Understanding technology, business, and people. Interview Marcin Karwowski
How does one become an IT director in a large distribution company?
I joined BDG twice – each time due to a systemic revolution in the company. In 2011, I was entrusted with the implementation of e-commerce and systems supporting overseas sales. The project turned out to be a success and the business grew by several times. After five years outside Brand Distribution Group, I have recently returned to the company. There is another big systemic change ahead of us including a thorough system reconstruction and after a successful revolution from years ago, this time I was offered the position of IT director. The scale of the challenge made me not hesitate.
Understanding the technology is not enough though.
I have a rather unusual and interdisciplinary education path but in the end the passion for technology took over. IT has been turning me on my whole life. On the other hand, my extensive experience allows me to create products that understand business, understand technology and above all understand people. The mix of these things is, in my opinion, a great value for all business departments. Providing such products is my personal mission. As an IT person, I also understand the needs of sales, accounting, finance, and logistics – I tackled with their problems, I know the challenges they face in practice.
So how does your pragmatic approach translate into tangible benefits?
We have one of the most modern work tools available on the market. All employees have Microsoft Business Premium. Everyone works on brand new equipment – computers used in BDG are literally two months old. In many companies, this is not a standard, and equipment is replaced in stages. We went all the way. Everyone has a business iPhone. When it comes to hardware and software performance, out of 100 possible points, according to Microsoft, we reach over 90, with the average for the entire Microsoft world being 50.
Working from anywhere in the world is not just a statement for us. We do have it, not just think we have it or would like to have it. The login time is 26 seconds. The transition to home office was practically imperceptible in this respect.
Long-term knowledge of the company, of the business, familiarity with the real IT needs of employees, e-commerce foundations and at the same time a fresh look at the market – everything speaks in your favor.
It helps a lot. Just like my education, which isn’t typical for this position. Automation and robotics as well as finance and banking are my main fields of study. In addition, I have six post-graduate degrees, from EU project management to psychology and coaching. It has developed in me the awareness of myself and of the other person. At work, it is extremely important to understand interpersonal relationships. What also helps is the fact that the company does not save on technology and is open to all technological innovations that appear on the market. I really want to be here.