This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Mark Mueller-Eberstein -- international CEO, COO, Author, Speaker, Mentor, Coach, and Strategist. Mark provides remarkable insights captured in his book that is a must read for IT Managers.
MARK MUELLER-EBERSTEIN is founder and CEO of Adgetec, whose mission is to help organizations and their leaders realize value globally. He is a recognized thought leader, author, speaker, mentor and coach. He also advises startups, sometimes hands-on as their COO, on business strategy and IP management.
Mark's book, "Agility: Competing and Winning in a Tech-Savvy Marketplace", was written based on his over fifteen years of global experience in the IT industry working with companies and governments to choose, adopt, roll out and measure the impact of new technologies. In his responsibility as the director of deployment and adoption at Microsoft, he was responsible for the customers' value realization and deployment experience of Microsoft's Office and collaboration products, the customer and partner engagement during Microsoft's software development process, and joint research with leading academic institutions on technology adoption and its impact on business results. During his career with Microsoft and as the company's advisor, he coached Microsoft employees, customers, and partners across the globe on this and other topics.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Mueller-Eberstein was at Hewlett-Packard in leadership positions in business development, marketing, and product management.
Mark received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Technology Berlin and studied at the University of Marburg, both in his native country of Germany.
Mark Mueller-Eberstein - Author & Consultant
"Agility: Competing and Winning in a Tech-Savvy Marketplace"
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Mark, you have a long career with many successes. Thank you for sharing your considerable expertise, deep accumulated insights and wisdom with our audience.
"....Sharing experiences and learning from each other are invaluable assets, and I am thankful for the opportunity today and through my book "Agility" to make a small contribution here too...."
Can you talk about your role at HP?
"....I think at the end of the day, investment in innovations and being encouraged to drive them forward makes a huge difference for the success of an organization...."
In terms of the kinds of leadership roles that you had with HP what lessons can you pass on to the managers in our audience?
"....Embrace change. Change is unavoidable....Make sure you have spent the appropriate amount of time to find support for the large group of individuals (or even teams) that are struggling, but help them to be successful....Embrace innovation. There are a lot of smart people, a lot of opportunity in an organization that can be leveraged....That is what HP did well, they embraced those ideas and really drove them forward and productized them and had a very long list of big successes doing so...."
You've had so many roles with Microsoft. Can you share some of those roles and also some lessons?
"....One of the things that both HP and Microsoft have in common is really the value that they deliver to their customers through their work environment, by ensuring that they have the best people in one spot and having them work together and giving them the best tools to be successful. Cost of course is always a factor, but in both organizations it was far more important that the leaders understood that it is more important to let their people do their best work and to get obstacles like inadequate infrastructure out of the way as quickly as possible as well as to embrace technologies when it becomes necessary....."
You talked about the culture being different 10 to 15 years ago compared to today. Can you talk more about this?
"....If you look at the old Microsoft it was a more driven organization that was focusing more on 'what can I do relatively quickly to make a huge impact with the customer environment,' and less about 'what do our customers need today out there'....This has changed quite a bit over the last years when you think about how important it is to engage with the customer through the transition process from one technology base to the other. Microsoft has invested a lot not only on the latest technology development side but also on the sales and service side to help customers taking advantage of those technologies in their own organizations...The company is embracing the need not only to ship great products but to really engage with customers and the process of making the most use of those technologies....."
What would you say are the top attributes that makes a person successful at Microsoft?
"....Passion for technology....Driving for results....The 'no BS' attitude (It's better to say 'I don't know' and find out the answer later on than pretending to know something you don't)...."
Can you describe your current role and share some success stories?
"...When writing "Agility", I had the opportunity to really focus on what I like to do; sharing information and helping others to be successful in their journeys, to achieve and grow their personal and organizational potential....And as the CEO of Adgetec Corporation I am dedicated to maximizing our clients' value...."
Are there any success stories that you can share?
"....I think successes are really every day. Personally what satisfies me is if our clients can see the success relatively quickly in their personal environment and their organization...."
What led you to write this book and the reason behind its title, "Agility"?
"....The book concept of "Agility" is based on a speech topic that I've been delivering since 2007. We worked together with leading researchers from youth methodology from MIT, and collaborated with a team from Boston University, and leveraged all of these smart people and the experiences that they have gained across the globe over the last five to ten years - and pulled this together and have what we think is the blueprint for understanding how IT impacts business and how to leverage IT to drive business forward. "Agility" is really the best word to describe the organizational capability to adapt and to leverage change...."
What is the link between an agile infrastructure and business performance?
"....The research has shown that "IT agility" is a good proxy for "organizational agility" in general. How fast an organization can adapt an IT capability very often indicates how fast this organization can change in general. Not just the organization from the top down but it's also the individuals in the organization...."
Why should the audience read this book?
"...."Agility" is really unique and is based on describing hundreds of customer experiences. It really shows case by case, industry by industry, how technology and the agile infrastructure positively impacts business performance....The methodology described will help understand how to measure and accelerate technology adoption and the derived impact on business results...."
Mark explains what differentiates his book from competitive books.
"....There is really nothing out there like "Agility" today...."
Please share some lessons from your book that have direct value to the audience?
"....You need to understand where you are yourself....You need to understand what your business needs to drive it forward and look at what your competitors are doing....Make sure you're not falling behind....Where can you utilize technology to drive a competitive advantage?....Be clear on where they want to go. Be clear on what IT can do for them. Take bold steps to make it happen...."
Which top resources would you recommend to support professionals in their work?
"....Networking (both in person and virtually)....Find a good mentor....Be a mentor....Utilize your own strengths....Professional organizations with your peers in your area...."
Can you comment on the need for IT professionalism [see:www.ipthree.org]?
"....The competence and professionalism of those who design, build, implement and manage those IT systems is essential for an organization's competitiveness and effectiveness. Establishing a high and consistent standard for the IT profession will not only help be more impactful as a group, but also to clarify and potentially re-define expectations and responsibilities with other organizational functions...."
Provide are your top predictions for the future.
"....The only thing that is absolutely sure is that change is coming and it is not going to be slower than in the last 15 years. An organization's and an individual's ability to adapt and leverage this change will take advantage of great opportunities, while the others will wither and disappear. Having experience and capability will be a requirement - whether it is delivered through in-house development or a cloud solution is not important for the user. The IT Professional's role is to make sure to know the value of capabilities of their business customers and how to most efficiently provide the capabilities fast...."
What are the most interesting questions you get asked and what are your answers?
"....'How do I get my organization to move faster?'...Other questions focus on: 'What can you achieve in the IT environment?'.....'If I'm making an investment in the IT environment, should I go for best-of-breed or should I look for a homogeneous environment where everything fits together?'....'Are you planning on moving back to Germany?'...."
What are challenges you were not able to overcome at the time and how would you do things differently now?
"....Learning decent English and French while in school....If you go all out and go for it you can make a difference..."
Past, present, and future --- name three (or more) who inspire you and why is this so?
"....Ludwig Erhard.... Children (in general and my children specifically), who are stretching themselves to become the most they can be and then even go beyond....George Lucas...."
You choose the topic area. What do you see as the three top challenges facing us today and how do you propose they be solved?
"....Giving the answer in a nutshell, one of the top challenges we as a society are facing is about resources...."