Simac ICT Belgium's Integration business unit had a very good year. One of the success factors in this is definitely proximity. So: the fact that Integration chooses to operate close to the market in everything.
For years now, Simac has stuck to its own adagio, even if this means going partly against the flow. The adage that not all focus should be on organising its own services as efficiently as possible [read: at the lowest possible cost], but that you should also be able to 'just' be who you are: a service provider, someone who is always ready, thinks along from the client's perspective and puts that perspective first.
That adage is increasingly resonating in the market, notes Johan Diels, director at Integration.
"Our customers appreciate the fact that we keep as much as possible in Belgium, close to them. Helpdesk, support, monitoring ... We do everything locally. And yes, then that cost price might be a bit higher, although I dare even doubt that, but it does contribute strongly to the feeling that you are in the game together: our customers and us."
That story has also landed on the labour market: in the tight labour market, Integration has managed to find new people relatively easily over the past year, including in key positions and even without having to use headhunters all the time to do so. "We are a professional, innovative organisation, but with a family character. That combination is appreciated."
Market conditions were not optimal in 2022, with global problems with delivery times and price increases, but Integration nonetheless plumped solidly. It even exceeded its own expectations by more than 15%. "The market fortunately did not fall silent. We responded well commercially. In particular, the biggest plus was in expanding our services with existing customers. An example is security, in which we showed significant growth in 2022," Johan Diels explains that result.
What also contributed to the growth in revenue was that supplier price increases could be passed on. In addition, Integration concluded some nice new long-term framework contracts with new customers. As of 1 January, wages have been adjusted. This will undoubtedly put a brake on results.
Nevertheless, Integration is unabatedly positive: "The portfolio is well filled, both with ongoing projects and commercial opportunities. We are increasingly developing into a more complete managed services provider. We are on that path, on that path we feel strong and so we are heading in that direction: being able to serve our customers even more completely. Professionally and close by."
Typical of Integration's position in the market, it is moving into brand new premises this spring. Again, this is almost at odds with the trend in the market, in which to save costs, working from home is often no longer an employee's wish, but an obligation or partial obligation from the employer.
"Yes, it may also be a statement to the market. We are investing in new construction. Because we too believe in working from home, absolutely, but mainly because we also want to have a nice place where we work together, with colleagues and with customers. A place where you meet and inspire each other. That can be done remotely. We do that too. But we still also believe in proximity ..."