13 DATA CENTERS GLOBALLY

Spain 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Osmar Polo, General Director of T-Systems Iberia, on the firm's experience in Spain, the public versus private sectors, and the challenges of cybersecurity.

What is T-Systems Iberia's history in Spain?

One of the company's significant achievements since its establishment has been setting a clear vision to be a strategic IT partner for its clients. We always put our customers at the center, which is why some of them have been with us for more than 10 years. As you can imagine, a lot has changed over the past 20 years, but we are always applying our mantra to simplify, be innovative, and help 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. This was the core of the beginning of the company. Since then, the company has undergone a number of changes and acquisitions. It began 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 that adds to our knowledge about the industry. T-Systems has experienced multiple transitions and what we call digitalization is not new to us; it was simply called something different in the past. We have always been focused on improving our offerings.

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 don't know about us, they do interact with our products; we are present in most of the important cities across Spain. We have an ERP product in the public sector that deals with taxes, citizens, asset control, and accounting in local administrations. We experienced the evolution of those 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 to create an ecosystem. Within the public sector, the Generalitat de Catalunya is another important client, and we are serving several of their important departments. For example, we have already digitalized 75% of their legal documents. Notably, we are working with the justice department to transfer everything from paper to digital. 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?

If you look at the local industry in Spain and specifically the IT environment ranking, we are ranked four 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 a lot of 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 like the IoT, automating 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. T-Systems portfolio is made up of four pillars. The first is connectivity, for which we are already testing 5G services with Deutsche Telekom and examining ways to use it for B2B and factories. Studies predict that by 2025 there will be 4.2 billion devices connected to each other, which means there is potential to use our platform to connect and protect these devices. The second pillar is the cloud where we have a solution for multi-clouds and the orchestration of it. Some companies choose to use public clouds whereas some prefer to own their own infrastructure. They all have a need to operate and orchestrate their data, whether it is in their own cloud or on a public one. We have partnerships with companies such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and we also have our own cloud solution, OTC. We have 13 data centers all over the world, and one in Spain. It comprises our own private cloud, which helps our customers understand and make the necessary changes. The third pillar is the digital, where our team develops and implements solutions for customers, but also moves legacy applications to state-of-the-art, cloud-based applications. We do this for our clients since we know that 80% of their business will move through digital channels within the next one or two years. That is a need, and the customers of our customers are really pushing for this change. The last pillar is security, for which we are making huge investments as a group. The largest cybersecurity center in Europe belong to our parent company.

What role do you believe regulation should play in cybersecurity?

I believe public authorities must count on companies that are developing these kinds of solutions, since they understand how to detect, prevent, and counter all sorts of threats. Currently there is a lack of regulation regarding cybersecurity, since it is 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 a 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.

Could you highlight one or two of T-Systems' objectives from now through 2020?

For 2020, I could highlight 20 of our main objectives, but I'll settle for four. We want to offer the best services to our customers; acquire and train the best talent; and offer the best solutions so that our customers have the best results. These are our four primary goals. We will also push our four dimensions or pillars that I previously mentioned: connectivity, cloud, digitalization, and security. We want to position the company as a partner that can help companies solve their IT-related issues. We also want to position ourselves more and more as a digital provider and partner of choice. It is not only about our legacy as a strong ICT partner, but our ability to help companies digitalize. We are pursuing 11 portfolios internally, and some are related to new technologies. We are studying how to apply IoT, blockchain, and AI to businesses, but at the end the final product varies according to different needs of every business.