How long have you been with DATAGROUP, and how did you come to DATAGROUP?
I joined DATAGROUP in 2012 with the acquisition of the former Consinto, which I joined in 2006. Consinto was spun off from the Thales Group in 2008 and sold to a financial investor. With financial investors, the future is often uncertain, which is why we were happy to join DATAGROUP in 2012 as part of the resale.
As a German, medium-sized and owner-managed company, DATAGROUP’s DNA was a very good fit with ours.
What position do you hold today?
I have been on the Executive Board since 2018 and am responsible for delivery units and production. Before that, I was Managing Director of DATAGROUP Business Solutions and am responsible for a market unit there following a restructuring.
From the former Consinto to the management of DATAGROUP Business Solutions and now the Executive Board – how have you personally experienced and shaped change?
I am someone who enjoys change. Personalities are very different, but I need new challenges on a regular basis, and I’ve been given them at every station in my professional life. That’s what makes work exciting for me. A certain amount of continuous change suits me well.
You experienced DATAGROUP’s acquisition strategy from the perspective of the acquired company and then later from the other perspective. What sets DATAGROUP apart?
What we do significantly better than others is: We preserve the essence of companies. We follow a decentralized approach, which means that companies are largely independent units under the DATAGROUP umbrella. Accordingly, we do not integrate new companies hard into an existing, defined target organization, but incorporate them gently. We make sure that the culture remains intact and blends well with the DATAGROUP culture.
What are typical tasks in your day-to-day business?
The production department that I head was created with the aim of optimizing processes and cooperation within the DATAGROUP production model. Our production model consists of four central delivery units and local production in the market units. Among other things, we want to ensure through further optimization that our customers experience our services as from a single source.
Accordingly, the day-to-day business is very diverse and ranges from individual operational issues to large strategic projects. IT always has multiple dependencies. The technology and various processes in one unit must therefore interact seamlessly with that of another. In addition, there are the different interests of the people involved. Bringing these together is also one of my tasks. But also larger development topics and change projects, such as SQUARE.
SQUARE was a major change project. What was it all about?
With SQUARE, we transferred the DATAGROUP Business Solutions organization to the DATAGROUP model. For this purpose, we have on the one hand transferred existing delivery structures or production structures to the central delivery units, but on the other hand also created new market units with a differentiated focus. The former gave rise to DATAGROUP Operations, a merger of the former DATAGROUP Data Center and Business Solutions production units. In addition, we have fully developed DATAGROUP Inshore Services, a subsidiary of DATAGROUP Business Solutions, into a central delivery unit.
Furthermore, we have created four new market units, two with a regional focus (Munich / Bavarian area and Berlin / new federal states) and two with an industry focus: Defense IT Services with a focus on the defense industry and the new Business Solutions with a focus on the insurance and automotive industry. In addition, we have merged central departments of DATAGROUP Business Solutions, such as Finance and Human Resources, as well as IT Service Management and Governance, Risk and Compliance with existing departments within DATAGROUP SE.
What is important in such change projects?
In my experience, it is important to set a goal for changes of this magnitude, but also to be aware that you cannot foresee the entire course of such a project at the start. Many questions only arise along the way and can only be clarified along the way. Such a situation is not always easy for those involved.
Of course, people prefer to see all steps on a precisely defined path ahead of them, rather than starting with a certain amount of uncertainty, where you simply can’t answer all the questions down to the last detail. That’s why it’s important to make the people affected aware of this and then support them in dealing with such major change processes.
It is also important to actively manage this change, communicate any developments that occur and create transparency for the next steps.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
I find it hard to say what the one biggest challenge was. Looking back, big challenges for me were when there was organizational change with a certain level of complexity. Along the way, you usually realize that there are always surprises and things don’t always turn out the way you thought. Dealing with new insights here, finding solutions again and again, and at the same time sticking to the basic idea of change and pushing it forward, despite all the difficulties, is a very rewarding challenge.
What was the biggest change you experienced?
Looking back, it’s always the last changes you’ve experienced that seem particularly big. But SQUARE was clearly one of the biggest changes I’ve helped to shape, as we took an organization that had grown over many years, developed it so fundamentally, and moved it into a new target structure.
IT is constantly changing. What are you doing on the Managing Board to ensure that DATAGROUP remains adaptable in order to keep up with these changes?
What we are doing very intensively at the moment is investing in change competencies within our company. Because the only thing that remains the same is constant change. We can’t say today what changes will accompany us in the future, but we can already work on the ability to deal with change. We invest a lot in that.
In the course of the SQUARE project, for example, we implemented change agents, facilitators of change on the same level as colleagues. We would like to transfer this concept to DATAGROUP as a whole and thus try to develop an organization that can deal well with the changes that the dynamic IT industry brings with it.
What IT trends do you think will change society in the future?
IT will be in more and more products, services and everyday things, so that we will encounter what IT is all about everywhere. In the course of this, I believe that we will get used to it and learn to live with the new challenges. We will have to deal more and more with issues such as security and the handling of data. In products or situations where I didn’t have to worry about it in the past, we are increasingly confronted with these questions: Who has what data and how is it processed? How do I make sure I stay in control?
If we look back at the things that didn’t even exist ten years ago and the changes that have taken place, we can see that this will continue in the future.
DATAGROUP in five years – where will the journey take the company?
I believe that we as humans always realize what is technologically possible. However, technology develops so dynamically that there is always a gap between what is technologically possible and what companies or individuals are able to do in order to use these technologies perfectly. DATAGROUP builds the bridge here, today and in the future. The services may be different in the future, but you will always need experienced service providers like us to close the gap between what is possible and what is available.
What is your conclusion on the subject of change?
If you deal openly and proactively with the topic of change and the relevant skills are taught more strongly in the organization, then change is definitely something that can be positive and exciting, and can also help you move forward. Approaching change with the right attitude, willingness and skills, and consciously experiencing change is important. Then, despite change, you can look to the future with confidence, knowing that you can deal with that change and take advantage of new opportunities and possibilities.
Andreas Baresel, Member of Executive Board, responsible for Delivery Units and Production. Studied business administration, management positions focusing on business development and portfolio development in IT consulting and managed IT services.