– Company and Culture
"If you meet customers in a "service" and "performance" oriented way, you will get valuable feedback."
From a garage startup in Münster to a tech company with around 300 employees at eight European locations: this is the premise under which IKOR is celebrating its 25th anniversary. In the second part of the interview series - about IKOR's growth, successes, a critical project and birthday wishes - CEO* Lars Ackermann explains what makes the company unique for him, which milestones have moved him the most, why it is inspiring to work for IKOR, and the importance of the new, expanded management team.
In the first part of the interview you talked about IKOR's origin and growth. What is IKOR today for you?
Lars Ackermann: IKOR has made progress and matured into a professional technology consultancy. Although we are sometimes shirt-sleeved and playful, that is precisely why we still enjoy finding good solutions. That is what makes IKOR what it is today. Currently, we are reaching employees that we would not have been able to attract a few years ago. They have come to us because IKOR has expanded its position. And because we now attract professionals who want to work in recognized companies with a good reputation. By this I mean companies that think in terms of modern solutions and, despite their management strength, at the same time maintain a humble attitude towards customers. This is the impressively simple "Secret Source", a recipe for success: If you meet your customers in a "service" and "performance" oriented way, you will receive valuable feedback. That is what IKOR is all about.
What are the outstanding milestones in IKOR's history?
Ackermann: On the one hand, what I remember most is that about five years ago we started to expand our technological breadth and thus laid the foundation for today's technology-agnostic expertise. I will never forget the entry of the first one or two rock stars from software engineering and architecture. When you attract people like that, you can suddenly design a lot of great things.
And on the other hand?
Ackermann: One of my biggest wow moments was when I was sitting with Steve Doss, Director Global Alliances of the California based company Guidewire Software, in 2017 in an office in Cologne with a mutual customer: Steve took us on directly as Guidewire partners back then. This has resulted in many impressive projects to date. We maintain vital partnerships with SAP and Guidewire. Both have laid the foundations for all further collaborations.
Why is it so cool to work at IKOR?
Ackermann: I don't know of any company where colleagues devote themselves to the content in meetings so quickly - and without exchanging vanities. That's where true customer orientation comes from. In addition, everyone can rely on the support of helping hands when needed - for example, if something goes badly or someone is absent. This togetherness lives on to this day. Another thing I like about IKOR is that you can be authentically yourself - no matter what your mood, age or lifestyle.
Since you and IKOR Co-Managing Director Sven Geilich have also been managing X1F, the holding company of IKOR, since 2021, you have brought in a three-person "next generation" management level at IKOR. How does that affect the organization?
* Lars Ackermann was IKOR's managing director until January 2023, when he moved to the top of X1F. The technology solutions provider includes several brands, including IKOR.