By Henning Dransfeld and Pascal Matzke

We were invited to the first ever European analyst day held by Computacenter in Brussels last week. CEO Mike Norris highlighted a targeted approach to global companies and gave a key statement in his opening pitch:

“We have arrived in the transformation from hardware to services which make up 31.5% of our revenue today. That part is growing and we are now in the user enablement business.”

We believe holding the analyst event was a good decision with a respectable outcome! Here is our take:

  • Computacenter is a customer focused business. To the credit of the company, three IT professionals of leading European brands gave testimony to the services received. They conveyed that Computacenter executives understand their requirements and service teams go out of their way to support the internal infrastructure or employees with network and helpdesk services. Interestingly, all three customers on stage agreed on the two main criteria for giving their business to Computacenter: Trust and flexibility. Despite the powerful message on solid delivery for classic IT optimization services, all three of them stopped short of talking about how Computacenter could empower their own service to their customers.
  • Focus on the CIO as main enabler for workplace transformation makes sense. Computacenter takes a firm stance in the midst of a raging debate about the role of the CIO and the influence of business stakeholders on IT decisions: “Our friend within the customer organization remains the CIO!” We agree that there is good argument for the CIO to remain the key driver for transforming the IT to gain competitive advantage in the customer age. The main assurance for that is friendship and alignment with customer facing executives and notably the CMO. This dimension is yet to be addressed by Computacenter in its go-to-market model.
  • Computacenter faces new competitors who do more to engage with business stakeholders. As the business model of Computacenter has shifted, the company faces tough competition for enterprise services. Large IT and communication players to the enterprise market have started to embrace the customer age more aggressively by building customer cases on business value aimed at business stakeholders. Whilst emphasizing professional services as a bridge to close the gap between business expectations and IT, Computacenter does not reach out to LOB executives to the same extent as its competitors.
  • The position on cloud services needs improving. While the company made a focused pitch on workforce enablement, other hot themes, particularly on the cloud received little attention. Cloud-based sourcing becomes a reality with many enterprise customers. To become a serious player in the application provisioning space, Computacenter needs to strengthen its position on cloud delivery and infrastructure services such as integration and orchestration. Not doing so risks missing out on a trait which enterprise customers increasingly demand alongside trust and flexibility: innovation.

Conclusion: Computacenter has shown solid progress to become a major force for optimizing infrastructure and for playing a role in the growing market for cloud orchestration services. Customers give testimony to their commitment to meet technology requirements beyond the written contract. But their friend, the CIO, could do with more explicit support to make the leap towards their business and their customers. Computacenter has the assets to be more forthcoming in supporting its customers business rather than the underlying ICT infrastructure.