hill.” And the boundaries at the end of the slope, where do they come from? Neumayer: “It is always going downhill due to the fact that the goal is evident (he laughs). No, you can say that the slope is defined by the customer.We have got customers that know what they want and that are able to express their requirements – the requirement cannot just be ‘my printer does not print’. Our customers stipulate ‘this is what I need, this is what I want, this is where the journey should bring us’, and thenwe can respond that we will come along with you on that journey. Is this already the definition of NTS? Where else do you find NTS inside? Hausegger: “NTS is inside everywhere. For example: The Cisco price list has 2 million lines. We select from them, we put solutions together that we integrate into our products for Austrian and German companies.” Neumayer: “Companies, be they big or small, become more versatile and more innovative, the smallNTS is on a tight setup as we grew very strongly–we are always growing stronger than the rest of the market.” Hausegger: “Therefore, staff is always a topic…” Neumayer: “…meaning to have the right people at the right place with the right skill set.” But where do you bring in your own skills and experiences? Neumayer: “You always need people that want it, that are open-minded, and that want to pursue the journey. This is the theme at NTS. Experience is good, but towant something is better.” Hausegger, who is equipped with an experience background outside of the IT-bubble, adds: “You can onlyguide, proWhen it is quick and easy to make an appointment, you realize that someone is used to meetings. At least it appeared to be, almost like a routine job, to get together for a dual conference with Thomas Hausegger, Sales Director Austria and Italy, and Harry Neumayer, Design & Implementation Director. Nevertheless, the question arose initially, whether both gentlemenusuallydealwith eachother, if the two speak to each other in their everyday professional life frequently and if yes, how often and of course about what. The answers are quite canny: “Yes, such meetings are quite regular”, “most of the time we deal with substantive questions”, “it revolves around customers, employees and partners”, “we discuss projects and we talk about how to proceed further in projects”, “the conversations are of personal, technical and operational matter” – until Neumayer draws a line and decides to be more colloquial, after all: “we actually always talk about resources, whichmeans: dowe have somebody for it or are we able to do this.” Hausegger seconds Neumayer and adds that the shortage of specialists has also reached the sales department. “For quite some time now there has been a need for more engineers, but in the meantime, it is getting more andmore difficult to find good people in sales.” Is this alreadya problemforNTS?Neumayer: “No, but we are keeping focused on this subject. It is pretty evident that vide ideas, point out opportunities. They have the building blocks in their hands, but you give them the foundation, the manuals, tips; they still have to do the building by themselves. All this would be trial and error without your own experience, and this is of course not reallywelcome in the day-to-day business.” Neumayer: “For us, in engineering it is also important not to get on the wrong track, to not put in too much effort when there is nothing there yet. It is purely a matter of experience to streamline this issue and to keep up the motivation.” Where does this leave the customer, where do you find the Relax, We Care in yourwork?Neumayer: “For both of us, our work is quite project-specific, and it has very tight structures. This requires a high dynamic, and it is not quite systematic as every project is normally different and we start working on each project with a crazy momentum. This is very strenuous, andwe highlyvalue the dedication of our employees. No customer is according to the book and each one needs and gets something different from NTS." Hausegger: “The range of customers thatwe take care of, is quite a huge one. We look after the – by revenue - largest company in Austria and after the one with the most employees. However, our customer base also consists of typical medium-sized companies. There is a huge bandwidth between SMEs and international operations - and we cover all of them.” INTERVIEW TWO DRIVEN MEN PUSHING THE THROTTLE “…on our side we deal with everything from the configuration of switchboards and the plugging in of cables up to the high-end consulting in the areas of network and data center. There is really everything. And the customer is always in the center.” Howdo both keep the overview, how do they manage the bandwidth? Hausegger: “We both work with an extremely high degree of individual responsibility, otherwise it is not possible to cope with this diversity of customers andwith the challenges. And the governing body, if you want to call it like that, is not Harry or myself, but it is the targets that one wants to achieve.” Neumayer: “There are guidelines, a precise mission for everyone, so that everyone knows what needs to be done – this keeps the whole thing alive. Sometimes the screws and bolts need to be tightened, but you are not able tomanage the tasks centrally, you can only prescribe the mindset.” Hausegger: “In our kind of work, leading by commands and controls does not work. Harryhas engineers at an extremely high standard and technical level – they are sought after in the entire world. And on my side, I need salespeople that are creative. If I sent someone to the customer to handover a product brochure, this is not enough. You can only be creative with a certain freedom and leeway. You have to set boundaries of course, but this is like on a ski slope: The boundaries are the edge of the slope. It does not matter if our people are using carving techniques, or if they race downhill or if they go bypizza-slice, as long as theyreach the target in a certain time. And of course, it ismy job tomake sure that theyalways go downhill and don’t stop or walk back up- » AT NTS, WE HAVE MANY EMPLOYEES THAT ARE DEEPLY ATTACHED TO THE COMPANY. « Thomas Hausegger » WE GREATLY APPRECIATE THE HIGH COMMITMENT OF OUR EMPLOYEES. « Harry Neumayer er the country. It is characteristic for NTS, to serve these companies perfectly.” A question that comes to mind, are there ever conflicts? Maybe, as currently the lead times for some components are up to 400 days? Neumayer: “No, not between the both of us – there is only desperation” (he laughs). Hausegger: “That’s how it is. Earlier we had one or two escalations per month, our emergency cases still took effect back then. Now, the delivery backlogs are adding up. Thus, the complaints are summing up to several a day.” Neumayer: “The supply chain needs some time to get back to normal and at the same time a boom happened. In the last twoyearswe have sold somuch hardware - like never before.” Hausegger: “IT became a basic supply just like gas, water or electricity. We benefit from all of this, but this poses huge challenges aswell and we are of course facing them.” So, all challenges are mastered, all problems removed? This also sounds like the whole works would function without them two. Apropos, for how longwould it gowell if the two protagonists of our conversation would – whoosh - swap their places? Neumayer: “Forever. No, but quite long. I would lack the sales drive though and Thomas would definitely burn his fingers, as he would overdo certain things, but itwould definitely gowell in the interim for a couple of months.” “We both have skills that help to get your bearing in your own job and not in another one (he thinks). But we are actually quite privileged because at NTS, we have employees that are deeply attached to the company, there is definitely a certain capacity for suffering. By all means, itwouldworkwell for quite some time.” You can complete a job, or you can do a job. Two significant job creators at NTS tell us how to correctly drive downhill, how to get customers to relax, and much more. Words by: Harald Müller Photos by: Erwin Scheriau, Clemens Schmiedbauer 27 26