Since 2001 Schuberg Philis has grown significantly in size and in the scope of its services. From being a purely mission-critical hosting provider with some 30 colleagues to a full-stack IT services company with over 256 experts today. As we continue growing, it has become more challenging to uphold our collective customer-focused culture and the broad sense of individual involvement and belonging that makes the company a great place to work. In 2017, we introduced significant changes in our leadership structure, which have helped to reinforce our self-steering teams. Obviously, this new structure also helps to improve transparency and clarity, information sharing, and decision-making. We are ready for further growth and development.
Like us, our customers find themselves in an accelerating world, characterized by the arrival of many new and quickly-changing technologies. This dynamic change is referred to as the digital transformation. As they seek to accelerate, our customers are experimenting with their earnings models and are also looking for new forms of organizational structure and new kinds of partnership in their IT ecosystems.
In recent years, Schuberg Philis has become a partner for integration and collaboration with which customers can realize the digital transformation they want to achieve. We have done this by means of extensive automation of IT and by integrating processes. This entailed us embarking on the same sort of ongoing digital transformation to equip ourselves to be a partner in our customers' transformations. In 2017, our new role was explicitly transformed from simply being a mission-critical partner to an integration and collaboration partner. In concrete terms, this means that our customers can expect not only our technical expertise, but also the whole-hearted contribution of our DevOps/partnership expertise to implement their digital transformation.
In recent years the number of colleagues working here has grown continuously. Year by year we have been increasingly confronted by the limits of our decisionmaking model of 'agreement by the whole system in the room'. Clearly, making decisions about, for example, a technical direction with over 256 people is not always effective. Decision-making within the smaller Customer Teams has been going well, but making choices where multiple functions and teams were involved began to lead to feelings of indecisiveness. Who is responsible for what? Especially for new colleagues, it was not always clear what was required to get to a decision.
To create room for our growth, while keeping our model of autonomous teams scalable and maintaining momentum, we have modified our organizational structure. Our leadership has been expanded and our decision-making process adjusted.
Scalability with groups of Customer Teams In the new structure, approximately 25 dedicated Customer Teams, of between five and twenty colleagues each, have been grouped into three Greater Customer Teams (GCTs), which work on Financial Services, Asset Management and Public- Utilities-Retail. The autonomy of these three super-teams has been reinforced by giving each their own mandate and their own leadership team of three Managing Directors. Each of these leaders has been part of the company's DNA for several years. Together these seven colleagues have overall responsibility for daily management: for customer satisfaction, team happiness, financial health, innovation, and growth. In addition, they are responsible for ensuring cooperation within and among the GCTs, the crosscompany Central Teams, and the founders of the company.
With these changes, Pim Berger, Philip Dries and Gerwin Schuring, who have been leading Schuberg Philis for seventeen years now, have transferred much of their leadership responsibilities to the newlyformed GCTs . They will remain fully active, but in a different role. They are here to stay and will focus mainly on the longer-term development of Schuberg Philis as a whole. They will challenge and coach the new leadership teams and continue to act as custodians of our DNA.
In summary, we will be sticking to our working method, which is based on dedicated autonomous Customer Teams. The customer team has all the space it needs to take the necessary decisions to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. Every customer team therefore includes knowledge and expertise in relation to operations, technology, risk/ compliance, and Schuberg Philis colleagues. The GCTs create a shared scale effect by profiting from one another's knowledge, expertise, and resources, and this is good for both flexibility and decisiveness. In addition they can call on our Central Teams: Labs, Services, Marketing, Recruitment, and Finance.
To structure cooperation and decisionmaking among all the teams, we have created what we call Circles. These groups, which work on a range of important topics, already existed to some extent and new Circles can be created by anyone. Organizing in Circles helps us to cross-link information flows and decision-making company-wide and allows everyone to see where that is happening and who's involved. For a more extensive explanation, go to page 16.
As we've always done, we find out together what works and what doesn't and take it from there. Whatever the outcome will be, we will ensure that Schuberg Philis is a place where colleagues, customers, and partners feel at home and motivated to share their best.