The ICV Controlling Excellence Award 2020: Nominees and the Winner - the virtual award ceremony

Nominated: Diginet GmbH & Co. KG (Pixum)


The "consistent change of reporting IT" in combination with "an innovative and future-oriented reorganization" made Diginet GmbH & Co. KG (Pixum) a nominee. The project "Vision Team 42 - future-oriented controlling and modern data solutions from a single source" led to an increase in efficiency in reporting and enabled" new analyzes and thus insights". In addition, the basis for self-controlling in the company was laid.

Winner: BASF SE


BASF was nominated for the project "PACE (Predictive Analytics Estimate) - the IT-based financial forecast to support corporate planning and management": demanding, but still practical and consistent implementation of a predictive analytics approach". The integration of internal and external data sources, improvement of the efficiency and quality of a typical controlling instrument, the "very good and pragmatic integration into the controlling work" and last but not least the proof of success through the practical implementation convinced the Jury to BASF.

Nominated: A1 Telekom Austria


In the A1 Telekom Austria project “Working Capital Management - Agile Methods in Finance”, the Jury honored the agile approach, for example the use of Scrum and Design Thinking. This is a model solution for other projects in the financial sector. Because within the company, the cooperation between the departments had improved and very good results had been achieved for the business.

Laudatio of the Chairman of the Jury

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Weber introduces the aplicants, but especially the nominees for the ICV Controlling Excellence Award 2020. He also goes back to the selection process.

His speech is the last as the Chairman of the Jury of the ICV Controlling Excellence Award: After 17 years - Weber was Chairman of the Jury from the start of the ICV Award in 2003 - he hands over the management of the selection committee to his colleague at WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar: Prof. Dr. Utz Schäffer will be in charge of the selection process for the 2021 Award. He already took over the chairmanship of the ICV Board of Trustees from Weber in spring 2020.


The winner BASF: PACE (Predictive Analytics Estimate) - the IT-based financial forecast to support corporate planning and management


Chemistry for a sustainable future, that's what BASF stands for. The company combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Around 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work to contribute to the success of customers from almost every industry and in almost every country in the world.

How can you make a well-founded forecast for corporate management and planning in a constantly changing world? BASF's Corporate Controlling launched an initiative in 2016 to use the possibilities of digital transformation for the company's financial forecasts as well. Increased data availability, greater computing capacity and statistical models enable an automated, IT-based forecast for the most important performance indicators of the BASF Group. The forecast algorithm is not only based on the historical financial results of the BASF divisions, but also takes into account important industry-specific and macroeconomic indicators.


From today's perspective, the development of such an IT solution is not an impossible challenge. However, it is of outstanding importance to create the adequate organizational framework for the use of digital solutions and to rethink previous approaches. In this context, in 2019 BASF established a process that takes advantage of neutral, automated forecasts and existing expert knowledge. The monthly IT-based forecast is supplemented by experts in the corporate divisions but only by extraordinary events that are not accessible to the machine and serves for the outlook during the year. For every year this forecast is compared with the division's own forecasts in order to transparently discuss measures and implement them in a targeted manner. The combination of a digital solution and expert knowledge enables targeted corporate management.

Pixum: "Vision Team42 - future-oriented controlling and modern data solutions from a single source"

Pixum is one of the leading online photo services in Germany and Europe. In addition to the best customer service and a simple, inspiring shopping experience, Pixum delights its customers with high-quality branded products such as the Pixum photo book or the Pixum photo calendar. Both Pixum product quality and Pixum customer service have received numerous awards, including from TÜV Rheinland and the Stiftung Warentest. The company, founded in 2000, currently employs over 150 people at its Cologne headquarters.

With the increasing importance of data-based decision-making in the company, a new alignment of classic controlling is required. The merger with the areas of data warehouse, business intelligence and data science in one department provides the basis for independently controlling and developing the complete data flow from the source systems to analyzes and reports. The Team 42 formed for this purpose combines all important expert competences in one department and, in addition to efficient and sustainable budget management, enables in-depth insights into consumer and market behavior.

In the past two years, Pixum and Team 42 have completely restructured classic controlling and made it fit for the requirements of 2020+. The business was monitored in real time by completely renewing the database. Furthermore, the first data science solutions such as forecasts, customer scorings or a fraud detection model were integrated into the systems. The central providing of company data as well as daily meetings, in which every employee is free to participate, as well as a consistent implementation of the self-service approach contributed significantly to building trust in a data-based decision-making culture. This is how the corporate culture of Pixum was shaped from the self-image of controlling.


The winning team receives 3,000 euros in prize money and is part of a well-known award-winner community. You can find the announcement for the 2021 Award with all details and documents here.


... all applicants for the ICV Controlling Excellence Award, who took time with the preparation and follow-up, but above all gave us insights into their ideas and work, the motives and obstacles. Like the application teams in previous years, they have once again given controllers valuable support and suggestions.

Participating they have given the ICV a piece to the contemporary history of our international controlling network: Each ICV award is also a milestone for the further development of controlling.

With this in mind, we would also like to thank the Jury, whose well-known and renowned members also dedicate themselves to this task on a voluntary basis every year and are already looking forward to the applications for the Award 2021!

A1 Telekom Austria: “Working Capital Management - Agile Methods in Finance”

A1 Austria is the leading communications provider in Austria and part of the A1 Telekom Austria Group. A1 shapes the digital world of five million mobile and two million fixed network customers in Austria in the consumer and enterprise segment. In order to secure financing growth in the investment-intensive communication market, the A1 leadership team placed a strong focus on working capital and warehouse optimization within the cash flow improvement. The aim was to identify optimization options in the company in the areas of receivables, liabilities, subsidies and warehousing and to develop appropriate measures with the line managers. Functional silo thinking should be overcome and cooperation should be carried out across the board. The CFO set a clear, monetary improvement target with a deadline on December 31, 2019. Controllers as “managers” of these measures should ensure that the teams focus on the result.

Agile methods are already being used successfully in A1's market-related areas. Products are developed in squads, online presence is continuously adapted and services are improved. In the project, the controlling department was given the task of finding a setup to evaluate the use of agile methods in the financial area as well. A team from various functions of the company was put together and given a clear time and result specification. With Scrum and Design Thinking, measures were developed together with line managers and a management system for the controlling line was developed. The goal set was clearly exceeded and sustainable structures for cash flow optimization were installed. In just four months, the team was able to achieve focus and orchestration of employees across functional boundaries. The controlling could report successful use of agile methods could be reported back to the A1 leadership team.


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The Jury

For the ICV Controlling Excellence Award 2021, Prof. Dr. Utz Schäffer takes rover the leadership of the Jury from Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Weber (both WHU, Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar).

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