Digitization, News

COSMO CONSULT CEO Uwe Bergmann: "It is about our customers' digital future"

Gero Brinkbäumer07/12/2018

Recently, the COSMO CONSULT Group, one of the world's leading providers of Microsoft-based end-to-end business solutions, has repeatedly been recognized as one of the top IT consulting firms. In the context of the award ceremony of the renowned TOP CONSULTANT Quality Seal, the organizers talked to Uwe Bergmann, founder and CEO of COSMO CONSULT, about the opportunities and risks of digitalization and why technology is not the main part of it.

Mr Bergmann, IT services are your business. What is new or unique about COSMO CONSULT?

Picture: Uwe Bergmann

We operate in an extremely dynamic market environment. The digital progress is changing many things – the individual workplaces, but also the companies themselves and even the whole industry sector. In this transformation process, it is crucial for us that the people involved are not forgotten. Therefore, the concept of human technology or a technology serving humans is part of our vision of a modern work environment. You can also put it like this: The unique thing about our approach is that we provide "business software for people" – which is also our official slogan. And now that we talk about "what is new": The Internet of Things plays an important role already today, i.e. the networking of machines and goods which we map in our solutions. The cloud as an instrument to make IT technology simpler and more flexible is likewise an important trend. In the near future, intelligent systems will increasingly gain entry and revolutionize the handling of business solutions. However, we still bear in mind that IT services are first about the current customer requirements and about solutions that you can rely on here and now.

Please give a short description of your performance portfolio.

In addition to ERP and industry solutions, our product spectrum includes a wide range of special solutions, business intelligence and CRM systems as well as office and portal solutions. Modern digital technologies play a key role here as they set the course for future viability. At the same time, a change of perspective is associated with digitalization, away from individual solutions for separate tasks towards overall solutions that intelligently support and network business processes. This is the reason why we use our solutions to combine a comprehensive service portfolio that aims to provide our customers with future-oriented advice – not only in the selection, but also in the introduction, support and further development of the software. Besides a professional project management, the crucial factor for us is the human side, the cooperation with our customers, which means a respectful and trusting partnership on the same level.

But again in a nutshell In your opinion, what is special about COSMO CONSULT?

Each of our customers has very special and individual requirements. It is therefore important for us to find the optimum solution together with each individual customer. But there is something else: We do not only provide software, we also use our industry and consulting expertise to improve internal processes and help employees learn with enthusiasm how to get the most out of their solutions. So the special thing is our focus on the people in the companies. The future is not only a question of technology - "future" is mainly the people who, with their creativity and commitment, make it possible at all for corporate solutions to reach their full potential.

And what specific benefits do your customers have?

One could now express the specific benefit by means of figures: X percent more efficiency, Y percent resource savings, etc. But these are values that differ from case to case. Therefore, let me answer this question in a more general way: The specific benefit for our customers is a partnership they can rely on. Our core competence is that we understand our customers. This refers, above all, to our industry know-how, that is the fact that our specialists speak the language of companies in the field of order and process manufacturing, trade, the construction industry and the various service sectors. By the way, we actually develop industry-specific and special solutionsfor the mentioned areas. On the other hand, "understanding the customers" also means knowing which factors are relevant in competition, what is useful in each individual case and what is not and how we can achieve the best possible result efficiently and economically. To this end, you have to cooperate in a partnership, honestly and personally with the customers – and this is what we stand for.

Can you give an example of a project that highlights your achievements particularly well?

Actually, our approach is: "Every customer is a reference!". This means, we pursue the standard that every project and every implementation demonstrates what we can do. However, as you are asking for an example, I would like to mention our current lighthouse project, which we presented at the Hanover Fair and for which we also received the IT Innovation Award at the fair: Together with Becker Marine Systems, the world leader in marine propulsion systems, we have created a holistic enterprise solution that not only manages commercial and technical processes, but also provides a modern digital platform for the cooperation with the global project service providers. In this scenario, current IoT technologies, for example, help to keep the project progress in mind, prepare quality reports on a mobile basis, and support customers with modern services.

More about our flagship project

Reference Becker Marine Systems GmbH

New markets, new products, changes in the ways people work - in growth-oriented, innovative businesses, the demands placed on IT can change rapidly. When the ERP system does not fit the company’s organization, process efficiency almost always suffers. Different software is then often the only reasonable solution. The Becker Marine Systems GmbH has also opted for this.

Now let us talk about digitalization: In your opinion, what is decisive today and how does this affect your work?

The decisive factor is not so much the technological side - even though it is a technology-driven topic. Decisive are the effects on our lives and, of course, on our work. Digitalization has an enormous potential. Much can be improved, simplified and even made possible through digital solutions. However, as it is often the case with major changes, there are also many uncertainties and definitely also developments in the wrong direction. First of all, it is important not to lose track. In addition, one has to deal with uncertainty, doubt and even fears and take them seriously. For our customers, the main thing is to not understand digitalization as an end in itself or as a trend that you blindly follow. It must be analyzed exactly what has real substance, what is technically mature and what is reasonable and useful in practice. One of the services that we provide in this area is, for example, the "Digital Maturity Check", which can be used by companies to evaluate their current degree of digitization and compare it with the industry average. The result will then show in detail where to start and which measures are promising. It is our job to find the right way into the digital age together with our customers – with a thorough understanding of the relevant situation, the company's employees and, of course, the actual business.

You offer software solutions and IT consulting to companies and still put your focus on people -– how does that work?

It is interesting that your question implies a contradiction between IT and the people who use it. The origin of technology is actually the expansion of possibilities or the simplification of strenuous work - which means a function that serves people. Our technology solutions and our services are understood by us according to this fundamental meaning. On the other hand, it is understandable that you are asking this question, as technology has a reputation for making our life not easier but, on the contrary, more complicated. Of course, many of the challenges which we approach with technical means are complicated. Therefore, it is more important not to lose sight of the actual and basically simple purpose of the entire technology, namely to improve our lives. So, we do not put the focus on people "despite" our technology, but rather "because of it".

In the environment of digitalization, agile working methods play an important role. How can digitalization and software support agile concepts?

Picture: TOP Consultant Trophae

Agile concepts are essentially about breaking up rigid structures, about being able to respond faster and in a more flexible manner to changes and, perhaps most importantly, about developing the creativity and special skills of employees. In fact, we offer a wide range of solutions, services and implementation methods that translate this concept into practice and bring it to life. The development towards the digital workplace is associated to a large extent with a release from rigid tasks. An important and unfortunately often neglected factor here is change management. The success or failure of projects is basically related to an area that is not so easy to grasp and not simply measurable, but where ultimately things happen. With this, I refer to everything that has to do with motivation, values, with the culture of a company and with the question: How ready is an organization for a change? For us, answering this question is one of the key elements of our projects as well as our consulting services, in addition to the actual specifications.

Finally, a question that has to do with technology: How do current developments, for example in the area of Industry 4.0 or the "Internet of Things", influence your work as a pioneer of digitalization?

In one word: Strongly! We have a business unit which is exclusively dedicated to the research and development of Industry 4.0 solutions. Another unit specializes in mathematical models and algorithms for implementing AI technologies in our standard solutions. Modern business software has a lot to do with future expectations and the vision of a better working world. One example is our smart Industry 4.0 solution scenario for the "Digital Construction Site" The platform, which we developed together with the Fraunhofer IFF, uses, for example, cloud-based, IoT and VR technologies to manage large construction sites and reduce downtime. The potential of these new digital tools is enormous, as I said, and we are actually just at the beginning.

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