How does a major Swiss insurance drive digital transformation by focusing on company culture, new business models, and moving to the cloud? We speak with the Chief Technology Officer of Baloise Group AG, Dr. Alexander Bockelmann, to learn more.

In this conversation, you will learn about:

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann is Chief Technology Officer and member of the Management Board at Baloise Group AG. 

He studied in Germany and the UK, before completing his doctorate at the University of Tübingen’s faculty of geosciences. Dr. Bockelmann is a proven expert in digitalisation and transformation, and has many years of experience in the industry. He previously worked as an IT strategy and transformation consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and in various senior roles at Allianz SE in Germany and the USA. At the end of 2013, he moved to UNIQA Insurance Group AG in Austria in the role of Group CIO and ultimately became Chief Digital Officer on the Management Board.

This transcript was lightly edited.

Transcript

Transformation and the digital strategy roadmap at the Baloise Group

Michael Krigsman: We're speaking about digital transformation at a major insurance company.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Baloise is a $9 billion financial service company, a Pan European player in the European market. We are currently in five countries. The headquarters is in Switzerland.

As chief technology officer, I have the pleasure to be a member of the board at Baloise Group, being responsible for the IT function across the whole group and being, at the same time, the sponsor of our mobility innovation activities, which is part of our Diversify the Core strategy.

Michael Krigsman: Alexander, a lot of your focus is around innovation, digital transformation, and digital strategy. Why don't we begin there? Tell us about your digital strategy.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Nowadays, there shouldn't be a digital strategy. There should only be a business strategy. Ultimately, it's about what value you deliver to the customer.

There was a time when you had your business strategy and a separate portfolio of digital activities. Now, digital is part, essentially, and at the core of each of our business activities. That's why I think it should only be called a business strategy, which is IT-enabled nowadays.

Our strategy is very simple. We want to become a technology and, ultimately, data-driven financial service company that makes the life of our customers simpler and safer. The core and the name of our strategy is Simply Safe.

What does it mean? It's quite a simple concept. It's based on the assumption that engaged and empowered employees lead to happy and loyal customers, which then generate cash and successful return for the company and the shareholder. That is essentially the core of our Simply Safe strategy.

Michael Krigsman: You just described two aspects that I think we need to explore. Number one is, you said that you are an IT-enabled digital company. That's where you're going. Number two, you spoke about employee experience and customer experience.

Let's take these apart. Let's begin with being an IT-enabled digital company. For you, what does that mean?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: It means, essentially, providing an omnichannel service to our customers and always be as digital as possible but always human, as one of our CEOs likes to say. It means that nowadays the reality is that our life is not black and white, analog and digital, but we are acting across the boundaries of both environments.

What we want to do as Baloise is to leverage the innovation potential of technology to provide simple and value-adding services to our customers to make their lives simpler and safer. Nowadays, it means both in a digital as well as in a human capacity and environment. The combination of both, I think, is the key.

If you think about it, and if you link it to the other components, the key objectives of our strategy are three-fold, which pick up on that theme that you mentioned with employees and customers. We have three goals, which are to become the employer of choice in our upcoming strategic period from '22 to '25 and become a top 5 employer of choice in Europe because we think that empowered and engaged employees, as I mentioned in the beginning, are driving the success.

If you want to have a good customer experience, there is this famous quote that I subscribe to. "A good customer experience requires a good employee experience." That is where the two things come together and lead then also to the second goal in our strategy, which is to attract 1.5 million new net customers in that strategic period.

Employee experience and customer experience in digital transformation

Michael Krigsman: Kind of surprising to me to hear you speak this way about the business and employee experience because you're the chief technology officer. I think we tend to think about the CTO as being focused more or less entirely on the technology.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I believe that IT is always a tool to achieve a certain outcome. The outcome should always be the business capability and the customer value that is generated.

Obviously, nowadays, technology plays a vital role in both the customer experience providing new customer journeys and all the stories around that. But if you think about it—for example, we are the strong insurance player—if you think about a scenario in a claims setting, then you have different aspects where technology is very important but it's only an enabler for delivering the value to the customer.

One example is a customer calls into the call center. If it takes our employee five minutes to find the relevant information, you will not provide a good customer experience and you will have a very frustrated employee. Obviously, it's in our interest to create a good employee experience that they can very easily and, in an efficient way, answer the question and provide the service to our customer. In this way, the employee experience is driving the customer experience.

The second example is, the customer is nowadays exploring different ways to engage us and has different expectations. We use technology to address those expectations.

For example, I have a 17-year-old daughter. If I want to communicate with her, I can try to give her a traditional phone call, but that will probably not be so successful. I have to engage her in her favorite messaging app.

If that is the reality where many of our customers are acting, then this should also be IT-enabled. That's why, for example, we (from a technology side) thought about that and enabled the first banking messenger service in Switzerland, bringing safe banking to the messenger platform of your choice.

In the claims scenario that I mentioned, we also use SN KRONOS messenger-based communication to reduce the cycle time with our customers from sometimes days and weeks to minutes and hours, if you can do it via messenger. That's where the CTO part is very much about finding solutions to improve the customer experience and, ultimately, the partner and customer experience in that way, which links the dimensions together.

Digital transformation and culture change management

Michael Krigsman: How does this guide your technology decisions?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: People in culture are more of a little bit of the secret sauce of Baloise and are at the core of our strategy. You have this saying, "Culture is eating strategy for breakfast," but you could also say culture is shaping business strategy. In this way, we are linking the technology choices to the enablement of our workforce, trying to empower them not only from an authority and process point of view, but also give them the tools and the equipment to work with end-to-end responsibility for their services.

If you think about it, the target picture is a little bit using the microservice approach from a technologist's aspect where you compartmentalize different services and make them independent from each other. We try to do that also with service and product teams so that we enable them to be able to (in a self-sustained manner) develop their services forward.

Michael Krigsman: Elaborate on that because, in a sense, what you're saying is you're using microservices to support your culture strategy. How does that work?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We have, essentially, the concept or the belief that employees can drive the change process of a company and bring it up to lightspeed. The challenge is when you develop a change agenda and a strategy, often you have a very academic or analytical approach to it. You're essentially providing a good plan with deliberate choices.

You're touching the mind, but you are not touching the heart of your workforce. That's why we think, if you have a change plan, you need to have both. You need to engage your employee base also on the emotional side. That is a key activity in our transformation, which is essentially also a cultural journey.

Michael Krigsman: It goes beyond making employees feel good, right? I'm sure it sounds like that's a part of it, but only a part of it.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: It also puts them into to the driver's seat of the change. For example, at the beginning of our current Simply Safe journey, we developed a concept of "sparks," which is, in each organization, you have the informal leaders that are networked in the organization and can drive change and influence, opinions, and developments. We asked those colleagues to be part of our strategy journey and help us to develop the culture in which we would work.

For example, this Spark Community became a multiplier for our strategy work and delivered, for example, what we call our internal code of conduct, our Baloise Code, which then has obviously the look and feel, and the relevance for the employee workforce and is much more accepted and drives our strategy forward. It's not only about feeling good. It's also about taking the central ownership and responsibility, which is a challenge because it is an additional burden, right?

Suddenly, you've become a driver's seat. You need to make decisions. You need to take ownership, which might be not as simple as being told what to do. I think this engagement and this ability to create change is actually helping us to retain, develop, and attract talent, which we all know nowadays is very important.

Michael Krigsman: Digital transformation for Baloise Group begins with culture change and empowering employees. Digital transformation is not primarily a set of technology activities. Is that correct?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I would agree with that. I think you have multiple dimensions there. You need the technology to enable the ways of working and the capabilities that employees can work in a certain way, not to use the agility word but with new ways of working. In this way, to be closely connected to their customers and iterate in smaller cycles.

What I mean by that is, if you for example want to introduce new ways of working in the business and you do not have the technical capabilities to implement change quickly, then it doesn't help you to have sprints and all the creative processes on the business side or in co-created environments.

You need the technical capabilities. That's why we started our backbone modernization already a couple of years ago. We continue that with our current journey to the cloud to build the capabilities to support new ways of working in our workforce, but also to then expose these new capabilities to our partners and customers. in this way, it goes through all three dimensions: technology, workforce, and customers and partners.

If you only do one, if you only do front-end modernization, you will run into a problem. Or if you only do cultural change, you will run into a problem because you cannot IT enable it. I am of the strong opinion that you need all three layers to be successful in your journey.

How to link technology and business goals?

Michael Krigsman: What I find particularly interesting and unusual is the very explicit relationship between the technology infrastructure and the business goals, even expressed in terms of the culture and the working relationships. I've heard very few people make that explicit linkage in such a way.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: That, I think, is one of the unique components. That is also where we also drive, for example, our innovation strategy in that way. We include both the technology aspect as well as the cultural aspect to be also attractive for partners and external innovation (let's say) stakeholders.

For example, we built a track record in this way to work quite successfully with up-and-coming startups in a way where we try to act as a startup at that interface and engage on eye-level there. That helps us now to be an attractive partner in our markets for the emerging FinTech and InsurTech community. In this way, this investment in IT capabilities and our cultural capabilities is also paying off on the business side by being an attractive partner for all the developments in the new ecosystems.

Overcoming digital transformation challenges

Michael Krigsman: What are the challenges associated with this kind of approach?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We are a company that is over 150 years old. We have obviously a strong and proud history.

One of the challenges is obviously the megatrends in the market that everybody is facing to a certain extent, which is the changing socioeconomic trends and new customer expectations and behaviors.

But also, from an insurance and banking point of view, we have the challenges of growing regulation and of the very long-term low-interest-rate environment, which put also pressure on our change activities to reinvent how we work in this environment from an asset allocation and liability point of view. We also have the challenge of overcoming our internal complexity and also our technical debt.

We need to be very rigorous—we call it Radical Simplification—to focus our core, meaning we want to streamline products and services, and to reinvent how we deliver our business capabilities and our services to our customers and partners. That's where all the topics of customer journeys and so forth are in.

But also, we believe that insurance is coming under pressure and you need to diversify to be successful in the future. That's where our activities outside of the core in the new ecosystems and broader FinTech environments are happening.

The fourth complexity is the cultural change. That is not only the behavior part that we already discussed, but also the topic of strategic skilling and talent development, which for us is very important.

For example, we allow all our employees 10% of their time for continuous learning because we strongly believe that if you want to be successful in an everchanging and faster-changing market environment, you need to have a very skilled and up-to-date workforce to be able to help you weather the storms of current markets.

Michael Krigsman: In some respects, you sound more like a Silicon Valley company than a 150-year-old startup with what you're trying to accomplish.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We aspire to be an innovation leader in our markets. In the last strategic period, we invested $200 million in our investments in innovation, predominantly in the ecosystems of home and mobility. We want to even strengthen that in the upcoming period.

We also made it official in the way that we said, "Beyond our three core objectives of being a top-five employer of choice, attracting 1.5 million net new customers, and generating $2 billion in cash, we also want to generate an innovation portfolio that has a unicorn status." I always call the Portfolio Unicorn.

You know about startup unicorns when they have an individual valuation exceeding $1 billion. For us, the aspiration is that the sum of the valuation of our innovation activities by 2025 should match or exceed $1 billion in valuation. This shows you that we go beyond insurance, asset management, and banking, and also strongly believe in the opportunities given in the innovation and diversify the core aspect.

Michael Krigsman: We have an interesting question from Twitter. Arsalan Khan, who is a regular listener – thank you for listening and for your great questions, Arsalan – makes the comment, "Digital transformation can be harmed by preconceived biases of what technology can and can't do from both non-IT and IT people. What steps do you take to address these preconceived biases of how things should work or how we've always done it?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Apart from the bias, the challenge is that usually, people do not know what they do not know. The challenge, for example, with data and using data in innovative ways is often that the possibilities of machine learning-based analytics or other capabilities (natural language processing, you name it) are often not well understood.

We are basically following a multistep approach to educate ourselves and our stakeholders on what is possible and not possible.

One is the self-learning that I already mentioned. The other one is that we are also active as a corporate venture capital company with a successful portfolio of about 20 investments by now. In this way, we tap into the emerging streams of innovation—that are happening predominantly in the European and North American markets—to help us understand what is truly possible because we are biased by our legacy.

We are a successful company, but we did it in a way that was possible with the processes and technology of the past. We want to leverage the opportunities of the future.

We have the self-learning. We have the corporate venture capital arm. We have our open innovation network, so we tap into academia, competitors, and partners to help us better understand what is possible in today's world.

But you learn (every day) something new. You will never be safe from bias. You just try to challenge yourselves to look at things from different aspects to limit the impact of your personal bias.

Michael Krigsman: What are the kinds of metrics or KPIs that you use to evaluate your progress?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: These are predominantly our top targets. Are we truly becoming a top-five employer of choice in Europe? We are well on track to achieve our intermediate target of becoming the top ten employer of choice with regards to the financial service industry.

The second one is obviously the belief that if you do something right, you manage to attract new customers, which leads us to our second KPI: the growth of 1.5 million net customers in very mature and saturated insurance markets, which already implies that you need to also tap into some new innovative customer groups as well to generate that growth. Cross and upselling is not counting, so these are actually net new customers.

Then the external market evaluation of our innovation. If we achieve to become, essentially, a portfolio unicorn with an opportunity value of $1 billion, then it also shows that that innovation is basically on the right track.

These are three examples of how we measure success.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question or comment from Twitter – quite an interesting one. Khwaja Shaik makes the point that technical debt through revenue generation and cost optimization is crucial, but he's saying, "What about design debt, design thinking, the need to be thinking in a forward-looking way? How do you manage that given that you're 150 years old?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I think it is a challenge for everybody. I agree that we also have our iceberg of technical debt ... [indiscernible, 00:23:08] was always mentioning it. We are working on that, and that is also one of our focus topics.

What we are doing is that, from a design point of view, we are trying to follow this open innovation approach and also the co-creation with customers and partners to come up with new ideas and to better understand their requirements. But it's a journey.

Are we already where we want to be? No. we need to continue to be simpler and safer also in our thinking.

I always refer to it as basically the challenge of past success because you might be biased in thinking that your old approach is also the one that makes you successful in the future. There we just continue to challenge ourselves on a continuous basis.

The best way to do it, from my point of view, is to work in increments, get feedback, and learn from that. In this way, you get the external feedback which might rock you out of your comfort zone because what you expected the feedback to be might not be the feedback you receive.

Building an open innovation ecosystem with customers and partners

Michael Krigsman: It sounds then that open innovation, the ecosystem that you're building, all of this is very important to help the organization refocus and reshape its thinking. Yes, you have ties to the past, but you're also looking forward through these mechanisms.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: True, but we have a strong core in the insurance, banking, and asset part. We believe that there will still be classical insurers with regards to the need to insure perilous risks and emerging risks in the future.

The concept of insurance will still be there. But we think that the way how insurance is delivered is changing. It's moving more into an omnichannel and hybrid approach, from our point of view.

Having said that, we are also addressing those customer groups that are truly going into the fully digital mode. That's why we have incubated our own digital insurer in Germany (a couple of years ago) who shows basically a doubling of its premium volume year-over-year.

I mentioned before that we are on the verge of going into the next European market, and we are actually doing it with this digital business model. We are taking that digital insurer, Friday (by name), from Germany into the French market with the assumption that digital business models are easier, obviously, to transfer into new markets. We look forward to this new growth opportunity.

Michael Krigsman: The core of insurance remains the same. The goal of insurance remains the same. But would it be then accurate to say you're adapting it to modern consumer expectations?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: That would be a nice way of putting it. I would agree with that.

On top of that, we are essentially adding the two dimensions of our ecosystem's engagement (predominantly in-home and mobility) both to augment the insurance offering with a network of value-adding components where insurance might be an embedded product in another primary solution that a customer wants, or vice-versa. Also, we think that it's very, very smart to move also in vastly developing new and emerging opportunities like for example mobility.

Why is that so important for insurers? Because there is this concept of triple zero. That means zero emissions.

We are going to electric or hydrogen engines (sooner or later). We have zero ownership. We see more and more shared economy and pay as you go opportunities.

The third one is zero accidents. If you think about a world with predominantly autonomous vehicles, then the likelihood of collisions is diminishing.

9 00:27:31) What does it mean for traditional, nonlife insurers that are often quite heavily exposed in the motor insurance market? It means that a core component of the business might be melting in the foreseeable future. You need to find new ways of acting in this mobility space if you want to compensate the loss of premium due to the changing landscape.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter, again from Arsalan. Arsalan asks great questions. "How do you encourage innovation, outside of IT, among your employees?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We very much believe in the entrepreneurial capabilities of our workforce. What we have adopted is an innovation process that is called Kickbox. It was developed by a telecom provider here in Switzerland. Swisscom, by name.

We are using the process, which allows employees to ideate an idea. Then they get something that's called a Red Box. The Red Box helps them to develop the business idea. They get a little bit of resources, meaning money, to invest into the idea.

Then you have a quality gate for ideas to go into the next stage, which is the Blue Box, where you get dedicated capacity to work on your idea. You get a little bit more money. You get support from the organization with regards to sponsorship.

Ultimately, you might get into a Gold Box status where you go into the market. You develop an MVP. We now have the first examples where customer-driven ideas are actually leading to a spinoff of an owned business model and an owned company in our example in the mobility space.

We just launched a similar campaign in the home environment. Obviously, we hope for similar success there.

Michael Krigsman: Obviously, involving customers at the core of innovation is very important to you.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Customer engagement and market testing are very important, but also giving this entrepreneurial opportunity to our own workforce is very important because they are working in that market.

They know the customers. They understand their needs. They are very well positioned to develop very innovative new ideas, both for our core business as well as to diversify the core opportunities.

Customer satisfaction beyond traditional financial services

Michael Krigsman: It's a matter of both customer co-innovation as well as really encouraging internal innovation among your employees.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Exactly. That is linking back to the other question with the internal bias because we get challenged by our own workforce, "Why are we not going in a different way?" They can express that in this innovation process, which makes it very interesting.

Michael Krigsman: Now we have yet another great question coming from Twitter. We really get great questions, on Twitter and LinkedIn, from the audience. Pooran Kshatriya – I hope I've pronounced your name correctly – says, "How do you find the right balance between cost optimization and innovation?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: You need to be able to manage your cost base to create the freedom and space to innovate. The important thing for me is that you have some sort of continuity in innovation and some sort of predictability of resources. Otherwise, it gets very frustrating for the people who innovate if they run out of support along the journey.

Not every idea is fit for market in a very short timeframe, especially when you think about new business models that need time to grow. Then you need the stamina as a company to support them during that growth period if they obviously hit certain milestones and show progress.

At the base of that is getting your basics right. As a technologist now, we need to make sure that we have stable and reliable processes that the business is running, that we are there for our customers, and we need to be cost-competitive to be able to generate the cash that can then partially be reinvested into innovation. That for me is essentially the link between cost-effectiveness and innovation.

Quite frankly, part of our innovation is to become more cost-effective. In this way, you also have a relationship between the two.

Michael Krigsman: Okay. We have another really interesting and insightful question from Twitter. "Your strategy seems to contain an objective to become the host of an entire services platform in terms of the house and home. Thoughts on that?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: If you think about our financial core with the services, the home environment is relatively close to it. You need to finance a home, which might be the banking mortgage. You need to ensure the home, which might be an insurance product. In this way, those two worlds are closely linked.

What we also try to achieve there is to invest into platforms that are at the core of certain stakeholder groups in that ecosystem. For example, services for homeowners, how to modernize your home, manage your home. Or for building communities where you have different parties in houses, how they engage with each other, and with the owner of the location.

We do not necessarily need to be the orchestrator in all cases, but we want to have a seat at the table. Where there is the opportunity, obviously, we also like to orchestrate, but that is a very lofty and ambitious goal. It's more likely that (more often than not) you become a player in an ecosystem rather than the owner of the ecosystem.

Michael Krigsman: But for you, being part of that ecosystem with your platform is a crucial part of what you're doing.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Exactly. That is part of our ecosystem strategy where, in those two focus topics of home and mobility, we want to create services that obviously should and can link to our core, but that are also providing value to our customers outside of the traditional scope of insurance. That's why we call it our Diversify the Core pillar, which goes beyond our traditional scope to provide a network of services that are just creating solutions and not just products.

Those solutions should and can include contributions from other participants in the market because it's very unlikely that, in any ecosystem, a single player is providing all the value contribution steps.

Michael Krigsman: It's very clear that, for you, digital transformation is not just about marketing or some kind of veneer. How did you develop this strategy? Where did this strategy come from?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: It came from the realization that there is so much opportunity in the insurance space (and also at Baloise) to become simpler, to radically simplify our products and services, and also the realization of the quickly changing external customer expectations and market environments. It's essentially an adaption to the 21st Century with an idea and a business model that's (Lords of London) more than 400 years old.

At the core, as I said, the coverage of risk and being there in the moment of need is unchanged, but how it is consumed, how it can be part of a bigger solution, is essentially the evolution and the development that we are driving with our strategy to provide solutions that make the life of our customers simpler and safer in a more holistic way than a traditional insurer alone.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter. This is from Markus Tiede. "The trend to zero ownership and the sharing economy has been the core of modern IT for decades via opensource. Wouldn't opensource be a very good basis for building insurance ecosystems?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I think opensource, in general, is a great idea because it's the IT form of open innovation. I think the quality can be better. I think the value contribution can be better.

Baloise is already trying to be very active, and we have a number of employees that are extremely engaged in open innovation and opensource activities. We would welcome anybody who wants to collaborate with us.

We also are a fan of co-evolution and co-development of solutions in Switzerland. We have a joined core system for one part of our business with some of the other market players.

Opensource, as I said, is part of our open innovation strategy. We have good expertise there. We would love to do more.

The question is always finding the right partners to accelerate. If there is an opportunity to find new partners, please contact us. We are happy to collaborate.

Cloud strategy and digital transformation

Michael Krigsman: You spoke about cloud earlier. Can you give us an update on your cloud journey, where you are, and most importantly, why is cloud important for you?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Cloud is important for us because what we want to achieve is that we have scalable, reliable, efficient, and effective compute platforms (call them that way) or digital platforms that are just available and easy to use for our application teams.

Why is that important? Because we want our application teams to have the enablement and the authority to develop in their speed and own time and to deploy when they want, independent of a very complex infrastructure delivery cycle.

If you think about the opportunities you can generate with DevOps and, ultimately, business DevOps capabilities, you need digital platforms underlying that to IT enable that. That's why the cloud journey for us is so important.

Where we are in that (I call it) we have a Cloud Triple Jump Strategy. The triple jump is that we have a fast track for more SaaS oriented vendor cloud solutions, but most of our applications are developed not in a zero outage kind of way that leverage the capabilities of cloud environments because they might be a little older and were not intended to work in that environment.

That's why our triple jump is that we go into the public cloud where possible and where it makes sense. But we have the majority of our applications moving to private cloud, to bring them up to speed with cloud capabilities, and to then develop strategies if and when we want to move them into the public cloud.

Michael Krigsman: It's a progressive strategy with the objective, eventually, of being very significant in the public cloud.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Exactly. It's also slightly related to how we tackle the security and regulatory topics of that. But we want to have cloud capabilities as a cloud-first strategy for new applications and developments. The cloud capability might be private cloud or (to a growing share) public cloud in the future.

Michael Krigsman: What advice do you have for chief information officers to remain relevant, to grow innovation, and to grow their own value?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I think right now is the best time to be in IT and to be a CIO or a CTO. I think it's bonanza time with all the changes that are currently happening and all the opportunities that are out there, but also the challenges that need to be addressed, not forgetting what everybody had to do with this nasty pandemic that we have out there.

I think now is the time where CIOs and CTOs are more important than ever. When everything is on cruise control, you might not be that visible and you might not have the opportunity to influence change. But now, where there is so much influx and IT progressing so quickly, it's the best time to basically jump on that horse, enjoy the ride, and drive the change by explaining and showing how business capabilities and customer value can be realized with modern technologies.

Who is best positioned for that? It's the CIO, CTO, and their teams to explain that and to showcase that. Therefore, I think it's the best time to have that job.

Michael Krigsman: Okay. Alexander Bockelmann, Group CTO of Baloise Group, thank you very much for taking time to be with us again today.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Michael, I enjoyed it. Thanks for all the questions from Twitter and your audience. It was fun. Thank you.

Michael Krigsman: Everybody, thank you for watching, especially those folks who contributed questions and comments. Your questions are great and we love them.

Go to CXOTalk.com. Check out our upcoming shows. We have great shows coming up. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button at the top of our website so you can get our newsletter. It's a really good newsletter.

Thanks so much, everybody. I hope you have a great day. We'll see you soon.

Transformation and the digital strategy roadmap at the Baloise Group

Michael Krigsman: We're speaking about digital transformation at a major insurance company.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Baloise is a $9 billion financial service company, a Pan European player in the European market. We are currently in five countries. The headquarters is in Switzerland.

As chief technology officer, I have the pleasure to be a member of the board at Baloise Group, being responsible for the IT function across the whole group and being, at the same time, the sponsor of our mobility innovation activities, which is part of our Diversify the Core strategy.

Michael Krigsman: Alexander, a lot of your focus is around innovation, digital transformation, and digital strategy. Why don't we begin there? Tell us about your digital strategy.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Nowadays, there shouldn't be a digital strategy. There should only be a business strategy. Ultimately, it's about what value you deliver to the customer.

There was a time when you had your business strategy and a separate portfolio of digital activities. Now, digital is part, essentially, and at the core of each of our business activities. That's why I think it should only be called a business strategy, which is IT-enabled nowadays.

Our strategy is very simple. We want to become a technology and, ultimately, data-driven financial service company that makes the life of our customers simpler and safer. The core and the name of our strategy is Simply Safe.

What does it mean? It's quite a simple concept. It's based on the assumption that engaged and empowered employees lead to happy and loyal customers, which then generate cash and successful return for the company and the shareholder. That is essentially the core of our Simply Safe strategy.

Michael Krigsman: You just described two aspects that I think we need to explore. Number one is, you said that you are an IT-enabled digital company. That's where you're going. Number two, you spoke about employee experience and customer experience.

Let's take these apart. Let's begin with being an IT-enabled digital company. For you, what does that mean?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: It means, essentially, providing an omnichannel service to our customers and always be as digital as possible but always human, as one of our CEOs likes to say. It means that nowadays the reality is that our life is not black and white, analog and digital, but we are acting across the boundaries of both environments.

What we want to do as Baloise is to leverage the innovation potential of technology to provide simple and value-adding services to our customers to make their lives simpler and safer. Nowadays, it means both in a digital as well as in a human capacity and environment. The combination of both, I think, is the key.

If you think about it, and if you link it to the other components, the key objectives of our strategy are three-fold, which pick up on that theme that you mentioned with employees and customers. We have three goals, which are to become the employer of choice in our upcoming strategic period from '22 to '25 and become a top 5 employer of choice in Europe because we think that empowered and engaged employees, as I mentioned in the beginning, are driving the success.

If you want to have a good customer experience, there is this famous quote that I subscribe to. "A good customer experience requires a good employee experience." That is where the two things come together and lead then also to the second goal in our strategy, which is to attract 1.5 million new net customers in that strategic period.

Employee experience and customer experience in digital transformation

Michael Krigsman: Kind of surprising to me to hear you speak this way about the business and employee experience because you're the chief technology officer. I think we tend to think about the CTO as being focused more or less entirely on the technology.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I believe that IT is always a tool to achieve a certain outcome. The outcome should always be the business capability and the customer value that is generated.

Obviously, nowadays, technology plays a vital role in both the customer experience providing new customer journeys and all the stories around that. But if you think about it—for example, we are the strong insurance player—if you think about a scenario in a claims setting, then you have different aspects where technology is very important but it's only an enabler for delivering the value to the customer.

One example is a customer calls into the call center. If it takes our employee five minutes to find the relevant information, you will not provide a good customer experience and you will have a very frustrated employee. Obviously, it's in our interest to create a good employee experience that they can very easily and, in an efficient way, answer the question and provide the service to our customer. In this way, the employee experience is driving the customer experience.

The second example is, the customer is nowadays exploring different ways to engage us and has different expectations. We use technology to address those expectations.

For example, I have a 17-year-old daughter. If I want to communicate with her, I can try to give her a traditional phone call, but that will probably not be so successful. I have to engage her in her favorite messaging app.

If that is the reality where many of our customers are acting, then this should also be IT-enabled. That's why, for example, we (from a technology side) thought about that and enabled the first banking messenger service in Switzerland, bringing safe banking to the messenger platform of your choice.

In the claims scenario that I mentioned, we also use SN KRONOS messenger-based communication to reduce the cycle time with our customers from sometimes days and weeks to minutes and hours, if you can do it via messenger. That's where the CTO part is very much about finding solutions to improve the customer experience and, ultimately, the partner and customer experience in that way, which links the dimensions together.

Digital transformation and culture change management

Michael Krigsman: How does this guide your technology decisions?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: People in culture are more of a little bit of the secret sauce of Baloise and are at the core of our strategy. You have this saying, "Culture is eating strategy for breakfast," but you could also say culture is shaping business strategy. In this way, we are linking the technology choices to the enablement of our workforce, trying to empower them not only from an authority and process point of view, but also give them the tools and the equipment to work with end-to-end responsibility for their services.

If you think about it, the target picture is a little bit using the microservice approach from a technologist's aspect where you compartmentalize different services and make them independent from each other. We try to do that also with service and product teams so that we enable them to be able to (in a self-sustained manner) develop their services forward.

Michael Krigsman: Elaborate on that because, in a sense, what you're saying is you're using microservices to support your culture strategy. How does that work?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We have, essentially, the concept or the belief that employees can drive the change process of a company and bring it up to lightspeed. The challenge is when you develop a change agenda and a strategy, often you have a very academic or analytical approach to it. You're essentially providing a good plan with deliberate choices.

You're touching the mind, but you are not touching the heart of your workforce. That's why we think, if you have a change plan, you need to have both. You need to engage your employee base also on the emotional side. That is a key activity in our transformation, which is essentially also a cultural journey.

Michael Krigsman: It goes beyond making employees feel good, right? I'm sure it sounds like that's a part of it, but only a part of it.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: It also puts them into to the driver's seat of the change. For example, at the beginning of our current Simply Safe journey, we developed a concept of "sparks," which is, in each organization, you have the informal leaders that are networked in the organization and can drive change and influence, opinions, and developments. We asked those colleagues to be part of our strategy journey and help us to develop the culture in which we would work.

For example, this Spark Community became a multiplier for our strategy work and delivered, for example, what we call our internal code of conduct, our Baloise Code, which then has obviously the look and feel, and the relevance for the employee workforce and is much more accepted and drives our strategy forward. It's not only about feeling good. It's also about taking the central ownership and responsibility, which is a challenge because it is an additional burden, right?

Suddenly, you've become a driver's seat. You need to make decisions. You need to take ownership, which might be not as simple as being told what to do. I think this engagement and this ability to create change is actually helping us to retain, develop, and attract talent, which we all know nowadays is very important.

Michael Krigsman: Digital transformation for Baloise Group begins with culture change and empowering employees. Digital transformation is not primarily a set of technology activities. Is that correct?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I would agree with that. I think you have multiple dimensions there. You need the technology to enable the ways of working and the capabilities that employees can work in a certain way, not to use the agility word but with new ways of working. In this way, to be closely connected to their customers and iterate in smaller cycles.

What I mean by that is, if you for example want to introduce new ways of working in the business and you do not have the technical capabilities to implement change quickly, then it doesn't help you to have sprints and all the creative processes on the business side or in co-created environments.

You need the technical capabilities. That's why we started our backbone modernization already a couple of years ago. We continue that with our current journey to the cloud to build the capabilities to support new ways of working in our workforce, but also to then expose these new capabilities to our partners and customers. in this way, it goes through all three dimensions: technology, workforce, and customers and partners.

If you only do one, if you only do front-end modernization, you will run into a problem. Or if you only do cultural change, you will run into a problem because you cannot IT enable it. I am of the strong opinion that you need all three layers to be successful in your journey.

How to link technology and business goals?

Michael Krigsman: What I find particularly interesting and unusual is the very explicit relationship between the technology infrastructure and the business goals, even expressed in terms of the culture and the working relationships. I've heard very few people make that explicit linkage in such a way.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: That, I think, is one of the unique components. That is also where we also drive, for example, our innovation strategy in that way. We include both the technology aspect as well as the cultural aspect to be also attractive for partners and external innovation (let's say) stakeholders.

For example, we built a track record in this way to work quite successfully with up-and-coming startups in a way where we try to act as a startup at that interface and engage on eye-level there. That helps us now to be an attractive partner in our markets for the emerging FinTech and InsurTech community. In this way, this investment in IT capabilities and our cultural capabilities is also paying off on the business side by being an attractive partner for all the developments in the new ecosystems.

Overcoming digital transformation challenges

Michael Krigsman: What are the challenges associated with this kind of approach?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We are a company that is over 150 years old. We have obviously a strong and proud history.

One of the challenges is obviously the megatrends in the market that everybody is facing to a certain extent, which is the changing socioeconomic trends and new customer expectations and behaviors.

But also, from an insurance and banking point of view, we have the challenges of growing regulation and of the very long-term low-interest-rate environment, which put also pressure on our change activities to reinvent how we work in this environment from an asset allocation and liability point of view. We also have the challenge of overcoming our internal complexity and also our technical debt.

We need to be very rigorous—we call it Radical Simplification—to focus our core, meaning we want to streamline products and services, and to reinvent how we deliver our business capabilities and our services to our customers and partners. That's where all the topics of customer journeys and so forth are in.

But also, we believe that insurance is coming under pressure and you need to diversify to be successful in the future. That's where our activities outside of the core in the new ecosystems and broader FinTech environments are happening.

The fourth complexity is the cultural change. That is not only the behavior part that we already discussed, but also the topic of strategic skilling and talent development, which for us is very important.

For example, we allow all our employees 10% of their time for continuous learning because we strongly believe that if you want to be successful in an everchanging and faster-changing market environment, you need to have a very skilled and up-to-date workforce to be able to help you weather the storms of current markets.

Michael Krigsman: In some respects, you sound more like a Silicon Valley company than a 150-year-old startup with what you're trying to accomplish.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We aspire to be an innovation leader in our markets. In the last strategic period, we invested $200 million in our investments in innovation, predominantly in the ecosystems of home and mobility. We want to even strengthen that in the upcoming period.

We also made it official in the way that we said, "Beyond our three core objectives of being a top-five employer of choice, attracting 1.5 million net new customers, and generating $2 billion in cash, we also want to generate an innovation portfolio that has a unicorn status." I always call the Portfolio Unicorn.

You know about startup unicorns when they have an individual valuation exceeding $1 billion. For us, the aspiration is that the sum of the valuation of our innovation activities by 2025 should match or exceed $1 billion in valuation. This shows you that we go beyond insurance, asset management, and banking, and also strongly believe in the opportunities given in the innovation and diversify the core aspect.

Michael Krigsman: We have an interesting question from Twitter. Arsalan Khan, who is a regular listener – thank you for listening and for your great questions, Arsalan – makes the comment, "Digital transformation can be harmed by preconceived biases of what technology can and can't do from both non-IT and IT people. What steps do you take to address these preconceived biases of how things should work or how we've always done it?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Apart from the bias, the challenge is that usually, people do not know what they do not know. The challenge, for example, with data and using data in innovative ways is often that the possibilities of machine learning-based analytics or other capabilities (natural language processing, you name it) are often not well understood.

We are basically following a multistep approach to educate ourselves and our stakeholders on what is possible and not possible.

One is the self-learning that I already mentioned. The other one is that we are also active as a corporate venture capital company with a successful portfolio of about 20 investments by now. In this way, we tap into the emerging streams of innovation—that are happening predominantly in the European and North American markets—to help us understand what is truly possible because we are biased by our legacy.

We are a successful company, but we did it in a way that was possible with the processes and technology of the past. We want to leverage the opportunities of the future.

We have the self-learning. We have the corporate venture capital arm. We have our open innovation network, so we tap into academia, competitors, and partners to help us better understand what is possible in today's world.

But you learn (every day) something new. You will never be safe from bias. You just try to challenge yourselves to look at things from different aspects to limit the impact of your personal bias.

Michael Krigsman: What are the kinds of metrics or KPIs that you use to evaluate your progress?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: These are predominantly our top targets. Are we truly becoming a top-five employer of choice in Europe? We are well on track to achieve our intermediate target of becoming the top ten employer of choice with regards to the financial service industry.

The second one is obviously the belief that if you do something right, you manage to attract new customers, which leads us to our second KPI: the growth of 1.5 million net customers in very mature and saturated insurance markets, which already implies that you need to also tap into some new innovative customer groups as well to generate that growth. Cross and upselling is not counting, so these are actually net new customers.

Then the external market evaluation of our innovation. If we achieve to become, essentially, a portfolio unicorn with an opportunity value of $1 billion, then it also shows that that innovation is basically on the right track.

These are three examples of how we measure success.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question or comment from Twitter – quite an interesting one. Khwaja Shaik makes the point that technical debt through revenue generation and cost optimization is crucial, but he's saying, "What about design debt, design thinking, the need to be thinking in a forward-looking way? How do you manage that given that you're 150 years old?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I think it is a challenge for everybody. I agree that we also have our iceberg of technical debt ... [indiscernible, 00:23:08] was always mentioning it. We are working on that, and that is also one of our focus topics.

What we are doing is that, from a design point of view, we are trying to follow this open innovation approach and also the co-creation with customers and partners to come up with new ideas and to better understand their requirements. But it's a journey.

Are we already where we want to be? No. we need to continue to be simpler and safer also in our thinking.

I always refer to it as basically the challenge of past success because you might be biased in thinking that your old approach is also the one that makes you successful in the future. There we just continue to challenge ourselves on a continuous basis.

The best way to do it, from my point of view, is to work in increments, get feedback, and learn from that. In this way, you get the external feedback which might rock you out of your comfort zone because what you expected the feedback to be might not be the feedback you receive.

Building an open innovation ecosystem with customers and partners

Michael Krigsman: It sounds then that open innovation, the ecosystem that you're building, all of this is very important to help the organization refocus and reshape its thinking. Yes, you have ties to the past, but you're also looking forward through these mechanisms.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: True, but we have a strong core in the insurance, banking, and asset part. We believe that there will still be classical insurers with regards to the need to insure perilous risks and emerging risks in the future.

The concept of insurance will still be there. But we think that the way how insurance is delivered is changing. It's moving more into an omnichannel and hybrid approach, from our point of view.

Having said that, we are also addressing those customer groups that are truly going into the fully digital mode. That's why we have incubated our own digital insurer in Germany (a couple of years ago) who shows basically a doubling of its premium volume year-over-year.

I mentioned before that we are on the verge of going into the next European market, and we are actually doing it with this digital business model. We are taking that digital insurer, Friday (by name), from Germany into the French market with the assumption that digital business models are easier, obviously, to transfer into new markets. We look forward to this new growth opportunity.

Michael Krigsman: The core of insurance remains the same. The goal of insurance remains the same. But would it be then accurate to say you're adapting it to modern consumer expectations?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: That would be a nice way of putting it. I would agree with that.

On top of that, we are essentially adding the two dimensions of our ecosystem's engagement (predominantly in-home and mobility) both to augment the insurance offering with a network of value-adding components where insurance might be an embedded product in another primary solution that a customer wants, or vice-versa. Also, we think that it's very, very smart to move also in vastly developing new and emerging opportunities like for example mobility.

Why is that so important for insurers? Because there is this concept of triple zero. That means zero emissions.

We are going to electric or hydrogen engines (sooner or later). We have zero ownership. We see more and more shared economy and pay as you go opportunities.

The third one is zero accidents. If you think about a world with predominantly autonomous vehicles, then the likelihood of collisions is diminishing.

9 00:27:31) What does it mean for traditional, nonlife insurers that are often quite heavily exposed in the motor insurance market? It means that a core component of the business might be melting in the foreseeable future. You need to find new ways of acting in this mobility space if you want to compensate the loss of premium due to the changing landscape.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter, again from Arsalan. Arsalan asks great questions. "How do you encourage innovation, outside of IT, among your employees?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: We very much believe in the entrepreneurial capabilities of our workforce. What we have adopted is an innovation process that is called Kickbox. It was developed by a telecom provider here in Switzerland. Swisscom, by name.

We are using the process, which allows employees to ideate an idea. Then they get something that's called a Red Box. The Red Box helps them to develop the business idea. They get a little bit of resources, meaning money, to invest into the idea.

Then you have a quality gate for ideas to go into the next stage, which is the Blue Box, where you get dedicated capacity to work on your idea. You get a little bit more money. You get support from the organization with regards to sponsorship.

Ultimately, you might get into a Gold Box status where you go into the market. You develop an MVP. We now have the first examples where customer-driven ideas are actually leading to a spinoff of an owned business model and an owned company in our example in the mobility space.

We just launched a similar campaign in the home environment. Obviously, we hope for similar success there.

Michael Krigsman: Obviously, involving customers at the core of innovation is very important to you.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Customer engagement and market testing are very important, but also giving this entrepreneurial opportunity to our own workforce is very important because they are working in that market.

They know the customers. They understand their needs. They are very well positioned to develop very innovative new ideas, both for our core business as well as to diversify the core opportunities.

Customer satisfaction beyond traditional financial services

Michael Krigsman: It's a matter of both customer co-innovation as well as really encouraging internal innovation among your employees.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Exactly. That is linking back to the other question with the internal bias because we get challenged by our own workforce, "Why are we not going in a different way?" They can express that in this innovation process, which makes it very interesting.

Michael Krigsman: Now we have yet another great question coming from Twitter. We really get great questions, on Twitter and LinkedIn, from the audience. Pooran Kshatriya – I hope I've pronounced your name correctly – says, "How do you find the right balance between cost optimization and innovation?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: You need to be able to manage your cost base to create the freedom and space to innovate. The important thing for me is that you have some sort of continuity in innovation and some sort of predictability of resources. Otherwise, it gets very frustrating for the people who innovate if they run out of support along the journey.

Not every idea is fit for market in a very short timeframe, especially when you think about new business models that need time to grow. Then you need the stamina as a company to support them during that growth period if they obviously hit certain milestones and show progress.

At the base of that is getting your basics right. As a technologist now, we need to make sure that we have stable and reliable processes that the business is running, that we are there for our customers, and we need to be cost-competitive to be able to generate the cash that can then partially be reinvested into innovation. That for me is essentially the link between cost-effectiveness and innovation.

Quite frankly, part of our innovation is to become more cost-effective. In this way, you also have a relationship between the two.

Michael Krigsman: Okay. We have another really interesting and insightful question from Twitter. "Your strategy seems to contain an objective to become the host of an entire services platform in terms of the house and home. Thoughts on that?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: If you think about our financial core with the services, the home environment is relatively close to it. You need to finance a home, which might be the banking mortgage. You need to ensure the home, which might be an insurance product. In this way, those two worlds are closely linked.

What we also try to achieve there is to invest into platforms that are at the core of certain stakeholder groups in that ecosystem. For example, services for homeowners, how to modernize your home, manage your home. Or for building communities where you have different parties in houses, how they engage with each other, and with the owner of the location.

We do not necessarily need to be the orchestrator in all cases, but we want to have a seat at the table. Where there is the opportunity, obviously, we also like to orchestrate, but that is a very lofty and ambitious goal. It's more likely that (more often than not) you become a player in an ecosystem rather than the owner of the ecosystem.

Michael Krigsman: But for you, being part of that ecosystem with your platform is a crucial part of what you're doing.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Exactly. That is part of our ecosystem strategy where, in those two focus topics of home and mobility, we want to create services that obviously should and can link to our core, but that are also providing value to our customers outside of the traditional scope of insurance. That's why we call it our Diversify the Core pillar, which goes beyond our traditional scope to provide a network of services that are just creating solutions and not just products.

Those solutions should and can include contributions from other participants in the market because it's very unlikely that, in any ecosystem, a single player is providing all the value contribution steps.

Michael Krigsman: It's very clear that, for you, digital transformation is not just about marketing or some kind of veneer. How did you develop this strategy? Where did this strategy come from?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: It came from the realization that there is so much opportunity in the insurance space (and also at Baloise) to become simpler, to radically simplify our products and services, and also the realization of the quickly changing external customer expectations and market environments. It's essentially an adaption to the 21st Century with an idea and a business model that's (Lords of London) more than 400 years old.

At the core, as I said, the coverage of risk and being there in the moment of need is unchanged, but how it is consumed, how it can be part of a bigger solution, is essentially the evolution and the development that we are driving with our strategy to provide solutions that make the life of our customers simpler and safer in a more holistic way than a traditional insurer alone.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question from Twitter. This is from Markus Tiede. "The trend to zero ownership and the sharing economy has been the core of modern IT for decades via opensource. Wouldn't opensource be a very good basis for building insurance ecosystems?"

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I think opensource, in general, is a great idea because it's the IT form of open innovation. I think the quality can be better. I think the value contribution can be better.

Baloise is already trying to be very active, and we have a number of employees that are extremely engaged in open innovation and opensource activities. We would welcome anybody who wants to collaborate with us.

We also are a fan of co-evolution and co-development of solutions in Switzerland. We have a joined core system for one part of our business with some of the other market players.

Opensource, as I said, is part of our open innovation strategy. We have good expertise there. We would love to do more.

The question is always finding the right partners to accelerate. If there is an opportunity to find new partners, please contact us. We are happy to collaborate.

Cloud strategy and digital transformation

Michael Krigsman: You spoke about cloud earlier. Can you give us an update on your cloud journey, where you are, and most importantly, why is cloud important for you?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Cloud is important for us because what we want to achieve is that we have scalable, reliable, efficient, and effective compute platforms (call them that way) or digital platforms that are just available and easy to use for our application teams.

Why is that important? Because we want our application teams to have the enablement and the authority to develop in their speed and own time and to deploy when they want, independent of a very complex infrastructure delivery cycle.

If you think about the opportunities you can generate with DevOps and, ultimately, business DevOps capabilities, you need digital platforms underlying that to IT enable that. That's why the cloud journey for us is so important.

Where we are in that (I call it) we have a Cloud Triple Jump Strategy. The triple jump is that we have a fast track for more SaaS oriented vendor cloud solutions, but most of our applications are developed not in a zero outage kind of way that leverage the capabilities of cloud environments because they might be a little older and were not intended to work in that environment.

That's why our triple jump is that we go into the public cloud where possible and where it makes sense. But we have the majority of our applications moving to private cloud, to bring them up to speed with cloud capabilities, and to then develop strategies if and when we want to move them into the public cloud.

Michael Krigsman: It's a progressive strategy with the objective, eventually, of being very significant in the public cloud.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Exactly. It's also slightly related to how we tackle the security and regulatory topics of that. But we want to have cloud capabilities as a cloud-first strategy for new applications and developments. The cloud capability might be private cloud or (to a growing share) public cloud in the future.

Michael Krigsman: What advice do you have for chief information officers to remain relevant, to grow innovation, and to grow their own value?

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: I think right now is the best time to be in IT and to be a CIO or a CTO. I think it's bonanza time with all the changes that are currently happening and all the opportunities that are out there, but also the challenges that need to be addressed, not forgetting what everybody had to do with this nasty pandemic that we have out there.

I think now is the time where CIOs and CTOs are more important than ever. When everything is on cruise control, you might not be that visible and you might not have the opportunity to influence change. But now, where there is so much influx and IT progressing so quickly, it's the best time to basically jump on that horse, enjoy the ride, and drive the change by explaining and showing how business capabilities and customer value can be realized with modern technologies.

Who is best positioned for that? It's the CIO, CTO, and their teams to explain that and to showcase that. Therefore, I think it's the best time to have that job.

Michael Krigsman: Okay. Alexander Bockelmann, Group CTO of Baloise Group, thank you very much for taking time to be with us again today.

Dr. Alexander Bockelmann: Michael, I enjoyed it. Thanks for all the questions from Twitter and your audience. It was fun. Thank you.

Michael Krigsman: Everybody, thank you for watching, especially those folks who contributed questions and comments. Your questions are great and we love them.

Go to CXOTalk.com. Check out our upcoming shows. We have great shows coming up. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the subscribe button at the top of our website so you can get our newsletter. It's a really good newsletter.

Thanks so much, everybody. I hope you have a great day. We'll see you soon.