Let’s Talk About … with Christian Malzacher. The business manager is responsible for the ‘modern workplace’ strategic business field at IT system house and dataglobal-Partner Bechtle AG from Neckarsulm.
Herr Malzacher, can you remember when you first came across the term ‘modern workplace’?
Honestly, no, I can’t. All the terms like ‘modern workplace’ and ‘new work’ feel ever present and anything but new. It’s just that the definitions have changed again and again.
How do you define ‘modern workplace’ at Bechtle?
When it comes to the ‘modern workplace’, a lot of people just think about tables, chairs, PCs, screens, keyboards, mice and headsets. So a modern place to work and that’s it. But that’s precisely what it is not. Of course, you have to have all of that, but the way you work also has to be ‘modern’ – or ‘agile’ as it’s referred to today. This includes facilitating virtual working practices and, at the same time, creating an atmosphere in the office that is so pleasant that people actually want to go there so that they can, for example, interact with their colleagues in person. The two worlds should blend together well.
You started in your role in January 2020. Shortly afterwards we were hit by the coronavirus. The pandemic has drastically changed the perceptions of modern working practices. It has been an accelerant for digitization; enterprises have had to adapt very quickly.
That’s true. We had a lot to do and we still do because adapting to these changes doesn’t happen overnight. What we have facilitated in the short term, should now lead to a sustainable IT infrastructure for our customers. The coronavirus has shown us the benefits that virtual working offers, the potential for flexibility and agility it creates, but also the disadvantages it brings with it. Now we should make the most of the advantages, aided by the fantastic possibilities, and reduce the disadvantages as much as possible. This is where the company executives need to step up.
Is this because the ‘modern workplace’ needs more than just hardware and software, because it’s also a question of the corporate culture?
Exactly. Transformation has to be managed. There is currently a lot of positive hype around change management. Anyone who tackles the ‘modern workplace’ properly is going to initiate far-reaching change. It’s about new processes. It’s about perhaps not continuing to do things as you always have; it’s about doing them more efficiently, optimizing them and automating them, which will then create freedom for employees. User adaption, which is the best possible approach to technology, improves collaboration and means that everyone can concentrate on the important aspects of their work. It’s quite an exciting field and – this is the great bit – can create a lot of value for the company.
Technology is there to make life easier – that is also one of dataglobal’s guiding principles. How do Bechtle and dataglobal work together?
The relationship between us has grown over the long-term and is very much based on trust. We complement each other because, as we mentioned, the digitization of processes is becoming so much more essential and dataglobal plays an important role for us and our customers in this area. In a very specific operating environment, dataglobal, with its know-how, rounds off our portfolio.
Where do you personally see the greatest benefit in digitization?
Work and life are converging more and more. We are hearing again and again how important it is to have balance. What I like about the most recent technological developments is the fact that people have noticeably taken center stage. The advances in IT empower people to advance professionally and to reconcile this better with their personal lives. They also strengthen the trust between management and employees or within individual teams. The course that we’re now on, can be of great benefit to all of us. That motivates me. And that’s exactly how we should continue.