cause it is not allowed, but because the technologies will be different. Simply put, itwould be like some people useyellowenvelopes andwould only be able to post and open yellow ones, while the other people wouldonlyuse greenones.Whatwe see today,where the entireworld is converting in an unlimited technological way will not last forever – for example, today you can write an email to someone inChina, or you can access any website from anywhere in the world. One thing must be clearly expressed: The fact that everything is drifting apart is alreadybecoming reality. THE WORLD IS DRIFTING APART It is alreadyhappening now, as you can see when looking today at important applications which are predominantly used in China – WeChat, Alipay and so on: We think differently, and not in that way. Opposite to us, they don’t use Google, WhatsApp or Facebook… Especially for Apps, the global usage has become considerably more difficult. Mainly with payApps you notice the way in which we contemplate technology is drifting further and further apart. Therefore, I think that it will be a central issue for NTS to translate between the technologyareas. Froma technical standpoint for safety reasons, but also As a visitor at NTS you will always get the feeling that you are welcomed, entertained, andwaited on byhosts as social interaction, modern technology and knowhow are basic pillars for NTS and are still provided by NTS today. It is therefore not surprizing that AlexanderAlbler is serving the answer to thequestiononahot plate, as towhere the challenges forNTS could be in 27 years fromnow. FUTURE CHALLENGES “The challenges forNTSwill be huge. However, it is of course difficult to pin down howthiswill look like in everydayworking life. In IT, it will not necessarily revolve around problems such as ‘why is this running so slow’ or ‘why is the device running faulty’ – we already tried to solve this 25 years ago andwehavenot succeeded so far, therefore, this will not change a lot. No, I think that, compared to today, it will revolve around truly VERY complex questions. I alsobelieve that thevirtual area and the technology in general will not be as global as theyare today.Thismeans thatwe will have geopoliticallyseparate areaswith their own self-contained technology and with self-contained software. You can see this already today in the Far East, this formation of a separate integration. There, it will be important to translate between these technologicalworlds basedona technical standard.Toput it invery,verysimple terms, it will be the case that a mail server that is located in the Far East will not be able to simply communicate with a mail server that is based in America. Not, bejust simply to be the service provider that helps the customer and that knows how it works. This means: How do I manage the translation between these technology areas as a company that operates in the West as well as in other areas? Incidentally, some of our customers are already approaching us regarding this topic as they alsowant toplease everybodylong-termin a global perspective. You don't have to be a prophet to recognize that technology areas are separating. For several years already it is the aim of some world powers to nevertheless be able to continue to function internallyshould they be cut off from the global internet for whatever reason. To put it simply, different areas demarcate themselves already today economically and politically in order to reach a certain independence. Because of this, everybody who wants to create their own areawill therefore have to implement profound changes to their technology, which is automatically going to create diversity. Here, we talk about decades, but it could also happen rather quickly. CHALLENGE OF TALENT At any rate, I believe that this entire field will be an immense task for NTS. And in the meantime, up till then, getting people into engineering will be the biggest challenge. I am not very convinced of singling out a certain group of people and to tell them ‘Please enter the engineering field’; thiswould appear too pushy. I rather think that you have to reduce the barriers that A MATTER OF THE BOSS ABOUT TIME, SPACE AND THE TALENT RACE 27 years ago, Hermann Koller and Alexander Albler decided to jointly open an internet café. Amongst other factors, it was certainly a gut feeling that they both eventually opted for a different line of business. Words by: Harald Müller Photo by: Clemens Schmiedbauer NAME: Alexander Albler BIRTH DATE: February 8th, 1976 DOMICILE: Graz POSITION: Founder, Owner and CEO EDUCATION: Executive MBA General Management at the University of St. Gallen, Cisco certified internetworking expert CCIE #11113 Emeritus, several other CISCO certifications » LONG-TERM AND IN A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE, OUR CUSTOMERS WANT TO PLEASE EVERYBODY. « are the reasonwhypeople are not entering jobs where there is a shortage of qualified employees. These barriers are mainly knowledge barriers of different levels - for example, the kind that manypeople have a predefined idea of a companywith technical products such as NTS. In this concept, everything consists of extremely dry, unemotional matter that has no linkage to human beings. However, it is nowa known fact that many, especially young, people that are about to choose a career want to deal with human beings. And many of them are under the impression that at companies like NTS theywill have to sit in front of the computer for hours on end to enter series of numbers or something like that. However, the reality looks completely different as the engineering work ultimatelyONLYdealswithhuman beings. All challenges that I have seen so far, and all problemswere not of a technical character but rather of a human character – thiswas because of communication issues or because the counterpart wanted something else compared towhat Iwanted or because Ididnot graspwhatmycounterpartmeant. Thus, there is the human aspect all day long – frommorning to night. NERDS, FREAKS, TECHNO SAVVY ROLES For this, one has to proceed very fundamentally. I believe that it is here particularly important that we provide a socially positive image. This is not onlyvalid for IT, but also for the engineering profession in a broader context. At NTS, we are trying to contribute a certain share with our advertising strategy. However, I think that for us as a society it must generally count even more to appreciate people in technical professions rather than be taken in by stereotypes as the images that are conveyed on our side are those of a nerd, a technology freak, a plain type of person that’s buried inside a dark cubicle bolting parts together. Therefore, it is absolutely evident that this is not a good advertisement for engineering professions as it is notveryattractive to look like that neither for a man or for a woman or to even perceive such a job. Thus, at a roughguess, the image of the engineering profession that is conveyed –via the media, in movies or by stereotypes – is definitely not the one that corresponds to its responsibility in society. What’s more, contrary to popular opinion, as an engineer one is not the smallest cog in a machine.This is provenbya simple, clear logic as for the customers, the client pyramid is reversed. "BOSSES" BEHIND THE CURTAIN! The customer is not interested in the NTS Management somuch, and not particularly in sales. The customer ismore interested in the engineers as they perform their job, and theyarepivotal for the customer’sperception if NTS isperformingwell ornot. As a manager, I am not able to contribute directly to the job. However, I can create the climate, I can create transparency, which means that one canfind out a lot as towhat is happening in the company. I can also generate a sense of community, the possibility for the employees to develop themselves, and I can take on themutual respect that I have to exemplifymyself. You can tell others that respect is important, but I think that for people who have been told by someone to change, the chances of changingare significantlylow. In the caseof NTS, the mutual respect and the respect for the customer is so pronounced as there is a strong lead-by-example culture.When I as Alexander Albler showgreat respect to my management team, then the likelihood is very high that they in turn will treat their teams the sameway. You obviouslyneed to have managers whose characters include this spirit. It will be of no use if you have managers or team members that do not show this trait, and that do not stand for the same values. This is simply a choice of staff that has to be made, but that each company makes for itself. At NTS for instance, the corporate culture was guided very strongly from the beginning by the founders. I always ask myself questions about how I interact with my employees. Often these are also very small questions, such as: Should there be common meeting rooms at the top floor or is this where the executive's office and the management's regal roof top terrace is situated? Or, do employees have to interrupt their meeting when the boss arrives or are they sometimes allowed to say "no" to seniors? Or is the parking place closest to the entrance for visitors or is it reserved for the CEO? That’s what it is all about. These are the questions I ask myself. From my point of view, these are the issues that are a matter of respect. So, when I amaskedwhy Iwant to start to work for NTS as a simple engineer, then Iwould immediatelyreply– this is a central fact at NTS– that I don’t have to feel like a simple engineer, because here you are truly valued as a human being, irrespective of what you do.” 9 8