“In order to be sustainably successful, a digital transformation of all business-relevant processes is needed”

"In order to be sustainably successful, a digital transformation of all business-relevant processes is needed"

In an interview with the COMPUTER WORLD, Andreas Dangl, Business Unit Executive for Cloud Services at Fabasoft, describes 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?
I think the past few months have made the importance of digitization particularly clear to us. Without video conferencing and other communication tools, business relationships would not be able to be maintained or managed in times of lockdowns and home office. But this is far from exploiting the potential of digitization. In order to be sustainably successful, a digital transformation of all business-relevant processes is needed. And here I mean both internal and external workflows with customers, suppliers and business partners. This is crucial for companies in terms of competition.

In your opinion, how will the corona crisis affect the IT industry, companies and our society in the coming year?
The corona crisis is definitely acting as a digitization engine. The awareness of numerous companies from a wide variety of industries of how much they depend on the use of digital technologies has increased significantly. At the beginning of the pandemic, they had to implement solutions overnight in order to be able to maintain their business activities in a reasonably orderly manner. These efforts often took place without a strategic, long-term and sustainable plan, so those responsible began to implement many things themselves in their own company. This further increased the already large shortage of skilled workers in IT and led to an enormous scramble for competent personnel.

From my point of view, however, a rethinking is urgently needed – away from “doing everything yourself” to professional cloud services. Ideally, these are based on a low-code / no-code platform and thus enable the use of citizen developers. These are people from specialist departments who understand the business and the associated processes well, but do not have any programming knowledge. For example, these experts make adjustments to approval workflows themselves without accessing resources from the IT department. In this way, the shortage of IT specialists can be somewhat alleviated.

“I am convinced that sustainability is establishing itself as a central influencing factor for future developments. The responsible use of natural resources will play a decisive role in the selection of cloud services.“

Andreas Dangl

What were your professional and personal highlights in 2021?
We were able to implement some significant digitization projects with customers. For example, Siemens Energy has opted for our cloud-based standard product Fabasoft Approve as cross-plant quality management software. We were able to successfully complete the pilot projects at the two largest transformer plants in Weiz (Austria) and Nuremberg (Germany). The global rollout for more than 3,000 employees is now on the agenda. Such a thing gives pleasure.

In addition, the awarding of the BMEnet quality seal for Supplier Relationship Management by the German Federal Association for Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (BME) to Fabasoft Approve fills me with pride. For Fabasoft, inspections by neutral specialist bodies are a valuable proof of the high quality of our software products. It is our aim to provide customers with transparent proof that our solutions actually meet the expectations of the purchasing department.

And last but not least, we were one of the very few European providers to be included in the international Gartner Magic Quadrant for content services and, in particular, to receive the award for our software-as-a-service and low-code/no-code offer.

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 2021?
The pandemic has influenced our society and has also changed global economic processes. I am convinced that sustainability, i.e. sustainability, is establishing itself as a central influencing factor for future developments. The responsible use of natural resources will play a decisive role in the selection of cloud services. An important indicator is the CO2 footprint, which indicates the amount of greenhouse gases caused. Among other things, the following questions need to be clarified here: Is the operation of the data center running on renewable energy? How much electricity does such a data center consume, e.g. due to the building construction or the climatic conditions at the respective location?

I am sure that such CO2 balances will receive more and more attention and that cloud services with environmentally friendly data centers will become the focus of companies. In addition, it is to be assumed that the development of “carbon-aware” cloud services or a “carbon-intelligent” cloud will be prioritized. In the future, the optimization of a cloud continuum will no longer be based exclusively on performance, but primarily on energy consumption and green energy. The use of AI methods makes the performance dynamically scalable on the one hand, and adaptable from the point of view: “Where do you currently get the best CO2 balance?“

“Citizen developers bring a certain relief when it comes to the shortage of skilled workers – provided that the right technologies or platforms are used – keyword no-code / low-code.“

Andreas Dangl

The past two years have been dominated by corona, 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 companies have to change in terms of sustainability? What specific measures are you or your company planning for 2022 and beyond?
It is the responsibility of every organization to strive for continuous improvement of its own eco-balance and to think about certain areas such as the Group fleet, the regional selection of suppliers or energy management and the use of green energy. Through our products for digital, cross-company cooperation, we offer our customers a solid basis for reducing their ecological footprint.

In general, how well are Austrian companies positioned for new work – i.e. distributed teams, home offices, hybrid working models, etc. –?
Last year, when working with customers, I saw that they are now very well organized in this regard. Nevertheless, in some situations, the personal and interpersonal factor is absent.

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?
Citizen developers bring a certain relief – provided that the right technologies or platforms are used – keyword no-code / Low-code. In addition, the topic of digitalization competence must be included more intensively and earlier as a fixed component in the education system and in the curricula of schools. This is the only way digital experts will be available to us in the necessary number for the future.

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.

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