Techwork 2022: Frédéric de Frésart, Argos Wityu
De Frésart started out as an account manager at Tase Research, before moving on to become an account executive - BP at Telindus - Belgacom ICT. After this, he spent the next eight years as an ICT manager consultant. He initially worked at Sunswitch (2007-14), then Young & Rubicam Belgium (2009-11), followed by a role as system engineer consultant at Aurelium (2013-15). By 2014, de Frésart joined Argos on a IT consultant basis with a three year contract. This turned into a freelance IT manager position between 2017- 2020, before he was made permanent as the firm’s chief information officer in 2021.
De Frésart explains when he joined Argos, the firm had just opened its fourth office, this time in Brussels, adding to the firm’s other offices in Paris, Milan and Geneva. “It didn’t make sense at that time to set up a complete IT infrastructure (a file server, mail server and so on).” However, following various IT issues across the business, de Frésart then proposed moving all four offices to a common cloud-based mail system.
By 2017, de Frésart started building a single network for all offices. “Around the same time, we opened offices in Frankfurt and Luxembourg. With six offices, it no longer made sense to have six independent IT systems, using five IT providers. However, setting up a single system came with its own challenges to overcome.”
Thinking about his achievements to date, de Frésart highlights creating the single mail server across the business in 2018. “It was a game changer for us,” he says. “Since then, our IT infrastructure has evolved into a single hybrid network. Everyone uses and shares the same tools. That has been a huge evolution for our employees because it completely changed the way we work - not just from an IT perspective, but the way the offices interact with each other, and how much more frequently they do.”
Given that the firm has shifted to a hybrid working model, de Frésart explains Argos has now provided all employees with a corporate laptop. “Throughout the pandemic they’d use this secured device at home, which has our complete security on it. Touch wood, hackers haven’t been able to enter our systems at all so far.”
In addition to his role at Argos, de Frésart was also a licencing trainer for Microsoft until last December. As such the PE house uses a lot of Microsoft products as part of its tech stack. “Being a Microsoft trainer enabled me to receive information and test new products before they were released to the public, so I could see if anything would work for Argos or our portfolio,” he explains. This also feeds into his external tech networking beyond PE. “I also have lots of contact with other vendors, which invite me to seminars and webinars on new trends and technologies or new products. I’m always eager to learn about new trends and technologies and tend to spend a few hours each week reading about them. I’m always looking for new solutions to improve our system’s security, as well as tools to improve users’ lives.”