Ferri Abolhassan


Quality is king!

An article by Ferri Abolhassan, Board member Deutsche Telekom AG and CEO T-Systems International GmbH.

One of my central business mantras may sound simple, but it has always served me well in the 30 years of my management career so far: Listen to people, then you’ll know what you have to do! To understand what's going on in the market, what customers want, what employees need to meet their expectations, you’ve to get out of the ivory tower. So, in my first weeks as CEO of T-Systems, I've already visited two dozen companies – including a number of DAX corporations. I asked the CEOs and CIOs a lot of questions and listened carefully.

Portrait Ferri Abolhassan.

Dr. Ferri Abolhassan, Board member Deutsche Telekom AG for T-Systems and CEO T-Systems International GmbH © Deutsche Telekom

My key takeaway from these discussions is that we are currently seeing a mindset shift in the industry. Considerations about cost are increasingly playing a secondary role when it comes to choosing a digitalization partner. This is because many IT managers complain about negative experiences with offshoring. Suppliers from distant low-wage countries are often unable to keep their customer promises. This is fueling an increase of “backsourcing” in many places. Out of dissatisfaction with the performance provided, many companies bring their IT back home or even in-house.

Digital resilience at the top of the agenda

Again and again, I hear from our business customers what really counts for them: Quality is king! Across all industries, there’s a return to the values of quality, stability and security. After all, with increasing digitalization – particularly given the boom in artificial intelligence – reliable IT plays an increasingly critical role for many companies. In uncertain times like these, in this global permacrisis of pandemic, wars, climate change, disrupted supply chains, economic downturn and inflation, reliable IT supports the resilience and adaptability of companies. And it can prevent millions of dollars in losses. An IT incident can quickly have disastrous consequences for the economy and administration: production lines stop, rail and air traffic come to a standstill, authorities and offices can no longer work.

So it's no surprise that digital resilience is at the top of many companies' agendas. They want stability and reliability. They are looking for the proverbial "tower of strength". They want a trustworthy partner at their side who can accompany them smartly and securely through their digital transformation. One that provides them with resilient IT– cybersecure and fail-safe. This has been confirmed to me by many customers in personal exchanges.

Zero as a level of ambition

And their wishes and concerns are the top priority for us at T-Systems. Our aim is to turn customers into fans. Because fans are more than just satisfied with their partner's performance. Fans are enthusiastic about it, they are particularly loyal and recommend a brand out of deep conviction. This makes them the most valuable multipliers a company could wish for.

To turn our customers into fans, we want to provide them with state-of-the-art, fail-safe solutions and operational excellence. However, this is easier said than done. Uncompromising ICT quality is not a foregone conclusion! Not only does it need a vision, but also a clear master plan: To achieve this ambitious goal, we’ve defined Zero Outage and Zero Failure as a level to aspire to, in the knowledge that Zero is a utopia. There is no such thing as 100 percent flawlessness in any technological system in the world. However, we’re convinced: If you strive for the famous Five Nines (99.999 percent reliability), you need to set the bar as high as possible. And that's what we do. In order to get as close as possible to the magic zero, we consistently apply the proven 3P model. Through a holistic view of People, Processes & Platforms, we continuously improve our performance – across the entire portfolio.

And this portfolio is already broader than that of any other provider. As an integral part of Deutsche Telekom – the ninth strongest brand in the world – we can offer our business customers the complete ICT menu, end-to-end. These include consulting, cloud, digital, SAP, automation, connectivity, security solutions, but also innovative AI solutions such as AI-supported law monitoring, predictive analytics in logistics and life-saving AI tools in medicine. In short, we are the only provider in the world that can implement the plan-build-run model from a single source in the age of AI.

Renaissance for "Made in Germany"

In doing so, we strike a chord with our customers. This has just been confirmed to me by the head of IT at a large German bank. And that's what we're investing in: We recently became the first premium supplier of "RISE with SAP", an all-in-one package for digital transformation that offers SAP S/4HANA on a German private cloud. Our solution complies with the strict data protection regulations of the German market, the EU and beyond. Here, too, we take care of the consulting, migration, implementation, operation and support of the solution. This means that our customers can stay with their IT in their familiar data centers and don't have to worry about anything – including data sovereignty.

In this way, the label "Made in Germany" is currently experiencing a real renaissance in the IT industry. It's no longer just about maximum cost efficiency. Quality and safety are back in vogue! Of course, "Made in Germany" does not mean that we only serve the German market. As T-Systems International, we’re big enough to follow our customers globally – with teams in more than 20 countries. At the same time, however, we’re also close enough to advise them on an equal footing – with more than 27,000 experts. In this way, we support more and more companies in Germany and Europe to develop their full potential. Because one thing is clear: whoever wins the digitalization race owns the value creation of the future.

Ferri Abolhassan

Ferri Abolhassan

Board member Deutsche Telekom AG and CEO T-Systems International GmbH

Laptop, mobile phone and coffee cup on the table

Management unplugged

Deutsche Telekom's top management on current topics.