As one of the largest IT companies in Belgium, Getronics has decided to buck the industry trend and go against the ‘jack of all trades’ way of thinking. Their new strategy: focussing on specific areas and doing those to the best of their ability. Executive Vice President and General Manager BeLux, Jean-Claude Vandenbosch explains the thinking behind this new strategy.
Behind the scenes
With worldwide revenues to the tune of € 2.2 billion in 2008, Getronics is the largest ICT service-provider in the Benelux region and indeed a world leader in this sector. As experts in Workspace Services, Connectivity, Datacenter Services and Consulting, the company is an information enabler; providing their clients’ employees the needed infrastructure with secure access to data from any location at any time.
Since late 2007, Getronics has been a part of KPN, the main telecom services provider in the Netherlands. The merger gave Getronics more financial strength, stability and innovation capability. Also, it served as a launch pad for a revitalised strategy that plays into some of the key trends defining the world economy and the changing ‘world of work.’ As Jean-Claude Vandenbosch, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Getronics Belgium and Luxembourg, explains, this is no accident.
So how exactly would you summarise these trends?
Well firstly there’s the obvious one – globalisation. While this is indeed not a new trend (it’s been going on for over a century), it’s clearly entrenched. Currently at the heart of this trend is the internet – the great equaliser. Today we compete with IT companies everywhere, and this exposes a simple truth: you can’t do everything. Better to focus on a few core competencies, and do those better than anyone else.
Another key trend is individualism and the new forms of social interaction. The ‘digital natives’ entering the workforce today are a particularly demanding generation—from an IT manager’s perspective, that is—in the way they integrate technologies in their lifestyles and individuality. With a work force that’s this individualised and so connected in the ether, offering a highly standardised and restrictive communication infrastructure falls way below expectations. ICT will increasingly be driven by the specific demands of these people. While this poses a security & support nightmare for IT managers to be sure, it’s very much in line with the way society is changing – and we need to change with it.
Ecological awareness is another important megatrend. ICT is responding in two ways. On the one hand ICT is a key enabler for energy efficiency, translating into what some call the ‘new world of work.’ With video conferencing and working from home (or indeed anywhere) the order of the day, substantial energy savings can be achieved with people not needing to travel as frequently and not needing heated (or cooled) office space. Secondly, ICT is becoming greener itself, with the emergence of more energy efficient servers and data centres.
It’s through these types of trends that we see the ICT sector developing and evolving. Obviously there are other trends too, some more specific to our sector, like virtualisation and its impact on licensing business models, convergence between telecom and IT, the shift toward software as a service, etc. The point is that we have thought long and hard about the factors that will determine how our market will evolve in the years and decades ahead.
How does this translate to your own business?
These trends to a large degree define our mission and vision. Clearly ICT services will be driven increasingly by the personal demands of our customers’ employees. We see ourselves as a personal performance enabler, delivering the tools and information that employees need to drive their business forward. Simply put, we make sure the individual’s ‘workspace’, be it physical or virtual, functions optimally; that it addresses her or his needs. Obviously it is about being connected anywhere and anytime, but also it is about answering to the increasing need for individuality. Not everybody wants the same Smartphone. People are going to start wanting to take their personal laptops to work. Our job is to make sure everything keeps working, seamlessly, securely.
While focussing necessarily means that some of our past services fall by the wayside (like application development), it also means we can hone in on the specific requirements of the individual, which is the essence of our three main activities.
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