Ireland the right place to be for Schneider Electric
2 February 2015 | 0
Ireland’s position as a destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), plus its importance as a data centre hub in Europe, make it an ideal place to be for power management and infrastructure company Schneider Electric.
That is the view of Vincent Barro, who is now settled into the position of vice president Ireland for the company’s IT Business.
“When you look at the investments being made in Ireland, positioned as it is with regard to foreign direct investment, behind London, Singapore and Hong Kong, it proves that it is the right place to be,” said Barro.
Schneider Electric’s priorities are with the big solutions, especially with the web giants and global companies who are well represented in Ireland, said Barro.
In Europe, there are two main countries that are important, in terms of data centres and that is Netherlands and Ireland, said Barro. “As the domain grows, we need to follow the growth and that’s why our operations in Ireland have changed. Our focus previously had been very much on Ireland with little international exposure. But now we have to be more internationally aware as we operate here.”
And that approach is succeeding already, but Barro said that the company is not yet at liberty to divulge the names.
As much of the ICT investment here is from multinationals, and US companies in particular, communication both locally and with headquarters is critical.
“In Ireland, you have to have partners locally and to work with them,” said Barro. “At the same time, the market is driven by foreign, and especially US, companies. You have to have contacts with those companies, but at the same time, have the ability to do business here in Ireland too. Otherwise, you can arrive too late to the conversation and everything is done.”
Being involved at the early stages of projects is critical, an area where Schneider Electric’s expertise can be of significant benefit.
“We must be very early to the project, and when they start to think about building, we must be there before the key decisions are made.”
With this in mind, Barro said that it is a differentiator for Schneider Electric to work closely with partners and provide a high level of resources, consulting and support to allow them to cater for a client’s needs.
“For a company such as us, it is still a big investment in terms of organisation, especially for the IT business, to be able to do that, but you cannot respond properly without it.”
“When a partner comes to us with a new lead, and needs full support, they will have it 100%. If a partner is looking to develop new business, we give full support, and we will ensure we do everything we can, respecting their margin.”
Barro said that this approach has worked well in other territories.
Despite this philosophy of close ties and support for partners, there is still some work to be done on brand awareness, Barro admits.
“We are one of the key players in the market globally, few companies have the same portfolio as ours, but we are not as well known in Ireland for what we do as we should be.”
There is a need to educate the market more in Ireland as to the full offerings and specific strengths of Schneider Electric, said Barro.
With this in mind, a key priority, said Barro, is to talk more directly to the resellers. This will allow Schneider Electric to gather feedback and understand needs, irrespective of size, and better express what the company can do for them.