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Focus Topics Focus Topics

Digital Transformation

Changing how businesses deliver value

Blurred sectoral lines require collaboration on an unprecedented scale

Digitalisation is fundamentally transforming how businesses operate and deliver value to customers. Leaders of industry are not only using new technologies to commoditise, but to find new value streams.

As cross-sectoral innovations bring together stakeholders that have not previously been in partnership, new players are entering fields that were previously established for incumbents.

"Yet if we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run—and often in the short one—the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative."

Arthur C. Clarke

Digital transformation changing how businesses deliver value

Anna Rizova and János Tóth

New players, new partnerships, big opportunities. Digitalisation is fundamentally changing how businesses operate and deliver value to customers. As new technologies require businesses to reach across sectoral lines to achieve success, partnerships are shaking up the order of things.

For AI to change your business, you need to get your house in order

Josef Holy

Artificial intelligence won't "plug and play" for your business. You have to give it what it needs first: data & training. Lots of it.

Understanding legal tech will help you to harness its power

Kathrin Shahroozi and Daniella Domokos

Harnessing legal tech can rev up your project efficiency and create new collaboration opportunities, but you need to understand what makes it work along with its limitations in order to get the most out of it.

TMT M&A in CEE soared last year and 2021 could be even better

Despite the pandemic, and, in some cases, because of it, M&A in the technology, media and telecommunications sector has flourished. According to our survey, it will continue to do so.

IN DEPTH

Digital transformation has given rise to a host of complex and important questions for businesses across sectors. From regulatory oversight to the impact of specific technologies, understanding the details will put you ahead.

How blockchain technology is changing industry

As a rising number of businesses have implemented blockchain-based applications in their daily operations, the questions of a) what this technology means for the future of business and b) how blockchain (and crypto assets) fit into the legal/regulatory framework are more pressing than ever before.

93% of executives believe that digitalisation is critical to achieving their strategic goals. but 9 out of 10 ceos also believe that their business is not properly set up for it.

How blockchain is revolutionising capital market transactions

Kathrin Gfall-Gapp of Erste group, and Claus Schneider & Matthias Schimka of Wolf Theiss

New solutions are changing the digital issuance process, which can be complex and time consuming. With these innovations, these processes are now much faster and offer transaction speed and scalability.

 

Over half of business executives believe that blockchain technology is a "critical priority" for their business, a rising figure which highlights the importance of the technology¹

Financial services industry: past, present & future

Podcast with Richard Clegg

Our guest speakers, Silvia Attanasio - Head of Innovation at ABI - and Petko Karamotchev - CEO of Industria Technology - have been involved in the implementation of blockchain projects and the policy discussion around central bank digital currencies.

Wolf Theiss' Crypto Academy

with Niklas Schmidt

The WT Crypto Academy provides practical instruction on the technological and economic aspects of crypto assets and blockchains on four consecutive evenings. The lecturer is a well-known expert in this field and has a wealth of hands-on experience.

Blockchain everywhere?

by Markus Aigner

The questions of how crypto assets and blockchain fit into the current legal framework and whether specific regulations should be created are more important than ever.

EU regulation of the digital world

Will EU legislation hold the region back or unleash its potential?

EU legislators are tackling big topics in an increasingly digitalised world, with varying success

From Artificial Intelligence to protecting privacy, the EU is occupied in its efforts to shape and guide the development of new technologies while also creating a fertile soil for startups and established businesses to blossom. Although it is not an easy balance to achieve, Europe's legislators and regulators have their fair share of supporters and critics.

Artificial Intelligence (Regulation) Overkill in the EU?

with Kamila Seberova and Katerina Kulhankova

The European Commission's new April 2021 proposed Directive aims to facilitate innovation and investment in AI while safeguarding the public. It may have achieved the latter at the expense of the former.

"After reading this [AI] regulation, it is still an open question whether future start-up founders in ‘high risk’ areas will decide to launch their business in Europe."

- Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl

Digital single market directive – mission accomplished?

The DSM Directive is one of the most controversial pieces of copyright legislation in the EU, and contentious provisions have slowed its implementation on the national level. As many countries miss the June 2021 implementation deadline, we look at where things stand now.

A EUROPE FIT FOR THE DIGITAL AGE

The European Parliament's "legislative train schedule" is a fairly user-friendly portal to track the legislative efforts which underpin the European Commission's six priorities for 2019 – 2024 , including "A Europe fit for the digital age".

The Digital Content Directive - Cautiously Embracing the Digital Era in Austria

with Georg Kresbach and Elisabeth Zhang

A wider choice of products, at more competitive prices and a market of up to 70 million online cross-border buyers were promised by the EC when it touted its proposals for the Digital Content Directive and Sale of Goods Directive in December 2015. Almost six years and several heated discussions later, the Austrian government presented its light at the end of a bumpy tunnel - the Warranty-Directives-Transposition Act.

The new European Electronic Communications Code presents challenges for OTT service providers

by Jakub Pietrasik

Over-the-top service providers will be covered by a brand-new legal framework that was so far applicable only to traditional telecom operators – which may be very challenging, especially for smaller local players.

Whistleblowing in the EU

New requirements mean businesses need an effective solution

Appropriate technical & organisational measures ensure confidentiality & data security

As the importance and prevalence of whistleblowing systems in companies continues to grow in Europe, the topic has taken on even greater importance with the creation of the EU Whistleblowing Directive.

While not all Member States will have national implementing legislation in place by the December 2021 deadline, companies will be expected to have taken steps towards setting up a compliance management system and updating it accordingly.

It's time to streamline processes and secure your data flows

with Anca Jurcovan and Nina Lazar

Romania is only one of a handful of countries that already have a draft bill implementing the new EU Directive. What will the rules mean for companies and what is important in a well-designed system?.

Getting whistleblowing right

with Paulina Pomorski, Gernot Rauter and Helmut Waitzer

Insights on how companies can navigate various interests, rules and obligations to develop and implement an effective whistleblowing solution.

84% of individual respondents believe that whistleblowing rules strengthen compliance with the law by public and private organisations.

European Commission (public consultation on whistleblower protection)

An external electronic whistleblowing system has significant advantages over the alternatives

by Roland Marko, Gernot Rauter, and Helmut Waitzer

Once companies start exploring options for whistleblowing systems, the best technical solution often becomes quickly apparent.

Lessons learned: practical experience from Hungary's whistleblowing law

Analysis from János Tóth

With almost a decade of experience implementing designated whistleblowing legislation, Hungary has practical lessons to offer for practitioners and legislators.

Whistleblower directive: implementation of technical aspects to date

Survey of countries in Central and Southeastern Europe

New obligations have been imposed on companies of 50 or more employees. However, member States will take different approaches on important and even controversial components of the new Directive.

Despite the advantages of internal reporting channels, 80% of individual respondents believe that potential whistleblowers may not report because of fear of legal consequences

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION

Anonymous whistleblowing – and can digital solutions reduce the problems with it?

by Hristina Dzhevlekova and Bisera Petsovska

Anonymous reporting has become one of the most controversial elements of the topic of whistleblowing, and the EU Directive has left the issue open for Member States to decide. A look through the pros and cons concludes with a view on digital solutions to manage the challenges.

The perspective of a CFO on whistleblowing

by Gernot Rauter
CFO, Wolf Theiss, Austria
Management, Responsible Business Solutions

According to the motto "Don't shoot the messenger", companies bear a great responsibility in dealing with whistleblowers and should maintain and promote the safe use of such channels. Compliance is non-negotiable; laws and internal guidelines must be observed by those responsible.

For the CFO as a manager with a high affinity and responsibility for the assets and earnings situation, whistleblowing as a protective mechanism cannot be valued highly enough.

It is important to protect and preserve the assets of the company, to protect the competitiveness and the reputation of the company in order to ensure a long-term successful corporate policy for all stakeholders, namely shareholders, employees, suppliers and last but not least also for the management.

Responsible Business Solutions is 100% subsidiary of Wolf Theiss.

Digitalisation of financial services

Like all sectors, financial services currently face the challenge of harnessing new technologies to achieve business success.

Fintech provides opportunities for established players to reduce costs, improve services and tap into new markets. However, with key segments of the value chain vulnerable to innovative startups**, established companies face questions of how to best position themselves in a shifting market.

Disruptive tech creates inroads to valuable segments of financial services value chain

E-signatures: how they are regulated and how to use them

with Claudia Chiper and Marika Lomashvili

Banking and finance lawyers Claudia Chiper and Marika Lomashvili discuss the current regulation applicable to electronic signatures in the EU, Austria and Romania, the interplay between EU and national legislation, and prospects in the context of the framework for a European Digital Identity.

Digitalisation and Negative Interest Rates – Two Drivers for Change in the Financial Industry

Dr. Alexander Hick

For traditional (regional) banks, the risks associated with digital transformation may seem to outweigh the benefits. However, with the right concept and consistent implementation, digitalisation can increase banks’ income significantly and reduce costs at the same time.

Up to 28% of banking and payments business and 22% of insurance, asset and wealth management business are vulnerable to standalone FinTech companies.**

Financial services industry: past, present & future

Podcast with Richard Clegg

Our guest speakers, Silvia Attanasio - Head of Innovation at ABI - and Petko Karamotchev - CEO of Industria Technology - have been involved in the implementation of blockchain projects and the policy discussion around central bank digital currencies.

Instant payments are a success story waiting to go global

by Claudia Chiper

Instant payments offer obvious advantages for everything from transactions with an acquisition finance element to consumer purchases. While instantaneous payments are already available, their widespread adoption has been slowed by technical and organisational hurdles.

*Deloitte, 2021. Banking and capital markets outlook.
**PWC. The ten competitive technology-driven influencers for 2020.