Interview with Bo Harbeck, Business Line Director for exigo. With several experiences in Account Management, Sales, Purchase, General HR and project management, he shares his global vision of business and how to be an enabler.
- You are interested in several aspects of IT, it is by interest to all those areas? Because of curiosity?
No not necessarily curiosity – it is more that I believe in the idea of being a “one- stop-shop” for our clients. I see myself as an enabler, meaning our clients have all kinds of needs and I am fortunate enough to have a good insight in multiple solution sets. Having this “overview” makes me more valuable to the people we serve.
- You worked in different countries, are the management and the sales different between Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg? Why?
It is true that I have been around professionally in a few countries and I recognize big differences in both the way you manage your staff and also the way you work with your clients.
I am a big believer in what I call the “Scandinavian management style”. Here we are talking about working with your staff, not just telling them what to do but more showing the way. Being the “light ahead” instead of just the “Big Boss in the corner” simply bring much more efficiency from your staff. It’s the same with respect. You have to earn it.
Then I also believe in good service. I think we all know how we would like to be treated as clients, whether you shop for clothing, buy a car or want to buy a new IT infrastructure. I grew up with the concept that “the client is king.” When I arrived in Luxembourg back in 1993 this was definitely not standard. Still now, years later, I am often surprised when I go shopping myself. Good service is still not a standard here. So I believe we can really differentiate ourselves with good customer service in this market.
- Are the customers different between all these countries?
Basically no. Of course you have cultural differences but at the end of the day our clients just want to get good value for money. This starts at the first phone call or meeting and is a continuous process, not ending where you either win a project or learn how to do better next time.
Nobody likes to “loose” to the competition, but this way you learn how to do things better or maybe just different next time. If you do things right you always get a second chance.
- Why choosing IT when you have a Sales background?
I think this is a funny question as the IT world is full of sales people.
Let me tell you a story. It is true my background is from retail sales and purchase management. I love selling and working with clients. It’s a passion for me.
I arrived in Luxembourg coming from a great position as Non-food Manager in a Supermarket chain similar to what you know as Auchan here in Luxembourg, to start in a clothing store. Unfortunately the position wasn’t exactly what I had agreed on and I decided to leave.
On the job-market in Luxembourg doing sales without French language skills is almost impossible to get a chance. So to make a long story short, I was lucky to get into a bank getting my first experience in IT. Over the years, with various trainings and certifications I could call myself an IT Professional. I spent roughly 12 years doing IT hands-on and realized I had to go back to sales/purchase. This is where I belong – and it’s important to me – I proved them all that with hard work you can compensate for missing language skills.
- You have been on the side of recruitment, sales, IT, experienced several visions and skills did it help you to be business line director?
Yes indeed. With all the various experiences I had over the years I am lucky to be able to see our business from different point of view. As an employee, a technical resource, the IT Purchaser and I also have a good idea of how HR work.
I believe that this is one of my strengths – having seen the business from “both sides of the table”.
- You are working with Exigo since this year, what is your first impression?
True, well to be honest it feels a bit like “coming home”. I worked previously with several people who are at exigo S.A. today. We have a great internal culture, a very open way of working with each other.
Your daily actions have an impact on all in the company. This gives me an even larger feeling of the responsibility of making exigo S.A. successful. This way we can guarantee a working space for our colleagues – long term.