CCS Controlling Competence Stuttgart - reports and impressions


The conference in Stuttgart convinces with many innovations

The CCS Controlling Competence Stuttgart presented itself as young and varied on November 21, 2019. The fresh mix of experienced practitioners and young controllers - among the 110 participants were many young participants and students - ensured a wide range, for example in the numerous question and answer sessions. The range of topics was also broad: from quantum computers, HR and robotics to talent, the future of work, new work and learning worlds in companies to transformation and plastic in the sea - everything was represented.

New at the CCS 2019 was the integration of participants’ questions and short surveys via the online platform Slido. Claudia Maron, Head of Governance at DATEV eG and ICV Delegate Germany South, took the lead here in addition to her moderation tasks. The digital transmission and participants' questions ensured a new interactivity between speakers and spectators, which was well received, even by the organizers themselves: "There were much more questions than usual, that was great", so the conclusion of ICV Managing Director Carmen Zillmer, co-organizer and moderator of the Stuttgart autumn conference.

Then, the kick-off of the event with the speech by Prof. Dr. Martin Welsch, who focused on AI, robotics, neuromorphs and quantum computers in a breathless presentation, always accompanied by the red conclusion thread "Who thinks, they understood it, did not get it at all" The Chief Technology Advisor emeritus (IBM R&D) and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena also took a look at the different roles in which everyone is affected in many ways. Above all, Welsch thinks medicine is a new, big playing field of the AI - for IT companies also interesting because they can easily get access to valuable personal data.

Another novelty: After the opening speech, the visitors could decide which of the following four theme offers they would like to attend. All offers had in common the fact that a impulse speech opened a podium discussion and question and answer session. The following topics and impulse speakers were chosen:

  • Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources Management - How AI helps us make the workplace smarter & fairer (Michael Plentinger, CEO Greple GmbH). On the podium: Michael Plentinger, Christian Bramkamp (ICV Delegate for the expert work groups), Michael Schubert (CA Controller Akademie), Annegreth Glöckner (formerly PWC), Claudia Maron (Datev, ICV Delegate Germany South)
  • Talent cannot be learned - New Work needs knowledge and skills (Dorothee Deyhle, Board Member CA Akadamie AG). On the podium: Dorothee Deyhle, Dr. Rüdiger Eichin (SAP and ICV head of the expert work group "Future of Work"), Helmut Willmann (SICK AG), Markus Frenk (Herrenknecht AG), Udo Kraus (Hansgrohe SE, Head of the ICV work group Southwest), Prof. Dr. Martin Plag (Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University)
  • What is the future learning world in the company? The Hansgrohe Campus (Sylke Morell, Head of Personnel Development, Hansgrohe SE). On the podium: Sylke Morell, Prof. Dr. Vera Döring (Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University), Gabriele Heller (Heller Consulting, Head of the ICV work group Franconia), Claudia Maron (Datev, ICV Delegate Germany South)
  • Future of Work & Controlling (Dr. Rüdiger Eichin, Senior Director, SAP SE). On the podium: Dr. Rüdiger Eichin, Dorothee Deyhle (CA Controller Akademie), Udo Kraus (Hansgrohe SE, Head of the ICV work group Southwest), Prof. Dr. Martin Plag (Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University)

The following lunch break - the Controlling Competence Stuttgart 2019 had another innovation ready with forwarding the start time from 12 to 10 am for the first time - was used by everyone: for discussions, getting to know each other, networking, but also to pick up new impressions and information at the exhibitor stands. Above all, "Cimon", the AI assistant for space of IBM, aroused great interest.

The irreversible trend that digitization is significantly changing the world of work it was the focus of Dr. Michael Prochaska from Andreas Stihl AG & Co. KG, who showed this among other things on concrete examples in the enterprise of the manufacturer of engine-operated devices for the landscape and garden maintenance as well as for the building industry. From the very beginning, Prochaska attached great importance to the fact that this development was not new: "Digitization has been around for decades - now it just continues". In the meantime, the Stihl Group has not only worked out a digitization strategy, but has also firmly anchored the responsibility for their compliance and implementation in the organization. As a clear advantage of digitization, especially for controllers, Prochaska sees that there is no need for standardisable work, thus clearing the way for "the controller actually becoming a business partner for the board".

The final presentation of the CCS 2019 was dedicated to the environment. Dr. Rüdiger Stöhr, microbiologist and biotechnology / biology teacher from Kiel, reported on the organization "One Earth One Ocean", which has set itself the task of removing garbage from water bodies, not only in the oceans, but also in lakes, rivers, coastal areas and estuaries. The maritime garbage collection not only collects the unwanted and life-threatening waste, but also takes care of the recycling of the collected material locally, in different countries of the world. The donation-financed association is also supported by well-known companies. “We can also do good with “bad” money and are looking forward to any support!”, says Stöhr.

The next CCS takes place on Thursday, November 26, 2020.


Concentrated expert information and a lot of offspring

The 16th CCS Controlling Competence Stuttgart on November 22, 2018, was dominated by expert information - and the junior controllers. The latter was not only due to the awarding of the ICV Controlling Newcomer Award (read more on the "Award Winners" page). The number of visitors also showed great interest among the budding controllers: Almost a third of the audience at CCS had a student card in their pockets.

And certainly for a good reason, as the speakers proved on that Thursday afternoon in the IBM Forum Ehningen. Digitization is causing massive change, including in controlling, according to the tenor. Therefore, we have to deal with the demands of the profession and keep up to date with lifelong learning and continuous training. Dieter Spath, who opens the lecture series of the day, demands: "We must become further education world champion". He deals with the challenge of productivity, hybrid qualification, controlling and process knowledge and AI in the field of "digital transformation into work 4.0". The university professor Dr. Ing. Dr. Ing. E.h. Dr. h. c. and President at the German National Academy of Science and Engineering Munich convinces with broad, practical knowledge, which he impressively documents, "What drives people around" and "What can markets do". Among other things, he is also concerned about productivity pressure due to the shortage of skilled workers, whom he would like to meet with higher efficiency, rationalization, the development of high-margin products and services of high location quality and digitization, but above all with excellent education: "It must be ensured that here are the best educated people ", so his appeal. The digital transformation must be understood as a pioneer and not as an obstacle.

Marco Wolfrum, partner of FutureValueGroup AG and Member of the Board of the Risk Management Association, dealt with "Risk Indicators for Corporate Management". Here he went right into the middle of the everyday life of decision makers - even in controlling. Finally, the controllers are also challenged when it comes to risk management in all its facets and effects. Right at the beginning Wolfrum clearly demanded: "Take care of the essentials!". In practice, this means that existence-threatening developments must be recognized early. The difficulty, however, is that this is usually the result of summing different risks. Therefore, it is all the more important for Wolfrum to keep track, also due to statutory due diligence and responsibilities, especially for members of the management board. They would have to rely on a qualified risk measurement for their decisions, especially with uncertainty. It is important to answer the following question: "What is my goal, what is my plan - and what can distract me from it", both in the positive and in the negative. For example, Wolfrum named here currency fluctuations, which can turn out in any direction. The risk assessment would therefore always require consideration of both options. Wolfrum demonstrated on the basis of the exact definition of a "life-threatening development" how far risk tolerance, capacity and appetite can reach: "It is always and for every company: how much risk can we allow ourselves?"

Björn Reitzenstein, Senior Manager Controlling at Powertrain Solutions of Robert Bosch GmbH Stuttgart, reported also from the middle of controlling. His speech was titled "Change in Controlling using Prescriptive Analytics". At the CCS he looks into the black box of Big Data and compares analysis of the numbers earlier and today. There are still many reasons for opposition to accept the results. "That does not look like my beloved Excel or my PowerPoint!", "Where's my cut-off date?", "I have no idea about SAP!", "I do not believe the numbers, because I cannot calculate them like in Excel!" are some standard sentences, which the management especially still expresses when controllers provide numbers and statistics in a new guise. It is therefore important, according to Reitzenstein, not only to rely on data-driven analysis, but to combine it with experience-based analysis. "Take the employees along and benefit from their experience," says Reitzenstein. If you use the personal knowledge and experience of the employees, you will be rewarded with a higher acceptance of the results. For the controlling employees he had a clear request: "Move on - learn while you are on the go! Do not waste time!" - is the clear statement of the owner of the ICV Controlling Excellence Award 2018.

Mistrust in the numbers, especially on the part of the management, was also reported by Claudia Maron. She is responsible for governance at DATEV eG. The ICV Delegate for Germany South focused on her experience report "Digital meets Finance". So digitization die not only ensure a gradual portfolio change at DATEV, but also a realization: "A solution almost always comes from the direction, from which you least expect it. Which means that there is no point in going in that direction because it will not come from there," she quoted author Douglas Adams. For the controlling and the management this meant great challenges in dealing with real-time corporate management, project and change management, big data / small data / smart data, robotics and automation, regulation and external requirements, qualification of the employees and support of global growth strategies. Her prediction for the future role of the controller: In addition to the pure financial function, controlling needs a data analyst and a business partner of management. In cross-functional teams, decision-making is increasingly based on automated data and numbers. "The management must trust that the numbers from the machine are "right", even if that is currently difficult, so Marons experience. It is becoming increasingly important for decision-making to include the wishes and requirements of customers. Their goal: "Building bridges with new technologies". In the future, controllers could and should, above all, learn from risk managers to use future-oriented methods, to ensure that they themselves are integrated into corporate management and "speak intelligibly for the management!".


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