He never gets bored and always has jokes against a bad mood: Gregor is Service Manager at Anexia. In addition to the already varied job, he is responsible for the office location in Vienna, takes pupils on data center tours and if you need help, he is the correct contact person. He takes on disagreeable tasks and thereby learns a lot by himself, because he makes the disagreeable tasks loving.
What the Service Manager learns from his honorary positions and why these tasks are so important to him, you can find out in this interview.
Could you be so kind to introduce yourself?
My name is Gregor, I am 44 years old, married and soon I will be father. I have four sisters and eight nephews; a big family (laughs). I am Service Manager and have been with Anexia for four years now.
What are your responsibilities as a Service Manager?
There are different types of service management. A Service Manager can only be responsible for one service and have a lot of customers or there is the option to have one customer with all services. At Anexia, we have a mix of them all. Our task in service management is to be a single point of contact. We guarantee the customer his SLAs, but we are also an escalation level when different things don’t work. We do customer relationship management and build customer loyalty. In the end, my tasks are complex and wide-ranging.
Have your tasks changed significantly since you’ve joined?
Yes, when I started at Anexia, we were eleven people in Vienna, now we have almost quintupled. As we grow, the tasks change, of course. My first business card said Service & Project Manager. The classic service management wasn’t so strongly practiced. When I was hired, it was already clear that I would not only do one thing and so I was flexible in my area of responsibility, which I liked. With time and growth, my work has become more structured and diversified.
Have you always been a techie or would there have been another option for your career?
I can already say: I like what I am doing. I’ve been involved in IT since I was twelve years old. Together with friends I sat in front of the computer and experimented with it. Nevertheless, I made an apprenticeship to become a carpenter, was in the military for a while, a pioneer in the Ministry of Defense, and later realized that I wanted to get into technology after all. Due to my education and my IT knowledge I am also a hobbyist and tinkerer. My family always calls me when closets need to be set up or computers need to be repaired, etc. (laughs)
Where did you get the technical knowledge?
On the one hand I have taught myself a lot and on the other hand I have always been trained in jobs or the stations of my professional career. I have taken courses and done certifications. I’ve learned a lot in my own projects and I also went to evening classes.
How did you hear about Anexia?
I was sold to Anexia (laughs), which of course sounds funny. I made a tender for my old employer for the outsourcing of the complete infrastructure, because the operation of the IT became more expensive in the long run. Anexia made an offer and won the deal in the end, so somehow, I got rid of myself. In the course of that, I got the chance to start here.
You have some “honorary posts” at Anexia. Among other things you are responsible for our office location in Vienna. How did this happen?
It was the classic: Who wants to do that? And everyone took a step back and if you weren’t careful you are the person for this job. No, jokes aside. I was asked. Certain tasks are out-of-favour and nobody wants to do them. I rather do it myself before there’s a long discussion. If there is something where I can help or cooperate and it is also desired, then I don’t shy away from lending a hand. In the beginning these were less complicated tasks. If there was something to repair, then I organized it and it was done. Because of the company growth, the tasks have grown also.
Meanwhile you are involved in many things. How did you become such an organizational talent?
It has always been the same: if something bothers me, I have to change or optimize that. I’ve organized many removals, rebuilds and other things, also projects with release dates, where many components connect with each other. They noticed that I had a talent for this and so I was sent to project management trainings. Where I’ve learned what I’ve done wrong so far, what only went well by luck, and what I’ve already done well. With the years and experiences this has developed further. Of course, mistakes still happen, because every project is different. You don’t always have the same prerequisites and the same process – that’s what I like.
We try to live the Anexia family. We don’t say we are, we live it.
Everyone is happy when you stop by the office for a short chat. In my mind you are a bit the good soul of the Vienna office.
We have a very high feel-good factor in Vienna. We are close to each other and meet at coffee breaks, while eating, and thus develops a good cohesion. We can work well together and we know a lot about what happens in the other departments. Therefore I would not say that I am the good soul of Vienna, because in the sum it is everyone who tries to live the Anexia family. We don’t say we are, we live it.
There are many things you do in addition. I would be interested to know how it came that you are doing the data center tours. Were you forced to do that, just like to do the interview?
No (laughs), I was taken to a customer tour once and a week later there was another customer there, I had time and helped out – that was my first tour. I lead school classes, customers and I also lead internal staff tours. It’s always nice to see young people coming, who are interested and ask really interesting questions. There are often things I never thought about. That’s the great thing: to see it from a different angle or to find ideas on how to interest someone for this topic. What we always need are motivated junior employees and I see this as an opportunity to present the industry.
Additional tasks get you out of the comfort zone once, you grow with them and develop further.
How important are the tasks for you that have nothing to do with your job title?
I always weigh up what is good for the company. There are a few things that don’t seem to be of value to everyone, but a good team spirit, a family atmosphere and a feel-good factor in the office are very important for me personally. That’s why it’s so significant to me that colleagues have a contact person. Even if I cannot always help them with their requests, I can say who can help. It is also important to me that something is organized from time to time and where people can talk about their concerns. All the other projects, these classic matrix organizations, i.e. you have a regular task and from time to time a little hat for site stories, for a rebuild etc. that makes the work more varied. And it is also a challenge. That’s why I think additional tasks are important. They get you out of the comfort zone once, you grow with them and develop further.
Empathy is the most important thing. Every person and every situation is different. That is an crucial point in project management.
What qualities do you take from your “honorary positions”, which you need as a Service Manager?
Empathy. I deal with people from different professions, with different stories and from diverse social classes. Empathy is the most important thing. Every person and every situation is different. That is an crucial point in project management. There is sometimes a dissatisfied customer who has a completely different opinion or misunderstood something. There is no exact schedule in communication, that is a permanent training. There are also situations in which the customer faces you and you cannot hide from them. You have eye contact, you have to pick up the customer, calm him down and find a solution and yes, such honorary positions are the perfect training for that.
Finally: If someone wants to do the same thing as you, what kind of education or training would you recommend?
High school diploma is an absolute must-have nowadays. Not necessarily for the job, but it’s simply the card to study. Whether you finish your studies or not is always a personal matter. I know many people who didn’t finish because they wanted to study something else and started again – but they had the opportunity to do so. And the rest is apply, start as a junior and see how you like it. Especially when you are young, you still have the chance to try something out. I don’t think you will be born as a Service Manager, but you won’t be trained either. It must be fun to be the contact person: in the bad and good times.
Thank you Gregor for the interview!
A position in support can be your first entry into the IT industry. If you already have a little technical know-how, don’t be afraid to stand by the customers in good and bad times. You also want to become part of our Anexia family, then maybe we already have the right position for you: We are looking for support employees. You can find more information and our current vacancies here: