Steffen Brehme is the managing director of Lobster GmbH – a company specialising in data and system integration, digitalisation and business processes automation software, based in Munich’s South with branch offices throughout Europe. In the following interview, Steffen Brehme talks all things digitalisation in business, latest trends and how Lobster is helping other companies navigate digitalisation.
The pandemic has highlighted the lack of digitalisation in companies but also in public institutions, such as schools. What is your take on digitalisation in business?
The digital revolution is in full swing and is challenging the world of business to adapt to a new reality. The German government and the federal states have acknowledged the importance of this digital shift and have responded by offering substantial support to projects focussed on digitalisation. In fact, Lobster’s software solutions also benefit from this funding. Digitalisation is so much more than just a trend and the coronavirus pandemic is only further accelerating this transition.
What is Lobster doing to support the digitalisation efforts of other companies?
Companies would do best to create a coherent digital ecosystem through networking and automation, which allows them to focus on their core business. This is where Lobster comes in. Our software solutions, Lobster_data and Lobster_pro, could easily be referred to as digitalisation drivers. Relationships between business partners are constantly changing and becoming increasingly demanding. This means shorter turnaround times for software projects, whilst the spotlight is turned to resource efficiency and security requirements. Lobster supports companies, giving them peace of mind that their software systems will work together seamlessly both within the business itself and beyond.
What does digitalisation mean for SMEs?
Medium-sized businesses can meet these new challenges head-on, if they focus on external electronic data interchange (EDI) and internal enterprise application integration (EAI). In other words, those looking to benefit from digitalisation must aim to improve the connectivity within their own company but also with other companies. Processes should be dematerialised and optimised through automation, thereby reducing manual entries. Hence automated interfaces and processes are the key to digitalisation.
What does Lobster do best?
We always say: a user-friendly software adapts to the needs of a company – and not vice versa. So we promise our customers easy-to-use, state-of-the-art solutions for complex issues and our three integration products and our platform solution do just that. Cue: the standardised Lobster_data software for data and system integration, Lobster_scm for digitalisation and operational process integration, Lobster_pim for seamless product communication and, our newest brainchild, the Logistics Cloud portal as a vertical cloud solution for the logistics industry. The great thing about working with Lobster is that our customers don’t have to waste time coding. They don’t even have to write a single line. Because Lobster’s winning formula is built on configuration and not on programming.
How big should a business be before optimising digital processes makes sense – especially from a financial perspective?
It’s not actually about size of the company. It’s about the complexity of the digital communications. Let’s take a simplified example: those processing one order per week with a turnover of one million euros in that one, single fax – well, they can probably do without our services. But if you’re working with 10,000 faxes a week at 50 euros apiece, then Lobster does make sense. These are precisely the kind of scenarios where our customers generate the most savings. Simply by harnessing digitalisation.
What are the latest top trends?
To be honest, the industry is full of hot air at the minute. But the bottom line is still the same: only by extracting high-quality data quickly and with minimal effort – this means without programming – and automating your business processes, you’re hitting the bull’s eye. Any other approach would only benefit from an iota of what digitalisation has to offer and would ultimately not profit from its true potential.
What does the future of your industry look like?
The world of business has now woken up to the endless possibilities of digitalisation, but it has yet to fully put these realisations into practice. Digitalisation means optimised delivery and service models. It means increased data connectivity. Improved business process automation. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So, in answer to your question, I believe our industry has an exciting future ahead. At the end of the day, we simply have to take the opportunities that present themselves.