This significant growth was in fact noticeable even before the era of face masks and social bubbles. With a turnover that has doubled in the last five years and a workforce that has tripled in the same period to over 1.000 employees, Tobania is one of the fastest growers in the Belgian IT landscape.
And as Tobians never sit still, they are aiming for a remarkable growth in the coming years as well. Curious? CEO Lode Peeters loves to share some insights with you.
Keeping it local
Covid-19 was a wake-up call for many companies. Many big companies had been working on the digital transformation for quite some time, but SMEs have now also managed to take big steps. Everyone has discovered the benefits of e-commerce and the cloud. And we are happy to help both large and smaller players to seize those advantages and grow more effectively.
Thanks to the knowledge we gain by working for corporates such as BNPPF, Acerta, LCM, IBA and NMBS, we can also accelerate the digital transformation of SMEs. The pace is different, but at the core, those both types of companies face the same challenges. In doing so, we are convinced that local projects are becoming more important again and that the peak of outsourcing to distant countries is behind us.
Once a wingman, always a wingman
Tobania continued to recruit in 2020 as 160 new Tobians joined our company. "All in all, covid-19 has hardly changed the tension in the labour market. Of course, some companies have had to say goodbye to people, which has brought those talents into the labour market, but on the other hand, the demand for technical profiles has increased. Although social skills are of course equally important in the war for talent.
Because we were not satisfied with the existing external training offerings, we have created our own Tobania.Academy in which we also pay a lot of attention to those people skills. Forget the cliché of the introverted IT person. Our Tobians are consultants who go to companies, listen to customers and translate their needs into concrete solutions. That requires empathy and agility.
Yes, we are and always will be a firm believer in the <wingman> philosophy, in which the company acts as a co-pilot for its customers, who remain at the steering wheel. During the flight, we support the pilot, but we can also take over the wheel ourselves if necessary. Our customers’ KPIs are the final destination and they decide how far our role as a wingman extends along the way."
Data, the next big thing
The digital transformation has now shifted entirely to the front-end, to our interactions with customers and employees. But the biggest challenge is still at the bottom, and that scenario hasn’t changed much in recent years. Below that visible layer, companies must now move quickly towards more data-driven business processes.
Data is the next big thing in digital transformation. The exploitation and valorisation of data has become essential for companies that want to compete with giants such as bol.com and Coolblue. We see a lot of potential in the expansion of a company's data ecosystem, so we plan to grow strongly with consultancy activities together with Python Predictions. This Brussels-based company has been specialising in data science for more than 15 years and has joined our services and solutions portfolio since last year.
Seizing the moment
So, Tobania is now one of the top five independent Belgian IT integrators, but the adventure continues. I think that consolidation in the market will be inevitable in the coming years and we want to play a leading role in that movement. In recent years, we have armed ourselves to seize that momentum. If interesting opportunities come along, we can respond very quickly. If necessary, we will even establish a new business unit ourselves within Tobania as we have done this already three times successfully in the past 4 years.
We have no taboos and we exclude nothing in advance. That’s in our DNA. I now run a company with more than 1.000 Tobians, but I still feel at least as much like an entrepreneur as a manager. You constantly have to innovate, digitise, grow and do business. Strive for ambition and make it happen. Otherwise you will not survive.