling for what might or might not happen. You actually get it a decent cost, the time frame will remain the same. But but but it’s going to work for you. What you must do at the same time is whenever you have commodities in your business, you should ask yourself, Do I have to make them buy my own? Nope. Because commodities can be bought and might be cheaper produced by somebody else than yourself. So he gives things away. On one hand, and You get new things or you capabilities on to you. So what differentiates you as an IT company? For an IT department, it’s the integration piece, it’s the provisioning piece, it might be some process pieces, because you’re probably the only one knowing what’s really working or not, you should have the incident process a bit under control, give you have a decent look into change management, it helps because that you know, where, where the things are happening. The last thing is, security must always stay with you. Because at the end, you’re you’re, you’re really responsible for it. And at least you want to have the fun of being responsible. And now this change is how you work the system.

Gregorio Uglioni 20:43
I think yes. And at the end, you are the owner of the company, you are working for the company, and the risks and the security is with you and needs to stay with you. Because at the end, then it won’t make you take the decision and take the right decision by evaluating all the risk and all the related items. I think that that’s that’s good, based on the fact that I have an IT expert with me. And again, going back to my former Accenture career, I worked for you not directly but in one theme. And it was usual to have a short interview. And I started the interview and we quickly discussed about this book that I know how to win friends and influence people. And I think from the 10 Minutes interview, we spoke seven minutes about this one. From my what I remembered, after that I started speaking about this book, you said okay, this is the guy wants to do ever my project. And therefore I started and and there if we speak about the new way of collaboration, and what happens with COVID, you are a really 90 expert, what’s your view? Are we going to work from home forever? Or what’s your view on that?

Martin Wettstein 22:02
Actually, first petal COVID Kate gave us work at home. A company cannot resist up to now work at home was always culturally seniors who see the elderly sea level people were saying oh, god I really working at home, aren’t they doing something else? Something different, something we don’t know. Or, or people say I can’t do it and two older now COVID showed us you can because with the options either to work at home or not work at all, everybody decided for work at home. So COVID helped us to push that thing through now is the decent risks that we have and the one major 50 distancing rules and all that good stuff. This means we will remain in such a state but actually culturally rose, what did you change, we now believe in people see results. So presence management has been replaced by results management. It should be much more of that. And those good things going on. See, I still believe you need to see people once or twice, just to feel them, sense them. view them. Because you don’t see everything. Even with my decent your camera, you still have those interesting things as you’re going through, or the side effect. You can you can do most of the things in video conferences. They actually have the advantage, just people which are interested will go into radio conference because it takes much more energy from you to stay to stay focused compared to you’re going to a meeting and sit there and relax a bit or go for the good food or whatever they provide you. So I think it helped and I think it helped also win friends and influence people because this is what it is all about.

Gregorio Uglioni 23:50
I think that’s that’s that’s great. And I think what you said, managing the result and the outcome and not looking at how long that person is sitting on at his desk or our desk. It’s key. Basically, while we are discussing that nearshoring offshoring that was something it was discussed 20 years ago, then everybody went for offshoring. Then they said oh, offshoring is not working really well. Let’s go back. I will argue for seeing another wave indirection offshoring and nearshoring

Martin Wettstein 24:23
See, have no nearshoring helps you to create code quicker. That’s the upside of things even cheaper. Because the friends in Romania or therapy or wherever, wherever you use them are financially cheap. What we learned by offshoring is that our friends from India are culturally a bit dispersed to what we are used to. So that’s why now nearshoring helps us getting getting better in it. But if you think it’d be true, if you really assume we are going to industrialize it or we are going to industrialize programming. Then what I see anything as a service? Why do I still need offshoring at some stage, I can buy those things later than we are, again, with my expert systems from the 80s, which might or might not come along again, that’s the interesting thing. But if you industrialize, you get those things as a service neatly plopped them together a patient, we already at once, and try to run them together, I still believe, yes, there are certain programming things which should be done here. Because it just needs a lot of interaction with the business. And t as long as you don’t speak Swiss German miss them. Or even English, now it becomes dangerous. You have those those careers that you don’t see the industrialization coming along, and we will see programming from all over the world being being the solution to it. And yes, again, it’s it’s in there for the factor of time, because you’re much quicker, where you can scale up and down much easier than with your own organization.

Gregorio Uglioni 26:02
Thank you, Martin, I fully agree also with this answer. It’s also a matter of fact, what topics you need. And how can you collaborate with these people being really in another country or being in another continent? That’s clear, it’s also a matter of culture. My second last last question, perhaps too close to certainly interesting discussion. What’s your preferred book?

Martin Wettstein 26:32
I’ll give you the one that I just read. Cool. It’s called “good services” done by a guy by the name of Loudowne. He was part of the team that did the UK Government rework of their websites. And he just describes all the things that we also touched upon. So like, why don’t we all presume what the client always have at hand? So like, ID cards, this number, that number? Why didn’t we tell him up front? How is good services actually don’t see three, it was really fun reading it, because of half of the errors or half of the experiences. He mentioned, I already made by reading, I save people. Now the other half of those experiences, and can at least make new mistakes. But if you if you had a bit of time, in lots of small chapters, it’s a good read. And you can obviously, if you have done one or the other of those symbols, or if you still have a chance to do one or one or two of them, but it’s a really good read. And I suggest to read it, because it helps to avoid mistakes.

Gregorio Uglioni 27:39
Thank you very much. And before we go to the last question, if people want to stay in contact with you, what’s your proof preferred social networking tool?

Martin Wettstein 27:50
see with my own company? Now, that’s an interesting question. I my preferred tool is LinkedIn. And yes, you find me under my name. And I’ve just I just learned that now I have roughly about 10 or 15 channels where you can reach me so use LinkedIn I look in there for use email. That’s that’s the other thing. What’s not working for me is if somebody drops me a WhatsApp message, because Oh, it’s a different device. It’s not connected to my computer. How could I reach you? but it works and again, good news, he is on my website mcw-consulting dot ch. You will find the “wort am Sonntag” even in proper English going forward. So all the guys from from London and South Africa will get it now in this the English. And for all German ones go braintank dot ch… Have fun, enjoy and add comments whenever you like it.

Gregorio Uglioni 28:49
Thank you very much, Martin. And you saw that I’m working from home, the home office, the phone was ringing. And sorry for that. But that’s that’s real life. And it’s why we are recording this one. They were last question, perhaps really short. What is the last piece of thought / Ideas that you want to share with the public? It’s something new or something that that you already explained to us? What’s your last thought on this?

Martin Wettstein 29:19
Be always kind to people. Don’t judge them. Listen to them.

Gregorio Uglioni 29:26
Thank you very much, Martin. This is great. And also to the audience. Ladies and gentlemen. It was great again to have you with us. I enjoyed very much discussing with Martin. It was really fun. And we had really some interesting topics that we discussed. Thank you very much, Martin. Thank you very much to the audience. Grazie mille, arrivecerci.

Martin Wettstein 29:48
bye bye

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