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Brave or foolish?

 

Passionate, determined, tireless. These are the adjectives that best reflect the personality of Pietro Biscu, ADS Assembly Data System S.p.A. CEO, an important ICT Solution Provider operating in the field of technological innovation. Over the past 5 years, under the leadership of Biscu, the 100% Italian company based in Pomezia, has experienced a real boom – growing from 40 employees to almost 1500, spread throughout the nation. The key of this success? An adolescence deeply rooted in his local context, tackling everyday problems with a spark of ‘madness’.

 

Pietro Biscu, your history and the success of ADS are strongly linked by the courage of going all-in to shape a vision. Was it a hazard or a conscious choice to take the leap and go from large corporation to a smaller company of 40 employees? “A conscious and risky decision at the same time. I pondered the risk of leaving a safe and sound company for a smaller enterprise, with no other business but in Rome, because I was so confident of my own skills and those of the people who joined me in this new experience.

You know, opportunities always involve some risks. The strangest thing for me was to pass from a highly structured company where everyone had a specific role, to one like ADS, where everyone was willing to immediately adapt their responsibilities to the needs of the company. That was revolutionary to me”. So that vision became real. ADS’s revenue has grown from 5m€ to the 110m€ expected in 2015, in just five years.

At the end of 2014, ADS was included in Deloitte’s ranking of the 500 hi-tech companies with the best growth rate in the EMEA area, alongside only 6 other Italian companies and more importantly, first in the field of telecommunications. Moreover it’s a solid, young and full-blooded Italian company. “It was so important to build a strong team that put passion first, a team that matched the quality of what we delivered with the huge effort they put in.

The idea began with a small group of friends that followed me in this ‘jump into the dark’, without asking for guarantees, but trusting the commitment of Arnaldo Emiliani, a brave businessman and the founding partner of ADS. But the Pietro Biscu’s ace in the hole is his background. “My teen-age years were critical to me. A manager’s life can be very is alienating. The only thing that allowed me to keep my feet on the ground was my strong connection to the territory I grew up in. My past wasn’t wealthy, which turned out to be the best school of management ever. I am grateful to those who helped me and believed in me.

I try to invest in the district I am in, generate employment, and give opportunities to young people. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s the reason why we created ADSLab – an innovative project, a sort of academy, where every year we form young talents and then insert them directly into the company.” The dynamism of young people, the senior expertise, the ability to moving fast, all enable us, like a ship in the rough sea, to compete effectively in the world of innovation technology. Not by chance ADS’s payoff is: “Nothing is permanent except change”. “This payoff is my mantra. I really wanted it, because for me the ability to take on a new challenge every day creates enormous competitive advantages. This not only means knowing how to model the company according to the needs of the market, but also changing ourselves according to the needs of the company.”

Therefore, change everyday. So what are the next ADS challenges? “After years of organic growth and the acquisition of NextiraOne Italy in May 2015, by the end of the year, we will announce two important acquisitions that are going to increase the value of the company and its market position. We also aim for internationalization: that is another important issue that will allow us to sign in 2016 the first significant contracts with international stakeholders in the field of Telecommunications. Meanwhile, we continue to invest in innovation and the IT world: we hired 200 engineers in our factory and we plan to launch an IoT project on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter”. Let’s talk about you, Biscu.

The frantic pace of a manager’s life makes it sometimes necessary to unplug. So what do you love doing most to recharge? “My spare time, the little that I have, is dedicated entirely to my family. But I also love to crossing the Sahara desert with my motorbike, backpacking and pitching a tent, or travelling across the North Pole with sleighs. These kinds of trips give inspiration and help me to find myself again”. Luxury and technology seem to be worlds apart, instead they are the driving force behind the economic growth of Italy. This was the topic of the workshop you held at Forte Village a few months ago, with the General Manager of the resort, Lorenzo Giannuzzi. Did you like Forte Village? “Technology transcends all facets of the market, particularly in tourism there is a strong convergence between excellence and innovation. The relaunch of the ‘Made in Italy’ brand begins with tourism, wine, food, fashion and innovation. Personally, I think Forte Village and ADS are deeply linked. Forte Village is set in an exclusive location, a real tropical garden in the Mediterranean. But that alone was not the key to their success, because there are lots of wonderful places all over the world. Like ADS, what makes Forte Village unique are the people involved. The management of Lorenzo Giannuzzi and his team surprised me” So, the message comes through loud and clear: today more than ever, the key to success is not the brand, but the power and the passion of the team.