Part nine: Huibert de Vries – SVP Marketing & Business Development
Huibert de Vries got his MSc. in Business Administration from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (NL). He also participated in an Exchange Program, at Brandeis International Business School (USA). After his college years, Huibert started working at Philips, where he had various marketing, commercial, and program management roles.
In May 2020, Huibert joined Vanenburg and he currently is the SVP of Marketing & Business Development. Huibert lives along the Maas river in the beautiful city of Den Bosch (an hour’s drive south of Amsterdam). In his free time, Huibert enjoys socializing with friends, traveling, reading, running, and kite surfing. He has a fascination for software and is the lead author of the book “Standards Battles in Open Source Software”.
Profile Huibert de Vries:
MSc. in Business Administration from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (NL)
Exchange Program at International Business School, Brandeis University (USA)
Previous working experience:
Philips (Various marketing, commercial, and program management roles)
Google Cloud Digital Leader
What do you do on a daily basis at Vanenburg?
I have 3 responsibilities. Firstly I lead the marketing team consisting of a program manager, marketing operations manager, online marketeer, and graphic designer, with most colleagues contributing on a part-time basis. Together we work on events, campaigns, collaterals, online, employer branding, and many more activities, to promote Vanenburg in the market.
In the team I have a particular focus on Product Marketing activities, working on the marketing content and go-to-market of our products & solutions and specific offerings. This is done in close collaboration with the product management team based out of India.
Next to that I’m also involved in engaging with several customers and prospects on commercial opportunities as well as coordinating activities with our strategic partner Google Cloud.
So with respect to daily activities, it’s quite diverse, and typically work 1 to 2 days from home.
Before joining Vanenburg, you worked at Philips for more than 13 years. Why did you decide to join Vanenburg?
At Philips, I was fortunate to get some great opportunities ranging from sales to being part of a core program management team that designed and implemented a major transformation and restructuring. But after more than 10 years with the company, I was looking to make a switch to a more entrepreneurial and agile organization where I could have a more direct impact.
I’ve always been fascinated by software. Already back at university when I was writing my Master’s thesis on this topic. This escalated a bit and the thesis was eventually published as a book. Funny enough the book touches upon open-source as well as Google, and I’m now at a company where I meet both elements again! What I like about software it’s the power to transform the world as we know it and its inherent innovation. Allowing you to create new solutions to some very challenging issues.
As I was looking to join a company with strong credentials in software, I didn’t need to be convinced that Vanenburg is a company that knows how to build software! In discussions with Vanenburg’s founder and management, the organization came across as ambitious, solid, and down-to-earth which fits very well with my values. I have never regretted my decision to join. The start was a bit different than anticipated though, as the first COVID-19 wave just hit us in the Netherlands. Hence the first 2 months I was mostly working from home.
"What I like about software is the power to transform the world as we know it and its inherent innovation. Allowing you to create new solutions to some very challenging issues."
What is unique about Vanenburg compared to similar companies in the industry?
Well, I dare say that there are no similar companies! But what comes to mind as unique, is our proud heritage, our ability to be a leader in applying a wide range of already innovative technologies in an innovative way in customer projects, our ability to “productize” these, and having the trust (sometimes for over 10 years) of some very demanding multinational customers.
It may seem like a cliche, but in the end, I feel that our people are truly our biggest asset. We have a very dedicated and capable team, several of whom have been key contributors to creating industry-leading software products and platforms. I’ve seen firsthand how we benefit by applying those insights both into our customer projects, as well our new products and solutions. I also like that we invest in a yearly in-house program to prepare university graduates for a developer role. They are the next generation of IT experts, which will allow us to keep developing next-generation IT solutions. I recently visited our India-based team together with the leadership team and I’ve big expectations of these bright talents!
As SVP of Marketing and Business Development, one of your focus points is product marketing. Could you tell us a little bit more about the Vanenburg products?
At Vanenburg, we have several Google Cloud-based software solutions. Rappit is our rapid application development framework. It gives you the capability to accelerate the building of advanced Java-based enterprise business applications through smart requirements gathering, instant prototyping, and rapid code generation. The great thing about Rappit is that there is no vendor lock-in, which means no runtime license costs for your applications.
Then there’s Flowcreate, a no-code / low-code platform for containerized micro apps. This solution is perfect for quickly and economically building small, task-driven applications to streamline processes. It also allows to quickly build integrated apps.
And finally, we also have an artificial intelligence-powered solution for automatic document processing, called UnDoc. It is based on Google Cloud’s ‘Document AI’ solution and allows you to extract valuable business insights from complex data through real-time data processing.
"I also like that we invest in a yearly in-house program to prepare university graduates for a developer role. They are the next generation of IT experts, which will allow us to keep developing next-generation IT solutions."
Vanenburg has been a Google partner for about 10 years. Are the Vanenburg products easily applicable to companies working with Google Cloud?
Vanenburg partners with Google Cloud to modernize your infrastructure, application development, data & analytics, and integrations. We share their vision of no vendor lock-in and open-source technology. We have been working on top of Google Cloud tech for a long time now.
Our rapid application development tooling is specifically designed for the Google Cloud Platform and supports agile prototyping and rapid development to deliver the right solution for the best price. Furthermore, our UnDoc solution is based on Google Cloud’s ‘Document AI’, so it’s perfect to apply for your business!
You are also going to highlight one of the products at our annual FutureVibe event. What is FutureVibe and could you elaborate on your contribution?
I can tell you that this year’s FutureVibe event will be particularly exciting. It is the biggest event of the year for our team. Besides the customer stories, we also highlight our own developments, with this year the launch of our Rapid application development framework. You will get an introduction to our solution, how it works, the possibilities, and which business benefits it gives. A more in-depth, technical presentation of our Rappit solution will be given in a webinar, a few weeks after FutureVibe.
What else can we expect from FutureVibe 2022: Modernizing your logistic IT?
Ardjan will kick off the event with a “Vanenburg State of Business”. where we provide unique insights into our latest developments. We have inspiring customer speakers that will showcase how Vanenburg is making a difference in real life, including a unique customer story in the logistics & supply chain industry with NewPort Tank Containers, and also a great presentation from Omoda, where we help them with the Warehouse Management System (WMS).
Besides the customers, there is a panel discussion with industry experts and inspirational speakers sharing their thoughts about the industry. The event will be wrapped up by none other than Jan Baan, with the launch of his autobiography ‘profit by loss’. A very diverse and interesting program, worth visiting I would say!
"Our rapid application development tooling is specifically designed for the Google Cloud Platform and supports agile prototyping and rapid development to deliver the right solution for the best price."
Can you tell us a little bit more about the NewPort project?
NewPort needed our help to build a next-level Transportation Management System (TMS). as a leading, global, specialized tank container operator, they wanted to maintain their industry leader position. To accomplish this, we are creating a tailor-made TMS that is intelligent and futureproof. It integrates procurement, fleet management, sales, operations & finance, resulting in them really standing out from the competition instead of following them.
The great thing about this is that it is not just practical, but makes a huge impact on their business as well. Their transportation management process is now completely digitized, reduced licensing costs, and is very user-friendly by simplifying complex jobs around quotes, delivery terms, vendors, routes, vessels, and billing to name a few. We even included our UnDoc solution for the digitization of invoice documents!
How is Vanenburg helping Omoda?
At Omoda, a leading Dutch fashion retailer, we are modernizing a WMS to facilitate their growth ambition. To enable this growth, we are helping them with a scalable ERP system (built on Thinkwise) that is fit-for-future. The system will connect seamlessly to the local systems on the assembly line, and includes various functionalities including Core WMS, and order fulfillment among others.
This will give Omoda many benefits, such as improving their internal efficiency with a fast-growing number of orders, but also enhanced e-commerce use by combining data sources and offer customer recommendations based on past purchases.
Due to our in-house expertise in Thinkwise, Google Cloud, and Java, we are a flexible and innovative partner with a bandwidth that helps them with this big project!
Vanenburg’s Founder & Chairman, Jan Baan, will wrap up the event with the launch of his autobiography. How can people get one of these for themselves?
A free copy of the book is available for all that participate in the on-site event at our beautiful 17th-century estate! So I encourage everyone to visit the FutureVibe event on November 17th to get hold of one of your own.
"Due to our in-house expertise of Thinkwise, Google Cloud, and Java, we are a flexible and innovative partner with a bandwidth"
Can people still register for the event?
Yes, they can register via our FutureVibe event page and secure their spot for either an on-site event (full program) or online (for the first half of the program, with access to the recordings of the full event later). Of course, feel free to share this invitation with other people that might be interested in this.
On a personal note, do you have other exciting projects or developments coming up?
We have been invited by our partner Google Cloud to contribute to their local flagship event Benelux Cloud Next in Antwerp. During this event two (!) of our customers will highlight how Google Cloud powered by Vanenburg is making a difference in their businesses.