Interview with HOLM Managing Director Michael Kadow
11. October 2019
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23. October 2019

Aus dem Magazin zum Zeitungskongress Herbst 2019

From the magazine of the Newspaper Congress 2019

“Work 4.0” – between revenue pressure and work-life balance

An interview with Arno Nix, CEO of HUP AG, about software solutions as a technical basis for work 4.0

Dear Mr Nix, have you cried today?
Arno Nix: Um, why should I?

Work 4.0 may be a question of corporate culture, but the accompanying increase in demand for the digitalization of work processes must bring tears of joy to your face.
Oh, well, let me put it this way: At least we are not crying after the old days, even if the willingness of companies to invest does not yet meet the growing demand for modern software.

What will the business be like for software developers? Does work 4.0 turn out to be an impulse driver?
I think so, even though the software business is becoming more and more small, more individual and – which is basically good – more needs-oriented. We were quick to adapt to the trends and, fortunately, have an outstanding software portfolio as an important basis for the coming years. At product level, work 4.0 is a perfect process extension, for example for our portal solutions. In editorial offices, accounting, marketing, sales and logistics, we can offer solutions that provide lasting positive support for the increasingly demanded flexible working time models. And thus the connection to the employer with all positive effects, which are also economically connected with it. Solutions to give work 4.0 a solid basis are PS.Content, PS.Delivery, the Newsreader-APP, the electronic personnel file ePA and our brand new PS CallCenter. All of them are from our company by chance. Ergo: It is worth investing now in the optimal software, which has been developed with agile methods in order to remain adaptable to further market changes and – very important – in order to be able to assert oneself at the War for Talents.

In the course of working on 4.0 interviews, the Buzzword KI was repeatedly dropped. You are the Chief Technology Officer of HUP AG: please cheer now!
I have to disappoint you. AI is the future, but at least it will not be developed by us and I don’t suppose by our competitors. Of course, our products are, I’ll just call them KI-capable. This means that we use the technology and frameworks and can also make AI available. But in pure development, AI as an independent product is no potential for us. We have to leave that to companies like IBM, Apple and research institutes with all the advantages and disadvantages, because we lack the financial possibilities and the resources.

However, KI is playing a growing role with many publishers …
…which is undisputed. But the whole thing is still in its infancy.

To what extent will AI determine work and the workplace in the near future?
The word “determine” is too brashly formulated for me. AI makes sense, but in the short term I don’t see any broad potential. From my point of view, publishers are not yet in a position to analyse the results of AI processes in a valid way. This is not meant to be bad at all. AI simply presupposes that a very large amount of input must be available for a relevant data analysis. Otherwise it is more than difficult to develop patterns. Joint appearances in social media channels, for example, would be a cumulative solution for learning from them for the industry. But that would mean opening up. My impression is that, despite many conversations between publishers, many publishers are still sitting on their own island. We are trying to promote dialogue and the joint fusion of expertise with our customer Scrumbles, whatever succeeds better. Stakeholder integration is a central component of this.

What happens in a customer Scrumble brand HUP AG?
First of all, we can claim to have established modern development scenarios for customer Scrumbles. Even before the whole mind-set discussion, which culminated in Work 4.0, we were aware that the developers in particular could not only be reactive. The solution, which masters the complexity of expectations, system dependencies, individual requirements and practical experience and brings real improvement in everyday work, can only be achieved by bundling competencies. That is why we invite our customers, who are then also competitors at the table, to match their software development requirements directly with our team in workshops as well as in preparation and post-processing. The efficient network idea based on Scrum’s methodology and approach is what we call customer scrumbles. Our development teams implement the jointly defined user stories at product level.

The issue of trust plays a major role in Work 4.0. And now all competitors and customers in the publishing and software industry trust each other. Is there still hope for mankind?
A positive basic attitude may already have become unfashionable. There is an important sentence that determines the direction: The willingness to share so that others can learn. This is exactly what all customer Scrumble participants take to heart and the results are trend-setting. All customers and we benefit from an increase in productivity, development speed and transparency.

Does that mean something concrete?
More practical relevance, mobility, platform independence, and cross-system and cross-publishing. To stay with the main topic of this magazine, this is also the technical basis for a successful 4.0 implementation – as already mentioned, in addition to the great challenges in terms of changing the corporate culture. For this reason, Work 4.0 is not initially a question of technical innovation.

It already sounds a bit like a call for applications, Mr. Nix!
And it should be. Dear customers, market players, start-ups, publishers, get in touch with us and be a part of the whole. Your employees and you as decision-makers are cordially invited. This also pays for work 4.0: Developing and sustainably increasing values in agile teams. The interim results from the face-to-face meetings are regularly reviewed, updated if necessary and discussed. In this way, all participants can follow the progress and fine-tune it further. At the end of a customer Scrumbles stands a future-safe total product. Currently, customer scrumbles are running for our products PS.Content, PS.Delivery, PS.CRM, the electronic personnel file comet ePA and Unity. Here we work together with our competitor alfa Media, which recommends our subscription & sales solutions to its customers.

Finally, the question of how HUP AG implements the topic of Work 4.0 in-house? With a total of six locations, this is certainly a central challenge.
We ourselves are in the middle of the process of upheaval and are constantly developing the Flex Office further for us. Almost half of our employees now work from home or at least do not work in the classic HUP office on an ongoing basis. We all have to learn and rethink, work in teams, become more courageous and, above all, differentiate ourselves from our competitors through service.

Mr. Nix, thank you for the interview.

Phone:
+49 531-28181-0

E-mail:
info@hup.de

Am Alten Bahnhof 4B,
D-38122 Brunswick