Looking back on 2019
Bijgewerkt: jan 22
The year 2019 was a long and tough year, but with an extremely high number of highlights. ITQ is developing and improving enormously. I ask a lot from people around me, but also from myself. This has a major impact on the team and I have the utmost respect for all ITQers. To survive in a market like this means you can never sit still and you always have to move. We’re doing this always with our mission in mind:
With our passion for IT, we enable our customers to accelerate through agility
Personally, I am also developing enormously. I made the choice to achieve a healthier balance between work and private life, which works very well. Especially, the choice to quit drinking alcohol for at least one year has brought me a lot and given me valuable insights; maybe I will make a blog about this one day 😉 One other thing I want to change in 2020, is my crazy travelling schedule. Here are a few of my destinations in 2019: 4x Spain, 3x America, 3x UK, 2x France, 2x Italy, 1x Copenhagen, 1x Switzerland, 1x Tel Aviv, 1x Lithuania and countless times Belgium and Luxemburg. I probably have forgotten some trips (I didn’t even include my holidays) and the countless amount of hotels in the Netherlands for short business trips. I would like to change the number of trips in 2020 and plan them carefully.
That being said, here a few topics I would like to highlight, in random order.
In 2019, we have founded Sky-TQ, a joint venture between fellow consultancy partner Terasky and ITQ. Together, we developed an idea to set up a support organization based on customer wishes. Before major IT changes, or during a disruption, customers realize their IT has become increasingly complex and Sky-TQ offers them the opportunity to solve these challenges. Besides the fact it is great fun to work on something new, I have noticed how creative and hard-working everyone within Terasky and ITQ is to make this a success. In addition, we have built new friendships between our companies, which is my personal highlight!
We announced Sky-TQ at our annual ITQ event Transform!, which, on its own, was another highlight in 2019: with 200+ attendees, many ITQers giving presentations and Robert Doornbos (former Formula 1 driver) as our special guest speaker, this edition was a great success.
2. ITQ Leuven
Only two years after founding, ITQ Leuven already is a mature company. I am extremely proud of Tom Vallons and everyone in team ITQ Leuven. They have done a tremendous job in 2019 and they showed everyone the philosophy behind ITQ can also become a success outside our small country of the Netherlands. The passion for IT in Leuven is bursting and they run a successful and sustainable business, something I am extremely proud of.
3. VMworld EU stage
Every now and then I am asked by customers and partners to share some of my thoughts and views with others. I enjoy doing this, but if such a request comes from Jenni Flinders, this is extra special and somewhat thrilling due to the amount of attendees at VMworld EU 😉. I wrote a blog about it, but I certainly wanted to mention it in my top 10 highlights of 2019.
4. NKI/AVL project
I actively participate in various customer projects and most of times I take on the role of Senior Supplier in the steering committee. In general, I am thankful for the customers we’re helping out. Last year, we executed approx. 360 engagements. Sometimes, these were small assignments, but also a few very large strategic projects. For me personally, it is very nice to hear all those stories, to deliver input for solutions and to celebrate the successes together. In 2019 we started a major project at one of the biggest hospitals specialized in cancer research in NL, and the project will not be completed until 2020. The first successes are already there and Pat Gelsinger (CEO of VMware) has tweeted about it. The artical can be found here!
The actual reason I am so proud of this project, is a completely different story. Unfortunately, my mother died a few years ago from lung cancer and she fought against this for about three years. I have been with her to this hospital a lot during this period for all radiotherapy (months), chemo therapies and hospital admissions. Every time, I walk into this hospital, I get shivers down my back. When I drive home again, I notice I am more tired than usual. Apparently, something happens to me when I'm in there. With our project, we are not going to ensure that no loved one of us dies anymore from this terrible disease, but we may contribute our bit to the first steps.
5. All awards
I have a rather big ego, so you can imagine I like winning awards 😊. Of course, these awards are not about me: I’m only the fortunate bastard who may receive them on stage. Truly, awards are huge compliments to the teams that work so hard for this. All ITQers are working day in day out to make our customers happy. These are the two awards i'm the most proud of:
I don't know which one I like best; I just am extremely proud of all of them 😊
6. Result of the culture work group
Often, I receive positive feedback regarding our ITQ culture. Our CEO and HR manager agreed. But the question arose: what ís our culture then? To make a very long story short (and because I am definitely going to write a separate blog about this), the idea arose to make our culture somewhat more explicit. But not done by a few top-down-think-you’re-smart-managers, but through a culture working group, composed of ITQers. It has been a very beautiful process and I am pleasantly surprised Paul Geerlings and my thoughts on culture actually match the feelings of the ITQers around us. I am proud of the result, because it is made and supported by ITQers and especially proud this is OUR culture.
7. Happy with my boss
As of April 1, 2018, all of a sudden I got a boss 😊 I know for a fact, when he reads this, he gets angry again for me calling him my boss. A company like ITQ is really not hierarchical and we are a very flat organization. We think one layer of management is bad enough 😉 Robert started as CEO in 2018, because ITQ deserved a better CEO (the last CEO before Robert was me, so I can write this down 😊) Robert does a way better job as a CEO, than I ever would have done. But this blog is about 2019, so what’s the reason Robert being CEO was a highlight for me last year? Two reasons actually. I notice, I have more time to spend on actions that bring us closer and closer to our WHY, which is my reason for getting up early every day. Furthermore, I notice people around me now have what I wanted as a CEO: someone they can build on, a sparring partner, and someone who challenges and enables them. I’ve seen quite a people growing in their roles last year, showing more potential to be uncovered.
8. My team
My plan is to write more blogs about this in the period to come. How are we actually organized within ITQ and how do I think you should build a Professional Service Organization? Or actually, a Service Led Organization, because slowly, we are doing more than Professional Service. I am currently responsible for something we call customer success. This means Marketing, Sales and a part of Delivery report to me. But my strength is certainly not the daily operation and especially for Marketing and Sales this is enormously important. Like I said, I will make some blogs in 2020 about how we are organized regarding Marketing and Sales, but this blog is about my highlights of 2019 and my team is certainly a highlight. It is incredible how many new projects have been started and how much we have done to share our knowledge with the world through ITQ Marketing 😉
9. Events in general
I don’t know why, but I like people. I have the same with the unknown and that is why I find traveling so cool. In addition, I want to learn new things every day. Combine these things and you probably know the reason why I think events are very cool. Especially, the combination between new people, existing friends, cool locations and the unknown. We have been present at many events this year and we have attended even more. Of all events, I think one stood out this year: AWS Summit. We have put effort and energy into this event and we now experience a whole new target audience. Really cool.
It sounds too obvious, I know, but it is simply true: ITQers were the best highlight in 2019. Paul and I started ITQ 18 years ago and we are both people persons. If someone feels bad within ITQ, we are upset... We know people can’t be always happy. This happens at every company. It can be something private, but also work related things, a colleague, a project, it can be anything. We want to help them feeling better. If someone is feeling energetic and walks around with a big smile afterwards, we enjoy it extremely. Therefore, my all-time highlight of 2019 is us as a team. Together with Paul and Robert, I am very proud to be the owner of a company with so many beautiful people who all have so much passion. I hope the year ahead will bring more beautiful things.