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PROXIMITY AND DISTANCE - WORK-LIFE-BALANCE IN BI-CONSULTING

The alarm clock rings early in the morning. The planned customer meeting will take place that same morning 300 kilometres away. In between, breakfast, arrival by train and preparation for the meeting will be scheduled. After the successful meeting, the return journey will take until late in the evening. If this does not work out, one looks for relaxation in a hotel bed in the foreign city. With time, it can become difficult to have a regular private life or to pursue a hobby during the week.

Our junior consultant Julian will focus on the topic of work-life balance in BI consulting and present it from his perspective. He will be looking for the balance between work and private life and everything in between.

He describes exemplarily how the everyday work of a Business Intelligence consultant at CoPlanner can take place in one working week and how the work-life-balance can still be achieved.

In everyday working life, the proximity and distance of the place of work or the working environment play a major role. In the daily business of the consultant, great value is placed on intensive contact with the customer and informative internal exchange with the project members.

Of course, not only one project is supervised, so it can often happen that the various concerns of the customers, the consultant beyond the normal weekly working hours. Here the need for a balance in the short private free time is great.

Flexible working hours and a flexible working model (e.g. home office on a Friday, etc.) make a positive contribution to recovery. The consultant is given the opportunity to plan and combine his time professionally and privately in the best possible way, independently and flexibly. A minimum of planning (arrival and departure, accommodation, follow-up appointments) is necessary. If the consultant is usually out and about during the week, there is not much time during the week for regular activities in a club or, for example, soccer training in a team.

Good planning is half the battle, as the saying goes - which is why the week starts well prepared, already on Sunday evening with the last check of the connections at the agreed customer appointment. Does the train really depart on time and does it arrive at its destination on time, are there strikes, or could the weather prevent a punctual departure? Then it's time for the already experienced packing of the trolley including tools (laptop, mobile phone, etc.).

Due to the great distance to the first customer this week, the arrival on this day starts very early, breakfast has to be omitted at first. The journey to the train station is by tram, then the ICE will take you directly to Frankfurt. After a journey of almost four hours, I arrive at the customer's premises, who expects a good consulting service. With several projects in parallel, it is not easy but important to keep an overview of the different customer projects and their desired requirements.

After arrival, a short discussion about the current status and the goals for the next weeks is the starting point. In this project, the client wishes to enable legal consolidation for his various companies at home and abroad. The aim is to be able to put the consolidation back into operation at short notice after a longer standstill so that the closing of the calendar year can be done in the CoPlanner. For this purpose, imports of data from the previous systems are set up and reconciled. Minor corrections and reconciliations have to be made with the customer. After a long and challenging working day, the customer now goes to the hotel. Due to the early start of work and the longer journey in the morning, there is not much interest in sports activities. In my thoughts already at the upcoming customer project the next day, I let the evening come to an end early today.

The next morning we start early again, again no time for breakfast and a relaxed start into the morning. The plane to Austria at 06:30 has to be caught. With the S-Bahn it goes straight from the hotel to the airport. Arrived at the destination, the journey continues by train. Here the CoPlanner module Financial Planning is to be introduced.

In a joint workshop, the interfaces to previous systems were determined so that the data can be extracted efficiently. The layout of the masks and reports are adapted to the customer's requirements. At the same time, explanations were given so that the system can also be expanded independently by the customer later on.

Decentralized planning is to run exclusively via the Web, while the Windows client is also used in the headquarters - so both worlds are being tested in parallel.

After completion of the workshop and the agreement on the further to-dos until the next suburban appointment, we will then return to the airport with colleagues and then back to Frankfurt. After arriving late in the evening, there is only time for a small dinner on the way to the hotel.

The customer appointment today is scheduled a little later, so the day can be arranged a little differently than usual. The first thing to do is to go to the fitness studio near the hotel, followed by a jogging and a balanced breakfast. As a consultant at CoPlanner, a flexitime arrangement was agreed.  As long as this has been agreed with the customer, there will also be free time as compensation during the trips to and from the customer. After the somewhat more dignified start to the morning, we then head off for the appointment.

Today, discussions are taking place with the project members regarding the presentation of masks and reports in the software. The requirements of the customer to create the consolidated financial statement are enabled by standard modules and the corresponding calculation logic. First of all, master data for the balance sheet and profit and loss account are required, the transaction data in HB1 and then the postings can be entered in ready-made masks. The standard reports are extended and implemented according to the customer's requirements. After the final meeting and coordination of the follow-up tasks, the onward journey to an interested party in Ulm is scheduled. The arrival is delayed due to a train delay - the hotel is not reached until shortly before midnight. Unfortunately this happens from time to time, but it doesn't help to get upset. Daily Business.

The appointment is set early again today, a quick breakfast and a short time later we can set ourselves apart from the competition in the presales workshop and win a customer from the prospective customer: An integrated solution for planning, analysis and reporting with a focus on cost accounting is introduced. A corresponding module is already available for this topic, the logic is there and does not have to be built up first. At the beginning of the project with the new customer, the focus is initially on the joint maintenance of master data. Then actual and plan values are loaded from the previous system. Then the structures and the appropriate values are to be integrated into standardized masks and reports, but before this can happen, further coordination and some work of the project participants in the background is necessary.

After a long working day and workshop and the coordination of the next goals I start my departure towards home. There is no motivation for big activities on this evening, because the working week has already cost a lot of energy. Tomorrow there is no on-site appointment planned, I am thinking about having a home office day and save the trip to the office for the sake of relaxation.

Instead of traveling to the office, I will use the time to do back office tasks and, after informing my colleagues, I will set up in my home office. Spontaneously I arrange to meet a good friend for breakfast. Since he also comes from the IT industry, we will discuss some topics about novelties and innovations, together we could also solve some tricky questions that came up with our customers - here the line between work and leisure time disappears clearly.

Afterwards there is still time for a short bicycle tour through my hometown, I start the working day later today, but I am well recovered and have also balanced my overtime balance for the week. Arrived at my desk, I first settle the travel expenses and record the project times. Afterwards I dedicate myself to the individual open points from the customer appointments of the week. Some things I have to postpone to the following week - we are growing and more and more orders and interesting projects are coming in. That's why we are always looking for new employees at our various locations in Germany and Austria.

With the planning for the coming week and the completion of the BackOffice activities I now say goodbye to the weekend. The coming week is well prepared and I am looking forward to the next meetings where I can present my solution proposals and results, thus ensuring satisfied users and good partnership relations.

WHAT COPLANNER OFFERS

Drinks for free, individual training, community activities, flexible working hours, development opportunities, awarded KVP (great ideas are rewarded!), flexible working time models (eg homeoffice, 30 hours week) & leisure/accident insurance for every employee

 

You will discover many other achievements during your CoPlanner career.

Get to know the Team  Our Management  The Hiring Process

In conclusion, it can be said that proximity and distance in the consulting business in the BI industry has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, one has the possibility to work more or less, depending on the situation, either remotely or on site at the customer's premises, through flexible working models. In order to have a regular exchange between the customer, an increased travel volume is to be expected during the working week. Activities in the private sphere, such as club sports, relationships, etc., can already be neglected, and it is not easy to find a balance. However, a good work-life balance can be achieved through targeted planning of work, "remote" or on site. If customer appointments are not concentrated in one week, activities in the back office can be done online in the second half of the week. This leaves enough time in the morning and evening for private activities and "quality time" for family and friends. 

 

AUTHOR

Julian completed his studies in computer science at the Fernfachhochschule Switzerland. At CoPlanner he is a junior consultant responsible for the main focus on planning, analysis and reporting and their realisation in customer projects.