This year's MCiT Forum - a digital conference organized by the Management, Communication & IT Master's students - was themed: "How did Covid-19 change the IT industry?". The months of intensive preparation paid off. The result was impressive: 11 talks, 13 top-class international speakers and numerous participants attended the MCiT Forum 2021 on June 2.
Already in their welcoming speech, Prof. Dr. Peter J. Mirski and MCiT Master’s student Simon Pittl promised a highly interesting and inspiring conference and invited everyone to participate in the discussion around the hot topic.
Keynote speaker Anastassia Lauterbach, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Data and Data Ethics in Potsdam as well as Entrepreneur and Technology Strategist, opened the lecture series. Speaking live from Germany, she shared her recent experiences and gave an inspiring outlook on the impact of the pandemic on the IT industry, saying, "Software and data are taking on an increasingly important role. There is a need to formulate a new digital agenda where data is seen as a valuable asset and digital sovereignty is given. Leadership must tap into this new digital world, and a sense of urgency is key to success," Lauterbach said. The conference was then divided into two streams, industrial and academic.
The first talk in the business track was given by Andreas Atzl, who works as a Management Consultant at BE-terna. He began his talk with an overview of what ERP projects mean and how they work, and continued with the execution and timing of projects in general. According to Atzl, the home office aspect brings many benefits in terms of an agile and more flexible work environment that allows employees to use their time more efficiently. In conclusion, he suggests a mixed approach for the future: flexible time management on the one hand and on-site customer contact and acquisition on the other.
André Diedrich, who works at Cloud Consulting Group, gave interesting and inspiring insights into his remote working lifestyle. Diedrich joined the MCiT Forum live from South Africa and highlighted the benefits of working remotely and combining work, travel and cultural exchange at the same time. Remote work is a core value of Cloud Consulting Group.
After the break, Katharina Fesl and Thomas Steinmeyer, who work at Zumtobel, provided exciting insights into the impact of Covid-19 on B2B eCommerce. Not only the big B2C players like Amazon or Shopify exploded during the pandemic, but also global B2B eCommerce was accelerated by Covid-19.
The last presentation in the business track was given by Mario Neururer, who is a Senior Manager at HOFER. Neururer gave first-hand experience and insights on digital transformation in the era of Covid-19, emphasizing the importance of various aspects, including organizational ambidextry: being efficient and agile at the same time. He also presented the challenges of digital transformation and highlighted possible solutions.
The academia track was opened by MCiT alumna Katja Kirchgatterer. She gave an interesting insight into the topic of Blockchain and showed how Blockchain can be used to raise consumer awareness. Blockchain technology allows companies to strengthen the relationship between product quality and trust in a brand. The pandemic used the example of storing vaccine in cool places to show the importance of a seamless supply chain.
MCiT Alumnus Marian Mair spoke about dynamic pricing with Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) technology. He shared his insights on ESL combined with dynamic pricing and showed the potential to transform the food industry.
After the break, MCiT student Vittorio Lanternari continued. Lanternari presented his research on "Cyberattacks in the context of international conflict." Among other topics, he spoke about the next developments of cyberwars and cyberattacks and addressed what risks citizens face. In addition, Lanternari discussed the consideration of geopolitical factors when it comes to digitalization.
The last speaker in the academia track was MCiT alumna Eva Fahringer. She wrote her Master Thesis on "Promoting green hotels on Instagram" and found out which factors influence the success of promoting environmentally friendly hotels on the platform. As a conclusion of her findings, gender and language differences need to be taken into account, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Also, influencers need to be carefully selected, as green influencers can increase the credibility of the source.
The final highlight of the forum was the panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Peter J. Mirski, Head of Department & Studies. Otto Schell, CEO and Founder, Institute of Global Digital Creativity and Relevance and Deepa Gautam, Senior Director Corporate Development M&A at SAP spoke about best failures, learning to think critically and future talent acquisition in companies. They named innovative approaches to solutions for working in a digital society. Accordingly, critical thinking and open-mindedness should be thought of as early as kindergarten. In addition, flexibility is needed to deal with upcoming changes. In addition, they discussed the main difference between humans and Artificial Intelligence and recommended everyone to start something from scratch if you have the possibilities. Food for thought: "I learn so much from mistakes, I just considering making more ones," Gautam said.
Overall, MCiT Forum 2021 provided a great opportunity for an inspiring exchange on a highly relevant topic that was explored from a wide variety of perspectives. The online event was extremely well received by the audience, the speakers, the students and the MCiT Department as the organizer.