Two decades into the new millennium, the world remains full of businesses that are living in the 1990s. Countless retailers, manufacturers, banks and insurance providers have stood still while their competitors have catapulted themselves into the future by adopting the latest digital applications and workflow strategies.
The perpetual need for businesses to transform in order to survive is why Stanislas de Bentzmann and his brother Godefroy founded Devoteam in 1995.
Through various ups and downs in the years since, Stanislas’ ability to transform his own company while providing similar services to its clients is why he believes Devoteam will be able to help its clients come out of the crisis.
“Our most notable achievement is being able to manage a fast-growing company even throughout the turmoil we faced in 2000 and 2008, during the financial crisis. For the past three or four years, we have been the fastest-growing IT services company in Europe,” says Stanislas, who leads Devoteam as CEO.
“Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis, business is difficult for everyone, and we must all make adjustments over the next few years,” he says.
What Stanislas and his brother launched as an IT consulting company has blossomed over the years into an 8,000-employee-strong provider of strategic transformations to businesses looking to incorporate the latest technologies – cloud services, video intelligence and artificial intelligence – into their work processes.
“Take retailers, for example. There have been some very large players that have not been able to transform, meaning they have failed to become as organised and as agile as Amazon. There is no future for a retailer that does not become a digitalised company over the next five years because customers are changing. They are increasingly digital, so you need to adopt the new standards if you want to survive,” Stanislas says.
“Today, more than ever, every company must be a tech company,” he adds.
A learning company
In developing transformative products for its clients, Devoteam enlists a select cohort of innovative partners, including Salesforce, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google and ServiceNow.
“We only work with the most innovative players in the market,” Stanislas says. “Our strategy is not to be generalists. We aim to specialise on a few topics by partnering only with the most advanced software vendors.”
Sébastien Marotte, Vice President Channels EMEA, at Google Cloud, says, “Google Cloud and Devoteam have a strong partnership built around the twin pillars of work transformation and IT modernisation.
Devoteam is a pan-EMEA partner, providing our joint customers well-established technical competencies and expertise across multiple countries, with an ability to execute in a fast-paced environment.
So while they can work on large multi-country digital projects, they are still nimble enough to work quickly and swiftly with our joint customers.” High specialisation is a value that permeates Devoteam internally as well.
Stanislas says: “Our corporate culture is about being a learning company. We spend a lot of money and effort to train our employees, and that’s why we have such a high level of specialisation and such strong partnerships. Our teams are strong, motivated and trained massively.
• Transformation management
• Agile IT
• Digital workplace
• Data as a service
• Business process excellence
• Customer experiences
• A Devoteam presence in 18 countries in Europe and the Middle East.
“We are ambitious. We want to manage the company with clear direction and discipline, but at the same time, there is a wide space for an entrepreneurial mindset, new ideas, innovation, caring and learning. Maintaining this delicate balance is my main responsibility as CEO,” he says.
Be the energy
Throughout the years of Devoteam’s growth, Stanislas has compiled a few key lessons that cumulatively form his recipe for success, the first of which is “Stay focused.”
“One of the most difficult things is to refrain from jumping from one project to another. CEOs are continuously faced with new problems to address – the grass often looks greener in the next field. Sometimes, it can be tempting to think that the opportunities might be more exciting or easier or more profitable in another market. But that’s rarely the reality,” he says.
“The truth is that the path to success is through staying consistent with your strategy and conveying a clear message to your employees so that they understand the goal and can help you get there,” he adds.
“You need to look after your people, especially in these very difficult times of COVID-19. Digitalised companies will cope and adjust better to these changed circumstances. But if you are not a CEO who is continually seeking growth, it won’t happen. You are the engine, and you must be the energy of the company. That’s the only way to survive in this unstable world.”
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