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What is the basis for the good cooperation between univativ and Innovapps? Tobias Räder (IT project manager / business analyst univativ GmbH) and Tobias Derucki (managing director Innovapps GmbH) answered the questions.
How did univativ come together with Innovapps?
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – We have been working together for over 16 years now. I was once at univativ myself and worked on projects there. This is how the collaboration has developed. I developed the project management tool SAM, the ERP system as an employee 17 years ago and since then we have been supporting the software at Innovapps. Tobias Räder fortunately switched to this project a few months ago and has been our contact person on the univativ side ever since.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – Yes exactly. I have changed internally. After more than five years in sales I moved to IT. I was then responsible for SAM and thus in contact with Innovapps. That was a very exciting time, the ramp-up was simply very short-term, very steep but very cooperative. I think there were a few points that were a bit more critical, but which we all solved very well together.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – The challenges were manifold. First of all, I had to get an overview about the situation. Our ERP system has grown over several years and I first had to gain an insight. What is behind it, what was last worked on or where do we stand with the contracts? As there was no handover at our company, I was simply very dependent on the cooperation of Innovapps and I felt very well taken care of.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – We held a kind of kick-off meeting where I simply let someone pick me up. The direct contact to the lead developer was also helpful, as I was able to get technical information. I’m actually a pure businessman but with a certain affinity to IT. But that was a very exciting time.
In the end, we redesigned the whole landscape of cooperation. We now have a weekly appointment for coordination, where we can also work on medium-term topics. Once a month I visit Innovapps in person, for direct contact or to exchange perspective topics.
Apart from that, we still have the ticket system for the exchange of professional tickets or contact via teams. So, I always have a channel through which I can contact Innovapps at short notice.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – I was relatively quickly given a future strategy by Innovapps as to where our ERP system could be developed in the future.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – Which we already had in the petto.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – Exactly, you had already prepared them, I thought that was very good.
Parallel to this, we are also currently running digitalisation processes, and of course everything has to run hand in hand. Since our ERP system is based on grown code in C# and VB.net, we will have to do some homework, because we want to get to the point where the boundaries between our internally developed, PHP-based system and our ERP SAM will disappear for the user at some point.
But technically I always have good contacts at Innovapps. Just today, I am also receiving training to understand the databases in the backend as they have been built up over the years. This simply ensures a good transfer of knowledge.
In order to secure the whole thing on the technical side, we have now moved testing further into focus: we have activated the department internally and set up a test group in which experienced colleagues test whether the tickets have been implemented as desired.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – This has improved quality assurance before the release.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – Especially because we have now switched to a monthly release.
Before that, we did this on demand or when a package was ready. Now we have switched to a monthly release that can be planned, which was much appreciated by the department. I have now already distributed the dates until the January release. In December I can already communicate the planning for the entire first half of 2020 to the department. That is simply outstanding planning capability.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – This also has a very positive effect on the users. They now know exactly when they can expect their requirements.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – Of course. We want to connect new processes to SAM and simply bring the whole thing up to a more up-to-date digital level. We want to focus on our intranet and SAM must be able to be integrated. That is the big vision, we still have homework to do. But Innovapps’ strategy for the future was also very helpful.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – The exchange is immensely important. The regular jour fixe and also the new monthly meetings have improved the whole thing very much. SAM unfortunately did not enjoy priority in the team before. But this has now accelerated and professionalized the whole project. We now have a competent contact person in Tobias Räder, who has already been with the company for five years and who knows the processes very well as a business analyst.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – The openness and transparency in communication is reflected quite well in one of our meetings that we introduced. After each Go Live, there is a retrospective on the following Friday, in which the developers and testers from our department sit around a table. There is now simply transparency and a completely different communication regarding the ERP system to the business department than was the case in the past. I have turned some of the processes upside down here and I found Innovapps’ flexibility particularly good.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – In any case, the short-term nature of the feedback. If I have a request, then it is also processed at short notice and doesn’t take three days. In addition, I can see very transparently in the ticket system whether work is being done on it or not. I particularly like that. Since I took over the topic, I can’t complain about the quality. I have also noticed that other departments of univativ also work constructively with Innovapps. There is a baseline that is simply right.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – We prioritize this internally very high, because we have understood that about 300 people are now working with this software. When we first developed it, there were about three. And we understood that even the telephone numbers of the customers are in the system and if it doesn’t work, then ultimately no customer or employee can be called.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – At the moment we simply have a lot of homework to do for SAM, so the roadmap is full to bursting. If there were no more homework, we would already be in the February release, so that we could work on it at all. But I’m quite positive that we’ll get to a point at the turn of the year where we can take a good look at some technical “debts” that have accumulated over the years. With the further development we can take the whole thing to a new architectural level.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – I suddenly became a new customer when I changed in July.
I was enthusiastic about the active consulting: even if you have an existing system that has grown for so long, you can actively identify potential for improvement. All developers also always try to understand the processes and do not just develop “dull”. That is a very big bonus. You actually have this opportunity to combine business and technology, simply because the developers are able to speak both languages. This means that the translation does not have to take place at the customer’s side, but the translation service is already provided by Innovapps. This has helped me a lot to get into this new job at such short notice.
Tobias Räder (Univativ) – The productivity and quality we have achieved so far still inspire me. Also the willingness of Innovapps to continue working on this process. That’s why we were able to change so much at short notice: within three weeks we had set up a complete release process, including the involvement of the specialist department and communication. You can’t implement this if a service provider doesn’t feel like it. You can want to dictate as much as you want as a customer, but if the process can’t be lived later on, that doesn’t help either. But we were 100 percent successful in getting all tickets into the department right in the first release. As a project manager, you can’t ask for more than that!