From 'Hacker' to One of Germany's Best IT Service Providers

Interview with Ingo Kraupa, CEO of noris network AG

Noris Network AG Ingo Kraipa, CEO

Amidst the rapid pace of digitalization, it is crucial for companies to keep up with technological development. Progress in information technology is the key to success in the modern business world. From cloud services to cybersecurity to custom software development, noris network offers a wide range of premium services to optimize IT infrastructure and close security gaps.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Kraupa, you founded the company in 1993. How do you remember this era of internet speed between 28.8 Kbit/s and 33.6 Kbit/s?

Ingo Kraupa: We didn't have the typical founding phase of a start-up, where one creates a business plan and possibly even looks for investors. Instead, I got to know two computer specialists — we called ourselves hackers back then — through remote data transmission. Both already had a mailbox at that time, which was the precursor of today's chat systems. So, we were the first chatters in Germany. When my colleague Matthias Urlichs finished his studies in the early 1990s, Professor Zorn from the University of Karlsruhe initiated a spin-off named XLink. For this, decentralized companies were sought nationwide for the so-called Points of Presence (PoP). That was the birth of noris network AG.

Noris Network AG Data Center Nuremberg
The Nuremberg South data center is among the most modern and energy-efficient data centers in Europe

Wirtschaftsforum: Were there other steps that have shaped the company for the future? 

Ingo Kraupa: Absolutely, quite a lot actually. Since the internet was only attractive to large companies at that time, we were able to connect Siemens to the internet worldwide as the first provider already in 1994. After that, we were also able to win other large companies based in the region, like adidas, for us. Some of these early customers have remained with us to this day. 
As further providers quickly entered the internet sector, we decided to continue supporting mainly large customers as a professional service provider. Given that by the end of the 1990s, the standard personal computer slowly disappeared, we started building data centers. By now, we are among the largest and best providers in Germany in this regard. 

Wirtschaftsforum: How many data centers does your company have? 

Ingo Kraupa: We own seven high-security data centers across five locations in Germany, which are interconnected both among themselves and internationally. The colocation data center in Nuremberg South was certified by TÜViT according to TSI Level 4 and DIN EN 50600, as it ensures the highest availability and very high protection. Our location in Munich is a fine example where one can particularly convince oneself of the implementation of our concepts. The data center is among the most modern in Europe and was awarded the German Data Center Prize. Another location in Frankfurt is still in the planning stage. 

Noris Network AG High-Security Data Center Nuremberg
Noris Network AG DE-CIX Enabled Site

Wirtschaftsforum: How many employees do you currently employ? 

Ingo Kraupa: We employ a total of over 500 employees. In the meantime, we have expanded our company through three subsidiaries. This includes our extended workbench noris MIKE in Greece with 20 to 30 employees, Wavecon Cloud GmbH, and innovIT AG. 

Wirtschaftsforum: What is the annual turnover? 

Ingo Kraupa: The annual turnover of noris network is 150 million EUR, and this amount is likely to increase this year since we have been growing by an average of 15% since 2003 and are likely to achieve our goals this year as well. However, we do not grow for growth's sake. Primarily, it is important to us to be a reliable partner to our customers in the long term.

Wirtschaftsforum: What do you consider to be your key factors for success? 

Ingo Kraupa: We offer everything from IT whitespace to cloud services - all from one source - out of our data centers. We are always at eye level with our customers and try together to find the best solutions. Another advantage is that we are a German provider, we host in Germany, and are equipped with the best certifications. Our clients can rely on us to be secure and functional. Two years ago, we established a client advisory board so that our customers can exchange ideas and learn from each other. 

Noris Network AG Company Building
The Munich location was awarded the German data center prize

Wirtschaftsforum: How would you describe your company culture? 

Ingo Kraupa: In that regard, we even have our own slogan, the 'noris Spirit'. This is characterized, among other things, by a strong curiosity and a pragmatic way of working. We are especially open in planning and have no barriers in the hierarchy. 

Wirtschaftsforum: What goals do you have for the future of your company? 

Ingo Kraupa: We have set ourselves the goal of optimizing our company and our products. We aim to ensure that everything from ordering to development to acceptance runs smoothly. We strive to become the best IT service provider.