Exclusive Wincor Nixdorf Interview
The View from the Top
KIOSK EUROPE: Where do you see Wincor Nixdorf’s position in the market today, and what is your vision for the future?
UWE KRAUSE: Wincor Nixdorf is one of the world’s leading providers of IT solutions and services to bank branches and retail outlets. For both, our aim is to reshape processes, especially at the interface with the customer, through the use of information technology. To support the process of change, we offer a comprehensive range of IT-based solutions, from advice on changes to existing IT processes and the provision of software and systems through to their adaptation and integration.
We have a presence in about 100 countries, with our own subsidiary companies in 41 of these. We are the leader in Europe and number three in the world for programmable electronic POS systems (EPOSs) and the number two in Europe and worldwide for ATMs.
KE: How significant are managed services and outsourcing to the company as a whole?
UK: We place an increasing emphasis on the expansion of complex services such as managed services and outsourcing. Our aim is to ensure the best possible and most efficient operation of the bank’s or retailer’s IT infrastructure. We offer managed services, a standardised operating concept that can be implemented rapidly and smoothly, or support for ongoing process transformation in the form of an outsourcing project, where we assume responsibility for the running of the entire branch-related IT infrastructure. Our portfolio of services helps customers achieve sustainable and competitive cost structures, as well as to convert fixed costs into variable costs. By taking end-to-end responsibility for the companies’ IT systems, we can reduce our customers’ operating risks to a minimum.
KE: At the beginning of this year, you announced a major restructuring of the company to bring the retail and banking divisions together. Could you elaborate on this change for us?
UK: It was not so much a restructuring of the company as an announcement of a new innovative technology to bring the retail and banking sector together. Today many companies and other organisations spend large amounts of money managing cash. We now offer an end-to-end solution and a technology platform to optimise such cash processes and improve cash handling company-wide, even between banking and retail stores.
KE: What have been the benefits of this new structure for your customers?
UK: In a nutshell, this new focus achieves significant cost reductions, maximum security, transparency and optimal processes.
KE: Have you seen a strong demand for this new cash management solution over the past year?
UK: Yes, quite a lot. While both the retail and banking segments are experiencing fierce competition, there is demand for innovative solutions that help to reduce costs, and thus enhance the buyers’ competitiveness. The cash processes along the entire chain, from the in-store cash points to the cash centre, all have huge potential for cost savings. Our cash cycle management solution is an approach that takes the concept of cash recycling to its logical end. We are already able to exchange cash directly between retail and banking cash points in a closed cycle, thus making cash logistics as a whole more efficient. It is also, though, a question of optimising logistics between the cash points and the cash centre.
KE: What new innovations can we look forward to at Wincor World 2011?
UK: We will present further aspects of our cash cycle management solutions for retailers and banks. The vision is now a reality.
KE: How much overlap do you see between retailers and banks, in terms of their self-service applications? Are more retailers incorporating more financial services in-store?
UK: We are seeing more and more overlap between retailers and banks. In some countries – like Norway, for instance – many retailers have long since integrated financial services such as deposits and withdrawals into their POS systems. Many retail stores there no longer have to worry about banking their cash takings, because deposits and withdrawals in their stores are roughly in equilibrium.
For banks, transferring cash processing to the retail trade is an attractive proposition. It also has advantages for retailers, too, since the additional services they offer can help both to make them more attractive to customers and to optimise their own cash logistics. One good example of this is the Shell project rolled out in Germany, in which retail and banking functions were united in one cash point.
In many countries, including Belgium, cashback is highly popular. The idea is that the retailer sells the customer cash like any other product, deducting the required amount directly from the customer’s account.
KE: Are retail and banking the vertical markets which you currently see as offering the strongest growth opportunities?
UK: For cash management yes, because the largest cash flows are taken at the retailer’s point of sale and at the bank, but there are also a few related industries, such as casinos and railways, which also need such solutions.
KE: What is usually the most important benefit of self-service solutions to your customers – is it about cutting costs, increasing revenues, freeing up staff or optimising processes?
UK: It will usually be a mix of all of these aspects, based on the business case and the solution which is deployed. It is impossible to say which is the most important benefit, as the priorities for each customer are different, but at the moment process improvements are most important.
KE: You’ve carried out a number of digital signage trials with retailers such as Für Sie and Dohle. Was digital signage found to deliver as compelling a ROI in these studies as self-service solutions in general?
UK: The digital signage pilot installation at Dohle ran over a period of nine months. During this period, GfK Germany carried out a market survey to investigate the acceptance and impact of digital signage at the POS. The survey results, from the POS data analysis and related consumer interviews, were very positive. Sales increased by 20% for advertised products, which certainly demonstrated the positive results of the digital signage in-store. The ROI depends on the overall business model of the project; in this case, it was certainly achieved.
KE: Green IT is an increasingly key focus for businesses: how do you incorporate environmental sustainability in your company as a whole?
UK: We are prioritising the environment across all phases of the product life cycle, ranging from product planning, development, production and logistics to maintenance and recycling. The solutions provided by us do make an important contribution towards the protection of the environment. With our cash cycle management system, for example, the number of secure transport journeys required can be reduced, thereby cutting CO2 emissions. As well as optimising the business processes of our customers, we also directly incorporate their environmental responsibilities to support their efforts to achieve their own environmental targets, with the ultimate aim of creating a sustainable value chain.
Our Beetle/ Net X checkout system, for example, combines robust notebook processor technology and modern flash storage devices to reduce downtime rates by around 25% compared to conventional checkout systems. As well as minimising downtime at the customer’s premises, this reduces the need for on-site maintenance call-outs. By incorporating an energy-saving processor and power supply, we achieve substantial cuts in the cost and consumption of electricity for the system and its peripheral devices. Furthermore, our intelligent power management system is equipped with a number of energy-saving operating modes, to ensure that the power consumed does not exceed the actual amount required. This helps to make substantial energy savings, and therefore minimise operating costs and the impact on the environment.
KE: As a member of the European Association for Self-service and the Fraunhofer IAO self-service workgroup, what activities are you currently undertaking to promote self-service and support this market?
UK: We are, together with the Fraunhofer IAO and other kiosk manufacturers, technology suppliers and end-users, participating in the research project ‘Erlebnis Automat’. In this group, new kiosk trends and potential user scenarios for a user-centric customer interaction are at the core of the investigation. In addition to the existing kiosk technology, technical innovations and different quality aspects and also other topics, such as security, user acceptance and potential analysis of different areas of use, will be explored. During the research phase from 2010 to 2012, the trends from the different research areas will be validated by prototyping projects, which will lead to new scenarios for the use of self-service.
KE: How do you see the self-service market at the moment and what are your expectations for the coming years?
Also, together with EAFS, we support legislative authorities on a European and local level, to establish frameworks that improve usability for handicapped or impaired citizens. Establishing Europe-wide frameworks would improve the usage and acceptance of self-service in general, and help transform Europe into a community with easy access to digital information and processes, anytime, anywhere.
Since 1993, Uwe Krause has been in charge of Product Management and Marketing in the Banking Division of Wincor Nixdorf, including sales support. After the establishment of Wincor Nixdorf International in 1999, Krause continued to act as Head of Marketing for the Banking Division at national and international level. He became Vice President Banking in 2007 and Vice President Global Marketing in 2009.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010