As COO of the Professional Services department, Erwin Nouwen manages a team of some 500 highly skilled IT professionals. In 2016 he also became COO of Shared Delivery Services, which includes management, maintenance, and remote 24/7 monitoring of both internal as well as customers’ IT infrastructure platforms, some of which are run on one of Cegeka’s five data centres.
“Helping companies beat the war for talent as digital transformation creates a sense of urgency: this, in a nutshell, is the context we operate in,” says Erwin Nouwen. “Our customers need specific solutions, for which they need specific skills, and they need them fast. Our job is to make sure that we understand precisely what the customer needs, to bring in the people with the exact skillset to successfully carry out the project at hand, and to deliver tangible results.”
Cegeka’s Professional Services Team consists of some 500 highly trained professionals with a wide range of skills. They include developers, consultants, on-site support engineers, project managers and analysts. “Hard, technical skills are crucial of course,” Erwin continues. “But IT is as much about people as it is about technology. This is where our tagline – in close cooperation – comes in. We don’t work for the customer, we work with the customer. This ‘we’re in it together’ attitude is key.”
The focus is not only on supplying the right skills, but also on ensuring a cultural fit. “That is absolutely right,” Erwin says. “A positive attitude, empathy with customers’ business pains, the ability to smoothly blend in and to make a difference … this is what our people bring to the table apart from their technical and business expertise. And if our customer is not satisfied, then we look for a solution until he is.”
Relentless customer-centricity is something that is shared by all Cegeka employees, regardless of where they are located. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re literally sitting next to the customer, or whether you are serving him from our nearshore location in Romania: he needs to feel heard, understood and taken care of. Customers tell me that it is precisely this human approach, this focus on contact, rather than contract, which distinguishes us from many of our peers.”
2016 was a good year for Professional Services, with a growth figure of 7% compared to 2015. Erwin doesn’t expect this to change: “In a highly digitized world where the war for tech talent keeps getting fiercer, demand will continue to exceed supply. Our job is to make sure that we can meet that demand without compromising on quality or without letting go of the no-nonsense ‘getting things done’ attitide our customers value and appreciate us for.”
As head of Shared Delivery Services, Erwin is also in charge of managing the Cegeka data centres, of which there are currently five, in four European countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Will Cegeka continue to invest in building its own DCs? “Yes,” Erwin says. “We believe in a solid local presence, so as we expand geographically, it is only logical that we will keep investing in building high performance data centres in the regions we are active in,” he concludes.
IT is as much about people as it is about technology. This is where our tagline – in close cooperation – comes in. We don’t work for the customer, we work with the customer. This ‘we’re in it together’ attitude is key.
Erwin Nouwen is 53 years old. He started working for Cegeka in 1997 as Account Manager. He was the driving force behind the consolidation of all professional services activities. Today he is COO of the Professional Services department and Shared Delivery Services. Erwin is a tea lover who enjoys playing a few rounds of tennis as well as skiiing down the hilly slopes.