Breathing the spirit of the Valley.

For four days, a Bechtle delegation as well as a selection of partners and customers swapped their desks for a glimpse into the future. Where? On the Bechtle Interconnect US Study Tour of the world’s IT hub: Silicon Valley.

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The programme Bechtle arranged on the West Coast of America left no stone unturned. The participants learned a great deal about disruptive technologies and modern workflows at HanaHaus, Stanford University, Cisco and Google.


Heiko Burdack, Head of IT Services at the Signal Iduna Group was impressed: “The whole trip was very well organised and the Bechtle team did an excellent job creating an agenda that included such high-level speakers. I know from my own experience just how hard that can be, but this was top-notch”.


Sonja Salmen, Professor of Business Administration and Social Media Management at Heilbronn University and head of its SAP Next Gen-Lab, was equally enthusiastic: “The trip to Silicone Valley was a dream come true. Being able to talk to real pioneers of the IT world confirmed a lot of things that I think are very important for keeping pace with digitalisation.”

Washington WebEx.


Day one in California was given over to everything Cisco. The focus at the Experience Center in San Francisco was on networks as the foundation for digitalisation, centralised cloud solutions and the workplace of the future, with particular attention being paid to Cisco Meraki, Spark and WebEx. These collaboration tools were put through their paces on-site when, at the request of the participants, a last-minute extra presentation was organised—live from Washington. And on the street. “I was able to see quite clearly just how high-quality Cisco products are”, explains Professor Reinhold R. Geilsdörfer, CEO of the Dieter Schwarz Stiftung.


Heiko Burdack: “I gained a better understanding of Cisco’s partnership with Google, which I think will redefine the cloud market. The market seems quite dispersed at the moment, but that could be about to change and I think that’s an exciting development.”


Learning from the best.


Day 2 continued the tour of the Valley, calling at HanaHaus, Stanford University, Google. At HanaHaus in Palo Alto, it’s a given that creativity blossoms best in an open, communicative environment where ideas can be nurtured to their full potential. The facility is designed for the needs of the numerous innovators in the valley, all on the hunt for the next big thing. The next unicorn.


The spirit of the valley was tangible everywhere and for everyone. Professor Reinhold R. Geilsdörfer, who has his sights set on establishing a start-up centre in Heilbronn with the Dieter Schwarz Stiftung explained: “It’s important to learn from the greats when it comes to how we work in IT and Life Sciences, for example creating open spaces where we can uninhibitedly share ideas. HanaHaus is a powerful lighthouse in this respect.” In the wake of his trip with Bechtle, Prof. Geilsdörfer now wants to adapt his plans for the future centre for young entrepreneurs.


The right conditions.


The former president of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University was “particularly impressed by how fast things happen in the valley. Decisions are met with a high level of resolve, opportunities are seized and ideas quickly brought to market readiness,” he says.


Sonja Salmen feels reassured in her endeavours to nurture talent in Germany. “I think that young people in Germany also have great ideas and business models that could be developed like those in Silicon Valley, given the right conditions. We need to make founding start-ups simple, for a start. Heilbronn University and the affiliated SAP Next-Gen Lab are already working on this.”


The experienced idea-developer was also impressed with the work culture in Silicon Valley. The people there are passionate about their work for the future—and mistakes aren’t just tolerated, they’re encouraged.


Rubbing shoulders with giants.


The future was also the central theme of the expert talks on days three and four at Cisco in San José: “The Network Intuitive – The Network of the Future”, “The IT of the Future at a Glance” and “Investment Priorities – the Cisco Strategy for the Future”. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins also talked extensively about Cisco’s vision for the future. For Michael Guschlbauer, Bechtle’s COO for IT Systems Integration & Managed Services, this is another clear sign of Bechtle’s standing. “We maintain very close relationships with the most successful Silicon Valley tech companies, and our long-standing partnerships mean that we enjoy an excellent reputation among innovation drivers. It’s this rapport that’s made this very special trip possible for us in the first place. I’m convinced that all participants have benefitted from the impressions and insights of these four days. This trip was particularly inspiring because of the communicative group that spans several industries."


Melanie Schüle, Managing Director of Bechtle Clouds, who accompanied the group in her previous capacity as Head of Business Development Networking Solutions, VIPM Cisco, is certain that “we were able to offer our customers a great deal through the direct access to the large companies in Silicon Valley.

Personal exchange in a spectacular setting.

With its varied programme and outstanding speakers, the trip into the future of IT was also a success for Joachim Süpple, Head of IT at Würth Elektronik eiSos: “I’d been hoping to learn new, innovative approaches and to gain insight into the ways disruptive and innovative companies work, while also discovering new technologies and solutions. And my hopes and expectations were all fulfilled.”


Heiko Burdack has returned from California with more than a vague idea of the future: “I have taken away some really quite concrete things for my work and since then have already conducted some follow up meetings.” He continues: “The group itself really played a big role. Everyone was very communicative and contributed to a productive, cross-branch exchange.”


Melanie Schüle feels this too: “The study tour provided participants with the opportunity to have a close, personal exchange. This sort of contact is something you can’t get virtually. And of course San Francisco and Silicon Valley added a spectacular backdrop. Our customers can take a step back from their daily routine and fully concentrate on the programme.”


Oliver Hambrecht was also singing the trip’s praises. The Managing Director of Bechtle’s Neckarsulm IT Systems Integrator says: “After I came back, I didn’t know where to start in describing the fantastic experience I’d had. We were with an incredibly communicative group and right up close with the topics and modus operandi of the valley—you could feel the special atmosphere. I’m sure that all participants took away a lot of ideas for the IT of the future.”


Katharina Kinzinger

Projektmanagement/Controlling Cisco

Bechtle Logistik und Service GmbH



Published on Nov 20, 2018.