Delft University of Technology. University of Cambridge. Siemens. Lobster. Bas aan de Stegge’s (condensed) CV speaks for itself. Since October 2019, the 27-year-old from The Hague has headed up Lobster’s Benelux operations as Regional Manager. In this time, he has played a key role in helping Lobster’s software solutions for data integration and digital process automation make their mark on regional markets in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. In the following interview, he tells us how he made it happen, in what way European markets differ from one another and which digital trends he’s got his eye on moving forward. He also lets us in on his first impressions of Lobster and his strategy for turning off after a long day at work.    

Tell us – what was your first impression of Lobster?  

I had flown to Munich bright and early on a Monday morning to meet my new colleagues. And – it turned out to be nothing like I had expected. I mean… the building alone. It was one of Lobster’s offices to the south of Munich, which the team fondly refer to internally as “The Villa”. It’s an old, impressive building. I couldn’t help but be captivated by it as soon as we turned into the driveway with its tall trees. And then, as soon as I walked in: I immediately felt right at home.  

What else impressed you?  

The people! The Dutch have this mental image of a stereotypical German business… let’s just say they think it’s pretty formal and very conservative. But in fact no previous employer had ever lived up to this cliché. And neither did Lobster. Quite the opposite. Right from the start, my new colleagues were really warm, welcoming and friendly.  

How did you first hear about Lobster?  

One of my classmates at uni worked for Lobster – and still does to this day actually. She asked me if I could see myself working for Lobster. And the rest is history. (laughs) 

What do you believe sets Lobster apart?  

The fact that we’re a family-run business. It’s maybe not the first thing you notice if you’re not an employee, but if you’re part of the team then it’s immediately clear. It means we can make decisions based on trust more quickly and designed for the long term.  

What digital trends to you see on the horizon?  

We’ve noticed a number of trends in the Benelux countries. On the one hand, more and more companies are turning to cloud applications, which, in turn, need integrations for on-prem solutions. Creating interfaces between cloud-based and on-prem solutions isn’t as straightforward as you might think. So that’s where Lobster_data comes in. Then, we’re also in talks with various companies looking to boost their core business from an IT perspective. They’re updating their ERP to the newest version from Microsoft Dynamics 365 or SAP 4/HANA. And they’re finding these migrations need new and up-to-date interfaces. So, they come to Lobster for support.    

What makes the Dutch IT market unique?  

In comparison to Germany? The speed! I’ve noticed that our customers are always keen to achieve their goals very quickly. The speed of implementation is key here.  

What else are you working on at the moment?  

I spend a lot of time working on concrete examples for future customers. When purchasing an integration solution such as those from Lobster, customers want to feel confident in their choice of software – in other words they want to know it will actually be able to do what they need it to do. The best way to resolve this is by simply showing them. So we spend a lot of time creating examples of use cases and organising proof of concepts.  

What’s next on Lobster-Benelux’s list of to-dos?  

We’re only just getting started in the Benelux countries. We brought Lobster_data to market around a year and a half ago and since then, we’ve won our first clients who have been giving us lots of great feedback. I also want to expand our partner programme soon. We’ve noticed that our customers really appreciate the support when we’re implementing projects together. Particularly right at the beginning. To be able to give them the best support possible, we’re now looking into growing our network of partners.  

Launching a software solution in a completely new market can’t have been an easy task. Were there any initial challenges?    

We did face a number of challenges. But we’ve mastered many of them – such as understanding regional needs and standards when it comes to data integration. Then we’ve also been able to build a really competent team here in the Netherlands. We’re still working away at a few challenges, however, such as improving Lobster’s brand awareness in the Benelux countries.   

So, the future is bright?  

I’m confident we’re on the right path. The most important thing is that our customers are happy. Then future successes won’t be far behind.  

How do you relax after a day at work?  

I enjoy a good workout – I’m quite conventional in that way. I’ll either go for a short run or take my bike out for a spin. That being said, it’s been quite difficult to switch off completely while I’m working from home. At least that’s something I personally struggle with.  

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