Daily digital impact – Maurice Boon, CEO of Quint
Maurice Boon is CEO of Quint, the management & IT consultancy firm in the Netherlands that specializes in digital strategy and transformation. Boon started his career as a marine officer before entering the world of IT and joined Quint in 2008. Flevum spoke with him about his leadership within Quint, and how he realizes social impact through digitization.
Quality over quantity
Quint is management & IT consultancy in the purest form. The company provides independent advice based on sound IT and market knowledge and does not deliver IT services itself. It was a conscious choice Boon made when he joined the company in 2008. ”The focus of our portfolio allows you to really excel in what you do. Quality is more important than volume, and that’s how we can deliver real impact. That means you have to be clear to your customers and employees what you can’t do, but also that we can really excel in the things we can do.”
The company has developed rapidly in recent years, led by Boon as CEO since 2014. These years saw an internal development and expansion of market knowledge, while external developments resulted in an influx of new business opportunities. The financial crisis and the corona crisis were disruptive for many sectors, not to mention the enormous growth of data and digitization. Plenty of opportunities for Quint, yet it is clear that the company goes beyond big data and IT systems: ”People-oriented, knowledge-oriented and customer-oriented. That is Quint. All our employees, including myself, are involved with our customers and assignments on a daily basis, to combine knowledge and quality with the human aspect of digital transformations.”
Four holiday homes
Working at the customer’s office also brings challenges: how do you create a strong bond between colleagues if you don’t see each other every day? This was especially difficult during the covid-19 pandemic, Boon agrees. Even when all the work became virtual, Quint continued to search for the human component that characterizes the company. It was found in four holiday homes for four months, at the expense of the company. Several Quinters took turns in staying there with their families, allowing them to break free from the routine. ”As a leader you have to be creative to ensure that the work remains fun. That is not a side effect of work, but a requirement. A lot can be done digitally, but there are times when colleagues should cry together and laugh together. Life is way too short not to have fun at work.”
Quint’s solidarity and human dimension is not limited to the Dutch border. In June 2021, the company merged with the German Ginkgo Management Consulting and the Swiss AWK Group. All three companies are management & IT consultancy firms, specializing in complex digital transformation projects. It was a deliberate choice to reinforce Quint’s mission: making impact. By joining forces, a critical mass is created in terms of knowledge and experience in the field. Essential for developing your capabilities, according to Boon. ”It is both an increase in scale and an enrichment of knowledge and skills across borders. Those are crucial in order to help your client in the best way possible. Switzerland is known for high quality chocolate and watches, and this level of excellence is also reflected in the work of AWK. The same applies to Gingko’s work in the German market, so we can pass on that knowledge to each other.’’
Development and autonomy are central to the merger. Boon looks back at how the collaboration came about.
”The entire process took place digitally, from introduction to consultation and ultimately the merger. We already knew that you can date online, but now we can also merge online. ” The merger has resulted in optimal cooperation, whereby the differences in markets and culture provide ample amounts of new knowledge and information. Citizens, companies and the government in the Netherlands are much more open to new ideas and digitization compared to other European countries. The position of federal states in Germany and cantons in Switzerland means that the digitization of government is proceeding with different accents. On the other hand, public transport in Germany and Switzerland is much larger and better organised, something that the Netherlands can learn a lot from, says Boon. Through this, the international colleagues can provide both useful and enriching information.
Sustainability and IT
Boon is also aware of the challenges that lay ahead. One of these is sustainability. Although Quint itself does not have a large C02 footprint, the big data and IT industry does. Boon sees digitization as an enabler of sustainability: ”The change we strive for must of course enable change, otherwise there is zero impact. This will make our clients fall back into old patterns, old ways of working. At the same time, digitization also bodes well for major social issues, such as the energy transition and the reduction of healthcare costs. Consider the use of Data & AI for the control of energy networks, or fort he digitization and data exchange in hospitals. This saves costs and man hours by streamlining processes and systems.”
He acknowledges that it is not a black and white situation: everything has to be balanced. “Alternative energy sources for data centers are needed, but an energy transition will not happen without digitization.”
In addition, the company also uses its IT knowledge for social impact, such as the collaboration with KWF. Quint developed the Bundle app for KWF, through which KWF can broaden its network and also reach younger generations for donations. Digitization in its purest form, but with enormous positive impact.
Mindset of an officer
This combination of professionalism, humanity and impact is typical of Boon’s leadership style and the work culture within Quint. While companies today see agile as the new magic word, it has been the working method at Quint since 2008. It is about a transparent culture, in which focus and impact are key. Quint wants to further develop itself and its customers with craftsmanship and a human touch.
These are the principles that Boon took with him from his time as a marine officer. “If you take good care of your people, they will take good care of you. A goal, direction and movement are more important than a well-defined plan. This is especially true in times of crisis. In addition, be open and direct, continue to delegate. Everything is negotiable at Quint. I do manage according to the principle: controle is good, but trust is better. If you hand over the initiative and responsibility to your people, you create new initiatives more often than if you are constantly checking on them. That saves a lot of negative energy, which you can spend on things that are truly valuable.”