We talked to Michael Mörs of epicinsights about its AI-based services.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Michael Mörs: We do our best and try to stay relaxed during all the crazy things that happen this year.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded epicinsights.
Michael Mörs: I have been working in the digital business since 2008. During this time, I have worked both in a big company group and as a freelancer. In 2010 I changed to the agency side and worked as a project manager before founding SMA Development with a partner in 2012. At that time, we specialized in application development in social media and data context. Over the years, the focus has been more and more on how to capture relevance and context in order to use it for a good user journey and a successful digital campaign. Thanks to experienced colleagues, we were able to experiment with the topic of AI early and started to build our own business out of it. A purely AI-based personalization engine and customer journey analysis did not exist back then. epicinsights was launched in 2016.
How does epicinsights innovate?
Michael Mörs: AI is a broad field, and it is important to give the team enough freedom to pay attention to the rapidly developing technologies. Once we have found something suitable, we try to combine these new methods with existing solutions. Enough time for experimentation is sometimes difficult in case of tight project deadlines.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Michael Mörs: Some of our customers have won in the pandemic, some have lost. So these movements also affect us to a small extent. Internally, we have no problems working remotely; on the contrary, this has brought some positive aspects for everyone. The social togetherness in the team suffers a little, of course, but there are still enough opportunities for a beer or two.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Michael Mörs: During the pandemic, not really so far. As an entrepreneur, you constantly have to make difficult decisions. After a while, you start to develop a gut feeling and start preparation for different scenarios, as good as possible. To use the gut feeling actively and trust it, that’s a very important step in your personal development. It takes time.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Michael Mörs: It is important to distinguish between positive and negative stressors. Positive stressors motivate and are an incredible energy boost. Every wave wants to be ridden as long as it runs. And you know that every wave also ends and after that there are times when it is a bit quieter. Negative stressors are bad for everyone and must be eliminated as soon as possible.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Michael Mörs: The AI market is very dynamic. Our field of competitors has grown in the last years but has also changed a lot in 5 years. On the one hand, there are now many startups that are growing up and professionalizing their AI-based services. The big consulting firms have activated the AI topic with a lot of energy for themselves. And in the field of digital agencies, there have been many efforts for some time now to bring the topic of AI into the portfolio. We can proudly say that we have a solid lead in this area regarding project experience and software architecture. We know how to develop AI-based solutions beyond the stage of PoCs and prototypes and how to sustainably transfer AI into productive use. And we have no intention of resting on that stage. It is important to develop technical excellence and experience constantly. In addition to behavioral data, we are focusing strongly on NLP this year. An important topic that we are currently integrating into our portfolio. Nothing is constant, and everything must be constantly questioned and optimized – especially in the AI business.
Your final thoughts?
Michael Mörs: What I love about the AI industry is that there is a good community spirit and a very open exchange. Everyone has similar problems to deal with. The perspectives in the market are positive, so there will continue to be a lot of movement. There is so much new to discover every day. Not just for us, also for our clients and partners. This is thrilling. We believe that it is necessary to understand AI as an in-house topic if you want to use it successfully. This is a big challenge for classical companies. We are happy to share this experience with our customers who wish to implement such a project. AI is not a pure app technology but a stimulus topic that has to be strategically implemented throughout the entire company. To accompany this will be an exciting perspective for us.