Silo thinking is the natural enemy of digitalisation

Building lasting relationships between people and brands, creating digital customer experiences, generating positive emotions, supporting companies in their digital transformation – that’s what makes the difference for the SYZYGY GROUP. In an interview with Lünendonk, Franziska von Lewinski, CEO of the SYZYGY GROUP, and Felix Schröder, Managing Director of SYZYGY Germany, talk about the digital presence of companies and brands, digital budgets and the use of AI in marketing.

Ms von Lewinski, the SYZYGY GROUP has been part of the Lünendonk® list since the first edition of the survey in 2020 and has firmly established itself since then. The SYZYGY GROUP was founded in 1995. How has the digital experience developed since the foundation?

Franziska von Lewinski: Digital presence has become an indispensable foundation for companies and brands. Customers and consumers interact with a brand many times a day and on a wide variety of channels – from home, but above all on the move and at any time using a smartphone. This “always on” has led to a paradigm shift. Whereas in the past, the web presence was mainly important as a digital business card, today it is all about the digital, networked customer journey. A journey is successful if it stands for positive experiences – which is why it is not sufficient to only digitalise marketing. Customer acquisition, customer service, sales – all of these different areas need to be closely connected digitally. Unfortunately, the crucial role that multifunctional digital contact points – such as websites and apps – can play is still sometimes underestimated. Today, the digital experience determines the quality of the customer relationship.

Mr Schröder, you have been Managing Director at SYZYGY in Frankfurt round about 13 years now. Your unit can certainly be described as the core of the Group, with a clear focus on digital transformation in marketing and sales. What is important here?

Felix Schröder: Our task and expertise is to develop, implement and operate positive digital experiences – i.e. experiences with added value for users and companies – along the customer journey and touch points. To do this, we first need to understand the business objectives and user needs in order to translate them into concrete measures. Furthermore we need to be creative, understand the technology and then utilise both sensibly in line with the objectives and measures. It is also important that we understand our customers’ organisations and processes, where we often work with many departments and people in the team. After all, everything we do must be capable of integration and connection.

Which discipline is the focus here? On consulting? On creation? Implementation? The technology?

Felix Schröder: In all disciplines. The subject matter is far too complex for isolated focal points. Customer experience is not a single discipline, department or trade. It is first and foremost an understanding, a perspective. And secondly, it is the result that emerges when the different disciplines are well orchestrated and well integrated and work towards a common goal. This creates the optimum customer experience for the use case. The Lünendonk survey shows that many companies still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to orchestration.

Whereas in the past, the web presence was mainly important as a digital business card, today it is all about the digital, networked customer journey.

Franziska von Lewinski

Marketing and sales are essential for companies and are becoming increasingly complex at the same time. How can these processes be simplified and bundled with the consumer in mind? And when do the SYZYGY GROUP’s other areas of expertise, such as enterprise IT, performance marketing and design, come into play?

Franziska von Lewinski: Integrative cooperation between the various disciplines is crucial for customer-orientated marketing. That is our credo, and that is exactly what we can offer in the most diverse combinations from within our group. The Lünendonk® Survey shows that many companies recognise how important this integration is. That is good. However, it is not yet being implemented across all disciplines and departments.

The number of digital channels and sales channels is constantly increasing, as is the number of customer touchpoints. At the same time, many companies still have solo structures between marketing, sales, service and IT. Is it therefor not appropriate to establish a dedicated area for digital experience in order to break up the traditional organisational structures?

Franziska von Lewinski: The number of digital channels and, above all, digital contact points continues to increase rapidly. All of this is permeating every company, both externally and internally, in every area. It is therefore clear that digitalisation belongs at board level. Unfortunately, there has rarely been a digital experience budget to date. Instead, there is an IT budget, a marketing budget, a media budget and so on. It would be better to define a cross-departmental digital experience budget with the aim of creating a consistent, holistic and networked digital customer experience for users. Silo thinking is the natural enemy of digitalisation. Digitalisation does not stop at organisational structures, so it is essential to think across departments.

The SYZYGY GROUP’s credo is that digital makes the difference. What kind of difference?

Franziska von Lewinski: Digital can make a big difference if done correctly. Today, digital technologies are so sophisticated that basically anything we can dream up can actually be realised. Technology is the platform, the enabler for the best digital experience. We then work closely with our customers to create the right digital experiences – and ensure that we evoke the right emotions in those who use the technologies. That’s what makes the difference.

Its customers include Lufthansa, Hymer, Mazda and BMW Motorrad. Automotive is considered the third most important industry in the sector. Can you give us an insight into the digital and experience strategy as an example? What was the initial situation what were the objectives and how was and is the implementation and collaboration going?

Felix Schröder: Digital touch points play a fundamental role in the customer journey across the entire funnel in the aviation and automotive sectors. They are therefore an essential part of the product and service experience. Accordingly, we really enjoy being able to play our part here.

The economic situation has clouded over in recent months. In some sectors, there is a certain reluctance to invest in marketing and the digital transformation of sales. Is this strategically wise?

Franziska von Lewinski: In times of economic uncertainty, companies tend to be cautious. This is initially responsible and understandable. This makes it all the more important to make targeted investments in areas that offer long-term added value and can be used to strengthen competitiveness. This is precisely why we continue to invest in digitalisation and digital transformation. Because they play a decisive role. Digital transformation is not only the basis for agility and faster adaptability, it also increases efficiency and makes it possible to tap into new markets and customer groups. It also stabilises long-term customer relationships and even expands them. In my view, it would be reckless to miss out on these opportunities, especially in challenging times.

AI tools will ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness if understood and utilised correctly

Felix Schröder
Managing Director SYZYGY Deutschland

What role does GenAI already play in the digital experience? And how is SYZYGY integrating this technology into its services, particularly with regard to personalisation, content creation and the completion of standardisable tasks?

Franziska von Lewinski: It is becoming increasingly clear that GenAI will change our industry as much as the launch of the first smartphone, only much faster. For us, AI and GenAI are a basic technology that improves our work. We have therefore looked at every step of the process. We now know where the use of GenAI models makes sense and where it doesn’t. For example, AI models will take on more and more repetitive tasks in the future. We deal with this technology on a daily basis and across the board, which is why we made a conscious decision not to set up a separate AI department. Instead, we have established structures within the SYZYGY GROUP that make generative AI an integral, consistent part of our services.

Felix Schröder: Technology is part of our DNA. That’s why the latest AI tools play a major role for us. They will have a massive impact on the “manual” part of our work, keyword co-piloting. At the moment, it’s all about maintaining an overview, really understanding and looking at which tool can really be used at which point in the value chain. Orientation, advice and setting up pilots – that’s what’s needed now. We are already doing this intensively – for ourselves and for our customers. The context of the commercial AI discussion is already clear: AI tools will ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness if understood and utilised correctly. The quality of the output is already astonishing in some cases and is constantly improving.

Considering the latest digitalisation trends, what developments do you expect for SYZYGY in the area of digital experience over the next five years?

Felix Schröder: Our environment is becoming ever more complex, the requirements ever more diverse. The classic tasks such as defining goals, developing strategies to achieve them, deriving and implementing measures – these tasks remain. At the same time, topics such as CX organisational development, CX governance and CX management are becoming increasingly important, i.e. everything that needs to be done to make complexity manageable and controllable. Technology such as AI plays a central role here, but ultimately serves a higher purpose.


Want to talk about digital experience?
SYZYGY Felix Schröder
Managing Director
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