What do Franz Schubert and Ralph Ginzinger have in common? The answer would be absolutely nothing… but then the 2020 pandemic surprised the entire world, and Ralph surprised himself by learning how to play the piano during his free time. Our artistic VP Consulting at HICO-Group recently sat down with us to talk about life and business in the ‘corona era’.
CORONA ISN’T ALL NEGATIVE
Being a very optimistic person, Ralph welcomed the change of home office with open arms. Not only did it relieve him of his many travels in the DACH region but it gave him an opportunity to enjoy more playtime than ever before with his son. “Being at home every dinner of every day, spending my (frequent) coffee breaks with my family, and playing with my son whenever the chance presents itself – these are all positive things that a negative chain of events had caused. As much as I am anxious about the future of the world, I have never been this happy and this productive,” admits Ralph.
“I am a very lucky man,” he adds. “While our healthcare workers (and many others) are on the literal frontline of battle, I and so many others in the world can enjoy working from home with only minor annoyances such as slow internet connection or sitting in one spot for too long. WFH is an underappreciated luxury nowadays. For me, it has been a welcome change so far.”
WHAT IS NEW & WHAT IS NEXT?
Speaking of changes, Ralph, what is the biggest change you noticed during the pandemic?
“If I had to pick one, I think it would definitely be uncertainty. It is not ‘bad’ per se but it is definitely annoying. You cannot properly plan ahead on going out for dinner or meeting friends. What is going to happen tomorrow? Are we going to get locked down again, you know,” Ralph remarks.
It is exactly this uncertainty that has spawned new trends in the Business Intelligence market. Businesses from all industries are rallying to “plan” their future and are actively looking for analytical solutions that can help do just that.
“Before you start doing something, make a plan,” Ralph posits. “We have been trying to make people aware of this for years. Now, the market is much more interested in KPI planning, data estate, analytics, and BI tools, in general, that can help them navigate this new, fast-paced world. Companies ‘need’ to measure what they are doing and what they can achieve.”
We couldn’t agree more. Looking ahead, Ralph, do you see any new trends happening in the BI space or for consultants like yourself?
“It has already started to happen. Corona is driving significant change in all industries. As a consequence, independent consulting is seeing a huge shift in demand due to all the tools and unprecedented changes in the market”, Ralph explains. “We are already getting used to fully remote work. The next step might be to get used to fully remote industries, especially for consulting businesses, as the only physical locations we’re seeing are online and on the screen, which can provide fewer restrictions for teams to expand internationally.”
NOTHING IS SET IN STONE
Sounds like a lot of change is coming our way. In our effort to cover all aspects of these changing times, is there maybe a piece of advice you’d want to share with businesses and partners out there? What is the most important thing to do at the moment, from your unique perspective?
“Don’t lose hope. Question everything. These two pieces of advice relate to everything that is not going as expected in your business at the moment,” Ralph claims. “What the pandemic has shown us is everything that was set in stone day in and day out for years just isn’t anymore. Remote work seemed impossible at first for a lot of businesses. But look, they had to adapt overnight and now it is normal. One thing the pandemic revealed is that everything can be changed. Everything. So, my advice to everyone is:
Challenge everything – because nothing is ‘that’ certain anymore.”
Well said, Ralph. Now, time for some Rapid Fire questions. Whoop, whoop! We’ll ask quick questions and you (please) do your best to provide quick answers. Ready, set…
Describe 2020 in one word.
Describe “life at HICO” in one word.
Work or sleep – which do you do more nowadays?
I’d say work but… the thing is now I also sleep more too because previously I was traveling a lot. My work-sleep ratio has shifted significantly (for the better)!
Okay! Which came first – the chicken or the egg?
The chicken. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know. [laughs]
Share a great TV show or movie you’ve recently watched.
The Queen’s Gambit – absolute masterpiece. Side note: if we’re talking entertainment, in general, I’d like to mention a game called Factorio. It is so addictive!
What is a hobby or weird skill you have that no one knows about?
Playing the piano.
What is the… wait a second. Did you just say “playing the piano”?! Tell us more, please.
“Haha! People are always so surprised to hear that. So, during the first lockdown, I was looking for hobbies to pick up and playing the piano seemed interesting. Little did I know that I would enjoy it so much that after a few months of self-study, I decided to take lessons from a professional piano instructor. And I am still going strong – 7 months now! I am simply in love with it,” exults Ralph.
Wow, congrats! We hope we’ll get invited to a virtual concert soon.
THANKFUL FOR 2020
To end our conversation today on a positive note, could you share some more highlights from your home office times? Something like ‘Ralph’s list of personal highlights of 2020’?
“Absolutely. I think I’ll include everything that I found personally exciting this year, not just home office. So… No travel times. Being more efficient at work. New challenges brought on by the pandemic, which I wholeheartedly accept. Accelerated digitalization everywhere – this one was way overdue! Family time. Being lucky. I am thankful for all of these things,” Ralph concludes.
Well, we’d like to thank you for the amazing conversation we had. Hope we can do this again sometime soon. Best of luck in everything you do, Ralph!
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