The 21st IGA annual conference will take place on Friday, 10 November 2017 in Innsbruck at the Hilton Hotel. Topic: "Do we still need cooperatives?" read more

18th IGA annual conference 2014

The International Institute of Alpine Cooperative Research held its 18th annual conference in the event centre “Forum Brixen” in Brixen, South Tyrol, on 14 November 2014. The topic was:
"Local roots and unlimited information technology – a corporate dilemma for cooperatives?"

In the context of cooperatives, local proximity and regional connectivity are now rated more highly than ever. However, in opposition there are more and more developments in information technology, which still have not reached their peak with the already widely spread social media. What impact does this have on cooperatives? Will the valued advantage of customer proximity lose its significance? Are the measures that have already been implemented by cooperatives sufficient to be ready for the future? These were the questions that the speakers addressed at the 18th annual conference on 14 November 2014 in the event centre “Forum Brixen” in Brixen, South Tyrol under the overall topic of the day "Local roots and unlimited information technology – a corporate dilemma for cooperatives?".

Following the scientific input from Prof Alexander Jungmeister, Managing Director of the Institute for Corporate Law at the University of Lucerne, who not only presented current trends but also, among other things, particularly highlighted the cooperative DNA in his introductory presentation "Clicks or bricks - challenge Facebook", experts from the cooperative sector then had the floor. Jungmeister sees three main challenges arising as a result of current developments: the need for implementation of modern tools in order to reinforce electronic relationship management, the need to transform banking locations with business-like offices into vibrant communication centres and, last but not least, the need for increased cost efficiency.

In their speech "Where will the development of banking IT lead?", Dr Gerd Keysberg, who is responsible for marketing and product development at Fiducia IT AG, and Mr Bernhard Pompl, Head of IT/DP at the Bavarian Cooperative Association jointly presented current and partially implemented concepts for the development of banking IT. Rapid changes in customer behaviour, as well as the market environment as a whole, call for new technologies in order to be able to keep up with customer requirements. Existing financial management programmes will be expanded, and the extent to which the smartphone is replacing debit cards as a payment option is a question that is already being asked.

Mr Horst Amon, board member at the Raiffeisenbank Seebachgrund eG, demonstrated the opportunities available in his presentation "Into the future with webErfolg", offering his own bank as an example. The rapidly growing customer demand for digital distribution channels was able to be met through the concept of “webErfolg”, which still offers enough potential for further development. From the cooperatives' point of view, however, it is necessary to align this concept with holistic consultation.

Mr Klaus Goldmann, Head of Marketing at RWA Raiffeisen Ware Austria AG, put forward the findings of a working group from another perspective, namely from the point of view of the Lagerhaus cooperatives, in his presentation "Everything’s going digital? Lagerhaus branches in the digital age". He covered the effects of the growing phenomenon of online shopping as well as marketing measures that derive from it. As the traditional retail shopper is turning more and more to online shopping, it is vital to directly link results from product searches on the internet to the location of the nearest Lagerhaus branch.

To round off the conference, Mr Peter Erlebach, a board member of Deutsche Genossenschafts-Verlag eG, gave an extremely impressive insight into the latest ideas for the "Erlebnisbank", whereby in addition to spatial requirements it is necessary to interconnect all channels, in order to achieve so-called omni-channel banking.

During the closing discussion, which was led by Dr Andrea Karner, Chief Editor of the magazine "Cooperativ" from the Austrian Cooperative Association, the participants had the opportunity to talk directly to the speakers so as to gain further insight into the various topics.

© International Institute of Alpine Cooperative Research  Legal Notice