Company & Culture

From IT Manager to Security Advisor - Interview with André Knieper

"IT is definitely the gamechanger
for corporate success. Germany
could already be much further
advanced in this context."


03. May 2023 | 3 min.

André Knieper - IT-Leiter bei avodaq

André, you joined us as IT Manager almost two years ago. How did you come to avodaq and what made you choose avodaq back then?

Yes, that is a funny story. I have known avodaq for almost 20 years. I have attended my first firewall training here back then. After that, as an admin, I was in contact with avodaq again and again in projects over the years. That’s why I know many of my current colleagues for a long time. Then, almost two years ago, I received a hint that avodaq was looking for an IT manager, and after two weeks everything was signed and sealed.

Many companies are more focused on themselves. I always thought it is great that avodaq’s business revolves around the customer. It’s obvious that avodaq has a customer-centric business model and that the focus is on solving the customer’s problems.

avodaq as an organisation is forward looking. It’s moving towards service, innovation and the motivation to make things better. I like that and it suits me well.

„"It's obvious that avodaq has a customer-centric business model and that the focus is on solving the customer's problems."“

André Knieper

And then, of course, it’s also the personal connection to many colleagues that makes working at avodaq so special. We have a very open, enjoyable working relationship here. We work on a mutual goal, which makes it even more fun.

What else should we know about you?

What many colleagues probably don’t know: I was active in voluntary work for decades. I joined the volunteer fire department in Bergstedt when I was 10 years old. I was active there for about 20 years. Then it became difficult to combine my voluntary work with my work and private activities. Today, I spend a lot of time on the road with my VW bus – which I take apart and tinker with from time to time. Apart from that I like to do climbing and go running on a regular basis. Soon hopefully again before work around the Alster.

How did you actually get into IT? Was that always your thing? 

Yes, it’s the only thing I know how to do. André laughs.

Today’s job roles didn’t even exist back then. I trained as an industrial electronics technician at Hamburger Hochbahn AG, specializing in communications technology. That was very close to IT, so to say. Later, I was also involved in the technical side of the first computer-based interlocking system at the signaling department of Hochbahn. After working independently in the IT sector, I was Head of IT Infrastructure for seven years. And today I am here. In short, I’m an IT professional with heart and soul.

You’ve been working as a manager in IT already for a few years? How has the role and importance of Internal IT in companies changed in recent years?

IT is definitely the game changer. This could have been recognized much earlier. Companies and institutions in Germany could be much further ahead if we had approached this topic in a more focused way.

I would bet that IT will be represented in every department in the future. The image of the IT employee will continue to diversify. Definitely, it will be less and less about the activities of the classic IT system administrator, such as managing printers. These are processes that can be automated. There will be an increasing tendency to outsource such simple activities as well as highly complex services.

In the future, IT will increasingly focus on what the business needs. IT staff is still strongly involved with the technical side of things. This gap between technology and business must be closed. IT should create solutions that contribute to business success and are beneficial. The importance of the IT manager will therefore continue to increase in any case.

Future Challenges

What are the top 3 IT challenges for you?


  1. True digitization with value creation in IT.
  2. IT security – The physical threat will become even more massive.
  3. Increasing complexity of IT – It will increasingly become the case that companies no longer do everything themselves and buy in expertise.

Which brings us to another exciting topic. You are currently in a very interesting development process! Some time ago, you decided to take over our IT security business and expand it further. Why did you do that? And how did you get this chance? 

IT security is something you have to buy in. Very few companies have a strategy here. For me, this has been a recurring topic in the past – I’ve repeatedly been able to solve the infrastructure issues well, but when it comes to IT security, I’ve never felt well advised as a customer. I knew the requirements and the technology, but never really got it together. But that was something what really appealed to me. That’s where we had the idea to expand IT security advisory.

At avodaq, we have a high level of consulting expertise and technical competence. And we are close to the pulse of the time. With our advisory services, we close the gap between consulting and system integrator. Hardly any other company has done this before.
Most companies know about the dangers, but the subject is really complex. You hear a thousand different things from various producers. That often results in a shock rigidity.

The exciting thing is that we can help quickly in this case. In the past, that would have taken years. Today, we can draw up a complete master plan within three months. In the process, we also visualize the monetary risk.

Every day, there are bad news about big, well-known companies that have been hacked. This poses an immense threat to companies and with it a high level of responsibility on you as an advisor. How do you deal with this responsibility?

IT-Leiter und IT-Security Advisor André hält einen Vortrag zum Thema IT-Security

I really take it personally! If it can be done better, I would like to do it better for the customer. As a carrier of knowledge, I see it as my responsibility to address it. We can reduce the chance of attacks and the impact. That’s in our power. But ultimately, it’s up to the customer to decide whether and how to invest in IT security.

But it will definitely be exciting with the NIS2 policy. This is a new law at European level. The directive must be translated into national law by 2024.


NIS2 Directive

The NIS2 Directive is the EU-wide legislation on cyber security. It contains legal measures to increase the overall level of cyber security in the EU.

In the security area, a lot has to be done by then at the latest. This is comparable to the introduction of the GDPR a few years ago. Here, too, we can provide support, for example by analyzing what is relevant for the particular company and what is not.

André, thank you for the good interview. There’s a lot going on at the moment – with you personally, with our customers and on the market. We look forward to supporting you on your journey with us.