Meet the team
When you ask an employee who has been working for the same company for ten years – in this case Lesterius – why he stays, you expect words like “company culture” and “challenges”. Loïc Eeckhout, however, answers without hesitation: ‘because of the platform’ – in this case Claris FileMaker. His colleague and contemporary Kevin Van den Brande immediately agreed with him.
Not that Loïc and Kevin don’t talk about company culture and challenges, and about responsibility and freedom, but the two are computer scientists at heart. After a first interview with Glenn and Koen, who have been working for Lesterius (formerly SH partners) for 20 years, it is now the turn of Kevin and Loïc, who recently celebrated 10 years of service.
The parallels between the two are striking, they did not know themselves how much they resemble. Both were bitten by the IT bug halfway through secondary school. They spent many hours in front of the computer, one more for gaming, the other more for programming. A higher study in applied computer science and IT management was the logical consequence.
The first job was also chosen without much thought. A nice offer via a headhunter, and both arrived, with a few months difference, at Lesterius. At that time, the attitude was still one of ‘we’ll see, it’s only a first job’.
Ten years later, they are still with their first company, and have gained a lot of experience. I stayed because of the platform. Claris FileMaker can do an infinite amount. What we learned at school, FileMaker can do ten times faster. That way, we can help companies quickly’, says Loïc. Kevin agrees: “Claris FileMaker is indeed very strong, easy and achieves results quickly”.
Loïc is more focused on smaller projects, on solving concrete customer problems immediately. Kevin is more focused on large projects, often linked to web technology. He links the possibilities that FileMaker offers companies to the possibilities of the internet.
Crucial in the way of working of Lesterius is the concept of co-creation. Lesterius employees are not programmers who work on an assignment on their own and deliver a computer program x weeks later. Here we talk about consultants who look together with the client at what needs to be done and develop it together.
Loïc: ‘From day one, the customer has access to the application that we develop’. Kevin: “There is contact and consultation every day. Both emphasise the importance of training. The more the customer knows about Claris FileMaker, the more possibilities he will see, the better the questions he can ask, the better the solution will be.
By co-creating the solution with the customer, a Lesterius consultant is also closer to the customer’s employees than to his own colleagues. Before corona, a lot of work was done at the client’s premises, now a lot of work is done from home, in close contact with the client. This gives you a freedom and a responsibility that you often don’t have in a different job’, says Kevin. Loïc clarifies: “What is good for the customer is good for Lesterius”.
Corona is an event with many tentacles and consequences. The most concrete and immediate was, of course, the need to work in a different way. However, this short-term effect also has long-term effects: the digitalisation that was already underway is being accelerated and expanded. Companies that had been waiting to see which way the wind was blowing now have to work hard to keep up with the new times.
The other side of the corona coin was that exchanges of ideas with customers and/or colleagues could not take place physically. The opportunities to physically attend training courses or conferences were also temporarily absent.
gone temporarily. The alternatives that were built up are good but cannot replace everything.
Keeping up is, of course, a challenge. Asked about the evolution they saw in their ten years at Lesterius, both refer to the technological possibilities that have increased enormously. Claris FileMaker remains of course a tool for internal use in companies, but the possibilities have grown exponentially. Where Claris FileMaker used to stand alone, it is now integrated into websites, accounting packages, …’.
This also broadens our knowledge. We must not only know our products, but also be able to advise our customers. We are not going to charge our customer for ten days to develop his own product when we can link it to a good existing tool in two days’, says Kevin.
Loïc has the same vision on how the technology will develop in the coming years. Low code will continue. There is not always coding needed, you can connect a business with great tools that already exist.’ Blockchain and crypto will continue. More and more is becoming digital and virtual. And who says ‘digital’, says ‘data’. And FileMaker can play an important role in this.
Kevin and Loïc can therefore reassure today’s gaming and programming adolescents: ‘If you are bitten, if you have passion, you can’t go wrong, there are so many possibilities in IT. There are so many technological possibilities, dare to expand your horizon.’