A FINGER IN EVERY PIE

Spain 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

With innovation, simplification, and service as its mantra, T-Systems Iberia has brought about important IT developments in various sectors, both private and public.

Osmar Polo
BIOGRAPHY

Osmar Polo is the current General Director of T-Systems Iberia and his main objective is to boost growth, profitability, and digital transformation in Spain and Portugal. Since his appointment, in May 2018, Polo combined his duties as managing director with those of finance director and controller. Osmar Polo has more than 20 years of experience in the IT market of various countries such as Brazil, Germany, and Spain. He is a graduate of economic sciences at Sant'Anna University and obtained MBA from the University of São Paulo in 2013. He is also a graduate of the Direct Development Program (PDD) from IESE in digital transformation.

What is T-Systems Iberia's history in Spain?
One of the company's significant achievement since its establishment has been a clear vision to be a strategic IT partner for its clients. As you can imagine, much has changed over the past 20 years, but we are always applying our mantra of simplifying, being innovative, and helping customers. The way customers interact with providers, and more recently partners, is all about how to apply technology to their business and how to understand our customers' customers. Since its beginning, the company has undergone a number of changes and acquisitions, starting with the acquisition of Debis' worldwide systems. Locally, we acquired the IT department of an important government entity, which put us in the public sector. More recently, we acquired an IT company from an automotive group. T-Systems has experienced multiple transitions and what we call digitalization is not new to us; it was simply called something else in the past.

How does your work in the public sector differ from working with private clients?
Previously, both sectors used to have certain needs but at present, all parties are focused on technology. A few years ago, we acquired a company called TAO, which is being integrated into our systems. While most of the people in Spain do not know about us, they interact with our products; we are present in most of the important cities across Spain. We have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) product in the public sector that deals with taxes, citizens, asset control, and accounting in local administrations. We saw the evolution of ERP products and have now created a platform and module that help cities and the public sector evolve. Gijón was one of the first smart city projects we had in Spain. The first wave began in 2017, and T-Systems is responsible for installing smart lighting, reducing air pollution, and collecting data. Within the public sector, the Catalonian government is another important client, and we are serving several of its departments. For example, we have already digitalized 75% of the justice department's legal documents. There is still a long way to go, but it is one example of something we have been transforming over the years.

How much of your client base is in the automotive sector?
Looking at the local industry in Spain and specifically its IT ranking, we are ranked fourth in the automotive and public sectors. Worldwide, 13 out of 20 automotive manufacturers are customers of our systems. All sectors are moving toward Industry 4.0. There are many transformations taking place, and what we see in terms of less power, high performance, is not only true for automotive but for every sector in which we operate, be it healthcare or finance. The automotive sector is increasingly adopting technologies such as IoT to automate their processes to be more competitive. Some companies are already testing technologies related to 5G. One key challenge moving forward is security; with thousands of devices connecting to the system on a daily basis, not much is being done to secure the data.

What role do you believe regulation should play in cybersecurity?
Public authorities must count on companies that are developing these kinds of solutions, since these companies understand how to detect, prevent, and counter all sorts of threats. There is a lack of regulation regarding cybersecurity currently, since it is so new. Technology is evolving exponentially, and new things are being learnt on a daily basis. Some companies are prepared to help customers, like Deutsche Telekom, but we do see and understand the level of worry. It is more and more on the agenda of the public authorities, with specific ministers talking about it. If there is more need for the private sector's involvement, we are ready to join in. We have already been in talks with the European community on how to regulate and operate cybersecurity.