en-software turns sweet 17

 

 

Time flies, as the saying goes. Is time also passing fast for small businesses, as they keep on mastering their everyday challenges? en-software turns 17 this year. Manager Daniel Latikaynen was involved from the beginning and shares his experience.

 

 

 

What is your corporate philosophy today?

 It’s all about satisfying customers, and employees as well. We support our customers individually and directly, act fast and provide exciting bespoke Solutions. Employees are encouraged to make their contributions in all areas of the customer relation, so they will develop a thorough understanding of projects as a whole and are enabled to realize creative, sometimes extraordinary, ideas. In times of disruptive technology changes, we have to overcome the gap between long-lasting customer partnership and high rate of innovation. We encourage our team members to meet this challenge: Our daily work may not become boring, but has to deliver practical results at the same time. So, we may put effort into experimental projects, when we’re eventually able to deploy results to market.

In the words of SHERMY, our mascot: „Don’t leave safety to chance, use SHERM“

How did business areas and core competencies evolve over the years?

en-software operates in three strongly linked fields:

1. Standard software, focusing on business applications
2. Bespoke development for industry and commerce
3. Process design (also beyond pure software development)

In first place, we view ourselves as a manufacturer of high standard, state-of-the-art software solutions, covering the entire product lifecycle from idea to ongoing support.
A brief history: en-software started developing and selling standard software in the market segments finance, CRM and ERP in the year 1999. After a few years, a substantial demand for IT solutions around occupational safety emerged in the EU. Back then, there were no solutions specially targeting that subject. So we started to develop such a solution for a corporation with sites in multiple European countries, which later became our current flagship product SHERM. It is still used there today, and continuously developed further.
We are always ready to take different languages and legislations into account, so we can win international clients from different sectors.
Our second standard product was the result of a particular industry’s demand as well: Our shift logging software HOB. Initiated as a custom solution for a production site of a chemical industry client, it reached a surprisingly diverse market distribution including logisticians and semiconductor manufacturers.
Given the success of past projects and the combination “Customer idea – custom software” we still see potential in this model, and continue to offer individual solutions today.
Only recently, we apply a new ‘toolbox’ to host meetings, moderate projects and events like safety and health days. It is called “Art of Hosting” and aims to replace old-fashioned meetings with appreciative talks. It is well established in connection with internal communication and planning processes. We apply the procedural knowledge to process design, trainings and workplace risk assessment. This participative approach matches our own philosophy, brings people together, increases the output of solutions and ideas, and has an altogether positive impact of the long-term teamwork.

Tell us about cooperations with other businesses and organizations, and how your customers benefit from those?

We are a small company ourselves; therefore it is our strength to have reliable partners on our side. On the German market, we cooperate with Stock Informatik, a CompuGroup subsidiary. This bridges a gap between occupational safety and medicine – a useful complement for common clients in Austria and Germany.
On a trade fair, we visited EUCUSA on their stand where they promoted their capabilities to assess results from surveys about mental stress at the workplace. As a result of the cooperation that resulted, we now offer the survey organization using their great EWOPLASS questionnaire embedded in SHERM.
As a Microsoft ISV partner, we have access to all the tools we need to develop for the infrastructure of our customers. In the growing technological environment SaaS/cloud services, we rely on the offers and services from IBM SoftLayer.
Through our membership in the association of Austrian safety experts (VOESI), we have access to up-to-date information and continued education in the area of occupational safety, and we stay in touch with the professionals who are the key users of our solutions.

What are the advantages of an integrated management system for the industry?

According to our experience, especially large industry firms have many isolated stand-alone solutions running in parallel. Some continue to use Microsoft® Excel® as their database even when the quality and quantity of data is asking for a different approach to organization and processing. With an integrated management solution, that fits existing IT landscapes, fragmentation can be reduced or avoided altogether. Producers and consumers of data can both benefit greatly, positively affecting productivity as a whole.

What do you think, which new IT services are just around the Corner?

Cloud services are among the winning technologies (for example: McKinsey [1]). From our perspective: The first customers have already taken the step, also with critical data. But the real departure still lies ahead of many. We are well prepared.
[1] http://www.mckinsey.com/tools/Wrappers/Wrapper.aspx?sid={21F95813-D665-4176-80BD-3823144E3FE2}&pid={A1D4B928-3A7B-4073-AFFA-6AD78525CDB1}

Data protection becomes increasingle important, especially when personal data like health-related information is involved. Where do you store the data and how is data protection ensured?

We do not tell! As soon as a client’s private data is involved, you carry a lot of responsibility. It is not only about technical precautions. You need to raise awareness and train, your own employees and the client’s. Even though we work in a climate of openness, there are no compromises when it comes to data protection. We audit our cloud providing subcontractors regularly, and have their SOC reports presented to us. In on-premise solutions, we’re involved with creation and maintenance of the security concept as a core part of every implementation.

To what extent does the solution SHERM implement regulations and policies of occupational safety and security?

Already when we started with the blueprints, we had a clear target to stick to Austrian, German and European regulatory requirements, in particular the occupational safety law AschG/ArbSchG and the chapters of the OHSAS 18001. Recently, we continued this effort by implementing new modules modelled according to REACH/CLP and DIN EN ISO 7010.
In practice, you can find these implemented in the workflows of accident reporting, workplace risk assessment, and hazardous substances database, to name just a few.

What can you tell about the collaboration with the users of your products, and what is the impact on software Quality?

A carefully assembled project team is a significant success factor. In implementation projects, we will reach quality targets, when one or more key users from the client side are ready to get closely involved with the software and the processes. We rely on these key users to connect users, departments and us as the manufacturer, and they are at the same time our partners for change management and support. Vendor just developing products on their own will never be enough; there must be someone on the customer side marketing and promoting projects from inside.
We communicate with our clients in a variety of ways: jour fixe meetings, video conferences, simple phone calls, newsletters, and finally the interaction on our online support portal.

Which kind of support do you consider appropriate for the users of your software, abd what support options do you offer?

Our best experience so far we made with support contracts which include the equivalent of 24 hours of IT consulting on a yearly basis. That is sufficient for support calls and use of the support portal, and leaves capacity for minor changes and updates. Higher support consumption should be expected in the first year after go-live, if the solution includes individually developed extensions or Interfaces.

Can you already give us an outlook on future features and enhancements?

Countries in our main market, Germany and Austria, have already committed to the start of the digital revolution „Industry 4.0”. Most changes are likely to occur in manufacturing firms. Industries usually acting cautiously when it comes to direction decisions, will have to adapt quickly to changed conditions in technology-focused areas. With our products SHERM and ProPS (projects and processes), we are ready to respond:

1. Occupational safety in connection with robotics
2. Consolidate isolated solutions
3. Link distributed data sources, harvest ERP information and strategic key performance indicators as a basis for decisions
4. Offer a fully mobile,  Darauf aufgesetzt eine mobile Plattform für das Projekt- und operative Prozessmanagement anbieten

And finally, do you feel those 17 years went by fast?

No, it was an eventful, educational and exciting time.

 
 

 


Hotline +43(0)316 425661 | Company registration # 244057h | VAT Id # ATU57681137