[ETI innovantes] Cheops Technology: “In the Cloud market, either we consolidate or we are consolidated”
Throughout the Digital Jobs Week, Frenchweb offers you a series of interviews of innovative mid-sized companies, located in the regions, and which create jobs.
Founded in 1998, Cheops Technology is an ETI based in Canejan (Gironde) which offers a Cloud outsourcing service. In 2014, the company presented a consolidated turnover of 73.7 million euros. Cheops Technology has 400 employees and is present through fourteen agencies in France.
FrenchWeb: In which market is your mid-sized company positioned?
Nicolas Leroy-Fleuriot, CEO of Cheops Technology: Cheops Technology is a digital services company. We offer companies to outsource all or part of their information system in the Cloud with extremely personalized services, according to the formula “the right application in the right Cloud at the right price”. These applications and data can be transferred to iCod®, our own Cloud in our French Datacenters. With our own iCod® Cloud, we have obtained health data hosting accreditation and ISO 27001 certification which allow us to host and administer, for example, the information system of hospitals, clinics or all professionals. processing personal medical data.
For more standard needs, we place the IT environments in public clouds but with the ability of Cheops to administer these environments and to be the customer’s single point of contact, regardless of the destination Cloud. In short, we are Cloud specialists, whether private, public or hybrid (combination of the two) but in all cases with a high level of automation, industrialization and customization of services. Today we have more than 120 customers in production, including French mid-size companies.
Our second area of activity is aimed at companies which, for their own reasons, do not want to go to the Cloud. To these, we offer them digital transformation solutions with mobility, security and Data management solutions supplemented by local services delivered by our fourteen agencies in France.
What was the background to the creation of the company?
When I was 27, I had already created a company but which was a 51% subsidiary of a large IT group. After spending fourteen years there, it was in 2004 that I had the opportunity to buy 100% Cheops Technology. It was then a small IT company of sixteen people headquartered in Nantes, which intervened in a niche market, the migration of systems. After transferring the head office to Bordeaux and transforming the business model of the company, in support of good results and strong organic growth between 2004 and 2007, we started to carry out some external growth operations without going into debt, including in 2008, the acquisition of all the agencies of the IT Group… of which I had been one of the founders and which I had left 4 years earlier. This operation tripled us in size, but we took the risk of doing it. 10 years later, the company has thus multiplied its turnover by 20, its workforce by 26 and its results by 180 …
How many jobs have you created since?
About 350 people, engineers, technicians and sales and administrative executives were hired.
Are you going to recruit in the coming months?
Yes, we will recruit around 30 people, mainly systems, network and security engineers dedicated to our Cloud activities. We will also recruit Service Delivery Managers, which can be likened to “contract managers” which are the interface between the cloud division of Cheops and the customers using our services. These play an essential role in the satisfaction of our customers and in the evolution of the managed services that we operate in the Cloud.
How is your mid-sized company taking the turn of digital transformation?
Digital transformation is at the heart of our businesses and we have just spent six months with a working group rethinking all of our offers with an approach based on uses and no longer on technology as until now. Today, our customers want to hear less and less about technology and expect our offers to deliver ROI, gain in competitiveness and reduce costs. They are all facing the same challenge: the intensive use of digital is changing the way their company designs, manufactures and markets its products and / or services.
In our opinion, digital transformation translates into 3 challenges: reducing the time to market; this requires an agile information system that adapts very quickly to the demands of business departments. Meeting customer expectations: requires good use of its data assets in order to better understand its customers, and make its employees collaborate better, making them more efficient and more motivated.
Faced with these three challenges, we have reorganized all our offers around three strategic areas of activity: digital workspace, data management and IT transformation to give IT agility: Optimize the management of the company’s data assets. Then, promote the productivity of IS users. Strictly speaking, there was no job creation but great efforts to train our sales and pre-sales staff to understand these new service offers and especially how to sell them.
What role has the Region played in your development?
The Aquitaine region helped us on several subjects. First, although we have fourteen agencies in France which allow us to attract talented employees without any real geographic constraints, the development of Bordeaux and its region, the quality of life on site which is recognized, the price of real estate which remains accessible are factors that undeniably make it easier for us to attract new, experienced employees. Then, the Aquitaine region created a Club of regional mid-sized companies of which we are a part and which has helped to give us a lot of visibility and notoriety. By allowing us to get to know each other better, this club also allowed collaborations between members who did not know each other before. This is our case since some fine mid-sized companies in the region have switched their information systems to the Cheops Cloud. Finally, the Aquitaine region and Bordeaux Métropole often put us on the front of the stage by regularly citing us as one of the regional nuggets, which again helps to strengthen our notoriety, both in economic and financial circles.
What are your goals for 2016?
Absorb four subsidiaries to have only one legal structure, reach 80 million euros of turnover in pure organic growth, remain one of the Cloud leaders on the Mid-Market while becoming a major player in the digital transformation of companies.
And what development on the internationalization strategy?
Yes, today our Cloud market is consolidating, so either we consolidate ourselves, or we are consolidated… we had to be done with external growth operations in France to make a first international acquisition. But we will not go alone, for a first experience, we will rely on our network of leading partners, HP for example with whom we are very close to help us find the right target and reproduce our model. Eastern countries or an Iberian country could be easier for a first international operation than a country too far away …