Who is actually behind blackbee? What do the faces behind the price observation software look like? In our blog, we will now be introducing our colleagues: Sabine Maßmann is one of the founders of Webdata Solutions and its CIO (Chief Innovation Officer). She talks about her support for so-called VIP customers, her expectations of blackbee applicants and her sponsoring the promotion of women in the tech scene.
Sabine, you are the CIO at blackbee. What does that mean exactly?
At most companies, the “I” in “CIO” stands for “information”, but with us it stands for “innovation”. Normally, we take over the price optimisation for retailers and manufacturers, but some of our customers – our VIP customers – also use our software otherwise. We have to rethink and look here at what is possible with our technology. And that is my task.
What do VIP customers do with blackbee?
blackbee examines pricing trends of products on the market. But how does that work in other sectors, such as travel or vehicle rentals? These are VIP customers. These sectors also need a pricing strategy, only they do have different requirements. And this is where it gets interesting for me. I then look at how we can newly apply our technology to cover these separate requirements.
And can the requirements for these projects be fulfilled?
We can collect mountains of data. This means that we collect as much information as possible from outside and bring it together with the internal data of a company. We are automated and can process the data exactly as a customer needs it for a specific project. This allows the customer many types of evaluations and the making of many decisions. From beginning to end, we offer a full package to meet all requirements and I place a high value on that. Sometimes we also have to rethink and take new directions with the software.
Isn’t that sometimes challenging?
This is exactly what interests me: to consider everything that is conceivably possible with our technology. It is particularly exciting to ponder in directions where you at first impulse think that this will not work at all. Sometimes these deliberations also begin with the customer. They then use our data to make very creative observations. When the customer works with the data, new ideas, deeper questions and new projects are created – which is also good for us (laughs). It can also be that I visit the customer and ponder with them upon how to approach the project and how to deal with the challenges.
What is important to you in your colleagues? Also in terms of applications.
I ask myself what brings fun to somebody in their work? And also: To what extent do they already know our technology? I know from experience that you learn something from your studies and then do not necessarily know how to apply it. This is a difference similar to a driving school and actual everyday driving itself. In an interview, I try to figure out why someone has developed in either this or that particular direction. Why did someone study on a particular course or also why did they not end up finishing it? Why did someone change their career path? We also have a career changer amongst us. The question interests me of what is it that has driven somebody?
And what kind of atmosphere does an employee encounter here?
We are a startup. In contrast to a larger company, communication here is very different. I still remember from university that the proposal for hiring a scientific colleague has to be changed ten times and have three months lead time before someone can actually start the work. Here, of course, it is much more streamlined and also generally uncomplicated. But there is also much to be done. I want my clients to receive their data and be satisfied so they can then implement their projects.
You also maintain a sponsorship for promoting women in the tech scene. How is that looking?
I have been supporting a young team that wants to found a company run by a woman. This team is also involved in “data quality”, so of course I could also help practically. But beyond the content, it is also sometimes about help in establishing firm contacts or discussing which is the more beautiful logo (laughs). This was a program created for one year and it is now complete. It is called Entrepreneurship Challenge and was organised by the German Business Foundation (SDW). It was an exciting process, because I could observe for myself how a company was developing itself. I always found it interesting anyway as to how a company was run. How did it arrive at where it now is? This is sometimes more memorable than any brochure can be.
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