Ralph Koczwara on the Drivers of the IT Industry and Cultural Change
Ralph Koczwara is the Founder and CEO of Hemmersbach, the social purpose IT company, and a member of CURAZE, FemaleOneZero’s innovation network. Founded in 2000, Hemmersbach not only provides IT infrastructure services, but also makes the world a better place with its Direct Action projects. Ralph shares the hot topics in the IT industry and why he believes that cultural change is overstated
1. What are the main issues or drivers in today’s business world?
For us there are two main drivers. One is the trend for subscription-based IT devices: Companies no longer want to buy their IT devices and are looking for subscription solutions. This is true on a global scale and is offered by one provider. Equally, we are also driven by the increasing interconnectivity of electronic devices, i.e., the Internet of Things - especially in the areas of commercial IoT and industrial IoT. Customers not only need sensors but are looking for complete solutions including financing and installation.
2. ... and what are the biggest challenges?
Our biggest challenge has been our rapid development. Hemmersbach has grown by 1,000 people in the last five months. The things which have helped us to manage this immense growth are optimized processes and our digital and system-driven way of working. As a social purpose company, we have clear values that we consistently live by and communicate to the outside world. As a result, we attract the right employees who also want to find a sense of purpose and don't just chase monetary incentives. In this way, we succeed not only in maintaining our corporate culture, but even in strengthening it further, which would otherwise be very difficult given our rapid growth.
3. What innovations and tech trends do you find particularly exciting?
Everything surrounding CO2 removal and enhanced weathering. With our Direct Action Hemmersbach Climate Force, we take CO2 out of the air and, in the long run, bind it into rock form. We are working with our own scientists to make this method globally scalable and available to all interested parties.
4. What idea, product or thought leader has excited or inspired you lately?
American investor Charlie Munger is one of the smartest people I know. I find his exceptional common sense very inspiring.
5. Why do cultural change and digital transformation go together?
From my point of view, cultural change is overstated. While focusing on the feel-good atmosphere, companies forget that it should be about performance. Hemmersbach still focuses on performance - people who enjoy performance feel comfortable here, because performance and fun go hand in hand. Digital transformation enables us to make performance measurable and reward it accordingly.
6. In one sentence, what is one topic we should no longer be discussing in five years?
Companies half-heartedly trying to minimize their negative impact. Instead, they will actively work to have a positive impact.
7. What makes companies successful in the long run? What makes leadership successful in the long run?
Good leadership is consistent leadership. As a leader, you must set clear principles and exemplify these from the top-down, with the appropriate consequences: positive if adhered to, negative if disregarded. However, good leadership also ensures growth, so that new opportunities for development can arise. High performers must be able to develop further, otherwise they will leave at the next opportunity. You must retain talent by offering attractive development opportunities and grow with them.
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