We felt it was a great opportunity to catch up with Ralf and pester him with questions about analytics, the c-suite and how he feels the two go together, as well as get the inside scoop on his new position!
What prompted the move from Webtrekk to CRM Partners AG?
The bigger picture – the bigger data picture. With the eyes of a web analytics company you might think this tool is the key for success, but when it comes to the general success of a company there is the CRM System in the heart of every organisation to make sure the business is developing and growing in the right direction.
How are the positions of CCO and Managing Director different?
It is another story to be in the full responsive lead for your team and the well-being of the whole company . I really love the full responsibility of setting up the complete vision and executing it! And the team is just great!
In terms of analytics, do you think Managing Directors need more or less from their analytics?
They need less data overview and they need fewer details. However, they need a professional overview and dashboard options. They need to talk Business, meaning every KPI has to be financially relevant. Everything else is a “nice to know” only.
What do you see as some of the greatest challenges facing SaaS organisations in today’s market? Cloud, not to cloud etc.
The Cloud is dead, welcome to the Cloud. With Microsoft announcing a German Cloud we have a different – a safe – data story to present. But key of all management discussions around challenges is the communication between data sources and the need to include external data from third parties. Everything else is just a standard CRM system. We go one step further at CRM Partners.
You’ve written about the “new” CDO role for WAW and other publications, how do you see it progressing from here?
The Chief Digital Officer no longer has a justification in the company, instead the Chief Data Officer has. And think about your strategy wisely; no longer should a company set up a digital strategy or digital marketing plan. They have to set up a strategy or marketing plan and make sure the digital part is included from day 1.
During your last role:
- One thing you would have done differently
When opening the US Office we were too German, meaning a conservative approach stopped us from starting a real business in the US.
- One thing you learnt/discovered about yourself
Getting along and working with different cultures is much easier than everybody thinks. You need to prepare, adapt and act human-to-human.
- When you switch off/relax, what do you do?
I do not believe in work-life-balance, those frontiers no longer exists. Work is an important part of my life, not only in terms of hours per day. But when fully turning away from business I jump on my road bike or mountain bike and try to increase my pulse, sweat and enjoy nature. Or I play with my son and forget the world around me.
Do you think people coming into these roles in 5 years time will be different? (come from a different background/skills set etc.)
Everything will be different in 5 years from now. I am a fan of the claim “higher for attitude, train for skills”. This will increase since it will turn more and more into people business. The complexity and options around data are massive … and we just got started.
Mindsets can be difficult to change, how do you convince organisations that the data is really important?
I do not convince them. They need to be aware of this via daily business and then, I fascinate them with the power and combination of data – not by talking about data being important. Wake up, analogue world. You are about to die tomorrow. Or even tonight …
You’ve already written one book, “Future Digital Business”, do you think you’d write another book? What was the biggest challenge in writing in the first one?
Actually I was asked to come up with a second issue and with the broader knowledge of data and CRM, I am happy to accept the challenge. I’ve already started to work on the agenda. The biggest challenge will be the same: writing content that is both new and adds value. Also, time Management between the first idea and holding the new “baby” in your hands.
Ralf will be doing a charity ride from Germany to the Netherlands in the mid of September to help poor children celebrating an unforgettable birthday. You can donate here if you want to be a reason to put a smile on a child’s face: DoGood – Haberich Donation