Passionate about customers and technology

17 November, 2017
Passionate about customers and technology

Nicolai Solling is CTO at Help AG.

Nicolai Solling works as the Chief Technology Officer at Help AG Middle East, where he oversees technical services and solutions delivered in the market. At the outset, he points out, he has a lot of customer facing time – both to position solutions to existing customers, and also to meet new customers, while explaining to them what makes a security specialist like Help AG apart from others.

“These meetings are also great as they help me to understand what the customer’s problems and priorities are, which ultimately translates into how our solutions and services portfolio looks. I am always on the lookout for new interesting solutions that addresses real problems in the market,” he explains.

Solling also has several internal work responsibilities. For instance, coordinating the enablement of teams, and making sure they are good at delivering the technologies Help AG takes to market. He is also the escalation point in case of technical issues.

“Luckily this does not take too much time as we do not have many of those cases, as we empower our engineers, project managers and line managers to own problems and issues, which means they gets automatically addressed during the project delivery. But when it is needed I am there,” he clarifies.

For Solling, one of the most satisfying parts of his job is the people. “My colleagues play a large role in making my job fantastic. The success of Help AG Middle East is really a team effort, and I am so pleased to be surrounded by the best information security specialists in the business,” he adds.

With regard to the challenges at work, Solling indicates that is an easy one to answer: balancing internal versus customer facing activities. “I simply love meeting our clients and understanding what drives them. Furthermore, I am really passionate about what we do. But I also have internal functions that are important. My tendency is always to prioritise the customer meeting. Luckily my colleagues have a lot of understanding for this and try to help me out with the internal tasks.”

“I am always on the lookout for interesting solutions that addresses real problems in the market”

“We will really start to see cloud adoption here in the Middle East”

For Solling, his most memorable achievement is what has been achieved with Help AG. “From the humble beginnings where our office was the size of a shoebox and we would celebrate a $5,000 order till today where we have more than 130 employees in four different locations around the Gulf. It is simply mind-blowing for me.”

Solling made his entry into technology at the age of 8, when his family got its first X86 PC machine. Dabbling with technology kept him away from the formal path into academics. “I was simply too busy exploring technology so my background is not academic apart from the specific vendor specialisations I have done over the years,” he explains.

Putting his mind to technology forecasting, Solling expects that in the coming years, “we will really start to see cloud adoption here in the Middle East. Our clients have been quite hesitant, but I can really see that things are starting to happen. Our industry will be undergoing changes as customers transition from Capex to Opex models, and this of course impacts technology models.”

This transition has positive spin offs for Help AG’s regional business, since the customer is putting their eggs in someone else’s basket to take care off, is how Solling views the cloud opportunity.

With regard to his work style, Solling says he is not a micro manager. “I really want people to have self-motivation and drive and then I am of course there to help them come up with the solution if they are stuck,” is how he describes his management style.

He believes it is easier to cope with stress by being really positive at work, while doing it with a smile makes it easier to spend a lot of time on it. His weekly routine of running helps to manage stress levels and his sense of wellbeing, while his family with relatively young kids are a wonderful distraction.

Off work, Solling combines his passion for technology and cooking by bringing in gadgets not found in the average kitchen, such as NO2 Siphons, Smoke Guns, Sous Vides, Pressure Cookers and a Thermomix. “I was even dumb enough to buy an Internet connected coffee machine, which I now admit was a waste of money – not everything is smarter with an application, especially not at 6.30 in the morning,” he reflects.

Nicolai Solling is passionate about meeting customers and helping to solve their problems through technology solutions from Help AG.

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