Interview with Fabrizia Montefiori (Tiesse): the courage to invest in Italy

By Courier Communications on 14 October 2013Tiesse's Number One says: "We have agreed to reduce operating margins to continue to grow and hire . Country The system should give us more " Interview by Luciana Maci

"The Italian excellence in ICT exists but our country does not know how to value itenough" says Fabrizia Montefiori, CEO of Tiesse, a subsidiary of Nvd founded in 1998 and focused on corporate networking, which in fifteen years has been able to establish itself on the national market in a highly competitive industry, such as routers and equipment machine to machine and to compete with big international players such as Huawei and Cisco.

Tiesse is steadily growing by turnover and workforce. You are going against the current trend of the ICT made ​​in Italy.
That's true, in the last 20 years our country has gradually lost ground in the industrial sector of Information and Communication Technology, dispersing the strong skills developed in the eighties by several major companies, primarily the Olivetti, where we come from: Tiesse is in fact founded in 1998 as a spin off of a Olivetti company, from whom it inherited the tradition and the ability to research, design and develop. But today the scenario has changed: the skills have become increasingly rare and the network of large companies that make the school is missing, allowing the comparison on the international market. Instead, we believe that our range of skills and capabilities all "made ​​in Italy" is a value not only for Tiesse. And we really want to keep in Italy this center of excellence and production.

How were you able to cope with the crisis of the sector and the advent of large foreign groups?
Tiesse had the ability and the good fortune to join a team of researchers led by Luciano Lucrezia, without doubt one of the major responsibilities of the sector in Italy today and that has experience of networking since the mid-eighties. This gave light to products that are compared successfully with those of larger companies operating at an international level, the router at the same time integrating the latest communication techniques on the fixed network (Vdsl2 G.Vectoring) and on mobile networks (LTE). Thanks to this, we are able to participate in races where competing groups are as Cisco or Huawei for example, despite we are very small compared to these giants. And we win many of these races. Our network technologies are certified and distributed by the major telcos such as Telecom Italy, Wind and Fastweb, with whom we have established solid relationships. Our routers are in the main networks of service stations, in the electricity distribution cabins, large retailers and banks; major gaming operators are among our most important customers.

With which innovative technologies do you intend to challenge such international competitors?
Our products reflect all communication standard that it can be used within any data network, they also have features that bring out even more of their versatility.
For example, consider the particularly interesting solution Tiesse Network-to- Network (tn2n) studied within the networks Smart Grid: they enables the data exchange between the nodes of the network in an efficient and transparent network technology and without any constraint between the elements transport. Or the mode of QoS to ensure the desired service levels according to the type of traffic. Or even the Performance Enhancing Proxy mode, designed to optimize the transfer time in networks where for physical reasons can not always be guaranteed the quality of service (eg mobile networks 2G , 3G, or satellite). And of course it is also important local presence, our R&D is able to collaborate with the technical structures of the operators to optimize the phases of product certification and quickly develop innovative solutions.

Why do you have "resisted" the territory rather than relocate as others have done?
For at least three reasons.
One of our plus is the logistics management: we can provide more flexibility, efficiency and timing better than companies that relocate their production abroad. Second, we decided to focus on quality. To obtain it, we do not only build on skills acquired through years of product development, but we collaborate with academia - Polytechnic of Turin, the Polytechnic of Milan and University of L'Aquila - to test and implement the most innovative emerging technologies.
Third reason: we aim to maintain control of the entire supply chain. The relocation has immediate positive economic results, but not necessarily for high-tech industries . An entrepreneur with a vision for the longer term and less interested in the profits on short terms, tries to protect its investment in research, to maintain control even on the final product. We are an independent company that has decided to continue to bet on Italy, perhaps by agreeing to reduce operating margins while continuing to grow here, recruiting staff in Italy and Italian to nourish the italian armature. Over the past five years, our EBITDA was maintained between 16% and 23%. Obviously we're satisfied, but we would like more attention from policy to support the country's system.

What does practically mean "most attention"?
First, it ensures greater visibility in reality like ours, certainly less than the size of foreign giants, but equally capable of ensuring high skills rooted in Italy. We are very well known and appreciated by our clients, with whom we have developed a partnership based on prior knowledge, but above all, on the quality of the service offered. But it is on the level of industrial policy that I see little attention, even compared to what there is in other European countries or the United States. There should be greater recognition of the role of enterprises, especially technological ones, who choose to remain in Italy.
Tiesse has been shown to be able to do research and produce in Italy, also finding the financial capacity to sustain over time the investment required to stay on the cutting edge of technology. I think that our sector is a strategic one, not only for the possible effects on industry; we must not forget that on the networks and on the devices transits sensitive data, public and private: we think that to assign
the monopoly of technology to all foreign companies is a mistake from the point of view of security. The issue is to find ways to support and enhance the resources of the country, not necessarily distributing incentives. It is one, moreover, that President Barack Obama is doing in the United States or that are countries like Germany, France, Switzerland. Just in this way we could give strength to the economy and to Italian companies.