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DECEMBER 2020: PEOPLE OF HICO – BENJAMIN GNÄDIG, VP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & PROCESSES

Publication date: 10 December 2020

Ever wondered what your 2020 lockdown would look like if you spent your days on a boat, roaming the endless waters of Lake Constance? Well, you might find out here! We recently caught up with Benjamin Gnädig, HICO-Group’s Vice President of Business Development & Processes, to discuss life in corona and changes in the BI space, and we got some interesting answers. Enjoy!

What is the biggest change you noticed in your day-to-day since the coronavirus pandemic (and the lockdown) started?

Remote work, for sure. Even though I still visit our Radolfzell office very frequently, the home office change is a noticeable one. I do have to commend our entire HICO family in this regard. As a team, I think we made the best out of a bad situation. Being a ‘digital’ company, we already had lots of systems and processes in place on various digital platforms, some of which are our own. Ever since the first lockdown in Germany, we optimized and adapted all of our processes to now be 100% comfortable working ‘digitally’ across the board. At the office or at home, it doesn’t matter – we are sure to get the job done!

If you could use only one word to describe 2020, what word would it be?

Crazy.

Work or sleep – which do you do more nowadays?

Work. It seems like even more work.

Is there any movie, TV show or book you’ve recently enjoyed?

King of Queens – binged all seasons during the lockdown. I’ve also been listening to the audiobook version of ‘Excellence Wins’ by Horst Shulze during my daily commute.

Did you pick up any new hobbies since the pandemic started?

I accidentally bought a boat! Funny story, actually. I’ve had my boat license for 7 years now but I never managed to find the time to find a boat to purchase or even rent one for longer periods of time. Then one day during the lockdown, my best friend sends me a link to a boat he found on eBay. “There’s some work to do but it’s cheap.” Those were his exact words. Naturally, I fell in love with the idea and bought the boat. In a matter of days, I got it fixed up and running in the waters. I basically spent my entire summer on the boat. We even had one of our management meetings on a boat trip. It was so refreshing!

HICO-Group management team meeting, June 2020

In one word, can you describe “life at HICO” in 2020?

Challenging. But in a positive way.

What is the biggest new trend you noticed in your line of work during the pandemic?

I may sound like a broken record saying this, but honestly, Collaboration. Collaboration has become the key trend for businesses during the course of this year. Combine that with the right tools and you have a winning formula to maximize business results. Tools like TRUECHART have helped our clients bring their data to life and make it accessible and visually meaningful to everyone on their teams. Our KPI-CHAT tool has become the catalyst of change when it comes to collaborating ‘around’ data without the need to install a separate BI platform, which brings down the cost of investment and training significantly. We use all of these tools ourselves at HICO-Group in our controlling and financing, and it helps a lot, especially when you have half the team working remotely in various locations in the world. Collaboration and tools that help teams collaborate – that is what I am currently noticing as a growing trend everywhere.

Is there any “next big” change or development you expect to see in the industry soon?

I think living with a new routine is something that all businesses as well as individuals are still adapting to. So, I wouldn’t say I am “expecting” anything to develop as the next big thing but I am genuinely excited to see what new business tools, processes, and ideas we will get in the near future to improve our ‘new normal’, as teams and individuals.

Is there any particular piece of advice you’d give to businesses and partners out there during these times?

Two things, actually. Number one: stay calm. Don’t rush into decisions because you feel under pressure. Remember, a lot of businesses are going through the same thing too. Be careful about every step you take and get guidance on how to improve. Number two: invest in your relationship with your team members. Great leaders are great followers so take a few minutes out of your day to find the people who seek advice, help or a friendly chat. A simple “hello, how are you doing” might change somebody’s day or week for the better. Take care of your team to take care of your business.

To wrap it up, could you give us a list of your personal highlights of 2020 so far?

The boat, definitely. This is also the first time in my life I took three weeks of vacation during the summer, which I now want to do every year. On a more personal level, I’d highlight the bonding I experienced with all of my family members during the lockdown. Relationships mean everything, and this was surely the year to open my eyes to that, both in life and in business.


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