Tech Talk Configures It Out: Tech-telmechtel with the Agnostic Approach [Interview]

Tech Talk Agnostic Approach
Tino Machts, PIM/MDM team lead at dotSource

It is time for another Tech-telmechtel interview on Handelskraft. Our guest today is Tino Machts, PIM/MDM team lead at dotSource. However, Tino does not just work with PIM and MDM systems: he has »pretty much done it all« in his five years of digital business at dotSource – and that is great because who would be better suited for a look behind the agnostic scenes of our agency than the one who has made it all happen?

In this Tech-telmechtel episode, Tino will tell us everything about his very personal dotSource story and answer our questions about the balancing act between providing traditional consulting services and having a refreshing mentality. So what does all this have to do with the agnostic approach? Find out in today’s interview.

Tech, UX, Strategy and Content Commerce: From PM for Everything to PIM/MDM Team Lead

Tino, how did you get to dotSource?

It all started a little more than five years ago via good old XING cold calling. Back then, Nicole from the HR team called me while I was travelling from Saarbrücken to Dresden by train. We had a lot of time to talk, and after the first job interview, I already realised that the atmosphere at dotSource is completely different.

Can you tell us a bit more about the atmosphere?

I come from a traditional suit-and-tie background. At dotSource, I saw heavy metal flags on the office walls. The vision and mission of Christian & Christian convinced me right away. I really wanted to be a part of it.

How did your journey at dotSource continue?

I’ve worked in quite a few positions here. I think I’ve been in pretty much every position – Hybris project lead, PM for UX, strategy and digital marketing, PM for New Technologies, which was still CMS at the time, PM for internal projects such as our homepage, the JIRA implementation and many, many more. Before I became PIM and MDM team lead, I led the content commerce project with STABILO.

So when Christian approached me with the topic of PIM/MDM, I thought: »Yeah, that’s really cool.« We quickly realised that there was something in the air. The topic was very well received by our clients and that’s how it all started. I built up a team, updated the white paper and talked to our partners.

Of course, I also realised that we want to and have to become even better, that we need to obtain even more knowledge and develop software know-how.

Tech and the Everyday Working Life as a Team Lead

You’ve done that successfully, I’d say. The projects and our partner landscape speak for themselves. You’ve already told us that you come from a strategy consulting background. Are you always present at client meetings as the team lead?

Yes. That’s important to me. People business, you know.

Apart from that, what does your everyday working life as PIM/MDM team lead look like?

At the moment, it involves a lot of partner management. After all, you need something that you can offer potential clients. Especially in the field of PIM and MDM, a lot has happened in the last few years. There are many partner products, which is strongly related to the agnostic approach. That’s obvious. We offer a wide range of products and services and we want it to be that way.

In addition, I’m still dealing with the topic of mentoring & knowledge transfer. I have eleven years of consulting experience and five years of PM experience. I want to convey the best of both worlds to my team.

In the end, it’s obviously also about securing projects.

Sounds challenging. What does your team look like?

I have technically oriented consultants as well as consultants who are specialised in project organisation, but who can also configure. However, it’s always a team. Nobody’s ever alone.

Tech Talk: Agnostic Approach Quick & Dirty

You mentioned it earlier: the agnostic approach. What is it all about?

From our perspective, technological agnosticism is to maintain a certain independence for the client.

It means that you don’t want to sell the client something for better or worse, but that it suits the client and their situation as well as possible.

Be it PIM/MDM, CRM or e-commerce: we have to be appropriately trained for the products we have as partner products, we have to master them.

We’re independent and open-minded. This is the only way to advise clients effectively.

Tech Alone Does Not Make an Agnostic Approach

So the agnostic approach is not just the fact that we offer a wide range of systems?

Exactly. This has completely different implications: on the one hand, there’s a lot of software we can offer; on the other hand, we have a large number of competent consultants and extensive know-how.

Once someone has identified their need, or once we have identified this need together with the client, we proceed to the next step. We jointly assess what the requirements are, what the various systems can do and which one best suits the client and their project.

However, technological agnosticism also means not only moving within one industry. One thing that offers enormous added value to the client and also to us is the cross-industry knowledge that’s available to us from project to project.

Some industries are digitally positioned differently than others. That’s no secret. What matters is learning from experience and passing this knowledge on. And that’s exactly what we do.

Sharing Tech and Industry Knowledge Is Power

I’ve increasingly noticed this in recent weeks. Many industries are really catching up at the moment, right?

Yes, absolutely. With our knowledge of digitalisation, for example in the construction and building industry, and the experience we have gained there as an agency, we can provide the best possible support to other industries that are currently catching up in the field of e-commerce, share our knowledge and help them to catch up.

We do the same when it comes to PIM. The knowledge gained from a technology is enormously valuable for every subsequent project.

Every client benefits from this, regardless of whether they have chosen Akeneo, Contentserv or Stibo as their solution.

Tech Talk: Technological Agnosticism = Configurator for Digitalisation

Tino, you know that I like analogies. I’ve had one buzzing around in my head since the beginning of our interview. I’m curious to hear your thoughts about it. Do you agree with me that technological agnosticism at dotSource can be understood as a kind of configurator? In other words: I build my digitalisation world the way I like it, quite naively speaking?

Definitely. An agency with an agnostic approach is the configurator for finding the right solution for your company – and we, dotSource, are the configurators for digitalisation.

As a client, you have many challenges ahead of you in the context of digital transformation. As a CIO, you have many projects to manage.

At this point, you can either use different configurators or you say: »OK, I’ll choose the dotSource configurator. That way, I have everything in one place and can ‘click’ on the things that are best for me – the things that best meet my needs AND that I can afford.« That’s an easy decision. And if I don’t know what’s good for me or what combination I need, my dotSource configurator supports me in finding a sensible combination and order.

The clear advantage is that you always have a »product«, a service provider who offers all the services you need in digital business. You have a service provider whose services complement each other and fit together perfectly.

This means that you don’t have to coordinate with countless agencies on countless topics. Instead, you have a central contact who accompanies you throughout the entire digitalisation process.

Technological Agnosticism for Digital Success Right from the Start ? That was really interesting. Thank you, Tino.

My pleasure. It was fun.

Tech Insights: PERI Digitises Its Sales and Service Processes

MVP Revolutionises Service in B2B

This interview has clearly shown how effective an agnostic approach can be. Our client PERI, a formwork and scaffolding manufacturer, realised this when working together with an interdisciplinary dotSource team, thus benefitting from consulting and implementation from one source. Find out in our success story how the Southern German company managed to open up new markets with an online platform and a 3D configurator.

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