Kehraus at T-Systems: Telekom subsidiary wants to be faster

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Bonn During a job interview, Adel Al-Saleh was shown a big weakness of his company. The head of T-Systems spoke with a candidate who worked for a competitor of the IT service provider. And he told him how to win a tender against the daughter of Deutsche Telekom: One would have to change the offer shortly before the end of the deadline – the company could not react that quickly.

T-Systems, the slow giant: This picture wants to change El-Saleh, who has been in office since the beginning of 2018. The manager explained this Wednesday in a "Townhall Meeting" the approximately 38,000 employees, a major restructuring, the Handelsblatt already reported in August.

Deutsche Telekom's corporate customer division will hand over the telecommunications services to the Deutschland-Gesellschaft. At the same time, it establishes independent units for IT security and the Internet of Things. It is the next major conversion for the troubled daughter of the Dax Group.

So far, the telecommunications services for business customers on four board departments are distributed, said Al-Saleh to press representatives. This structure is "super complex for customers and ourselves" – with the result that the company is too slow, for example through internal votes.

On the initiative of Al-Saleh, the business is therefore brought together under the umbrella of Telekom Germany, which is headed by Dirk Wössner. "We expect to gain market share, which is the driver of change," said the American.

The schedule is tight. The supervisory boards of Deutsche Telekom and T-Systems have already approved the restructuring, and the Telekom Deutschland body will decide on this in October. Starting in the second quarter, the business area is to operate under uniform leadership, and then the organizational integration begins. The employees keep the contracts on the previous conditions.

Al-Saleh is giving away a deal with around two billion euros in sales. But it was "for the good of Deutsche Telekom," said the manager. "No one could give a logical answer as to why we are positioned the way we were set up. We have to fix that. "

Own company for IT security

The plans, however, had unsettled the employees, reported Al-Saleh. Does T-Systems still have a viable business model? Will the company survive? Many would have asked these questions. The manager answered them both with "yes". "We are the largest provider of IT services in Germany", he emphasized – this also applies after the restructuring.

T-Systems announced after the launch of Al-Saleh in early 2018 massive savings in order to reduce costs: 5600 jobs should be eliminated. At the same time, the company defined eleven business areas, including IT security, the Internet of Things, cloud services and the healthcare sector – all of which should provide growth in the future.

There are two major issues, Al-Saleh said Wednesday. On the one hand, the IT business: For example, the company builds data centers and sets up cloud services, develops applications for customers, and runs IT systems. On the other hand, digitization with all its facets – from consulting to product operation.

Within T-Systems, two units are to become more autonomous: The areas of IT security, internally called "security", and Internet of Things, "IoT" for short, become GmbHs. They should look after these growth areas for the entire Group. This structure facilitates partnerships and acquisitions, Al-Saleh said.

The reorganization of T-Systems should therefore not be completed: The management is reviewing the portfolio, further changes are expected at the end of the year, Al-Saleh announced. "We keep all options open," said the redeveloper.

Can T-Systems achieve the goal of becoming profitable again? Al-Saleh has set itself the goal of generating positive cash flow again by the end of 2020, and to return to sustainable profitability in the years that follow. But he also knows: "The proof must be provided by the numbers."

More: Deutsche Telekom has put its 5G network into operation. In addition, the sale of a smart speaker begins – a controversial with the Telekom project.

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