IT consultant with a passion: This has been Stefan Schmidtsdorff’s job for more than 25 years. During this time, he has worked in different sectors and in different roles. In this interview, he tells us why he loves his job so much and about the qualities that IT consultants need to bring with them.
Mr. Schmidtsdorff, you have been in the consulting business for more than 25 years. Why?
I already thought that the consulting branch was exciting when I was training to be a data entry specialist, as it gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in different customer needs and sectors, to understand and appreciate different people and characters, and to work on a wide range of topics and in different consulting roles. That’s why I decided early on to spend the first few years of my career working as an IT consultant, although back then I only wanted to do it for a maximum of six years and then take on a management position in a company. I have now been working in the consulting business for more than 25 years. The profession just suits me and I am still passionate about it.
What do you like most about your work?
The variety, that is, the different situations that customers find themselves in where they need help. Every project is different and every sector has its own rules. That means that the role of the IT consultant is always different as well. For example, I have worked as a project manager, business analyst, project management coach, task force manager and key account manager. I have developed new core competencies almost incidentally, for example, in the field of business analysis and as a consultant in software selection and introduction projects in the field of customer relationship management (CRM).
“As an IT consultant, you have to be communicative and be good at putting yourself in other people’s shoes. I recommend that anybody who is interested in the consultant life just tries it out.”Stefan Schmidtsdorff, IT consultant
Can you explain your specialization a little bit more?
Today, in order to get a 360-degree overview of the customer, it is becoming more and more crucial to sales success to analyze and accompany customers at every point of contact with the company. Only then can companies provide optimal responses to customer requests, needs and preferences, and interact with customers in the right way at all times – for example, by proactively supplying them with current offers at each point of contact. It is becoming increasingly important to be aware of the data that exists on the customer, to manage customer data and to have a command of modern data analysis methods. It simplifies the work done by marketing and sales and improves sales approaches.
This is precisely where professional systems in the field of customer relationship management and modern analytic tools are put to use. If departments want to launch systems like these, I help them or their IT departments to select software, for example, by firstly defining their desired business processes with them, then defining specialist and technical requirements in target concepts, by generating tender documents if need be, and by helping them to assess and select suppliers and software. As a trained data entry specialist and a consultant with years of experience, I speak both languages particularly well – the language of the department and the language of IT – but I also understand the language of software developers and IT service providers.
What skills should people who want to work as IT consultants have?
As an IT consultant, you have to be good at putting yourself in other people’s shoes. That means that I have to understand both the needs of the customers commissioning us and those of their departments and IT department, and, if needed, those of their customers, service providers and suppliers. Flexibility, good communication skills and a willingness to network are a must for working successfully with different fields – whether at a clerk or management level. Potential consultants also need to be willing to face new challenges and to develop professionally, and must be prepared to travel. I can only recommend that anybody who is interested in the consultant life simply tries it out.
About Stefan Schmidtsdorff
Stefan Schmidtsdorff has been working for Lufthansa Industry Solutions since 2005. Since then, he has worked in different roles and sectors as an IT consultant – as an IT project manager and department coach in the automotive sector, as a task-force manager in the logistics environment, and as a CRM specialist for CEP service providers (courier, express and package service providers). As a trained data entry specialist, Schmidtsdorff was quickly pulled into the consulting business, where he has now been working for over 25 years.