3 Hard Hitting Lessons for Enterprises from the German Knockout

When the Germans won the FIFA World Cup in 2014, it was unanimously declared that for a perfect win you need three things. You got to be tactically flexible, physically robust and technically brilliant! And that the Germans had all of them! So what went wrong when the defending champions went hurtling out of the World Cup in 2018 against South Korea at the first hurdle on Russian grounds? And more importantly, what are the 3 lessons that business leaders can learn?


1. 'Connect' matters

For enterprises and a good game of football- it begins to matter when you can connect well. When Mats Hummel failed to connect his header cleanly at the 86th minute, the Germans lost a golden opportunity to seal the game. Hummels had a free header from six yards out but the ball ended up striking his shoulder and just could not connect at the goal! The famous player tweeted, "Sorry"- a  brief way to share with the world and his fans the deep misery for having missed the game

It boils down to how seamlessly systems and processes of your business are connected with technology! A business that has well connected back office, front and middle office leverages on technology for information capture, contextualization,  analysis and report development. There is improved collaboration within departments, innovation in business processes, faster problem solving and enhanced decision-making as a result. It begins to matter immensely as the efficiency acquired in a connected enterprise translates into higher profitability.

Therefore, it is prudent to embrace technologies such as Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) that can help enterprises such as banks, insurance companies etc to connect their people and processes for improved outcomes!

2. A great legacy might not work always

When the defending champions- Germany crashed out of the World Cup 2018 tournament after a 2-0 loss to South Korea, fans and the world stood shell-shocked! It was the first time Germany had been eliminated in the first round since 1938. A four-time World Cup winner, Germany was a finalist in 2002, third in 2006 and 2010 and the champion in 2014 after dealing with the host nation, Brazil. Undoubtedly, the defeat throws up a million questions- what went wrong and why so early on? Does this indicate the end of the German domination in the world of football? And more.

As sports scholars ponder on deeper questions, business leaders have one question to ask- How do we avoid a similar route?

Having powerful applications that had helped run the business erstwhile may not simply work and the sooner enterprises realize- the better! Legacy and laurels should not lead to complacency! As customers are demanding better experiences, businesses need newer digital technologies to offer them that which their existing applications are unable to provide. Digital platforms such as BPM are then required to make their processes flexible and render them an agility to respond swiftly to these changing market dynamics. Modernizing legacy applications can help them drive business value from their prevailing systems! 

Perhaps the Germans got a bit confident against the South Koreans and did not focus on a winning strategy. Germany was a rightful favorite entering the World Cup- their legacy influencing the audiences and their oust leaves us learning a great deal!

3. Newer technology can undo you. It was VAR for the Germans, it can be an emerging latest technology round the corner!

"Don't mention the VAR!"- this was how the internet reacted to the shocking defeat of the Germans against South Korea! A bit of background-  Kim Young-Gwon from South Korea sealed their fate with a 94th-minute goal, which was initially disallowed as off-side but a VAR (Video Assistant Referee System) decision saw the decision overturned as the ball came off Niklas Süle! This decision knocked out Germany from the FIFA World Cup 2018. This latest technology being used for the first time in the World Cup of 2018 is altering history! There are classic instances where the presence of VAR in earlier games would have changed the final decision.

Similar is the threat from better business offerings to the customers by competitors. In a desperate bid to match and exceed customer expectations, enterprises are looking at emerging technologies such as Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IOT). While they go about in a spree to absorb them, they struggle with broken and disjointed processes created by these technologies! Are organizations equipped to knit their processes so that they are more operationally efficient and delighting their customers? Robust technologies such as BPM are required to prevent newer technologies undoing the brand equity created by enterprises.

Flexible and Robust Systems can Clinch the Deal

When Manuel Peter Neuer, the German goalkeeper, under the guidance of his coach Joachim Low got desperate, abandoned his goal altogether and turned into an extra midfielder he could not anticipate what could go wrong! The Germans lost possession of the ball in the South Korean half, and Ju Se-jong lofted a long pass toward the empty German goal- breaking the hearts of the million German fans of the world! The world witnessed several missed chances, lack of aggression and their famed technical brilliance!

As was discussed initially- the Germans had clinched the title of FIFA World Cup in 2014 owing to their flexibility and robustness which were glaringly missing in 2018. Enterprises need to be both- flexible and have robust digital platforms to support their processes and systems to clinch their cherished cup in the world of business!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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