The power of SQLI Group according to Mark Blockhuys
Accelerating digitalization for customers, that's what SQLI Digital Experience stands for. The long-standing project approach has been exchanged for continuous processes in which composable software architectures, intensive interaction and customer insights play a significant role.
Until summer 2021, SQLI Digital Experience was called Osudio, a digital agency with 170 employees, mainly active in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. In 2017, it was acquired by SQLI, a French multinational group with 2200 employees, 226 million euros in turnover and active in 14 countries. It serves brands such as Miele, LVMH, Carlsberg and Nespresso, but also Sligro, Intergamma and Warmteservice.
According to Blockhuys, the Group has clear advantages: "There is now a much larger portfolio of knowledge, experience, target domain experience and reference cases available for the Dutch and Belgian market, such as mobile applications and social advertising. In addition, we have become much more efficient, because we now have access to our large software development center in Morocco."
SQLI will mainly use the larger scope here for the implementation of a major change of course. Whereas previously implementation projects – digital foundation – were the most important activity, now it is mainly about accelerating digitalization among customers. Blockhuys: "Ten years ago, you were considered a successful agency if you created an e-commerce platform or an e-commerce transition. Now that has become a commodity. Our Dutch customers, which are mostly well developed digitally, expect us to do more performance management and deliver added value to their end customers. At the same time, they realize that a lot of effort must be put into digital transformation, both in terms of the customer side, the business and the technology. When we come into close contact with the core business of a company our strategic, interactive role is mainly to make our client more aware to look closely at his market and constantly adjust his customer approach, business and technology accordingly.
The aforementioned involvement is also desperately needed as this ongoing transformation leads to the fact that the old 'project thinking' approach must be abandoned. The digital project is turning into a digital product that has to be developed continuously, with an even stronger focus on increasing turnover, profit and delivering a sustainable customer relationship.
Blockhuys: "We bring innovative ideas to our customers, so that they do not have to reinvent that wheel expensively. Clients are willing to pay for our role of trusted advisor. Nowadays, a customer expects you to come and challenge him, to tell him in time that he should not do certain things or should do them differently. The digital world is moving faster than the real one and the customer must be aware of this. Evolutionary architecture and composable commerce can enable the company to continuously adapt its business processes to the acceleration that is taking place. The old monolithic way of working is replaced by a modular approach. The software platforms that we offer our customers are characterized by distinct components and enable continuous evolution. As a result, a defined project is translated into a continuous process or product."
At least as important as new architectures is managing customer insights. There is still a lot to be achieved there, Blockhuys observes: "Many companies have still not properly mapped out their customers. Instead of collecting the necessary data or delving into what the end customer really needs, they rely on gut feeling."
How can this be improved? "Listening to and putting yourself in the customer's shoes and accurately measuring what adds value. Furthermore, making sure that all data is available to your end customer in a flexible way, to offer a more transparent experience that is good for your business. If you have your data in order in the digital world, you can accelerate faster and beat the price competition! Fast and easy always beats price."
Blockhuys realizes that his company ultimately has more of a facilitating role in this rather than decisive. "Our customers do business with us because they have confidence in our knowledge, skills and experience and the effectiveness that we bring about. Where we really distinguish ourselves is that we try to bring the balance between end customer, business and technology. This balance is the most important thing; that is really the core of what we contribute to."
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