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5 Questions with Andreas Heß

17 August 2021
Ida Lorenz
Andreas Hess is a motivated team player and certified IT specialist in the field of system integration. At Cornelsen Verlag, he is, among other things, Head of Business Solutions. He is responsible for the business IT of the publishing company as well as the business IT strategy of the entire Cornelsen Group. Thereby, he draws on many years of professional experience at Arvato Systems.

Andreas Hess

How do you define digital transformation for your company?

Cornelsen stands for inspiring educational solutions that enable individual learning success – and for this, hybrid and digital offerings are increasingly needed today and in the future. An essential part of this, from our point of view as an internal IT service provider, are automated processes based on state-of-the-art, well-integrated IT systems and high data quality. For example, we have improved our product master data and simultaneously introduced a campaign management system. Only both measures together enable us to create a digital customer journey and offer the right products to our customers.

What were the biggest challenges and most important learnings in the past year?

The ongoing transformation of our entire processes and systems, which were print-centric in all areas from finance to marketing & sales to product development, to digital platforms for both internal and external services is constantly presenting new challenges to everyone involved, including myself. In this context, there are 3 important learnings to avoid losing orientation: A clear vision as a common objective for all those involved, a lot of courage to try out new ideas, including an iterative approach, and even more communication in order to reconcile the vision and the learnings from the implementation again and again.

What impact does a sustainable data strategy have on your customers?

Take the example of the topic we worked on together with parsionate: A new product information management system. Based on high-quality master data, this enables our customers to quickly find the right products from our range of more than 40,000 products, to receive matching recommendations for similar, related products, and to reach customers in entirely new channels that suit them, so that overall they spend more time on education and less time on searching and procuring. And the resulting more efficient internal processes also allow us to invest more budgets in great educational offers for our customers.

How do leaders get their team excited about data management projects?

From my experience, this is often not necessary at all, as there is usually a long-standing operational pain before such projects – triggered by poor data quality or lack of data transparency, among other things. The most important thing in such a situation is to simply tackle it, develop a joint plan and support the teams involved so that they can be successful.

What advice would you give to companies that are at the beginning of strategic data management projects?

An essential building block for us – before we even started a first project – was to set up a data governance board in order to get all the departments involved around the table, to develop a language and a common view of the further development of our data and to enable a small core team from the data governance board that can deal with strategic and operational issues virtually all around the clock.

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