Introduction

Directors' Report

Home

Last year we welcomed our 256th colleague. Why is that significant? Because the number 256 represents an important tipping point in the growth of systems in IT and in nature. That was also the case in the development of Schuberg Philis. Achieving our current size has encouraged us to take some important steps, both in the way we work together with our customers and in how we are organized internally. We explain these steps below.

Develop & scale up

In recent years, we have become a sophisticated integration and collaboration partner with whom customers can realize their desired digital transformation. Before we could do this, we invested a great deal of time, energy, and money in our own digital transformation. This investment is beginning to pay off: new customers such as Enexis Groep, PostNL, ABN AMRO Prospery & Franx, and Business Lease (BL) can benefit from the experience that we have built up internally as well as with existing customers such as Loodswezen (Dutch Pilots), Argenta, and Moneyou.

Scalable Customer Teams

From day one our Customer Teams consisted of a combination of Engineers, a Customer Operations Manager, a Sales Manager and one of the three Directors (who were also the founders of the company). With continuing growth in the number of colleagues and customers it became clear that we needed to rethink our scalability. To prepare for further growth and to make our pioneering model of self-steering Customer Teams scalable, we have – in the last year – made fundamental changes to our leadership and organization. The three founders (Pim Berger, Gerwin Schuring, and Philip Dries) have passed on their role in the Customer Teams to the three Greater Customer Teams (GCTs), each with three Managing Director positions. In this way we can give individual customers appropriate attention and benefit from the domain expertise in the GCTs. As we grow further, new GCTs can be established. The three founders will focus on further extending and, where necessary, creating new criteria and opportunities for the long-term development of Schuberg Philis.

The way we work, with self-steering Customer Teams who promise customers 100% reliability, has stayed virtually the same since we started in business 17 years ago. With each spurt of growth in recent years it became clearer that taking company-wide technical and organizational decisions was more complex due to the increased scale and scope. This is why we have also introduced Circles: multidisciplinary groups that take care of knowledge sharing, vision development, and decision-making about team-transcending issues. The establishment of an innovation Circle across the GCTs, together with Schuberg Philis Labs, is a good example of this. In this way we stay in sync with the rapidly changing world of technology and we can ourselves experiment widely.

Investing in new skills

Our customers clearly seek acceleration; they experiment with their revenue models and with new technology. Consistent with this trend, our own role as a service provider in high-end custom-built infrastructure solutions is evolving towards that of a strategic partner which helps organizations create value in their digital transformation. In recent years we have recruited many new colleagues, who can bridge company processes and functionality – people such as software developers and business consultants with domain knowledge.

We have brought in knowledge and expertise in the field of business processes, application security, and the use of cloud applications in specific sectors. Finally, we have helped all our teams to develop continuously through training and intervision in methods such as design thinking and growth hacking.

Keeping teams up to strength

The result of our investments in the organization is that we increasingly move up in the value chain of our customers. For example, together with our customer BL, we have designed solutions which allow them to anticipate and benefit from the far-reaching changes in the mobility market. Schuberg Philis has done this in various ways, including helping BL with the integration of a new ERP and CRM environment, which allow applications to become a business enabler rather than a limiting factor. Alongside the technological challenges, we have given organizing effective agile cooperation within the whole ecosystem a great deal of attention. For daily practice in the cross-functional teams this means, for example, carefully aligning what's needed in terms of resources, knowledge, skills, and experience per sprint. But cultural aspects are also explicitly considered: how do you keep successful teams up to strength and how do you organize your productive governance with the other stakeholders?

Icon of camera Stimulating effective cooperation within our growing ecosystem

Labs were born

In 2017 Schuberg Philis Labs were born. This is the place where we – together with our customers – experiment with new applications and technology as well as achieving the desired acceleration and new functionality. Labs has the mission and the freedom to track down new technology, to explore and test it, as a source of inspiration for the GCTs. And with this freedom comes the responsibility to stay close to customer wishes and the transferability of technology within our organization. Of course, all our Customer Teams can approach Labs with specific questions about new solutions for specific sectors and the best way to run experiments.

Cloud-native breakthrough

To speed up you need the right methods and technology. Whereas Agile, Scrum, and DevOps are the best ways to work smarter, cloud-native is the architecture that best matches the need for acceleration. With cloud-native and serverless environments, both preparation time and upfront costs are kept to a minimum, so that developers can get straight down to focused development and rollout of new functionality.

Renewed dimension of security

With cloud and cloud-native applications security increasingly becomes an integral part of software. As a result, security and compliance in fact become more complex. In a serverless environment, you think in terms of functions and microservices that you upload to the cloud as code and which the cloud then makes available via the internet. In such a fragmented environment, the risk of missing the overall perspective and losing control increases. This means that we make sure that we put locks on every window and door, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in every room, and install secure routers so that connections with the outside world are safe and reliable. We have demonstrated the combination of the power of the cloud (through upscaling and accelerating) with paying extra attention to securing compliance, in the case of Hartwig Medical Foundation, for example.

In a rapidly changing business and IT environment, not being able to invest in innovation would be the greatest risk for long-term success, in combination with the risk of not being able to attract the right people due to the pressure in the Dutch ICT labor market. The availability of sufficient resources and a conservative capital structure make us a financially sound company. That enables us to continue to grow by investing in highly qualified and talented colleagues as well as sustainable innovation for our customers.

Significant growth

In 2017, Schuberg Philis delivered significant revenue growth. Turnover in 2017 was €59.3 mln, 18% higher than in 2016 (€50.3 mln). Contracted revenues remained high at €116 mln. Net profit 2017 was €3.2 mln (5% of turnover, versus 9% in 2016). Net profit was lower than in previous years, mainly due to higher personnel costs incurred to serve our customers.

Our cash position is strong at €12 mln. The small decrease compared to last year is mainly due to investments in working capital. Our solvency remains very strong and was well above 50% at the end of 2017.

Profit and loss statement (in €1,000s)

2017

Total revenues 59,254
Net profit 3,200

Balance sheet (in €1,000s)

31-12-2017

Tangible fixed assets 11,126
Working capital 9,035
Cash 11,657
Debt 0
Equity 19,387

Ratios (in €1,000s)

calculated as

31-12-2017

Net profit margin Net profit / Net revenue 5%
Current ratio Current assets / Current liabilities 1.65
Solvency Total equity / Total liabilities and equity 57%

Contracted revenue (in €1,000s)

calculated as

31-12-2017

Contracted future revenue n/a 116,278
Book-to-bill ratio Δ Contracted revenue / Revenue 1.31

Building relationships

Our customers want to accelerate their innovation. In the search for new functionality we choose best-of-breed solutions. Their IT landscape thus increasingly looks like a rich mixture of different forms of applications and infrastructures. That requires careful intelligent tuning of the various technical components. But just as big a challenge for our customers is how best to achieve effective cooperation within the ecosystem of developers, suppliers, and partners. The success of teams will thus increasingly be determined by trust. For us that feels familiar. After all, our company became successful through the commitment of 100% reliability and continuity in technology, by working together as a 'whole system in the room'. The changing needs of our customers have inspired us to move from simply 'being an expert' toward building relationships, while remaining an expert. We see this challenge as a continuation of our journey, where the emphasis is on collaborating, orchestrating eco systems, realizing innovative results, and learning. This perfectly matches our commitment to 100% customer satisfaction.Schiphol-Rijk, March 19, 2018.

On behalf of the Board of Directors
Pim Berger, Gerwin Schuring, Philip Dries,
and Michel van de Coevering,

Pim Berger