‘Over the past decades we have really gone from almost no IT components to IT like water from the tap’
More and more companies are becoming a technology company. Is running a technology company different from running any other type of organization? Director Marc de Beer from Conclusion Mission Critical explains what it’s like to lead an IT organization and the people in it.
In a few words, what does your day look like as a CEO of a technology company?
Every morning we have a start to the day with the Leadership Team, where we discuss what is going on, what needs to be done today and whether we need each other’s help with anything. Before the start of the day, however, I often already have quite a few calls about current projects. The rest of the day is very diverse; from agreements with employees, customers, applicants, business partners to work with tenders, offers or other documents that must be completed. And somewhere in between, the mail mountain must of course also be dealt with.
How did you ever get into IT?
I used to want something completely different; become a baker or enter the business economy. In the end I went to study Business Informatics and I got an internship in IT at an organization that was responsible for IT in the neighborhood and neighborhood centers in Tilburg. Then I started working in a small managed service company where I grew from engineer to product manager in 11 years. 11 years ago I switched to the Conclusion ecosystem where I started as a Service Manager in one of the companies and eventually grew 5 years ago as the Director of Conclusion Mission Critical (one of the companies within the Conclusion ecosystem).
What makes this role challenging / what challenges do you face?
When Conclusion Mission Critical emerged in 2017 from various companies within the Conclusion ecosystem, we started with 56 employees for two clients. Over the last 5 years we have grown this to a company with more than 180 employees and a dozen customers. Great of course, but also hard work. The growth of the organization, continuing to work closely together, maintaining the informal family culture and maintaining clear, short lines of communication while our IT services continue 24/7 and must not stand still for a second are challenges that we face. as a growing company. We are very aware of this, and together we are always looking for the most effective and efficient solutions. Remote management of the organization in recent corona years has not made it easier to fully utilize that collaboration and optimization.
Added to this is the current labor market, where it is still a challenge to find employees who fit our culture and the position within our business-critical IT area. So many challenges.
To what extent does ICT play a business-critical role in your organization?
Business-critical IT is the heart of our existence. When the IT facilities for our customers do not work (well), it affects both the customer and our society directly. Therefore, not only our customers’ IT is critical, our own IT supply is also of crucial importance. This includes 24/7 monitoring, telephony and other tools so that we can do the work for our customers as well as possible so that our customers’ business-critical processes remain functionally available.
Have you also considered working for an end user (why not)?
The companies I have worked for have more or less all been service companies that manage IT for clients. I didn’t choose it consciously, but the many opportunities in a service company and working for several clients give me the most energy. Within Conclusion Mission Critical and the entire ecosystem, there are still plenty of opportunities for me that give me a lot of energy.
What is it like to be close to the fire and always have to be updated on developments in IT?
It is and remains challenging, but also a lot of fun! Especially because the IT world is changing very quickly. You would also like to do something about this in your own organization and towards your customers, but in such a way that IT continues to run safely and securely. Finally, we provide the Mission Critical service that must work 24/7. The introduction of new developments and applications therefore also happens precisely.
Do you also use the solutions delivered to customers in your own organization?
Yes and no. I’m a big believer in “eat your own dog food”. Where we use standard products and tools such as service management tools, monitoring, public cloud, we certainly use it ourselves. However, many of our customers also have a large part of customization based on the various customer-specific functionalities. Of course we also support these, but the solutions we implement for this cannot be used for our own business operations.
What technological development has had a major impact on your career?
Much has changed in the last 25 years that I have been active in IT. In my youth, I remember that my father was allowed to borrow a computer from his work. It was a magical thing, but if you look at the speed at which everyone has a computer these days, how it’s digitally connected, and how we can be reached day and night, it’s come a long way. Due to digitalisation, we can no longer do without IT resources, which must be able to deliver the right functionalities to the end users 24/7. In recent decades, we have really gone from almost no IT components to IT like water from the tap.
Can you tell us about your IT strategy in relation to Conlusion Mission Critical?
Where you provide business-critical services that must always be functionally available, you prefer to change as little as possible. But in the rapidly changing IT world, that is not an option. In our IT strategy, it will be important in the coming years to be able to offer Mission Critical services in hybrid form, both on an on-premise platform and via Public Cloud. We are also convinced that due to the variety of SaaS and application solutions and the rise of DevOps teams, integration and control over the complete functional chains is becoming increasingly important. The use of end-to-end functional chain monitoring in combination with service integration is therefore also very important. Adding this to the delivery of IT to OT environments, where previously they were two very separate worlds that you now see coming closer together, means that we see enough potential for customers to deliver our added value in the coming year.