IT industry representatives from around the world discussed trends in loyalty, finance, and telecommunications in Kraków at Comarch User Group 2024.

Bringing together representatives from 40 countries, the Comarch User Group is an event that has become a tradition. “The only continent lacking representation here is Antarctica,” one of the event organizers summarized when asked about the origin countries of the participating guests. At the Comarch campus in Kraków's Czyżyny district, the company's CEO, Dr. Anna Pruska, welcomed guests in several languages, noting in her short speech that it was impossible to use them all.
- This year we will continue to consolidate our position on foreign markets and the development 
of our key solutions - announced Dr. Anna Pruska. - It is my goal to further strengthen Comarch’s market position as a global IT solutions provider and to make sure that we will remain your IT partner of choice throughout 2024 and beyond. She encouraged conference participants to engage in substantive discussions in one of Poland's most beautiful cities: "Let’s celebrate the past and develop the future together."
Her speech kicked off two days of talks, presentations, and the most interesting industry case studies. An exciting aspect of the conference was looking into the topics heavily present in the media and everyday life and engaging the IT industry. IT, often associated with coding, is, in fact, about solving user problems in every field of life, from shopping and travel to banking applications and even health. Demographics, the ubiquity of artificial intelligence, and Generation Z appeared in various presentations.
Comarch User Group is not only about networking and expert discussions but also about showcasing Kraków’s different faces to the guests. On the first day, they saw the more industrial yet green side of Czyżyny, where Comarch’s headquarters are located (participants could visit the company's innovation zone). On the second day, they experienced the city's historic heart, with the organizers choosing the Pałac Pod Baranami (Palace under the Rams), the International Cultural Centre, and the Grand Hotel this year.
The critical value of Comarch User Group is pragmatism and the ability to have a global view of the loyalty, telecommunications, and finance markets from the perspective of those who use the latest technologies to meet real customer needs. This is why the event enjoys such excellent attendance.

Customer Experience First – Trends and Challenges in Loyalty
Almost everyone deals with loyalty programs daily. Rarely do we think about what’s inside and why a program is structured a certain way. David Fieldman, Global Chair of Loyalty Summit and Managing Partner at Catchit Loyalty spoke about how best practices from the travel industry can be applied in other business areas to turn a loyalty program into a revenue stream. According to him, generating revenue in loyalty relies on good practices based on a clear strategy and data analysis from consumer behavior and experiences. “The true value of any loyalty program lies in its ability to stimulate changes in customer behavior,” he summarized.
The loyalty panel primarily focused on case studies of collaborations undertaken by Comarch’s specialist teams over the years and expert debates. Olivier Martinet, CEO of Posidonia Consulting, Athanasios Sbonias, Head of Customer Experience at HelleniQ Energy, and Sami Nachawati, Consulting Director at Comarch, discussed the evolution of loyalty programs in fuel retailing in the context of electric vehicle transformation. Case studies on implementing loyalty systems for various clients were presented, including collaborations with JetBlue Airways and building loyalty through unforgettable experiences thanks to the joint efforts of Comarch and Globe Telecom. A remarkably original topic was launching a loyalty program from scratch in the dynamic African market for the recognized brand Asante Rewards.
We focused not only on delivering the highest promise of benefits to customers but also on ensuring that their experience comes first in all our decisions. This meant providing customers with the best experiences at every step,” explained Dharmesh Bhana, Executive of Loyalty & Rewards at NedBank, whose loyalty program, rewarding users for effective financial management, was revamped thanks to Comarch.

Financial Services – From Philosophy and Literature to IT Pragmatism
Andrzej Przewięźlikowski, Vice President of Comarch, began the discussion with CUG 2024 participants from the finance and insurance sectors by quoting Heraclitus: “Change is the only constant in life.”
He referenced the vast number of global changes recently, which significantly impact every aspect of business operations, especially the financial sector. He asked the audience if they had heard the term “lockdown” before 2020, now used in various contexts, or if they had ever before devoted so much attention to artificial intelligence, which has been around for decades. He also emphasized the role of new regulations and directives affecting every small part of business – their intensity is also new to entrepreneurs.
The task of software creators is to help clients navigate the new reality with IT solutions. Comarch responds swiftly to changes and constantly modifies its portfolio to implement them.
Alexandru Calin from Groupe Societe Generale quoted Mark Twain: “It’s not what you don’t know that kills you; it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true.”
This quote helped lead the audience through a story about the IT process he called “From a Drawing Board to Production,” the management path necessary to create effective solutions meeting user expectations.
Anna Grechowicz-Dorosz from Credit Agricole Bank Polska S.A. and Krzysztof Ziomek from EFL Group presented a comprehensive banking ecosystem created with Comarch's support, combining two systems without having to build everything from scratch. This approach significantly shortened the time to market for the new system. They emphasized that with the current pace of changes, sticking to old solutions is not just standing still but moving backward. Platformization is the best path, bringing numerous benefits for the bank and allowing individual customization of benefits for the client.
Tomasz Jędroszkowiak and Małgorzata Moderacka from the Comarch Insurance sector showed the projected population age in selected parts of the world in 2030. Not only Europe will be getting older, and this will have a significant impact on the insurance industry. Therefore, this must be taken into account when planning IT solutions.
Bradley Jones from Comarch UK looked at insurance from a completely different angle. He discussed how the industry is changing in the era of Generation Z. Social media, which accompany young people around the clock, play a huge role. Without actively utilizing them, insurance companies cannot seriously consider serving this generation. He also presented data highlighting the increased importance of mental health for young people, which must be considered from the first line of code in insurance applications.

Telecommunications – The Era of New Technologies
Marcin Kaleta, Vice President of Comarch, introduced participants to telecommunications issues. He presented the sector's current structure and discussed development plans, especially in foreign markets, which were strongly represented at the event in Kraków by Comarch's clients and partners.
"The Era of New Technologies" was the theme of a presentation by Toni Eid, founder of one of the most renowned media platforms, Telecom Review, covering North America, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. “5G technology has ushered in a new era of connectivity, bringing many real use cases far beyond faster download speeds. From widespread IoT device deployment to the evolution of smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and advanced healthcare solutions, 5G is not just about speed but about revolutionizing how people live and work,” said Toni Eid.
Dr. Andrzej Cwik from 450Connect discussed a new type of telecommunications enterprise, with specific goals and seeking different collaboration with software providers than those dominating the market. 450Connect is a German company of four shareholders, established to create a high-availability network with guaranteed continuity and relatively few offered services, low complexity, and innovativeness. These are telecommunications networks organized as safety networks, ensuring availability in crises and for priority state institutions and critical suppliers such as police and fire departments, military, and electricity and water suppliers. Therefore, they seek a new form of partnership with software providers emphasizing high efficiency, stability, and resilience. Dr. Cwik highlighted Comarch’s four advantages in this regard: experience in delivering Telco network management software, simplicity, completeness, and complementarity of the offer with a clearly defined structure, uniform origin of solutions directly from the software provider, along with excellent competencies and extensive experience of Comarch employees.
Tymoteusz Wrona, Head of Presales in Telecommunications Division at Comarch, spoke about the transition from TelCo to TechCo. Today, telecommunications is not just about selling connectivity. Key are products based on proprietary and partner solutions, incorporating artificial intelligence processes, including ML and GenAI. Transitioning from closed telecommunications protocols to recommended IP standards and virtualization in the cloud environment plays an important role, enabling deeper and seamless integration with sub-supplier, partner, and even competitor solutions.

How to Generate Profits Using Artificial Intelligence?
The debate on AI monetization and security, led by technology blogger and podcast author “Technofobia” Artur Kurasiński, will undoubtedly remain in participants' memories. It featured Dominika Bettman, General Manager of Microsoft in Poland, Agnieszka Bochacka, Digital Transformation Expert at PwC, and Comarch specialists Marek Kuczyński, Head of Intelligent Assurance & Analytics, and Maria Wróblewska, AI Solutions Coordinator.
Dominika Bettman from Microsoft emphasized that the benefits of using AI in a company are not always purely financial:
“AI monetization is also related to increasing employee productivity. It doesn’t have to be directly about money. It can also be about freeing up time for employees to perform other tasks.”
Marek Kuczyński explained that when considering AI solutions, one must always consider integration costs:
“If you want to implement AI solutions, you must always consider the cost of integration and the fact that they bring enormous benefits. AI algorithms give us hints or essential information about the source of problems, making work significantly easier.”
During the finance panel, President Andrzej Przewięźlikowski rightly noted that everyone currently talks about and wants artificial intelligence. However, it is better to leave the field to IT professionals so that AI can make deep sense in companies and bring real benefits.