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More Swissness — The Future of Bechtle in Switzerland.
When Bechtle first started on the path to international expansion in the mid-1990s, Switzerland was their first destination. Since then, the company has become an integral part of the Swiss IT market and is today represented across all areas of the Group. From 2020, Bechtle Steffen Schweiz, Comsoft direct and Bechtle Steffen IT Services will be consolidated as Bechtle Schweiz AG. Executive Vice President, Hanspeter Oeschger, sat down with us to talk about the background to the reorganisation, how customers and partners will benefit and what will be the decisive factors for success in the future.

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Bechtle Steffen Schweiz, Comsoft direct and Bechtle Steffen IT Services are becoming one—Bechtle Schweiz AG. What was the motivation behind this change?

Hanspeter Oeschger: With the successful fusion of the Bechtle IT systems integrators and Steffen Informatik over the last few years, we have taken crucial steps towards becoming a uniform, full-service service provider on the Swiss market. Our experience shows that intensive cooperation between our various specialists opens new doors allowing us to offer our customers holistic support. The next stage will see our wide-ranging software expertise embedded into our systems integration business and make our entire portfolio more accessible to customers while establishing ourselves throughout Switzerland as a unified systems integrator that is perfectly placed to handle all future topics.

 

What does this merger mean for the companies and branches concerned?

From 1 January 2020, more than 500 employees in the IT Systems Integration & Managed Services segment will come together under the name Bechtle Schweiz AG. They will operate in the German-speaking and Western Switzerland organisational units, which will each have their own management teams. Our sales regions and business units will be located within these units. The Heads of Sales for Basel, Bern, Zurich/Central Switzerland, St. Gallen, Lausanne and Geneva plus the Business Unit Heads will take on significantly more responsibility. This will enable us to strengthen our proximity to our customers whilst boosting efficiency and bundling expertise. In this way, we will be able to expertly and holistically support our customers, no matter where they are in Switzerland, giving us a considerable edge over our competitors.

 

How will this affect the Bechtle Group’s software specialists in Switzerland? Will they remain active on the market under their original names?

The application specialists Acommit, Alpha Solutions and Solid Solutions are not currently within my remit and will continue to operate under their own names. Their industry-specific solutions for ERP, CRM and CAD perfectly complement the Bechtle Group portfolio which is why we work so closely together with our colleagues there. The IT consultants, Evolusys, located in Western Switzerland, will however be included in the reorganisation as their experts develop infrastructure solutions for projects. This will also be the case for the newest member of the Bechtle family, algacom, which has given us a boost in the fields of collaboration and identity & access management.

 
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2
organisational units

German-speaking Switzerland

Western Switzerland

 

  

 

 

 

9
locations

Represented in the most important economic hubs in the country. 

Customer-oriented as always.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges of the reorganisation?

Change means waving goodbye to the status quo. The challenge is to make sure that you get every single employee on board by clearly defining the aims of the change and convincing them of its benefits. There is also the day-to-day business to be considered, which places consistently high demands on performance and quality of customer cooperation. We’ve already achieved so much. I’m so proud of our employees who have been working with great enthusiasm to realise our common goal.
 

6
sales regions

Basel, Bern, Zurich/Central Switzerland,

St. Gallen, Lausanne, Geneva.

What will customers and partners gain from a unified Swiss IT systems integrator?

I am absolutely convinced that our customers and partners will benefit greatly. Our customers will have a reliable expert on hand for all their IT-related questions and, thanks to our specialist business units, we will be significantly boosting our expertise and efficiency. This means that we will be able to specifically upgrade manufacturers’ products to give our customers the benefits they need. Customers will also benefit from our size as our experts come from all areas and will be able to support them to drive innovation. Our vendor partners will see the biggest gains: We will be one of the most important providers in Switzerland in a range of areas and I am certain that we are a reliable partner for our suppliers when it comes to the biggest Swiss IT projects.

 

You have been an IT manager for 30 years. What drives you personally to form a new company?

I work best when I’m under pressure. I’ve always been motivated by challenges and the One Bechtle project definitely falls into that category. I can deploy all the experience I’ve collected over the last 30 years to create a successful Bechtle company in Switzerland.

 

IT is changing economies worldwide but it always comes up against specific cultures. How is the Swiss market characterised, in your opinion?

Although from a cultural perspective, Switzerland is similar to its neighbours, the mentality of its inhabitants is fundamentally different in some ways. The Swiss love small things, have a defensive mentality, are committed to quality, perfectionism, precision, and punctuality and are generally quite thrifty. This mentality, combined with their multi-lingualism, has a huge influence on Swiss business. We have to take particular care in Sales to consider preferences and the German, French and Italian speaking regions. Small and mid-size companies are the backbone of the Swiss economy, making up 99% of all registered businesses, and these, of course, are who are sales employees are working with. The few large enterprises are courted by a large number of IT companies. meaning that it is crucial to have a high-level of customer-oriented products and solutions to be successful in all business areas.

500 +
employees

Great variety in throughout Switzerland and a strong member of the Bechtle Group in Switzerland with over 1,000 employees.

Bechtle has been an active force in shaping the IT landscape in Switzerland for decades. What is Bechtle’s ‘Swissness’ in your opinion?

To be considered as Swiss as a German company and to establish strong connections within the country is not a given. We might be neighbouring countries, but there are lots of differences between us, for example, being objective and direct is often seen as arrogance, which is certainly not the intention. We still have a long way to go in this regard. And using a crossbow or a Swiss cross as a symbol is by no means enough. We’ve been on the market for many years, employing numerous people in a range of tasks with and for the Swiss economy. We will continue along this path and will continue to hone our profile as a strong IT partner for the future as Bechtle Schweiz AG. This includes our own Swiss headquarters and the expansion of our unique portfolio.

 

What will be Bechtle’s focus in Switzerland from 2020 onwards?

Our 360° Managed Services have given us a lot of success with customers with up to 250 workstations. This year, we were able to generate a considerable contract volume with new customers. We have now taken the decision to bolster our 360° product portfolio, making it more attractive for enterprise customers with 1,000 IT seats. At the same time, we will be more consistent in focussing our offers on the SME, enterprise and public sector customers. In addition, we are investing in new fields and technological trends such as IoT and humanoid robots for the services and care industries. I am convinced that we will be able to deliver critical input in the area of digital transformation as a solution-oriented systems integrator for our customers.

 

Beyond a vision and a strategy, leadership is an important component for business success. What is your leadership philosophy?

I try to be a good role model. A leader holds great responsibility as role models are perceived through the positive examples they have experienced themselves. Regardless of whether the company is experiencing good or bad times, leaders have to be authentic and do what they say. They also need to be predictable, open, honest, transparent and close to their employees. Another factor for success is being able to openly discuss critical questions with employees.

 

What will be the decisive factors in the future success of IT companies?

From my point of view, there are three factors that are critical for companies, no matter their industry. First of all, they must think and act in a customer-oriented way. We have to regularly and systematically take our customers’ wishes, needs and expectations in our products, services and processes into account. The second factor is developing passion, which enables our employees to grow. When we approach tasks with passion, they are more enjoyable and we do them better. The third factor is agility. Every growing company needs to have a business model that is flexible and can react to current market conditions. Today, everything is more fast-paced, and so a company has to be agile and consistently adapt to the market.

 

How will Bechtle in Switzerland look in 2025?

That’s a very good question. I hope that my expectations will have been fulfilled and that Bechtle will have become the most successful IT provider on the Swiss market.

 

Beyond your entrepreneurial ambition, what constitutes a perfect day off for you?

A perfect day off starts with a large breakfast and does not include any meetings or appointments. I want to be able to do what I want and not what I have to. I then enjoy my time with my family, go for a walk, play music or read an Italian crime novel.

 


I am absolutely convinced that our customers and partners will benefit greatly from a unified Swiss IT systems integrator. Our customers will have a reliable expert on hand for all their IT-related questions .

 

Hanspeter Oeschger

 

 
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Published on Dec 17, 2019.