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Philipp Wachter

Managing Director / Founder at Wachter Digital Partners wdp GmbH | Cologne

Philipp is founder and managing director of wdp // Wachter Digital Partners, a management consulting company giving advice to companies and investors regarding digital change and business models. Wdp – employing about 22 consultants and staff – is a highly valued consulting company specialized in digitalization of business models and processes in the media, commerce and financial services sector. Customers vary from small family owned business up to international stock listed companies and private equity investors.
Philipp has joined QX 17 years ago after having finished his studies of international business in Reutlingen and London.
Before founding wdp he was a managing director in the Holtzbrinck media group and OnVista Media Group. Philipp has founded and managed multiple digital businesses and strongly beliefs that the organizational approach to those businesses is crucial to their success.
Philipp works and lives in cologne together with his wife and his two sons.

QX: Philipp, last week the second volume of our quarterly QX-Magazine con brio was published, and you wrote an article titled: “Digital Leadership – success with digital business models“ – What is it about?

Philipp: During the last 16 years of working with digital business models, business development and founding as well as leading companies with a new, innovative and digital business model I experiences one common success factor: The organizational layout and setup. This is to say, team and leadership. Those roles in terms of operational excellence in certain tasks like product management or digital marketing combined with the right leadership role are vital for any digital and new business. A digital leader is looking out and after this setup and is able to lead supportive but decision orientated, being very operative in some manner as well. This is what my article is about.

Click here to find the full article.

QX: You are a renowned expert for digital transition with almost 20 years of experience. “Digitization” is quite an abstract term, how do you define it?

Philipp: Well, you are right. And it is a buzzword being used all over the place as well. I like to refer to it as “the transformation of business models and value drivers from a product dominated towards service orientated logic, founded on an omnipresent digital infrastructure”. Still quite abstract, I know. Basically it is the change of looking at and controlling, changing value chains.

QX: “Digitization of the economy” has been around now for quite a while – at least as a trending topic and an ever more pressing item on corporate and political agendas. But what’s the actual status? Where are we in the process of digitization?

Philipp: I have just returned from a conference where I listened to a speaker, who calcimined himself a digital evangelist, a trend scientist. He said that in the last 15 years we have just being laid out the prerequisites for the change yet to come. Accelerators of the changes yet to come are increased chip technology (density and size) and calculating power, enabling the “internet of things” which just started with our telephones. I am pretty much with this guy. The next big things will be total data collection and monitoring of our lives – enabling machines to tell us what we want before we asked for it. Digital marketing experts and technicians call it “the zero moment of truth”. I think we are pretty close to it. And we all have to learn to keep our own distance to those monitoring and collecting devices, because it is just so tempting and comfortable what they can do for us.

QX: And Germany when compared internationally?

Philipp: Germany is not a part of this marketing infrastructure I refer to above. So far this is dominated by companies from the US and maybe Israel.
Maybe this will change when mobility data – as being collected in cars – is being broad into the system. So far the (German) car companies are still looking for their role in the system.

But “digitization” – as you asked me – is much more than marketing and big data. Of course what we call industry 4.0 – speaking and connected machines and parts of machines – will also affect us in the future.

German companies and Germany as a country has to watch out that it is not being squeezed in between the strong Software and Big Data House USA and the developing Machine House China. One knowing the customer and selling to it and one producing what is being sold.

QX: In 2009 you founded your own company Wachter Digital Partners (wdp) a management consulting for industries affected by digital change. What drove that entrepreneurial decision?

Philipp: I was quite lucky that I was able to work in two very different working environments till I founded wdp. One was dominated by strong entrepreneurs, being a startup atmosphere, and the other one was dominated by a strong heritage of an existing business looking out for new chance in digital business models. With this experience in mind, I was looking for the “best of both worlds”. Combining this experience and the strong belief that digitalization is affecting more or less every company and business model in the future I founded wdp // Wachter Digital Partners.

QX: What does wdp focus on?

Philipp: We are focusing on creating and implementing digital strategies / business models for our clients. Most of the times, those business models are based on existing assets and know how. The sectors we are focused on so far are media, commerce, private equity and financial services. Those are sectors where the change of “finding and binding” the next valuable customer has already effected the whole industry. Digital business and marketing models can help to lower risks and raise chances when dealing with these effects. Private Equity investors are our clients because they want to use these insights to increase their portfolio value.

QX: On July 7th we will host a “Strategy Talk” together with you and wdp at the QX-Manor in Frankfurt: “Digital Change: A Billion Euro Business – what really works when going into digital transformation and new business models.” – What can participants expect of this evening?

Philipp: We – my partners Christoph, Daniel and I – are giving insights into our concrete work with client projects and the way we “look on the digital transformation”.
We are trying to speak about myths and real facts and how these insights can be used for digital transformation of any business. A unique possibility for everybody working in or planning to work in digital businesses to share experiences and thoughts about the digital transformation processes with us – combining over 16 years of experience in this field. And of course we are looking forward to spend some time with some inspiring members of QX and have some interesting and fun conversations.

QX: QX-Members and/or peers & friends who are interested in the event [starting time: 5pm] can contact Tobi @ tobias.edinger@quarterly-crossing.com

QX: You have been with QX now for roughly 17 years. What does it mean to you?

Philipp: Well, a lot. My career was deeply influenced by the work of QX and especially Thomas. The combination of showing opportunities to (young) developing individuals as well as personal advice with a strong social infrastructure is unique.

QX: Philipp as a private person: How do you unwind and recharge your batteries?

Philipp: Very traditional: Spending time with my family, my wife, my sons. The luxury of “wasting” time while playing and building things with my sons. And once a year going on a (highly culinary) sailing trip with some friends in Croatia, Greece or Italy.

QX: What is your personal Vanity?

Philipp: I can spend hours, even days, zapping through any kind of TV program pretending to conduct “media research”.

Thank you so much!