In recent years, the IT landscape has experienced shifts of seismic proportions. Tracing these changes, Bechtle has translated them into considerable growth, bringing with it new jobs, new faces, new teams. Jean-Paul Bierens on the developments at Bechtle Netherlands.
Bechtle has had a foot in the Dutch market for over 20 years. Where customers used to shop for mere hardware and software, they now seek professional consultation and end-to-end IT solutions. 2008 sees the foundation of a new IT Solutions Team—made up of one employee. But that was soon to change.
Jean-Paul: “In the early days, we just sold products and that was it. Today, this “selling stuff” still accounts for just shy of 50% of our core business—down from nearly 100%, mind. But more than 30% is now about thinking ahead for our customers and translating their challenges into solutions. Organisations are looking to become more efficient, and to design a work environment that enables people to be more productive. Their operations hinge more and more on the agility, scalability and future-readiness of their data centres. Sometimes they are simply looking to optimise their storage architecture. We have evolved from a mere reseller to a true solution maker. Everyone can sell a cable.”
The remaining 20% of Bechtle’s business centre on current trends and developments. This means we work with our customers to develop innovative IT concepts that have a direct impact on their results. A few years ago, we predicted the trend of as-a-service models. Now it’s here and it helps companies save time and boost their productivity.
In recent years, Bechtle has made an impression on the market as a provider of truly end-to-end solutions. Our IT Solutions Team is growing and now boasts an array of specialisations: Workplace, Connectivity & Security, Data Centre, Software and IT Asset Management (ITAM). This was a very gradual development. “IT solutions may be increasingly popular, but selling products remains an important pillar of our business. Some organisations don’t need our advice on IT solutions because they have the necessary knowledge in house. They still benefit from our advice on standardisation and our operational excellence in procurement and logistics. That is not nothing.” The fusion of Bechtle and Comsoft at the beginning of the year unlocked all new synergies. “On 1 January, we truly became a one-stop-shop. We believe in a hybrid world: hardware, software, on-premise, off-premise, back-end, front-end—it’s all coming together.”
Bechtle may be one-of-a-kind on the market, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less approachable. Jean-Paul wants to keep it that way. “That, too, makes us stick out. We may grow at a rapid pace, but we’ll always make you feel right at home. No-one’s drowned out by the crowd. We listen to all of our customers, and our customers can tell. To offer this kind of personal experience is very important to us.
It is this frame of mind that has put Bechtle on such a steep upward trajectory, with a consistent climb in customer, revenue and employee numbers over the recent years. This year has seen an extension of the company’s premises, along with the creation of 46 new jobs. “We have rented extra floor space in our current building to make room for our now 140 colleagues, and we’re on target to 150 million in revenues before the year is over. And we won’t stop at that. On 1 August 2020, we’ll become owners of the entire first floor of structure two at Meerenakkerplein. So we’re all set for at least four more years of growth.
We also see a further increase in the demand for IT solutions, and our IT Solutions Team is going to scale in line with this growth, as is sales support. In the past, it was all about making sure accounts are being managed. Now we’re reinforcing back-office support for our Account Managers so they can optimally respond to our customers’ needs and engage in generating new business. We’re hiring for a reason.”
The biggest challenge in the IT sector over the coming years will be recruiting the right talent, says Jean-Paul. “It is critical that we appeal to all generations, and in particular Millennials and Generation Z. They all expect different things from their work environment, such as convertible devices that allow them to be productive anywhere. We have to make sure that people will want to work for us, no matter their age.