People willing to join our company are often invited for a meeting with Jef De Wit, founder of Cronos. And it was during such a meeting that somebody, let’s call him mister K, asked: Jef, does Cronos really exist? And to be honest, I was not surprised by that question!
Cronos was founded more than 25 years ago. The mission was to provide entrepreneurs with an environment where they could develop a company while focusing on the so called ‘core’ activities. All ‘non core’ domains such as HR, facilities and finance were managed by the mothership. This model has proven to be very successful: the Cronos group currently consists out of more than 350 companies, all together close to 5000 people. And the limits have not been reached so far, both in Belgium and on an international level.
The strength of the model is that every competence center – that’s how we call the companies in the group – has experts in their specific domain. Managing resources and a P&L within a focus domain is much easier than in a cross competence environment. The competence centers also focus on their own branding, they go to market with webinars, impressive reference cases and targeted campaigns. On top of all this, they all developed an extensive customer base.
Now why did mister K ask if Cronos really exists? He knew a lot of our competence centers, but he did not see the Cronos group in the market very often. During the InspireX 2017 event at the end of last year, I met a lot of customers who confirmed this observation. They did not know that their IT partners belonged to the Cronos group, or they did not know that the Cronos group has such a large portfolio of services and expertise domains.
Having said that, we do believe that our customers need end-to-end advice and solutions. Therefore we have put clusters in place. InspireX, for example, is a cluster of 32 Cronos companies that build solutions with Microsoft technology. We employ 800 employees and are certified in all Microsoft domains. That makes us the largest Microsoft partner in Belgium. Within that cluster we developed end-to-end solutions around Office 365 (aka Cronos 365), Azure and IoT. Innovation is all around: Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality are just 2 examples of technologies we embraced a long time ago.
Conclusion? Cronos exists. It really exists! But our competence centers are often better known than the mothership. Is that an issue? I don’t think so, as long as we ensure that our customers get the support they need, both within an expert domain as well as with end-to-end solutions!