Let’s Talk About… with Leonid Reisenbüchler. The Senior Consultant at dataglobal talks about archiving using jukeboxes, piles of paper from Internet providers, and the value of working digitally.
Mr. Reisenbüchler, with 27 years’ experience you’re an old hand at IT. How did you get involved in the industry?
I had a career change. I actually had an electrotechnical background, but had always been interested in computers going right back to Commodore64 and Schneider CPC times. At the time that I wanted to switch to EDP, all you needed to do was spell computer correctly – they were desperate for people. Initially, I ended up in the Service department and repaired hardware. Then the company’s software department was awarded a contract to program a digital archive for a newspaper. A jukebox with magneto-optical memory boards was used. It didn’t work. That’s why they called me in. And that’s how I ended up in the new DMS department. Their remit was to develop archiving solutions.
What is your role at dataglobal?
In consulting work my key areas are SAP archiving and our mail and file management products, as well as business solutions which involve customized solutions for our customers.
The newspaper archive that you created is a tangible example of how digital work can make day-to-day activities easier, isn’t it?
Exactly. For the newspaper it was important that they could search articles and information quickly and easily in a computer, rather than looking through old paper copies. That saves a huge amount of time and is, of course, much more convenient than going into a dark cellar and rifling through paper. In particular, the articles were able to be made available on line and very conveniently searched using full-text searches.
Do you think that digitization is also seen like this in Germany: as an opportunity to make life easier? Or do fear and skepticism prevail?
We have an unbelievable need to catch up. In part, that is a mentality issue: We are averse to technology. We don’t have the desire for innovation. But we could be doing countless processes much more efficiently. I recently changed my Internet tariff – just the tariff, not the provider. But I was still sent twelve multi-page letters in the course of the changeover. The stack of paper was so thick that in all likelihood half a tree had to be sacrificed. That is no longer in line with the times; it could be done much more quickly digitally. We have to change this consistently otherwise we will lose touch.
If a digital company is lagging behind, how do you expect to be able to convince a mid-sized enterprise from the manufacturing sector to become more digital?
As consultants, we have to really immerse ourselves in our customers’ work and business processes. We have to find solutions that are practice-focused. My motto is “Keep it simple”. It is important to consider the starting point of processes and then to understand what the objective is and finally to reduce everything in-between to the absolute minimum and digitize it.
What part does the legislator play in pushing digitization forward?
Politics has an obligation to create clear framework conditions. Unfortunately, those responsible seem to lack the understanding to do this. Many companies are unsure what is allowed and what isn’t. The guidelines are missing; it has simply been missed. It is a fatal sign that the authorities are only now intensifying their investigations in relation to GDPR when companies started long ago to use the cloud offerings provided by the big players from the US. They are potentially sitting in a data protection trap, and are worried about large fines.
Can these kinds of experiences give the impression that digitization creates more problems than it solves?
Yes, but it is wrong to say: That’s all too complex, let’s just leave it. I have learned over many projects that you can’t go through a company with a battering ram and turn it completely upside down. On the journey, you’re going to lose employees. But the future of the world and the future of the working world are digital. There is no way of avoiding having to digitize – step by step.
And how does dataglobal help with this?
By supporting companies in establishing a digital workplace which provides all the data and tools to enable employees to work from home or from any place in the world, without having to take countless ring-binders with them.
What do you consider to be the greatest success of digitization?
That I don’t have to pore over paper any more to find important information. And that a complete knowledge bank is available by entering a simple search term. When I was a child, we had a 25-volume encyclopedia at home. That was static knowledge, you bought it once and used it over many years. The possibilities that we have today, you could not even have imagined in those days.