“Digitisation doesn’t mean transmuting existing processes from paper to tablet, one-to-one; rather, it means using digital possibilities to develop entirely new processes,” emphasises Tobias Häckermann. This erstwhile law graduate is today the brain of Sherpany, a company whose digital solution – Sherpany Boardroom – simplifies the work for corporate directors, board secretaries and the like. “Everybody concerned can find instantly all the relevant information they need, work through the various issues, make notes, exchange ideas with other board members, and of course vote electronically as well,” company co-founder Häckermann explains. In theory at least, it’s not even necessary anymore for board members to meet face-to-face. Physically, that is.
“Trust is the alpha and omega of my business, and I have trust in today’s digital possibilities.
“Digital transformation sometimes also entails taking a step back,” says Häckermann, meaning that existing processes occasionally need to be revamped. The audacity to adapt is something he learned the hard way with his first company, Agilentia, which was rechristened in 2013 to become Sherpany and then restructured in the difficult days of 2015. Difficult because the company’s masterpiece – a portal for informing and interacting with shareholders of listed companies – wasn’t exactly the hit that its inventors had hoped for. They developed the platform as a kind of Facebook for shareholders, a venue where official information on the exchange-listed companies could be accessed, shareholders had the possibility to swap instant messages with each other, and their votes could be cast electronically for annual meeting purposes. Alas, the portal was not used as actively as Häckermann had envisioned. “We had to face the fact that neither the companies nor their shareholders were ready at the time to jump on the digitisation train – even though it was and remains unstoppable.”