Peter Kooijman recently joined HSO International as Program Director. An exciting move, coming from an IT-consultancy firm with more than 200.000 employees and joining a company of ‘only’ 800 professionals. In this interview, Peter shares more about his role, his ambitions and his experiences at HSO International so far.

Peter, what triggered you to choose for HSO International?

‘I did not know HSO before I was contacted by a head-hunter who apparently knew how to trigger me! He made me curious about the company. So not long after that phone call I met Walter Wijdeven, managing director of HSO International, and we had a great click. HSO offered me the opportunity to work in an international company, which I love, and a dynamic environment that is not so formal and bureaucratic as where I came from.’

How did you experience your first few months at HSO International?

‘Before I joined HSO, I worked at one of the top-3 IT-consultancy firms. In such a large organization, your network is critical to be successful and to deliver results. Of course, at HSO I had to start all over again, building a network of colleagues that I could rely on. I expected that to be quite difficult. But this appeared far easier than I expected and that’s a great thing about HSO: people are very willing to help and to jump in when necessary.’

Can you tell me more about your job as Program Director?

‘I see myself as a kind of orchestra director: it’s my responsibility to get the right people do the right things at the right moment. I manage large projects, in which we design a template, align and standardize business processes, build the solution in one country or operation, followed by a roll-out to the other operations. My role is to guard and manage the complete programme and to be a sounding board for the customer, considering the interests of the various stakeholders and potential risks and concerns.’

That sounds like quite a challenging role!

‘My job can be quite challenging indeed, but that’s what I like about it. There are always a lot of stakeholders involved, so it’s important to manage their expectations. ERP-projects often entail organizational changes with a lot of impact, so coaching and supporting the people involved is very important.

In IT-projects, we plan and monitor our projects and progress carefully. However, we are never able to foresee everything, so sometimes the outcome is different than we expected. A process can be delayed, or things take more effort. In such situations it’s my job to adequately handle these unexpected obstacles, manage expectations and to guard my team, who are often more than willing to run the extra mile.’

What is it about the international aspect that you like so much?

‘In my experience, in projects with an international team, where you all work on location, away from home, there is a different kind of team spirit. You work together, you often eat and socialize together after work hours. It’s intense, but also very motivating. I also like the travelling aspect. I must admit that my work-life balance is better than it used to be. When travelling in Europe, I am mostly away for not more than two to three days. When flying to the US I usually leave on a Sunday, to get the most out of the working week.’

Do you have any specific ambitions for the future?

‘I would love to develop more best practices. I think this could offer a lot of added value for our customers. What we see is that in worldwide operating companies, every country or operation usually thinks they have the best way of working. It’s quite a challenge for a customer team to define the new standard. I prefer to turn this around and let us be in the lead. We have so much experience with ERP and business processes that I am convinced we can develop these best practices and offer them to our clients.’

How would you motivate potential new colleagues to join HSO International?

‘If you are looking for challenging, big projects in an international environment, we have a lot to offer! Without the bureaucracy and management overload you often see in larger firms. At HSO we like to support each other and celebrate success together, as a team.

What I like about HSO International is that our management team is also involved in projects, in the field. This means that they know and recognize the problems we face and have the right mindset to help and support me and my colleagues. Overall, the way we work together at HSO International but also with other HSO country operations and service lines is very positive and supportive. We have the same interest, which is to deliver the best solutions for our customers.

Good to know: I have been working with SAP for over 17 years, so I knew I had to catch up on Microsoft technology and Dynamics 365. But over the past few months I have noticed that there are more similarities than differences in these types of projects and processes. Of course, the technology is different, but the way you implement the solution is not. So that’s good news for potential new colleagues, coming from SAP, who are looking for a new career perspective and are hesitant to include a Microsoft Solution Provider in their search.’

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