Meet the Agents of Transformation - WWK
André Sayfi, IT Project Manager, WWK
In his role as IT Project Manager, André is responsible for major projects at WWK Lebensversicherung. He has many years of experience in the insurance industry and has held various roles at WWK Lebensversicherung – starting as Organisation Programmer progressing to today’s position as IT Project Manager. André graduated from the Technical University in Munich in 1997 as computer scientist.
What is the most exciting thing about being an Agent of Transformation today?
10 years ago we started our digital transformation journey, transitioning everything to digital across our business. Today, we are able to analyse the data that has been collected over many years, but that until now we couldn’t correlate. This new insight enables us to align our strategy more effectively, and derive increased value for the business. If you know what you’re doing, knowledge is power.
Can you think of any major challenges or barriers that you had to overcome in order to become an Agent of Transformation?
“That will never work.” I’ve come up against this type of resistance time and time again. In the beginning people have doubts. You can only alleviate their concerns by ensuring that you are well prepared, have a personal commitment to solving the challenge, and by gathering the support you need from the outset.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned over your career and on the path to becoming an Agent of Transformation?
Good projects can fail if you don’t have the support and backing of key people. That’s why I see communication as a critical success factor. But that can also be very challenging and exhausting. You have to have a childlike enthusiasm to convince people and change attitudes. This is the only way to move things forward and avoid resistance.
What skills do you think are most important to develop on your journey to become an Agent of Transformation?
Communication – and the ability to influence others and get buy in. It is so important to understand the culture of your business and all the stakeholders that need to be considered. The key is ensuring that you are always knowledgeable and informed – so when you enter into discussions with colleagues you are able to educate and train them, while bringing them into your vision. IT can be very complex, so being able to convey information in a way your audience can understand is critical. For example, I find using visualizations extremely effective in helping non-technical colleagues to really understand the value of what we are doing, and then to be able to communicate this themselves in their own discussions.
What advice would you give to other technologists who are looking to become an Agent of Transformation?
Look for projects that excite you, where you have a personal enthusiasm for finding a solution or a new way of doing things. Then build a plan that is structured, breaking down complex components into more manageable chunks. This will ensure you are successful, and help you stay motivated during challenging times.
How has AppDynamics enabled you to take a more customer-centric approach and what impact has this had on you personally and on your organization?
As a customer-focused business, we’re always taking an outside-in approach and thinking about how we can better serve our customers. AppDynamics has been instrumental in helping us to monitor their digital experience via the performance of our applications, as well as identifying errors before they impact the customer. I haven’t seen a better solution out there.
How are you going about ensuring that you continue to have the right skills, tools and data you need to deliver genuine transformation?
I believe it’s important to keep your eyes and ears open for what’s coming next, and to keep up with the latest developments. Whether that be by continuous investment in training, attending events or reading up on relevant topics, it’s fundamental for me to stay on top of cutting-edge solutions and how they can help drive transformation in our business.
"Look for projects that excite you, where you have a personal enthusiasm for finding a solution or a new way of doing things."
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