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Investing in innovation: Christian Werner

Clothes made in Turkey, electronics from Japan, and tech support from the Philippines – whatever your heart desires, it’s likely to come from a different continent. It’s an accepted outcome of today’s globalised world.

Christian Werner, CEO of Logicalis Germany

It is precisely because of these developments that Christian Werner, CEO of Logicalis Germany, is convinced that suppliers with global structures can play to their strengths in the future, and partnering with them will lead to competitive advantage.

“We have evolved the organisation and implemented structures so that we hold end-to-end responsibility for the entirety of our clients’ portfolios,” he says. “It’s brought us an enormous amount of efficiency.”

Christian’s quest to define the local go-to-market strategy is aided by the autonomy Logicalis enjoys from its head office in the UK.

“We have a high degree of local flexibility and are seldom required to roll things on to our headquarters; 99% of our business-related decisions are made here,” he explains. “In my opinion, being able to adapt the global strategy to local market requirements is one of the biggest advantages we have.”

He further illustrates this point: “A client once told me that with so many big companies in the market, she would sometimes have to talk to a purchasing VP in India, a logistics person in Romania and then a sales guy in the US whenever she had a problem. She’d often have to make several calls talking to people with no reporting line. With Logicalis, it is always just one call.”

So insistent is Christian on creating a fuss-free experience that Logicalis Germany even ensures there are dedicated personnel allocated for every customer. “This is all in order to provide a very high level of service for all our clients,” he reveals.

Christian may have a penchant for keeping things local, but Logicalis’s presence is certainly global. The information technology company had its beginnings in 1997, when Datatec, a South Africa-based distributor of communications solutions, acquired Logical Networks, a UK-based networking integrator.

The firm then expanded quickly through acquisitions in Europe, North and South America, and the Asia–Pacific region to form the Logicalis Group, which became the holding company in 2001.

Today, the Group employs 6,100 people worldwide and provides services to more than 10,000 corporations. Some of Logicalis Germany’s current partners include technology conglomerate Cisco, data storage specialist Dell EMC, software company Oracle and data services company Netapp.

Working with these firms keeps Logicalis Germany at the forefront of developments in the tech industry, on top of the support it already gets from the Group’s large international network.

Christian Werner, CEO of Logicalis Germany

Christian’s ambition is for Logicalis Germany to mirror the Group’s rapid development. “I want to sustain a highly profitable growth,” he says. “The aim is to become one of the top 10 IT service providers in Germany by 2020.”

To achieve this, the company has recently invested heavily in marketing. “We want to build a brand,” Christian says. “We want to move away from being just an IT service provider and build our image as a digital trailblazer so that we can attract and recruit good people and gain awareness among customers.”

Of course, a glossy image means nothing without the products to back it up and in an industry of rapid change like tech, it’s a constant challenge to keep up with the times. Christian is well aware of this, saying: “In our industry, transformation happens every day.”

He points out that the current concern for many of Logicalis Germany’s clients is trying to find a streamlined way to use the many different technological tools they have, in order to become more efficient and agile in their processes.

Some of the solutions Logicalis Germany has invested in include marketing automation, tools for lead generation and high-level cloud advisory services.
“Many companies are currently in the midst of a big digital transformation,” Christian points out.

“And really big incidents still happen from time to time. Looking at the overall spending on IT security, I would say that there’s still a lot of room
for improvement.”

Although – or perhaps, because – the technology that he works with is changing rapidly, Christian believes the company should, in contrast, be a beacon of stability for its clients. “We do not change our vendor strategy very often,” he reveals.

2018 in the Logicalis trophy room:

Oracle Excellence Awards
Specialised Partner of the Year:
Engineered Systems – Global
Specialised Partner of the Year: Systems – EMEA
Cisco Partner Summit 2018 Awards
Architectural Excellence Partner of the Year:
Data Centre – Germany

“A good partner will take a decision now, keep the decision, and invest in it for three to five years in a row. That’s how you create a basis for a good relationship between both parties. If the partner changes tack every 15 months, it is difficult for the vendor to deal with. That’s why, at Logicalis, we are always unchanging in what we say and what we do.”

Besides stability, Christian also prizes clear communication. “You have to be very transparent with what you are doing, and why you are doing it,” he says.

“For example, we recently had a workshop with the senior management of Cisco to openly discuss our strategy and investments in Germany for the next couple of years.

“Ultimately, I think a successful relationship is based on two factors,” he adds. “First, knowing each other well and having an exact understanding of the drivers and objectives for the company you are working with. Second, knowing how we can add value for one another.”

“The journey to digitalisation in tech has only just started.”

Despite having been in the tech industry for almost 25 years, Christian believes the ride has only just begun for him. “In the next five to 10 years, artificial intelligence is going to be everywhere. We will see much more automation in the market,” he enthuses.

“We are at the very beginning of a big evolution in IT. As an industry, we now have a really big toolbox and it’s up to us to use that to build a very cool and modern house for our key customers.”

He continues: “The journey to digitalisation in tech has only just started. The really big and exciting things are in front of us and not behind us. My objective is to prepare our customers and Logicalis Germany for these challenges.”

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