Inspired to innovate
For Marc Volquardsen, working in SER’s Presales is not just a job, it is a calling. In his free time, however, his camera is his faithful companion. Marc tells us how he combines his passion for photography with his job to gain inspiration.
Marc, you've been a presales consultant for many years now at SER. What’s so fascinating about your job?
That's easy: Figuring out how I can get customers and colleagues alike to be excited about working with Doxis4. And to do so over and over again with new topics. We work with customers from so many industries, and that means I meet people with very unique requirements. It's so much fun to develop the right solutions for such a diverse group of people! I particularly enjoy working together with them on a common goal. It's so great to see how the customer's team grows together with ours over the course of a project. Ultimately, we become an even stronger team built on mutual trust. It's fascinating to see how my own enthusiasm for a product rubs off on the customer.
Looking back on the last several years, how have customer wishes and needs changed?
The projects are much more complex now. Tender processes are definitely more demanding than before. This is because customers are much better prepared now and know exactly what they want to do with an ECM system. But this also means that we can understand what they need so much better and find the best possible solutions. I also work increasingly often with internet presentations. Our customers are more international than ever now. So if one customer is in Canada and his colleague is sitting in Spain and wants to see the presentation, he just joins in. This brings SER’s solutions to many locations and countries and boosts interest.
What kind of challenges have arisen from changing customer needs?
We want to present Doxis4 and all of its levels as well as possible. If I'm a part of a large tender process, I don't just have to persuade my audience of the functionalities. I also have to address the IT team’s technical issues. I have to be able to answer questions from both specialty users and database or Linux administrators. The challenge is to not go too far into technical details and risk losing those who will have to work with the solution in the end. Finding a compromise is the exciting part: I love the challenge of presenting in an easy and relaxed way that gets everyone enthusiastic about Doxis4.
How do you manage to excite your audience?
One important factor is my personality. I'm an optimist and a positive thinker – and I emanate this to others. I also use several creative techniques which I've learned from my wife, an artist whose daily work revolves being creative. If I need to focus before a presentation, I do exercises similar to meditation. It helps me to mentally prepare myself. I am calmer, my mind is free, and I can reach my audience.
In addition to passion and creativity, inspiration is important for your work. Where do you gain inspiration?
More than anything, it's visual things that inspire me. Photography, my hobby, plays a big role in this. I have my camera with me practically everywhere I go. If I'm on my way home from work, I may stop and take some pictures if the light is right. If I’ve got my eye on a certain subject and am waiting a while for the perfect light, I can tune out pretty well. This helps me to come to work the next day relaxed and ready to be creative.
A great example of this is your recent trip to the US, where you took many pictures. Why did you decide to go there?
I've always loved spending time outdoors and I love unique travel destinations. It enthralls me to see with my own eyes how fascinating this world is, and then to capture it on film and show others. I once read an article about Yellowstone National Park in National Geographic. It was immediately clear: I had to go there! The landscape, with its vibrant and almost surreal colors, was unbelievable. Here I see once again a big similarity between photography and my job: My enthusiasm when talking about our product is the same when photographing the singularities of nature.
Whether it's an innovative solution or a photo subject: for both you need a good eye and creativity. You apply all of this also to your work in SER's innovation team. Can you tell us about this?
The Garage is a small, multinational and interdisciplinary team of SER employees who focus on visionary ideas and their practical application. In the future, where can, should and must Doxis4 develop? In answering this, we analyze topics from the IT world, but also from society in general and see how they impact companies. Some current trends are location-based services or voice control. If users are applying this in their daily lives, then shouldn't it also be possible to apply it to business with ECM? We want to look beyond the obvious: what are the trends, which ones are coming, which will impact our customers' work and which will influence Doxis4?
Why do you think this is important for SER?
We have several target groups for whom our innovativeness is crucial. One is the employee who wants to work in an innovative company and be a part of its success story. The other is the customer who wants a partner who never stops innovating and moving forward. And, finally, there are the market analysts and consultants who value innovations. Gartner considers us a visionary. But how can we, as visionaries, foster new ideas and concepts for the future and implement them as prototypes now? One solution to this is the new lab we are setting up, which gives us a place to try out our ideas and use them independent of the standard.
If you could capture these ideas in an image, what would it be?
It's all about creating that "wow" effect. That's why I'd say that a picture of someone who is quite literally jumping would fit best. It also signifies what drives me: inspiring people to not just take a small step, but to make the big jump into the digital future.
What to see more of Marc’s breathtaking photography? Visit his blog: