itelligence AG is turning 30! As a leading SAP partner, we continue to drive innovation; incorporating experience and expertise to deliver the continuous value of SAP investments to our customers. I will be recounting the early, formative years and highlighting some key milestones that helped shape our company and corporate culture. Discover how itelligence grew from an IT startup to a global business.
Not a garage – but a modest, three-bedroom apartment in Bielefeld provides the setting for where the story of itelligence begins. It’s here that in 1989, stimulated by a burgeoning ambition and inspired by a unified Germany, Herbert Vogel and Wolfgang Schmidt founded S&P Consult.
“We Were a Classic IT Startup…”
Vogel, a Bielefeld-born student of electrical engineering and computer science, boasted an impressive CV even prior to collaborating with Schmidt. He spent six years as a Project Manager for Bertelsmann AG, overseeing SAP implementations. This was followed by two years of freelance SAP consultancy, with a focus on the areas of accounting, logistics, and production.
From day one, Herbert and Wolfgang were very clear on the S&P Consult mission statement: ‘An SAP-only consulting firm’. After the team had expanded to three employees, they felt prepared to build a company with a great culture and an identity that would remain strong and valid after three decades in business.
“… And Things Just Evolved”
After just two years, our company underwent its first ‘rebranding’, becoming Schmidt, Vogel & Partner (SVP) in 1992. Quick growth had warranted a relocation, seeing as the company had grown once more to 25 employees by 1993.
SVP began drawing repeat clients from across Europe and its position as an SAP partner was recognized. The launch of SAP R/3 signaled a
new era as SAP became both suitable and affordable for SMEs. SMEs represented a huge opportunity for itelligence: a vast new market with different requirements and challenges.
We were pioneers of this new era. Since this time, we have paved the way for thousands of enterprises to begin their own SAP journey. Some business relationships that were formed as early as 1994 remain today. This is owed to the interdisciplinary SAP skill set and the solid foundations for business on which itelligence was built by Herbert Vogel and Wolfgang Schmidt.
And then in 1994, I was appointed to strengthen the existing team. My strong local connection to Bielefeld and East Westphalia as well as my background in economics played a huge role in my initial employment.
To expand our success story to other countries and regions, subsidiaries were established in Switzerland, Austria, and the U.S. This was a huge leap in our journey to become a global business. The first steps into hosting were also made in 1998 with a joint venture for our first data center. In this time, I became responsible for field operations in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific and was able to support our internationalization.
For a dedicated workforce, the ever memorable ‘Employee Day’ was established that same year. A day to celebrate us, as employees, network, and build long-lasting relationships, it remains a highly anticipated date in our company calendar! I certainly look forward to it every year!
Mergers and the Millennium
As the 21st century dawned, SVP went public as SVC AG and became part of the dot-com boom. However, this was to be a short-lived label as SVC AG joined forces with APCON – a Hamburg-based software specialist with big clients in banking, telecom, and logistics. APCON also enabled good coverage in almost all emerging markets in Eastern Europe.
The advantages of the cooperation with APCON were realized in the numerous synergies, complementary product and service portfolios, and a growing international reputation. We moved into a new, purpose-built home in Königsbreede, Bielefeld soon after, where we still are today.
Year 2000 and itelligence AG is born! Our escalation from an IT startup to a global business was plain to see. Now comprising more than 700 clients and over 1000 employees, we had truly established ourselves as a trusted provider of SAP for the mid-market.
Fueled by NTT DATA
2007: In the next chapter of the history of itelligence, our company became a part of the NTT DATA Group. This represented a huge milestone. With access to NTT DATA’s resources, we are able to provide our clients with improved comprehensive support locations throughout the world. This strategic partnership led to further growth: new locations, data centers, and more accolades. The metaphorical rolling stone was certainly beginning to gather pace!
In the second part of our blog series, I will elaborate on how the partnership between itelligence and NTT DATA helped in shaping the company that we know today. I will also detail how our job roles are changing and how we unlock the full potential of cutting-edge IT infrastructures, powering the success of our clients.