By building a worldwide network, The Group of Analysts bundles unique knowledge
BY MIRKO VON SCHLACHTA
Cosmos is the living expression of what characterises The Group of Analysts. As Europe’s largest independent firm of analysts focusing on information supply chain management, it supports and accompanies businesses with their digital transformation. Mirko von Schlachta, General Manager at Serviceplan Solutions, talks to Jürgen Burger, responsible for establishing and expanding the Cosmos network, about this exciting concept, and with Matthias Kant about his motivation for becoming a Cosmos member.
Jürgen, please explain the term Cosmos. What is behind it?
Here, it is probably best if I first say a little about us as The Group of Analysts (TGOA). In terms of content, we are focused on digital transformation, and are therefore dealing with a highly dynamic market that is characterised by a whole range of diverse requirements and solutions. On the one hand, our mission is analysing this market as a neutral firm of analysts and making the results available to all interested parties and, on the other hand, also accompanying our clients with consultation services on their digital transformation journeys. In addition to comprehensive knowledge, we have acquired several methods and techniques over the years that both support our analysis of the market and help with consultancy mandates. We know that in the area of information supply chain management (ISCM), there is currently a huge number of competent, active independent consultants who are, however, often operating alone or in very small teams and are hence limited in terms of regions and topics. We offer these experts collaborative support with Cosmos. For this reason, Cosmos is in our case also the abbreviation for ‘Cooperate on specialised methodologies’, very aptly describing its core element – namely collaborating with people on the basis of specialised methodologies.
Furthermore, the name is also a reference to Cosmos’ global approach, because although we clearly see our area of activity as a firm of analysts in Europe – we would however very much like to have our network include experts, ‘Cosmonauts’, from all over the world and from the most diverse cultural backgrounds. For example, we have Umasankar Diddi in our team, an experienced TGOA analyst from India.
What is the objective that TGOA is hoping to achieve with Cosmos?
Over the coming years, we will successively establish a global network of experts, each with their respective ISCM competencies. These experts will come from the most diverse areas, including CRM, big data analytics, PIM/MDM, content marketing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, etc. Each ‘Cosmonaut’ will respectively bring his or her very specific skills and competencies to the network, uniquely bundling ISCM knowhow, which we can jointly make available to the market within the context of analyses and consultancy mandates.
What do you believe makes Cosmos special?
On the one hand, the overall world of work is currently undergoing huge changes, and I assume that in future there will be ever fewer permanent employment relationships with the corresponding instruction structures; instead, there will be a constant rise in project-related cooperation between experts in loose structures on certain topics. Cosmos offers a platform for precisely this kind of collaboration, one that is fundamentally based on trust. Furthermore, it gives me great joy, and I believe coming into contact with the most diverse people from various countries and cultural backgrounds – and hence also experiencing very different perspectives – is hugely enriching.
What does The Group of Analysts expect the members of the Cosmos network to bring to the table?
In addition to a high level of technical expertise and experience, it is above all important that there is a fundamental joint understanding of the cooperation. This should be characterised by a mutual give and take, and above all be based on honesty, openness and trust. Furthermore, a positive fundamental stance and enjoyment of working as a team are important. Within this context, I am particularly thrilled to be able to officially welcome Matthias Kant as a new Cosmos member. Great to have you on board!
Matthias, why have you chosen to become part of this collaborative network?
I have a real passion for digitalisation. I am fascinated by the virtual product worlds concept that The Group of Analysts as an ISCM enterprise developed and established more than ten years ago. It is inspiring to help companies make their products available virtually across all channels; in other words, to create and publish the virtual images of their products. Here, it is the interaction between PIM and CMS, content and commerce, SEO and online marketing that interests me in particular. Working with TGOA offers the perfect opportunity to bring my extensive knowhow to such projects.
And talking about knowhow: in terms of experience, what vocational background will you be bringing to Cosmos?
I spent the longest and greatest period of my life as a consultant focusing on marketing and sales. Prior to this, I was active in marketing and pricing within the automotive sector, an area in which I am still active as a consultant. For some years now, I have been an entrepreneur myself, and among other things I took over Deutsche Stadtmarketing Gesellschaft. Until the beginning of 2018, I was the CEO of the PIM and CMS manufacturer pirobase imperia. Already as a schoolboy and student I began programming Basic and Assembler myself, among others, at the ERP manufacturer infor AG in Karlsruhe.
What are your personal expectations regarding Cosmos?
As a consultant, Cosmos is for me the network for collating all necessary competencies for my customers, and through which I always remain up to date. And it positions me perfectly as a content and commerce software market expert.
As we have just heard from Jürgen, Cosmos is above all a network of people. Please tell us a little about Matthias Kant, the man.
I love my family, which is particularly important to me. My six children are currently between 10 and 23 years old, with the older ones studying and the younger all still attending the same senior school. We have moved many times: from Hanover to Vienna to Düsseldorf to Munich to Krefeld. We have ended up in the Rhineland, which has become our new home. We do lots of things together and help each other. Two of my sons are already working part-time in my online marketing company Deutsche Stadtmarketing Gesellschaft while studying. At the weekend, we all get together over food and discuss our news, achievements and problems. I have been regularly doing karate for more than 30 years now, focusing on shotokan and kyusho-jitsu methods. For me, karate is a sport and a means of self-defence, but also a life philosophy. I am currently studying correlations between traditional Chinese medicine and acupressure and classical martial art techniques.
What aspects of your work give you joy and motivate you?
I love developing new ideas and concepts and seeing how they are brought to life, and how classical products are transformed into new digital concepts, as in the case of city apps becoming digital travel guides. And TGOA’s Cosmos is one such concept that I am thrilled to be involved with.
Mirko von Schlachta
Mirko von Schlachta is General Manager at Serviceplan Solutions in Munich. He is responsible for system consulting as well as the implementation and operation of marketing production solutions. His customers include the Lufthansa Group, BMW AG and L’Oréal. Previously, the trained Dipl. Kfm. Worked as a Senior Consultant and Product Manager at censhare AG as well as many years in the field of catalog production.
Matthias Kant is the CEO of Deutsche Stadtmarketing Gesellschaft. Prior to this, he was CEO of pirobase imperia gmbh, and spent twelve years working as a partner and board member for various management consultancies, including the Droege Group, KMC Management Consultants and IM + C AG. In 2011, Kant set up CityGuide AG in Zurich and Krefeld. He is also a ‘Cosmonaut’ for The Group of Analysts.
Jürgen Burger has extensive experience as an ISCM consultant. As a senior analyst for The Group of Analysts, he is responsible for the Market Performance Wheels and implementing and further developing the analyses within the supply market. Furthermore, he is enthusiastically focusing on setting up the Cosmos network.
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin, issue Q1 2018. Picture credit © Photo by Max McKinnon on Unsplash