technology and project consulting

M2 im Interview

Insights into our everyday work

You want to know who works at M2 and what our daily tasks and challenges are? Here you will find the answers. In our employee interviews you can read how M2 colleagues answer questions and report on their project work.

 

A conversation with Wolfgang Schult, Technology Lead at M2

Wolfgang Schult
Technology Lead
43 years, with M2 since 2016

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M2 Interviewer : Hi Wolfgang, first of all thank you very much for finding some time for us. To start with, of course, the most important question: What  do you do at M2?

Wolfgang: As Technology Lead and as a system architect I work various projects.  My job is to offer the customer different variants, for example when it comes to implementing more complex solutions. This often goes much further than just concentrating on the Tableau Software itself. I make suggestions to the customer on how best to integrate his systems into the Tableau environment and explain to him what he needs, such as databases.  But I also support preceding processes in which the data is pre-processed until it is displayed in Dashboards.

M2 Interviewer  : What experience have you gained in project work with customers?

Wolfgang Schult: Oh, lots! (laughs)

M2 Interviewer : Maybe you can name the ones that stand out or the ones that have shaped you the most?

Wolfgang:  We have very different customers from different industries and yet many of them have more or less similar problems. This transfer service is part of the everyday "how-to", i.e. how solutions can best be implemented. It is often the case that solutions that already work for other customers can also be applied to new projects. Apart from that, you have exciting, industry-typical experiences, that's the beauty of consulting. You learn a lot of new things that are not related to the industry and are not just about technology, for example how publishers evaluate their sales figures. 

"I always like to see the end users get something out of our development and see how it adds value for them."

M2 Interviewer:  Was there ever a special challenge that remained in your head? Or one that "you've been chewing on"?

Wolfgang: I have to think about it... Of course, these are always special challenges, otherwise the customers wouldn't commission us. But I haven't really worked my tail off on any project. In the end, we always found a solution, often as a team. Even if you end up in a dead end at the beginning, you will find an alternative and implement it accordingly.

 

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M2 Redaktion: At which interfaces are you connected to the customers?

Wolfgang: In principle, you work very closely with the specialist sites, which then also have specific requirements. You listen to the "worries and needs" of the departments and work out what the goal of the project is. I then transpose these requirements into the technology in my mind. You have to work very closely with the project management. As a system architect, I am also the interface to the developers. On the one hand, I understand the wishes of the customers and translate them into technical wording, which in turn must be understood by the development team.

M2 Redaktion: What does a typical working day look like from your side? For example, referring to your working day yesterday.

Wolfgang: Yesterday was really exciting. A project at a customer's site was a little off track, so we were asked if we could help. It was an important matter, because the attention of the management board was already focused on it. In the morning I spoke to the customer and discussed the problem on the phone. In between I held an internal training session.
Afterwards I returned to the customer problem, which consisted of a poorly performing Tableau Dashboard. After several discussions with the customer, we distributed the tasks internally and were able to solve the technological problem satisfactorily in the course of the evening, so that the customer finally had a functioning Dashboard. 
Usually you have a lot of customer contact through telephone and video conferencing. But there are also phases in which requirements are documented or presentations are prepared. Sometimes I also implement things myself or help to prepare offers for new customers.  

M2 Redaktion: That sounds like a very broad range of tasks. What drives you in your work or what attracts you the most?

Wolfgang: I'm very happy when the customer is happy and you hear from the customer "You did a great job." I always think it's nice to see when the end users get something out of our development and it adds value for them, like with our latest innovation, the  M2 Form Builder.  Here we have created real added value that can help many companies quickly and easily.

M2 Redaktion: How would you describe the working atmosphere at M2?

Wolfgang: Good (laughs)! It is a great team full of motivated people. You have a lot of know-how on different levels and in a wide range and it's ideal if you can benefit from each other. The regular transfer of knowledge is proactively encouraged and is expressly desired by the management.

M2 Redaktion: What do you think your field of work will look like in five years?

Wolfgang: It is of course a strongly growing and very dynamic industry. I think a lot will change in the coming years because of the topic of artificial intelligence. Many business decisions will then be made automatically by models and human-machine interaction will decrease. So much for the vision - but let's be surprised.

M2 Redaktion: Thank you for the interview, Wolfgang!

In conversation with Florian Rieger, Senior BI Consultant at M2

Florian Rieger
Senior BI Consultant und Teamleiter
31 years, for M2 since 2015

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M2 Interviewer: Hi Florian! Great that you take some time for us. What exactly do you do at M2?

Florian: At M2 I am team leader of the "Visual Analytics" team and mainly take care of Tableau, Tableau server and d Tableau-Trainings and -Workshops. In addition, I also support the customers myself in individual projects and am specifically responsible for project management. In general, I supervise the visual and analytical areas of the projects.

M2 Interviewer : What experience have you gained in project work with customers?

Florian: It happens again and again that customers do not really understand the transformation process at first or do not know what to do with it. Often customers want to visualize their Data with Tableau and look at something specific. However, they have often not yet thought about everything that is connected with changes and efforts. This is where our consulting often just starts. We take a look at the variety of data and work out a result that fits the customer's needs.

M2 Interviewer: Was there ever a special challenge that remained in your head?

Florian: Again and again challenging are topics related to hardware or Tableau Servers. Often many small processes and procedures are more difficult than expected. Sometimes these problems must be solved quickly if they are business critical for the customer. Other major challenges are, for example, how to keep track of many Data sources without losing sight of the big picture. It is also important and challenging to take the customer along with the process so that he still understands the work steps and goals.

"What excites me is when there are very simple solutions for almost insoluble problems. I also find it great to see that the customer (...) has added value through our solution."
 

M2 Interviewer:  At which interfaces are you connected to the customers?

Florian: As project manager, you often look at the beginning of a project together with the customer to see which steps were taken last and review them again. You analyze this and also get feedback for your own work. In addition, the next steps are planned with the customer, or the open points are defined and discussed. I also draw up comprehensive project plans with responsibilities and time management and monitor their compliance and implementation.

In the actual consulting the interface is very different. I often discuss with the customer how certain KPIs are to be defined and displayed on a dashboard. I also make requirement analyses and translate the requirements into concrete work packages and measures. This task is then again part of the project manager's work.

M2 Interviewer: What does a typical working day look like for you? For example, your day yesterday?

Florian: There is not really a typical working day for me. When I'm with the customer, we discuss the outstanding issues. The implementation of certain work steps then takes place either alone or together with my M2 colleagues, who also work on the project. Sometimes I also implement the steps directly with the customer in training sessions or workshops. For specific tasks of my own, I work through them. And like everyone here, I receive and answer many e-mails and make phone calls every day.

Since I am also a team leader, I have the task of seeing what my team members are working on and where they are at the moment. I also get an overview of what upcoming projects are in the pipeline.

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M2 Interviewer: What drives you in your work or what attracts you the most?

Florian: What inspires me is when there are very simple solutions for almost unsolvable problems. I also think it's great to see that the customer gets added  value from our solutiong after just a few weeksThe solutions can be very simple and already have a great impact on the customer's work. I also like the fact that we are very agile and can usually implement topics quickly, as our work is often independent of others.

M2 Interviewer: How would you describe the working atmosphere at M2?

Florian: In any case relaxed (laughs), friendly and nice. If you have to call them critical, then sometimes a little driven. But then mainly through customer projects, because we work so agile. But basically we have a great and open-minded working atmosphere.

M2 Interviewer: What do you think your field of work will look like in five years?

Florian: The professional field of the BI consultant will not look different in the future, because the digital transformation will continue for even longer. I think that this topic will continue to occupy Germany intensively in the next five to ten years. Manual and Excel-based processes will be replaced over time and it will take some time until the solutions that are offered will cover all the requirements that companies have.

My personal field of work will certainly look very different. I think that I will take on more team responsibility and less individual project implementation. I will probably also have more initial customer contacts and define work packages instead of ultimately completing them.

M2 Interviewer: Dear Florian, we thank you for the interview!

In conversation with Nadia Sakhi, Senior BI Consultant at M2

Nadia Sakhi
Senior BI Consultant
28 years, with M2 since 2017

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M2 Interviewer: Dear Nadia, we are glad that you are taking the time to talk to us a little bit about you and your role at M2. What do you do at M2?

Nadia: I am a data analytics consultant. That means I work in the areas of data visualization, data preparation and machine learning for various clients.

M2 Interviewer: What experience have you gained in project work with customers?

Nadia: With each project I have of course learned more about the content. But that is not the only thing. Through project work you also learn to break down technical requirements and "translate" them into implementable specifications. The experience also helps to maintain the balance between concentration on the goal and attention to detail.

M2 Interviewer : At which interfaces are you connected with the customers?

Nadia: That varies from project to project. In some cases I am an integral part of a project team at the customer's site. In other projects, where the implementation is mostly carried out by the M2 team, there are workshops - for example at the beginning for requirements gathering or at the end for project handover - and we regularly coordinate closely with the customer about the course of the project and next steps. I also give training sessions where I spend only a few days with the customers and I enable them to perform self-service analytics.

M2 Interviewer: What does a typical working day look like from your side? If there is such a thing...

Nadia: This is difficult to say, because there is no typical everyday life for me. Either I spend the day with content work and workshops at the client or I'm  in one of our offices, coordinating with my colleagues, preparing workshops and trainings and working remotely on projects, i.e. not on site at the client but from the Berlin office.

"I want to help our customers make informed, data-driven decisions. In doing so, I am always interested in (...) getting to grips with new content issues."

M2 Interviewer: Let's play the mouse: What did your day look like yesterday?

Nadia: Gestern bin ich zu einem Kunden gereist. Wir haben Anforderungen für ein neues Projekt definiert und das Ziel des Projektes abgesteckt. Wir haben die Arbeitspakete ausformuliert und ich habe mit der inhaltlichen Umsetzung des Projektes begonnen.

M2 Interviewer: Was treibt dich bei deiner Arbeit an bzw. was reizt dich am meisten? 

Nadia: Yesterday I travelled to a client. We defined requirements for a new project and set the goal of the project. We formulated the work packages and I started to implement the content of the project.

M2 Interviewer : What drives you in your work or what attracts you most?

Nadia: Very cooperative and collegial. Everyone is an expert in a specific field. The close cooperation always results in exciting synergies that lead to surprising results.

M2 Interviewer : What do you think your professional field will look like in five years?

Nadia: The progress of digitalization will have significantly increased the amount of data that can be evaluated. As a result, machine learning will become even more important and the focus will increasingly be on making forecasts for the future rather than statements about the past.

M2 Interviewer : Dear Nadia, thank you very much for this exciting insight into your field of activity!

In conversation with Christoph Maurer, Visual Design Lead at M2

Christoph Maurer
Visual Design Lead
42 years, with M2 since 2017

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M2 Interviewer: Hello Christoph! Thanks a lot in advance for the interview with you. First of all, of course, the question, what are you doing at M2?

Christoph:  I am a Data Visualization Specialist. That sounds a bit pretentious, but basically I'm responsible for visualizations,visualization, layout und grafic design. Specifically, I do template and dashboard design for tableau dashboards. This means that I find a layout and structure for the dashboards and their content. I also think about how to incorporate the CI (Corporate Identity) of the customer and finally make the visualization understandable. Concretely, one could summarize my work step like this: How do I get from the questions asked to the data to a reasonable and understandable visualization? In addition, I am responsible for the company communication. This includes flyer design, website support and whitepaper design. And every now and then I dedicate myself to the field of cultural analytics, which we use for the artistic representation of data, i.e. Data Art.

M2 Interviewer: What experience have you gained in project work with clients?

Christoph: What I always notice is that most clients find it difficult to find visual forms for the questions they ask. Often, customers see that a dashboard looks good, but they can't analyze what makes up that dashboard and can't concretely name the reasons. In short, they are not fully aware of the visual principles. And that's where I come in, to communicate these design principles to the customers and use these "rules" to implement their requirements.
 

"The creative moments when you try out designs and realize that some visualizations work better than others really appeal to me."
 

M2 Interviewer: At which interfaces are you connected to the customers?

Christoph: I am often involved in the work at the beginning of a project. It is discussed what exactly is to be visualized and I make the first sketches ("mockups"). With the help of these sketches you can already estimate what information you need and the visualization becomes very tangible for the customer. The mockups are created by me before the dashboards are built.

M2 Interviewer:  What does a typical working day look like from your side?

Christoph: Come in in the morning, make coffee, ... (laughs). No, so a typical working day, that's difficult. I usually come into the office in Prenzlauer Berg in the morning and have a lot of contact with the staff. I talk to the customers less because other employees are in contact with the customer. Together with the employees of M2, I develop the mockups, which they then give to the customer. In the office I develop the designs in cycles and consult with the project managers.Sometimes I also give trainings on visual design.  Visual Design. Dieses Gebiet bauen wir aktuell weiter aus. Es gibt nun neben unseren Standard-Tableau-Trainings auch einen two-day data visualization Workshop, in which participants learn how to use visualizations correctly and how to design a dashboard in conformity with CI.

M2 Interviewer: Why don't you give us another brief insight - what did your working day look like yesterday, for example?

Christoph: Yesterday I had a few meetings and had to prepare a presentation for a client who wanted to have a re-design of a dashboard which should now look "sexy" (laughs). I get this request very often.

M2 Interviewer: And do you know how you are going to implement this?

 Christoph: It's a table, that doesn't make it easy. But I already have an idea, so we'll find a good solution for this as well (laughs).

M2 Interviewer: What drives you in your work or what attracts you the most?

Christoph: That's already the whole topic of visualization. Often I'm not even clear about what the final result will look like. But the creative moments, when you try out designs and notice that some visualizations work better than others, really appeal to me. But I also love moments of insight, where you get interesting insights into data structures that you didn't have before.

M2 Interviewer: How would you describe the working atmosphere at M2?

Christoph: Very pleasant, collegial and determined by flat hierarchies. My superiors work very close to me and this circumstance makes the atmosphere very personal.

M2 Interviewer: Let's take a look into the future. What do you think your professional field will look like in five years?

Christoph: Visualization will become more and more important and other aspects will be added, like machine learning. But the visual field will always remain and will become even more important. So in combination with machine learning it will still be the 

In conversation with Michael Pachter, Senior Manager Sales at M2

Michael Pachter
Senior Manager Sales
27 years, with M2 since 2018
 

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M2 Interviewer: Hello Michael! Thanks a lot in advance for the interview with you. First of all, of course, the question: What are you responsible for at M2?

Michael: I'm responsible for the support and development of our existing customers as well as new prospects. Here I support both companies that already have a huge Business Intelligence landscape as well as interested parties who have first ideas on how to develop their existing, manual reports into fully automated, dynamic reports.

In addition, I work closely with the management to strategically expand the company and develop the employees in the consulting area to independently develop our existing customers or to acquire new customers.

M2 Interviewer: What experience have you gained in project work with customers?

Michael: Every customer ticks differently. Empathy is essential for a successful customer relationship. For example, while I'm trying to figure out which tie best fits the CI of a financial client before an appointment, I watch engineers destroy my shoes a little before the appointment. It's not what you can do yourself that matters, but whether you understand the language of your counterpart and see the project through the eyes of the customer. Knowledge of the industry is also crucial. This gives you the feeling to estimate your readiness.

M2 Interviewer: Can you give us an insight into a typical working day?

Michael: No day is like the other - and that's what I love about my position. Since our clients are spread all over the world, traveling is an integral part of my job.

There are weeks when I leave the office for 2 hours to meet a new prospect and there are weeks when I visit four different countries from Monday to Friday. I am always happy to meet new people or visit existing contacts. Both has its charms. With an interested party I am always happy to get to know new projects and to broaden my horizon. With existing customers, it is extremely enjoyable for me to introduce them to our latest products which can make their work easier.

Since we at M2 are not specialised as a company but within the teams, the versatility is enormous. It is exciting every time I sit in a workshop in the morning and strategically contribute to the improvement of cancer research by using Business Intelligence and in the afternoon, together with a customer from the automotive industry, I help develop key performance indicators to increase sales of the new electric vehicle of a German sports car manufacturer.

M2 Interviewer: What drives you in your work or what attracts you most?

Michael: There are many things. What I find most appealing is the proximity to decision-makers at the world's largest companies. To sit around a table with a CFO of one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and discuss how our employees* can influence the future of the entire company with the help of Tableau is truly breathtaking. Then to see how customers and companies are developing and the trust in us is growing is a testament to all the hard work. I have always been attracted to being able to touch my company's products. I can't touch the reports we develop (unless I print them out, of course), but I can see how they bear fruit and what added value they bring to our customers. Coupled with the subsequent gratitude and the expansion of the cooperation, it makes me extremely proud.

"It's not what you can do yourself that matters, but whether you understand the language of your counterpart and see the project through the eyes of the client."

M2 Redaktion:  How would you describe the working atmosphere at M2?

Michael: I find it amazing how well the integrity works, even though I'm in the head office once a month at most. We are in constant exchange so that all employees* are always informed about successful projects with other customers. They then take this information back into their own projects and help our customers.

All employees are always motivated and I am always happy when I go to a customer appointment with one or more employees. The special know-how in the different areas, which is then combined within a project to deliver a successful project to the customer, is breathtaking.

M2 Interviewer: Dear Michael, thank you very much for this exciting insight into your field of activity!