25 Jun 2021

The “Mediterranean Red” in our culture

Martin Frick from Generali (Schweiz) Holding AG

  • What was your best day in Generali so far?

>>> A lovely sunny Friday in late June 2017, when on the terrace of the restaurant in Adliswlil we decided to do the CRM tool selection via 2 one-weekly hack-a-thon’s with Salesforce and Microsoft. And upon calling Salesforce they immediately and unconditionally agreed to participate. I will never forget the excitement and enthusiasm on that day to follow a completely new approach to solve a problem. The success of the implementation of Salesforce in some sense all goes back to that day in summer ’17.

  • Can you tell us about a project you are particularly proud of?

>>> Project Manhattan – the building of the Connection Platform, a technologically state-of-the-art interface and development architecture, conceived as a leap-frog jump away from the old legacy systems. We were able to give the application landscape of Generali CH a whole new foundation, which was truly bold in its design.

  • What makes you most proud of working in Generali?

>>> The fact that it is putting the empathy for our customers at the centre of our raison d’etre and with the “life time partner” strategy is acting accordingly. The “Mediterranean Red” in our culture.

  • Did you ever made a mistake that turned out to be a good lesson?

>>> Well, I definitely underestimated the complexity of a legacy data centre migration and, as the underlying reason, the amount of technical debt a company can carry around with itself. The lesson is to never underestimate this problem and assure that sufficient attention is given to properly architected systems and focus on the continuous removal of technical debt.

  • Can you recall your first day at Generali?

>>> Well, let’s see… Feb 1st 2017… Meeting Andi in the morning, my assistant for the first time, the first lunch in the restaurant, the first steering committee and – the first design thinking ExCo immersion workshop. Very refreshing! (all thanks to Outlook reaching back to these days seemingly decades ago…)

  • When did you understand you made the right choice to work here?

>>> These were the moments when on the one side I felt how tightly the ExCo would pull together to tackle seriously complex challenges, and on the other saw what dedication our employees and external partners would give to resolve significant technical delivery challenges.

  • Can you tell us about that time you took a risk and it paid?

>>> Back to the summer of ’17: it was a considerable risk to pursue a CRM tool selection with basically 2 hack-a-thon’s rather than the standard procurement and tool selection process. But the process definitely led to the right conclusion, and involved a broad range of stakeholders very early on, creating wide-spread buy-in. Less was more.

  • Tough times require tougher team: can you recall a time when your team made the difference?

>>> Here certainly the final half year, the test roll-out week-ends of project Albis (the data centre migration) and the Whitsun weekend in ’19 comes to mind. Such a huge technical challenge, such a broad range of serious issues to be resolved, such a comprehensive planning necessary! It was so energising to stand in front of the roughly 100 people project team every week and feel the team spirit, leading us through the complexity jungle.

  • Details create the big picture: can you recall a small episode that proved meaningful to you?

>>> All those little moments of encouragements, for example the walks alongside the river outside eating an ice cream and contemplating matters, with Giselle Lim, former Chief Risk Officer of Generali CH. Very complex matters can indeed be resolved via a chat over a small walk in pleasant weather.