Wen Xiao has been part of cbs Austria for just over two years now. The 32-year-old has Chinese roots and moved to the Austrian capital when he was 11 years old. Here, he first completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Economics and Business Administration and then a master’s degree in supply chain management. Following his studies, he then immediately entered SAP consulting and worked for four years as an in-house consultant at a large telecommunications company. In 2021, his path finally led him to cbs.
He had actually applied for a position as an ERP consultant at the time, as he had already worked in this area before. During the job interview, however, it became clear quite quickly that the Vienna team preferred to recruit him for the SLT (System Landscape Transformation) business unit – with success. Wen accepted the challenge and has not regretted this step to this day.
“I could hardly imagine what an SLT consultant did before I started the job.”
Right at the beginning, he was involved in the current project by his colleagues, even though, as he says himself, “it was hard for me to imagine what an SLT consultant actually does.” This trust shown to new colleagues impressed and motivated Wen. In addition to the exciting topics in his business area, it is therefore the people who make working at cbs special for Wen. The cohesion and exchange among each other are what make his team in Vienna special.
But what does Wen’s everyday life as an SLT consultant actually look like? In fact, you often hear that SLT is mainly about moving tables from one system to another. In reality, however, it’s much more than that. Wen describes himself and his team as “enablers” who support companies in carrying out successful system transformations. Within the unit, there are then different areas, depending on whether it’s the selective transfer of data or the implementation of a completely new system. Wen’s team specializes in the former, however, as well as the optimization of business processes. The customer is supported throughout the entire process, always with the “big picture” in mind – creating added value. The SLT business unit has been in existence since 2010, and its many years of expertise are certainly one of the reasons why cbs implements numerous major transformation projects with global market leaders.
Wen’s day-to-day work is, just like every project, very multifaceted. Sometimes he has more customer meetings, especially in the early stages of a project. But then there are also days when he works with his team or alone on software-specific tasks. When asked how IT-intensive his job actually is, he answers with a grin, “Well, you should have a computer driving license. On a scale of 1 to 10, IT skills should be a good 7.” The SLT team works with highly standardized software, cbs’ own Enterprise Transformer, or ET for short. You should be proficient in this software, as well as in Basic SQL and the SAP programming language ABAP. Basically, however, it is not a matter of inventing or programming new things, but of implementing customer-specific requirements using existing best-practice solutions. Then, in addition to IT skills, it’s also a matter of completely different personal skills, the so-called soft skills, in order to elicit and evaluate the customer’s requirements, to find solutions and then to implement them successfully. Patience, empathy, and strong communication skills are required here.
Just as the requirements of the customers vary, so do the projects themselves at SLT. Wen himself has already been actively involved in five projects. He is currently working on three simultaneously. In doing so, he is not only in professional exchange with colleagues from other business units, but also internationally. One of the current projects is being carried out in collaboration with teams from the USA and Asia. “It’s not that easy to find appointments at first. After all, there are three different time zones involved.” In addition to the time difference, cultural differences in working methods must also be considered.
Team cbs Austria
Collaboration with teams from all over the world is more diverse than ever and you must quickly adapt to the individual cultures and ways of working.
Differences are also apparent when working with teams from Germany. Wen experienced this last year when he worked together with the German SLT team on a complex project. Despite, or perhaps because of the different ways of working, Wen says that he has only had good experiences with the international projects so far and has been to learn a lot along the way for himself and his work. Moreover, he has only experienced this type of collaboration at cbs.
In addition to the technical exchange, the highlights of these projects are of course the on-site meetings, for example at kick-off events. Last year, Wen’s team met with their European and American colleagues at the customer’s headquarters in Munich. “That was a cool experience. You want to have a face in front of you of the people you’re working with.” Wen plans to visit his Asian colleagues at their Kuala Lumpur location in the near future and is looking forward to seeing how work is done there.
If students or young professionals were to ask him what they need to bring with them as SLT consultants, Wen would say: “Patience and curiosity. There are often technical quandaries, things that don’t always work right away. So you have to be patient and keep trying new things. But that’s also what makes SLT so diverse, so you’re always learning something new. And the feeling of happiness when you succeed in the end is particularly great.” It’s almost addictive. But it’s also important to be able to work well in a team. Especially in complex cases, you shouldn’t do everything on your own; it’s best to brainstorm with the team. At this point, Wen again emphasizes the great team spirit among cbs colleagues. People help each other and try to contribute their personal experience in a meaningful way. Here, the mutual appreciation of young and old or different generations is what makes the cooperation work. Years of experience and the acceptance of and openness to new ideas are particularly noteworthy here.
Finally, what excites Wen about SLT comes from this collaboration. The knowledge and know-how that Wen’s team has accumulated over the years enables them to implement projects that other consulting firms do not dare to tackle.
“For me, that’s the much-quoted Power of Orange. That we have this knowledge and do really crazy things, while other companies say: ‘We couldn’t do that’. And we come along with our great team and rise to the challenge, freely following the motto: ‘Let’s do it.’ And then deliver.”
If you want to learn more about SLT, click here for information about the business unit and job opportunities in System Landscape Transformation.