“All these objectives would be unattainable without the right people, so engaging the best talent is key for Anook and its greatest lever” – Javier Blanco, Managing Director of Anook
When we talk about Anook we must talk about its origin. Anook arose from the information management needs of Grupo Villar Mir during its national and international consolidation in the 90s. For 32 years, Anook has developed a comprehensive management ERP for companies in the construction and industry sector within the Villar Mir Group, being co-participants in the success of these companies as a competitive advantage of the companies it leads.
During these years Anook was exclusively dedicated to support companies within Grupo Villar Mir, but now Anook opens its doors to the world thanks to TSS/CSI, its new business family.
That is why today’s blog post is dedicated to interview the Managing Director of Anook, Javier Blanco de Torres who joined the company in May 2022 after the acquisition of Anook by CSI / TSS, an international group known for being the 8th in the ranking of software companies in the world.
Javier has extensive experience as CEO of several technology companies in various sectors. He is a professional who is mainly committed to professional and human development and the talent of the teams he works with as a competitive advantage of the companies he leads.
Could you briefly describe the history and achievements of your company in the IT sector?
We were born more than 30 years ago as the technology company of the Villar Mir Group in charge of offering technology services to all the companies of the group. The first services we started to offer, in outsourcing mode, were an ERP for the construction sector (mainly to provide global service to OHLA), and another for the industrial sector (mainly to provide global service to Ferroglobe and Fertiberia).
From the beginning, we have been very sensitive to certifications (privacy, security, cloud services, business continuity, SOX…).
“Today we are serving more than 10,000 users in more than 40 countries with our ERPs, with the highest certifications in the market”
What has the acquisition of Anook meant for TSS?
TSS is a company that operates in the software verticals by acquiring software companies with the intention of keeping them in perpetuity. These companies have solid experience, a portfolio of loyal customers and an established team.
“This acquisition has underlined TSS’s firm commitment to the Iberian market”
TSS landed in Spain 4 years ago with its first acquisition. The purchase of Anook, being the largest one in Spain to date, represents the backing of the company in the country, providing it with resources and ambitious growth plans.
What does TSS bring to Anook?
TSS, unlike other competitors, manages the acquired companies in a decentralized manner, i.e. it allows them to maintain their teams, their autonomy in decision-making and their processes.
So… what does it really bring?
The group is made up of more than 800 companies around the world and brings together a set of best practices recommended and transmitted to all the management teams of each company, practices that have proven to be efficient and effective.
“The application of these best practices, together with the connection with the management teams of other companies in the group, their advice and experience, allow us to achieve growth and results of great depth in this initial phase in which we find ourselves.”
Subsequently, having technological and financial support provides us with long-term sustainability and allows us to improve the relationship we have with our customers, bringing them more value every day, thus becoming a true strategic partner.
What are the challenges?
There are two fundamental challenges at this stage of the company. Firstly, we have gone from being a company with captive clients, the companies of the Villar Mir Group, to becoming an open company that has the obligation, like all companies in free competition, to provide the best service to our clients, adding value and competing with other large companies.
“We must become a company focused on the customer and their user experience.”
Secondly, and as a consequence of the above, we are facing a profound cultural change that will make us leave our comfort zone every day. In this sense, the HR area, led by Elena Sopeña, takes on special relevance.
What are your company’s strategic objectives for the coming years?
I could summarize them in three main strategic lines:
First and foremost, sustainable and profitable growth. We will achieve this by strengthening the relationship with our current customers by creating forums of understanding to collaboratively develop our roadmap, always meeting their needs. We do not want them to be just a current customer, but one that we accompany throughout their business journey. In addition, as an open company, we will listen to the market and attract new customers in the verticals we work in.
Secondly, to provide the company with the scalability to face this sustainable growth over time. A disorderly growth would lead the company to entropy with the consequent erosion in the level of service and the erosion of the client portfolio. Something that would be unacceptable to complete our company vision.
“Ultimately, all of these goals would be unattainable without the right people, which is why engaging the best talent is key for Anook and its biggest lever.”
What are the current challenges facing your industry and how do you plan to address them?
The technology sector is a sector in continuous evolution. Today chatGPT is on the front pages and every day we will learn new acronyms and trends. Some will stay and others will disappear.
“A huge challenge is to try to elucidate which of these technologies, not only can be applicable and can provide value for your customer, but also endure over time making investments in them viable.”
On the other hand, the high demand for technological profiles makes software development companies experience a high salary inflation, but above all a high turnover of teams. We can not speak of the great resignation in Spain unlike other countries such as the United States, but we can speak of the great turnover. Keeping talent motivated by sharing the company’s culture becomes a fundamental factor to strengthen the quality of service and achieve the company’s sustainability.
What areas are you investing in to drive your growth and provide an enhanced product and service offering?
As we have already mentioned, our vision is to put the customer at the center. In this sense, growth cannot be disconnected from their needs. The areas to work on are those that generate the greatest satisfaction and return for the customer. It is not just a matter of making a product that works, but we must develop a product that works in the best possible way for the user, or, in other words, that the user perceives that the product really helps him in his day-to-day life in an efficient and profitable way.
“Therefore, working on the user experience by improving flows, the look & feel and even reprogramming processes, becomes one of our major lines of investment to which we will allocate a large part of our budget.”
On the other hand, any complex tool must be used correctly to reach its full potential. It is difficult to achieve this goal without proper training. We will develop a new training platform, the Anook online academy, with which we will transform the way we communicate with our customers by providing them with a new tool to facilitate their day-to-day work.
Finally, traditional ERPs have been more forensic in their uses, but now, thanks to data iteration, we can make them predictive, providing valuable information that will increase our clients’ profitability.
What makes you really different?
Undoubtedly, our origin and now, the union to TSS.
Because of our origin we developed a solid vertical oriented product that allows us to serve multiple scenarios, companies, countries, currencies, legislations, etc… and that has been tested and improved during the last 30 years in leading companies in their sector thanks in part to the use of our tool in the management and access of their information.
“By becoming part of TSS we have access to the most current technologies used in the 5 continents in different software vertical companies, this allows us to transfer that knowledge to our products and customers.”
Finally, would you like to tell us anything you would like to leave out?
I would like to close by pointing out that companies are not soulless entities, they are made by each and every one of its members. Anook is a solid company with history, but above all, with a future. And that future is inseparable from its team, a great team of good people.