Simon Charlton of Columbus Global, on digital transformation

Simon Charlton, Commercial Director for Columbus Global, on successful partnerships, future-proofing businesses and digital transformation

Global IT consulting company, Columbus, has spent over 30 years creating innovative solutions for their customers, using their intimate industry knowledge and technology skills. Founded in Ballerup, Denmark, the company has a revenue of US$273mn.

Simon Charlton, Commercial Director for Columbus Global UK, sat down with Technology magazine to discuss how the company is working to help customers future-proof their businesses.


Providing a true digital platform

“We are a systems integrator which works alongside Microsoft in the Dynamics space”, said Charlton. “We have delivered over 8,000 customer implementations globally. The way that Columbus goes about future-proofing their client’s businesses is reflected in a number of ways; not only with solutions, such as ERP and CRM, we also have a fantastic pedigree in e-commerce and data analytics. When we look at a lot of the challenges which our customers have faced over the past 18 months, we find having a great breadth of experience in all of those areas helps us to provide a true digital platform, rather than just specific point solutions - so the data really does become enhanced, enriched and easier to have access to.”


A Microsoft house with successful partnerships

The pandemic period has offered everyone an opportunity to self-reflect on their business practices. At Columbus Global, it was the way meetings were managed. 

“I think a lot of people took certain elements of meetings for granted. Things were easier to solve if you were face-to-face”, said Charlton. “I think the content of meetings has had to be adhered to a lot more rigidly. As we find today, meetings have a greater tendency to be back to back. Whereas traditionally face to face meetings would often mean a half day or day on site with travel time around and in certain cases could therefore include more flex. Being a Microsoft house we naturally advocate the use of Teams, but this has been complemented by additional tools to replace the good old whiteboard in such cases Klaxoon has proved a very useful tool for many types of activity, brainstorming, categorising and collaboration to name a few.

From traditional in-person meetings to video calls, Columbus’ partnership with Robert Walters Group, a recruitment company, has grown stronger over the pandemic.

“Columbus works with the Robert Walters Group in many ways. We provide consultancy, project management and development services in many areas of the Robert Walters business, from traditional ERP, to HR, CRM and Data Analytics

What makes the partnership with Robert Walters successful? 

“I think our success with Robert Walters as a partnership, from their perspective, is our focus on value, which comes in many different guises. Not only in our services, but we also pride ourselves on having a very knowledgeable delivery team. We are also quite challenging if we don’t see the value for the customer when a customer wants to deliver something in a particular way. Columbus will question the business benefit. That leads to a very trusted relationship within the partnership.”

From building ideas to implementing new digital solutions, Columbus also leads transformation projects.

“There are a number of industries where Columbus has delivered transformation projects – not only recruitment in the case of Robert Walters, but also manufacturing, as well as food. The key is not to remain focused on a single product or solution but to optimise the available skillset. There are horrible pitfalls in monothetic systems. That’s the key.

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