How Simac builds long-term relationships

Teamnology is immune to any virus. That’s what 2020 has proven to us at Simac. Teamnology happens when teams from the customer and Simac work together on technology, delivering superior results. While 2020 was certainly a challenge to many of us, Simac ICT Belgium won a number of major contracts. Based on the strength of our solutions, on the strength of our teams and on the strength of our customer relationships.

Recently, the renowned US magazine MIT Technology Review dedicated an article to strategic vendor management, highlighting the fact that ever more companies are reducing the number of vendors they work with. Vendor sprawl is definitely out, and strategic partnerships are in. The reasons are obvious; it is more expensive to manage multiple contracts and get vendors to work together, and it is easier to get things done if you work with true partners that view a collaboration as a long-term, win-win relationship. It’s no surprise then that the framework agreements we win at customers aim at building solutions for the long term. Some examples: healthcare network Emmaüs awarded us a six-year framework contract recently for the maintenance and modernization of their networking, security and collaboration infrastructure. A contract that immediately provides in a two-year extension. Earlier, we concluded a five-year contract with Elia with a possible extension of another 5 years. With many of our customers, we have relationships going back ten or more years, for instance Provincie Vlaams Brabant [Province of Flemish Brabant], or Eurocontrol, or Volvo, or Tiense Suiker, or IDEWE, or KBC or BNP Paribas. And many more.

Simac acts as a trusted advisor

The organizations I mentioned are not corner shops who remain faithful to their IT partner because they don’t know the market well enough to source elsewhere, or stay with a vendor out of misguided loyalty. These are well-established professional companies with strict procurement rules. Yet they keep coming back to us for new projects, renew existing framework agreements and award new ones. When we interview them for customer stories, we keep hearing the same compelling arguments: Simac is a company that has all the necessary expertise, good and long-standing vendor relationships and bright people that go beyond what is expected of them. For many of these organizations, we have truly become trusted advisors, offering our own opinion when asked – and also when it is not asked. As CIO Conny Huysmans at Emmaüs says: “We like our service provider to have an opinion and to express it. If you enter into a collaboration of six and perhaps eight years, that is particularly important". Expressing our opinion means, among other things, that we will never simply present an offer: we work out multiple scenarios, discuss pros and cons of each scenario and provide our opinion on the best choice. We notice that this is highly appreciated by our customers.

Simac provides end-to-end services

One of the other qualities our customers appreciate is the breadth of our offering: when we offer integration services, these are not limited to just storage, just networking or just security, we deliver a comprehensive end-to-end service that encompasses networking, compute power, storage, security, collaboration,…. You name it – if it has a place in a datacenter, then Simac delivers it. On top of the implementation, we offer managed services that adhere to strong Service Level Agreements. Simac ICT Belgium has four separate business units that work together as a single supplier. The Integration business unit that I lead, works seamlessly with our Cabling & Infrastructure business unit for datacenter cabling and equipment, with our Business Management Solutions division for monitoring of applications and networks and, finally, with our Professional Services team for long- and short-term staffing and recruitment. By combining the forces of all these business units, we create a unique offering that is not matched in the Belgian market. An offering that is geared to deliver peace of mind to our customers. When Simac is busy on something, our customers know they need not worry.

Simac is people-driven

All of the above would not be possible without the people that make the magic happen at Simac and at our customers’ sites. It goes without saying that our workforce is well trained and an expert in different domains. Our people always go the extra mile, for their colleagues, for the company but, above all, for the customers we serve. How do we do this? By involving everyone in what we are working on. Not only does this apply to open and transparent communication, but also to making sure that everyone knows what is expected of them and what will be expected when we win proposals that we are working on. The Emmaüs contract, for example, is something that a lot of people have been working on from the very beginning: many people worked together on our proposal in an early stage. In this way, they could smell the atmosphere at Emmaüs, learned their challenges and were so involved in the project that we all hit the ground running when we took over the contract on March 31st. Teambuilding is something we do throughout the year, not as a checkbox item from a HR manual.

While it is unclear what changes 2021 will bring, one thing will not change: our unwavering collaboration with our customers. Regardless of whether they are new customers or longtime partners, everyone at Simac will give it all they have to make sure that IT can advance the business of our customers.

Johan Diels
Johan Diels

Johan Diels has over 20 years experience in the ICT industry. He started out as a business consultant and grew into the position of sales manager. At Simac ICT Belgium, he is Director of the Integration division.

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