Interview with Albert Ortig about Netural Sphere
Launching "Netural Sphere", Netural expands its service portfolio to include strategic consulting. In this interview, Founder & CEO Albert Ortig provides insights about turning 25 years of expertise into an independent service and explains why artificial intelligence is actually not really smart if you do not ask smart questions.
Albert, earlier this year you launched "Netural Sphere", a consulting unit for companies undergoing digital transformation. What's the driving motivation, and why this launch exactly now?
Over the past five years, we've noticed an increasing demand from our clients, both long-standing and newcomers: beyond the mere implementing of digital strategies, they want support in developing them. This is precisely the focus of Netural Sphere: guiding mid-size and large companies through digital transformation, with an intrinsic focus on action. This is how we make all our „Magic“, gathered over many years and countless digital projects, available to all customers, with or without operationalization by Netural.
What can Netural Sphere do that other digitalization consultants cannot?
The significant difference is in what we are not - consultants who are also doing "digital" now. On the contrary, after working 25 years as digitalization specialists we have finally decided to add strategic consulting to our service portfolio. “Digital” is in our DNA, and Netural Sphere embodies our strategy expertise. That's why we are so quick in identifying the core of a task and getting to the concrete point, without any need for razzle dazzle. Netural Sphere offers hands-on know how by vastly experienced digital practitioners.
At which project stage should a company bring in Netural Sphere, and to what purpose?
Part of our mission is to strip Digital Transformation of the surrounding mythology. More often than not, you face seemingly trivial questions that are nonetheless vital if you want to make things happen: What's the best approach? Who do we need on the team? How do we manage this technically? As soon as these and similar questions arise, it's time to get Netural Sphere on board. There may be a need for some eye-level sparring or just a quick assessment at the board level. Or for an in-depth analysis resulting in a concept to prepare an issue for handling at the management level.
What distinguishes your consultants, is there something like a "dress code"?
You probably won´t catch us wearing business suits or ties (laughs)! The common denominator is that all our consultants have been involved in the theme since the early days of the digital age, having built companies or having implemented digital projects many times over. Their expertise is digital through and through, with a solid business and entrepreneurial background. Because decades of developing digital services and solutions on a daily basis, implementing business models for well-known customers and founding successful spin-offs leaves you with a very precise competence for solutions.
What can employees expect when their company picks Netural Sphere as a consultant?
Expect no know-it-alls in suits. For us, trust and a healthy culture are the key to coming up with a a successful strategy. We see ourselves as partners of a company, and its teams, in defining the necessary steps of a process and in getting it on the track. Digitalization is 80% organization and 20% technology. Which automatically offers approaches for the real movers in a company, and digital managers usually find that while working with us, they gain reputation. Which is definitely something to look forward to. (laughs)
What is your value proposition?
Asking the right questions and generating added value from the very first meeting on! The first step is often to work with managers to locate the "pain", and then to create the necessary framework so that they can move forward in the right direction. We show what the fundamental requirements are and guide the transition from uncertainty to clarity, and from there to picturing a solution. From that point we can also move forward to operationalization, if required, and thus bring the strategy to the ground.
What kinds of requirements do customers come to you with?
The requirements are as varied as the companies themselves. A wish to determine the client´s current position along the path of digital transformation, and, derived from this, recommendations for actions to accelerate this transformation, are a frequent starting point. As is an overall review of the transformation program and an identification of the greatest levers of impact and value for the company. There may be organizational issues as well, and moving from strategy to operationalization is a topic in itself.
Albert, you are famously good at anticipating opportunities that new technologies offer. The artificial intelligence topic is just now hitting the mainstream user base. What will the impact be in your business environment?
I think that generative artificial intelligence, like ChatGPT, will fundamentally intervene in our everyday lives, and very quickly. The big question is: What does this mean for us as a society, as enterprises, what will be the impact on business models or jobs? We will need to learn to pick the technology that offers the highest added value for the individual problem at hand. Those who tackle this best will win the race. At Netural, we are currently establishing a board to map possible scenarios.
Do you feel that three years from now it will still be humans who develop customized digital transformation programs for your customers?
More than ever, the key skill will be to ask the right questions and to define requirements in such a concrete way that the resulting output is of superior quality. This kind of intelligence will remain unaffected by technology. We will therefore keep asking economically relevant and disruptive questions. What will indeed change are the methods and processes.
Which style, which writer would you prefer if our conversation was written by a chatbot?
If need be, this bot would have to undergo training in the Netural style, which is after all very specific, to meet our Netural brand standards. Still, I will always prefer sitting down with a nice person to having a conversation with Google Bard or Bing (grin)!
Thanks for this interview and valuable insights, Albert!
You're very welcome!
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