Michael Bergmann, Managing Director of Scheer Austria, talks to the COMPUTER world about what we can take with us from 2021 for the future, explains how the corona crisis and new work are affecting us and outlines the most important IT trends for the coming year. […]
What lessons can be learned from 2021 in general and from the corona crisis in particular for the future?
It has been seen that both people and companies can react flexibly to new challenges. However, it has also been seen that this flexibility has limits. Unfortunately, we have put a lot of strain on these limits in 2021 and I hope we don’t have to do that again so quickly. However, it has also been shown that team spirit and solidarity are enormously important (or at least would be important), solidarity between people, but also cohesion in the company, trust and cooperation between companies, between customers and suppliers as well as partners. Here we must not allow ourselves to be divided either as a society or as an economy. So resilience plays an important role and will be even more important in the future, but we have also seen its limits this year. We must be aware of these and actively manage them in good time – because change requires control and time.
In your opinion, how will the corona crisis affect the IT industry, companies and our society in the coming year?
Companies will continue to work to become more resilient and to make their processes more resilient and sustainable with the help of IT. Not only because of Corona, the world is turning faster and faster even without Corona, adaptability and the ability to change are becoming more and more important. Only processes that you have mastered can be adapted quickly. The corona crisis will eventually be over, but some trends and also some changes in business models will remain. This may be new work, more flexibility in all areas of life, customer experience or the demand for consistently digitized processes in all areas of life.
What were your professional and personal highlights in 2021?
Professionally, the highlights were to have successfully led the company through the crisis in the 2nd year of the corona crisis and to have motivated the employees and not to have left them behind and, above all, to have successfully accompanied our customers through this crisis. We have helped our customers to make their processes more resilient and to defy the crisis. And we have also gained new customers during this time.
Unfortunately, there was not too much time for personal highlights in this demanding year, so it is worth a lot to keep calm and serenity through sport and balance in order to be able to master the challenges.
“The return to the business model of the company and the business processes is important. How can business processes be made more efficient, more sustainable, at the same time, but also more resilient with the help of IT and digitized throughout in order to be able to adapt the business model at any time – if necessary?“
Which topics do you think should be at the top of the agenda of IT managers in the coming year and why or which IT topics will play a particularly important role in 2022?
The return to the business model of the company and the business processes. How can business processes be made more efficient, more sustainable, at the same time, but also more resilient with the help of IT and digitized throughout in order to be able to adapt the business model at any time – if necessary. This is the supreme discipline and topics such as the cloud, the intelligent enterprise with SAP S/4HANA as the digital core, business process management and process mining naturally play an important role.
The last two years have been marked by the pandemic and accelerated digitization and brought us hybrid working models. After the pandemic, the next – bigger – crisis, the climate crisis, has to be dealt with. How do you think companies need to change in terms of sustainability? What specific measures are you/is your company planning for 2022 and beyond?
The climate crisis will certainly keep us busy for much longer than the corona crisis. Companies need to position themselves more sustainably. The pressure comes from all sides, from consumers, from customers, from employees and also from society and the legislator. In the future, it will be important to make every business process as sustainable as possible and to prove this. In the future, consumers will also want to know how much energy consumption and CO2 produced are in a product or service. And this closes the circle and we are back to process management.
We are also in the process of making our processes as sustainable as possible, digitizing what can be digitized, reducing unnecessary travel, traveling as sustainably as possible, motivating employees with public transport tickets paid for by the company and promoting e-cars, for example. But we have the much greater leverage as process consultants and IT service providers with our customers, especially with our industrial customers, by helping our customers to make their processes more sustainable and efficient with the help of IT and thus produce less CO2. And I am looking forward to this challenge with my employees.
“Companies need to position themselves more sustainably. The pressure comes from all sides, from consumers, from customers, from employees and also from society and the legislator. In the future, it will be important to make every business process as sustainable as possible and to prove this.“
How well is your company or how well are Austrian companies generally positioned for new work – i.e. distributed teams, home office, hybrid working models, etc.?
As an IT and consulting company, we have been used to these working models for a long time and they were standard for us even before Corona, because we have been working with internationally distributed teams for a long time. Not much has changed for us, except that social distancing in the more challenging times of the pandemic means that employees are already very lacking in socializing and closeness to colleagues. This should not be neglected at New Work either, because work must also be fun. During the pandemic, we have even increased our office space in order to offer our employees an even more attractive working environment. Other companies were certainly not so far and so flexible before Corona. However, we see from our customers that all companies have done this quite well in a relatively short time, that New Work also works. That will remain – at least in part.
Do you think that the tense situation regarding the shortage of IT specialists will improve in the coming years? What can be done in this area?
No, I don’t think the situation will improve. We must learn to deal with the situation permanently. Employers must make themselves attractive enough to attract good talents – including internationally – and to retain them in the company. But we will also not pass by the topic of international cooperation and nearshoring in order to relax the shortage of skilled workers with us a little.
This article is part of a series of interviews for which the COMPUTER WORLD interviewed around 50 top managers from the IT industry. You can read more interviews in the next few weeks on computerwelt.at.