Global Projects Managed Locally
Text: M.Zisso; Photos: Archive
We interviewed Martin Skokan in Neeco Global ICT Services’ modern office in Karlín. From its corner of the world here in Prague, the Neeco team supports multinational projects spanning more than 160 world countries. Founded in 2009, Neeco has consistently exemplified the potential for Czech companies to dominate on the world stage. The company partners with some of the largest equipment manufacturers like Versa, Dell, Lanner and Jabil and supports end customers like NTT, Air France KLM, and Telefonica to name a few. As one of the leaders in the organization, Martin is perfectly positioned to explain how a Czech company has grown to have such an impressive global influence. We spoke with Martin about his career at Neeco to learn more about this exciting and rapidly expanding industry.
Martin, when did you start your career with Neeco?
I joined the company in May 2012. So just shy of 11 years. It has been a truly insightful experience for me to witness a company grow from what I would describe as a start-up environment to a fully established organization that works with some of the biggest names in the ICT industry on a regular basis.
Can you speak a little bit about what you have learned or how you have grown since your first day with the company?
In my early days with Neeco, all of us had a very wide range of responsibilities so I learned a lot about the ICT industry quickly. In terms of personal growth, I accredit Neeco with my capacity for communicating in a professional manner. Years ago, I would have struggled to speak to a large group of people on topics as complex as communications technologies, especially in English. Over my career, I have been given many opportunities to practice this skill set and there has been a noticeable improvement for sure.
Additionally, I would add that my time at Neeco has improved my ability to lead. A few years ago, I was Neeco’s Technical Services Team Leader with 15 employees under my supervision. While my current role as Solutions Architect requires me to manage a smaller team, my experience leading the service desk was invaluable in terms of what it taught me about getting the best out of others.
Can you explain to our readers what a Solutions Architect does?
Absolutely, we are responsible for designing ICT solutions and deployment strategies for our premier clients. Neeco organizes every aspect of a project’s lifecycle, from delivery of hardware to on-site support, to project management all the way through to eventual maintenance and spare part replacements. Solutions Architects must understand the demands of each project in terms of location, required equipment, the scope of work, and other unique but critical variables. Our job is to understand these details and translate them into modern architectures that make the most of the client’s existing or planned infrastructure. We create strategies for the services and solutions Neeco provides. My colleagues and I are responsible for presales support and driving new business for the company.
When you think about all the deals you have made in your years at Neeco, which was your favorite and why?
About five years ago I worked on a large-scale project for our telecom partner Tata Communications to provide connectivity to Air France KLM offices in 22 APAC airports and over 150 local airline offices spread across the globe. I had the chance to visit 17 Asian countries with our partners from Tata. It was truly a master class in international salesmanship as I got to witness how my counterparts adjusted their strategies and tactics depending on the local culture we were working in. In Bali, our interactions with airport management were rather informal. The meetings in Tokyo were quite the opposite. I was even given a chance to demonstrate what I had learned when the Tata representatives were denied a visa to visit Saudi Arabia and it was up to me to secure the deal.
When you think about the next 5 years in the global ICT industry, what developments or advancements are you most interested in following?
In the past few years there has been a shift from industry giants like Cisco to smaller and more nimble equipment manufacturing providers like our partners— Versa Networks. The newer, more agile companies are disrupting the market and challenging these bigger, legacy companies. From our perspective, this is great as Neeco works well with the comparatively smaller players as we can fill in gaps in their portfolios like managed services, distribution and planning.
On a different note, the advancements in AI, like Chat GPT, will bring changes in almost every industry. Ours is no exception. From my experience I can say service desks will be drastically changed by developments in chatbot technology. I am fascinated to watch how this will impact our work.