Meet Nicolas Coppée, LCL’s newest MT member

Now that Nicolas Coppée, Data Center Manager at LCL Wallonia One, has been appointed a seat at the table, the management team (MT) of LCL is crossing the language border. “Of course, everybody knows LCL Wallonia One in Gembloux, and we certainly share LCL’s vision, but we maintain a distinct perspective. There are quite some differences between Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia.” If that doesn’t arouse our curiosity…

Let’s take a brief step back in time. When Cofely sold its Data Solutions Center in Gembloux in 2021, the then delegated administrator Nicolas Coppée preferred LCL over other potential buyers. “I wanted to reinforce the strengths of our data center and continue the story we were writing. I felt we shared the vision to do so.”

What were your first observations of LCL once the deal was done?

Nicolas: “LCL’s vision is really refreshing, focused on the business as a whole and with a holistic strategy. Of course, financial parameters matter a lot, but there is more that defines a future proof data center than return on investment, or profit and loss. I very much endorse LCL’s ambition to produce our own green electricity or tap into local initiatives, to enhance the customer experience, etc.”

“I especially like the customer intimacy strategy. Having a client signing a contract and us simply delivering our services is way too basic. Every employee has to keep eyes and ears open to really understand the needs of the customer. For the sales and marketing department this may be stating the obvious, but the role of our field engineers for example should not be underestimated. They collaborate with the engineers of our customers, so when we take care of a frictionless bottom-up communication, the MT and board of directors will have added value towards providing the best possible solutions.”

LCL Wallonia One in Gembloux

As a new member of the MT, what are your areas of attention?

“Two-way communication. Top-down for sure, but also bottom-up. It goes without saying that decisions of the MT should be translated to all employees – otherwise the implementation of our strategy stays a figment of the mind. As I mentioned, it is thanks to efficient bottom-up communication that we receive a lot of useful information from the field. My role is to bring those findings to the attention of my colleagues of the MT. Fibervision is a great example of an innovation that was initiated by LCL’s field technicians speaking with technicians of our customers. They detected a need, LCL developed a solution, and the marketing and sales department promoted it to our customers. Everybody at LCL has a specific role to play to bring this cost effective and efficient fibre optic measuring device to the market, in order to help our customers save money and time.”

A shared vision, but undoubtedly there are also differences between the ways of Flanders and Wallonia?

“There are obvious differences, such as how we greet each other. In Wallonia we heartily greet each other, while we notice that is not always the case with our Flemish colleagues who are more focused on the job at hand. It’s important we acknowledge those small distinctions since they can give rise to misunderstandings, frustrations even. Something everyone has to understand, since in the future more and more teams will be a mix of Flemish and Walloon people. The combination of both mindsets is an opportunity to bring the best of each vision and work together to move forward.

“The way we foster customer relations also differs. In the French-speaking part of Belgium the most important asset you have is trust. When someone trusts you, your company, your colleagues… then you have a deal. If the price is more or less okay, it seldom is a dealbreaker. As a result, we have to invest a lot of time in a good relationship to get the people to trust us. It also explains why it’s quite difficult for new players to enter any market in Wallonia. Flanders seems very much result driven – facts and figures rule. But I see it as my role in the MT to bring down those invisible walls between Flanders and Wallonia. Walloon people are not all like the caricatures of loafers described by politicians.”

What do you expect from the newly installed Board of Directors?

“While the MT is concerned with the day-to-day operations, the purpose of the Board is to challenge the company and focus on a sustainable strategy to increase growth. It’s a very diverse Board both in terms of gender and professional backgrounds. I am convinced they also strengthen the reputation of LCL to all stakeholders and have an important added value by augmenting trust.”

LCL Wallonia One recently received its ISO 50001 certification, find out how we achieved that here.