VERTICAS SERVICE GMBH
Your wingmen from Innovapps stand for the success of your projects and your satisfaction right from the start. The good cooperation with our customers has resulted in many successful products and long-term partnerships in the past years. We are proud of the great trust of all the companies we work with. You can read some of their stories here.
What is the basis for the good cooperation between Verticas and Innovapps? Steffen Weigand (Managing Director Verticas GmbH) and Tobias Derucki (Managing Director Innovapps GmbH) answered the questions.
After so many years of successful cooperation, it is certainly interesting to look back: How did Verticas and Innovapps come together?
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – The company Innovapps was a personal recommendation of an employee. What convinced me to work with Innovapps? It was the structured objectivity in approaching issues, combined with an open and honest business approach, which was not necessarily the case with our existing service provider. Of course, this led to a certain emergency situation on our part, which meant that we had a real pressure to do something. Innovapps’ obvious expertise, coupled with the proximity of the company, led us to take the step of moving away from the old service provider.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – The projects that we tackled together were mainly web shop topics of existing applications. This meant that Innovapps had to find its way into foreign peripherals and unknown technologies and, thanks to its high level of readiness to learn, was able to adopt these systems very quickly. After we had stabilized our individual developments, the essential second project in the area of webshop technology was to find and create a solution that was simpler, duplicable and multi-client capable.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – The challenges were that we did not have a high level of standardization among our customers, but we certainly had to standardize. That means we had to try to bring customers together on a uniform grid topic in order to define a standard for us within the framework of B2B solutions. However, this standard should still offer sufficient flexibility for individuality and bring along certain system requirements. And that’s when the suggestion arose to use nopCommerce because it is Microsoft-based and for security reasons there were customer requirements at the time to use Microsoft-based systems. With an open source solution, developments that were created for one customer would also pay off for another customer.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – One of the reasons why we came to this solution was also that we needed to deploy many multi-tenant solutions in the foreseeable future within three to five months.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – We wanted a basic version where we could add clients relatively easily.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – It was necessary to draw up a requirement profile, a specification sheet and a requirements specification in order to know in advance exactly what the systems could achieve in detail. In theory, one is relatively smart about how it should work. In practice, you realize that you cannot control everything down to the last detail. But there are certain things that you cannot foresee. We have essentially tried to plan together in advance before going into the actual programming, to see in which direction it will go.
The most original requirement was: we take an existing customer shop, an online shop solution, and make it multi-client capable. We started with one customer, then gradually expanded the shop and finally came up with the complete solution we have today. This solution has grown organically over time. Every customer brought along his new package, which had to be realized.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – There are actually no subareas here. Our IT is divided into two areas, an in-house IT and the IT we have to provide for our customers. The whole webshop topic is completely outsourced to the service provider Innovapps. Verticas is the administrative and the planning part. Innovapps is the executing part, which has to ensure that the systems run stable, that they do what they are supposed to do, that they can do what they are supposed to do and that the scope of services, timeliness, data security and data integrity are simply guaranteed. Therefore, there are no sub-areas, but the whole ship is at stake if you want to describe it as a passenger ship. We are the hotel business and Innovapps is the engine room and the technology. And if you take a cruise ship today, you need about 80 people to operate such a ship with all the trimmings. But in total they have a crew of about 1,000 or 1,500 people to do everything that complete full-service program. So you can divide it up roughly, we take care of the content and the whole maintenance of a webshop. But to make sure that the complete program is running, you have to run around with the oil can and look where there have been any error messages or feedback because of missing data connections: that’s basically what Innovapps takes care of. We are responsible for the content.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – Exactly, we do the technical operation. But we are also active in the run-up to this. Ultimately, we are in contact with your customers so that we can implement all new requirements, including the implementation of the software…
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – …including contact to the data center where the stuff is located. If there are disturbances there, we don’t have to worry about it, Innovapps does that.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – NOP was at that time the only available online shop solution that was Microsoft based and had a client solution. But in the end it is all simply a people’s business. And I would say that it has something to do with how much passion and energy, how much dedication you put into your job and how much expertise there is in the team. In the end, another solution might have been a good one. But it’s always a question of how much the people involved push this forward. The people involved are very decisive in such very individual issues and speed naturally plays a major role, as does flexibility. And the subject of the same intellectual philosophy is also important.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – Trust! Confidence in the competence and trust in what is being done and that one has the feeling of being treated honestly. These projects are incredibly difficult to plan. Every IT landscape is different. It’s not necessarily plug and play, but there are approximate empirical values and then you try in some way to estimate how high the costs will be. This also has to do with how well or how quickly the other side works. What we now know much more precisely is what our webshop solution costs in the run-up to implementation. Because this is much more clearly scalable and because we have tried to bring transparency into it.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – When we sat together a few months ago and talked about working together, Mr. Weigand told me that in the end it was like a normal relationship. That there are ups and downs and that we master them well together. The reason is that we work together along the entire route, from start to finish, because we also travel to customers together, for example, to understand the requirements more precisely when it is very IT-heavy. This enables us to win a pitch together, because we formulate the exact requirements, do the implementation and support the operation in the end.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – Such business relationships in this area are like marriages. You can’t leave them overnight, because they are not so easily interchangeable. If they are exchanged, then you already have a proper divorce with you and then things change, you should know that. But that applies in the same way to our customers who have full-service contracts with us. You have to dare, in the truest sense of the word, to get involved with each other and regularly check that you are also running together in the same and right direction. Sometimes there are disputes, sometimes there are tears. But there are also the joyful moments and the positive things. These are simply partners in the moment and not service providers. In the broadest sense they are also somehow colleagues. That’s why I look for a service provider who has a similar value principle. Yes, it’s also about values, it’s about corporate values, it’s about content values, it’s about the values of the respectable merchant. For me, this is a very clear code, after we act. For me, these are the basic prerequisites for entering into close partnerships with other people that can also work in the long term.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – The main vision is that in the world of electronic ordering systems we will continue to expand the technological lead we have always proclaimed for ourselves in the field of advertising and merchandising full service logistics. An example: A customer has a special sparkling wine which he always sends with his own label. Now he does not have to store it, but stores it in a sparkling wine cellar and this sparkling wine cellar is included as a supplier in this shop. The order then goes directly there and is not processed by us at all.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – In summary, one can say that one would like to open the online shop solution for other suppliers as well. The solution would have to be more standardized. We are currently working on this.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – What we can definitely say is that we have a vision for further development, that we are of course taking a very close look at the entire voice topic and how things will develop here. We have to see if at some point customers will order their pens via “Alexa” and that this can also be processed automatically in our shops.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – The technical expertise in webshop technologies and especially the breadth of expertise in the area of interfaces between the most diverse systems and platforms is certainly essential for many new customers. It is also important that Innovapps is able to think outside the box, to know how the business processes in corporations work and not just to play the computer game.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – You have given me feedback that we are very creative, especially in the area of process-related software development.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – Right, that describes it quite well: That is the creative potential to be able to implement IT-technical processes well, and that also takes monetary possibilities into account. As you know: Within IT everything is possible and there is no limit to the price. But sometimes you still have to achieve your goals under certain price aspects.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – But this is one of the reasons why we use an open source solution and not a 30T€ per year Magento solution.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – And that is also the reason why we work with Innovapps: because it is not the high end IT service provider in Frankfurt City, but still a down-to-earth specialist company from Wiesbaden. The company is geared towards a customer clientele à la Verticas and is comfortable with such a clientele and does not want to program for NASA tomorrow. Service providers have to fit together because of the values already mentioned. If you have one who is absolutely only at home in the high-end or other areas, then somehow it doesn’t fit. We are the face to the customer. My customer doesn’t complain to Innovapps if something doesn’t work, he complains to me. If Innovapps makes a mistake, I make the mistake, if Innovapps performs well, I perform well.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – That’s working with a wingman.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – Yes, it’s simply a good partnership, the extended arm of my IT department.
Steffen Weigand (Verticas) – Yes, there is! My conclusion is: If things stay the way they are at the moment and the fundamental things that bind us together don’t change, we will continue to work together successfully tomorrow. So we are also planning our future with Innovapps!