Quistor 15 Years: An Interview with
Jack van den Brink
Author: Clariska van Delft
Marketing Consultant @Quistor
This year marks Quistor’s 15th anniversary. An important milestone for the company and a great opportunity to look back at its history so far. What started as a small company with a humble 7 people grew out to an international business with 260 employees spread out over several European countries.
For this occasion, I interviewed Quistor partner Jack van den Brink.
How was Quistor’s foundation laid?
Quistor started in 2005 as a management buyout from Deloitte with doing Managed Services for a few JD Edwards customers. In 2005 the name was eXDe standing for Extended Delivery or Ex-Deloitte.
And then Quistor expanded rather quickly?
Yes. In 2007 we acquired the Deloitte JD Edwards practice from Prague where we continued to focus on JD Edwards. We extended our services with functional skills, too. Two years later, in 2009, we started a partnership with RTT Italy. They became Quistor RTT.
During the years that followed everything evolved a bit more slowly because of the crisis. But in 2012 we started the Belgian practice by taking over the core team from another Oracle partner.
In 2013 Quistor acquired Steltix Iberia that our current COO, Javier Prego, was leading. It consisted of offices in Madrid and A Coruña. Their main business activities were Business Intelligence and Oracle Technology, but they were also doing JD Edwards. We quickly started to build our Managed Services practice in Spain. The combination of BI, Technology, and a strong relationship with Oracle are the cornerstones of our current Oracle Cloud offering.
A year later we opened sales offices in the UK and France.
In 2015 we opened the Malaga office to further develop our company and to grow with a huge number of young people we hired at that moment. In 2018 Quistor started the Netsuite practice FoodQloud with an ERP solution for the food and beverage industry. In that same year, we started working with the Oracle Cloud offering.
In 2005 the IT-world looked differently and Quistor was a lot smaller. What are the biggest differences?
Yes, in terms of technology certain things have changed. I think in the base we are still doing the same, although nowadays it's easier to work remotely with all kinds of connections. Back in 2005, it was a bit harder.
It’s also easier because we have more people. In 2006 we started delivering services outside the daytime, which meant the start of evening and night shifts. I think initially there were only three people doing three shifts, so if one of them was ill, the other two had to step in. But that's the thing with starting in a small company - it's completely different from the current situation.
Also, the way we are serving clients has improved over the years. Now our services are of higher quality, better regulated, and audited annually. In short, our current services are more professional, like you would expect from a bigger company.
We have also extended our portfolio over the years. We don’t just offer JD Edwards Managed Services anymore, but also upgrades, implementations, and rollouts, as well as public and private cloud, business analytics, and database services.
But in essence, the things we were doing before in our Managed Services practice are still more or less the same things we are doing nowadays. In your opinion, what is Quistor's biggest milestone so far?
There's a lot of them. But if you look back over the last 15 years then I think growth is the biggest milestone. We started with 7 people, now we're 260. We started with 2 clients, now we have hundreds. That's an achievement as such.
I think the power of Quistor is the people: how service-oriented and knowledgeable they are and how much they are willing to work and going to extremes to solve issues. In my opinion, that's tremendous. Our people are our most important asset. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
What’s also great is that Quistor keeps on being a service-oriented organization and flexible at the same time. My worst-case scenario is that Quistor would end up as a company where you get stuck in procedures and in between departments.
Besides the enormous growth, it’s also great that we’ve received various ways of external recognition for our work. We've been on the Magic Quadrant from Gartner and have won several Oracle awards.
A more recent thing I am very proud of is how managed as a company to deal with the COVID challenge. We managed to start home working instantly and although our offices are still closed even now people can find each other easily when working remotely. Our people showed their flexibility once again. What has been Quistor's greatest challenge over the 15 years?
The change from a small company to an ever-growing company in combination with the different cultures. I think we all underestimated the impact of a company in different countries. Of course, you have your own idea about the cultural differences but there's much more impact than you expect. And that's something that’s still one big learning lesson to me.
Over the last 15 years, we tried to make sure that newly acquired companies became an integral part of Quistor. That's quite difficult to achieve and I think we did very well. If you look at our company’s Get Together event earlier this year, you can see it’s really a nicely integrated company. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but you feel there is a certain culture which is more or less the same in all the offices. And that's I think our biggest achievement from an internal point of view. It's really one European company where it doesn't matter where everyone is based. The work is delivered in the same way from the Netherlands or the Czech Republic or Spain. Everyone feels like a Quistorian.
One of the hardest things to realize is that people understand each other's differences and cultures and also respect them and try to find a certain common ground where we are all the same.
And of course, it's a great area to make jokes of, which is also important. But if you can make jokes about it, it also means that it’s really respected by everyone. Where do you see Quistor in 15 years?
I hope we can continue our growth in the sense of adopting new technologies and implementing them. With AI and Machine Learning we can probably optimize and automate a lot of things. Also, Cloud will keep on growing and will become a commodity more and more.
But I think the added value of companies like ours is combining and implementing all our existing and new technologies in the best way possible to add value to our customers. We don’t know what key innovations will be in 2035, just like we didn’t know much of Machine Learning, AI, and blockchain in 2005. I think in IT your success is depending on how you can keep innovating and transforming as a company.
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