Joerg Hartmann, President of Konica Minolta Germany and 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 this year. […]
What lessons can be learned from 2021 in general and from the corona crisis in particular for the future?
The pandemic has accelerated digitization once again. This has fueled the megatrend “New Way of Work” and thus changed the world of work from scratch. Companies need to be even more agile, flexible and digital on the market, and hybrid forms of work are becoming the standard. This requires a reliable IT infrastructure with a strong focus on security and a change in management style.
How do you think the corona crisis will affect the IT industry, companies and our society this year?
The rapid digital change that the corona crisis accelerated in 2021 will continue in 2022. In this respect, corona is both a crisis and an opportunity for me. Digital workplaces are becoming the standard, the cloud is moving into the center of business processes, “as-a-service” solutions are becoming business-critical and sustainability at the workplace is becoming the standard. It will be crucial that companies use the added value of data in a volatile working and market environment. Because data-based decisions are the key to success. Our goal is therefore to optimally connect people, places and technologies with each other and to gain valuable data from them in order to successfully drive business changes.
What were your professional and personal highlights in 2021?
Personally, I am particularly pleased that the excellent work of our Corona Taskforce has prevented severe Covid-19 cases among our Austrian employees. Highlights from the company’s point of view are certainly the awards for the best managed service provider and the second best system house in Germany.
In your opinion, which topics should be at the top of the agenda of IT managers this year and why? Which IT topics will play a particularly important role in 2022?
I see added value through data and cybersecurity as the two big IT topics in 2022. Our everyday business is characterized by increasingly complex decisions. Data becomes the key to sound decision-making. And yet the majority of companies still rely on their gut feeling and experience instead of data and facts. But in order to continue to be successful in the future, companies must focus on data-driven processes. One challenge is maintaining data security and ultimately protecting the intellectual property of companies. Cybersecurity must therefore increasingly become a top priority for companies. This requires the appropriate software and hardware, which form a strong protective wall against cybercrime.
“Our day-to-day business is characterized by increasingly complex decisions. Data becomes the key to sound decision-making. And yet the majority of companies still rely on their gut feeling and experience instead of data and facts.“
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?
While sustainability in IT has been a positive differentiator in the past, climate-neutral workplaces are increasingly becoming the standard. At Konica Minolta, sustainability has long been an integral part of our corporate strategy. This also includes sustainable services that aim to reduce CO2 emissions. For example, the bizhub ECO-service provides a preset eco-configuration for MFPs, which saves toner and automatically deletes blank pages. It also includes the Enabling Carbon Neutrality program, which offsets carbon emissions during the life cycle of the system. Konica Minolta products are designed to save materials and energy and have a long service life. So they can be easily reused after the first use or recycled at the end of their life cycle.
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 one of the world’s largest IT providers, we focused on mobile work and hybrid work models at an early stage. Thanks to our Microsoft Global Gold Partner Status, among other things, we are in a position to comprehensively support our customers in their efforts towards new Work. This includes all M365 solutions such as teams, but also cloud, managed services and security solutions. In general, we see Austrian companies already well positioned for digitization, and we provide support especially in increasing their digital maturity level.
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?
In general, Corona has fundamentally changed the world of work. Working in hybrid teams, where part of the workforce works remotely while others are in the office, will be crucial for creating attractive jobs. Because one thing is clear: most employees want to maintain hybrid working even after the end of the pandemic. This requires the necessary IT and technical support. The shortage of IT specialists will certainly increase in the coming years, so it is necessary to optimize the use of IT resources. Managed services help to relieve IT departments of the burden of managing, securing and updating the IT infrastructure. In addition, cloud and “as-a-service” solutions allow companies to keep an eye on costs, flexibly adapt their services to changing requirements and save budgets for server capacities. Employees can concentrate on more strategically valuable projects, which at the same time improves motivation and cooperation with colleagues.
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.