Group photo KL with Lukas, Nicolas and Simon (in front of La Honda Winery)

Next Level Data Experience

Under the motto “Next Level Data Experience,” CEO Urs Schäppi and three other members of Swisscom’s executive board visited Silicon Valley at the beginning of August. The goal of their three-day visit was both to gain insight into the strategy and organization of established data-driven companies, and also to learn from emerging start-ups how they disrupt entire industries.

Marc Wälti, Palo Alto, 15 August 2018

The schedule of the seven-member delegation from Switzerland kept everyone on their toes. Over three days, there were around twenty meetings with various companies and central players from Silicon Valley. In addition to Urs Schäppi (CEO), the executive board members Heinz Herren (CTO), Urs Lehner (Enterprise Customers) and Dirk Wierzbitzki (Products & Marketing) were involved, joined by Roger Wührich (CDO), Stefano Santinelli ( and Michael Baeriswyl (Data, Analytics & AI).

Learning from the Best

Major attention was focused on the question of how established data-driven companies are proceeding and facing current and future challenges. In meetings with representatives from Google, Amazon and Microsoft, the Swisscom delegation gained insight into strategic and organizational factors. In addition, Microsoft described how they underwent their own transformation.

How NVIDIA rose from only a chip manufacturer to one of the leading AI companies was also a topic of interest. The Swisscom representatives learned what the movie/television market of the future might look like during a visit from Netflix. And in the area of security, experts provided an overview of current and looming topics.

The Next Big Thing

Of equal importance was getting a feel for the “next big thing” and becoming familiar with new trends. In one session, 14 start-ups showed how they were disrupting existing industries with their ideas and business models. The topics ranged from telecommunications and FinTech to data & analytics and security. There was also an extensive overview of the Artificial Intelligence market from Data Collective, the leading venture capitalist in Deep Tech.

Major Presence in Silicon Valley

For 20 years now, Swisscom has been represented in Silicon Valley with its own office. The so-called “Outpost” is more than ever an important pillar for Switzerland’s leading technology provider. Therefore Urs Schäppi’s attitude remains unchanged: “Silicon Valley is an absolute innovation cluster for our industry. It’s important for us to put out feelers here and tend our network so that we can jump in and benefit early.”

In addition to the numerous meetings, the Swisscom delegation also had the opportunity for social events. Around 60 people who have regular dealings with Swisscom in Silicon Valley took part in the Swisscom-organized Swiss Entrepreneur Dinner. And at the conclusion of the intensive visit, a pleasant evening was spent together with the Outpost employees. For by now, it’s even made its way to the top levels of management: No visit to Silicon Valley without a barbecue in the Outpost’s back yard…