Tuesday 7 April 2009

IT companies met in Potsdam

The sun was just breaking through as I arrived with Sylvia Schmidt of Come Across in Potsdam station. A city still in change, we picked our way across the road works and construction sites. One strangely silent – we heard of our luck not to arrive the next day when an unexploded bomb found there was going to be defused.

The ever cheerful Torsten Stehr greeted us at the IHK building where we were holding our meetings, to then hurry back with his planning of this years Green Ventures (photos 2008 – Green Ventures, photos Potsdam 2008).
Our guests over the coming hours were German IT businesses looking for a UK entry and we were curious to hear their interests and activities, fervently hoping that they were more exciting than the website content which is so often misleading.

A laid back and curious Patrick Schwalger of V-CAT dropped in first, having only recently heard of the excellent subsidies by the German Government for business trips abroad for SME’s, which cover a substantial proportion of the costs (nearly two thirds!). V-CAT provide the next generation of platforms for collaborative projects. Cloud based products are aimed primarily at the education sector – those of us with children are already aware of the first generation products in this line being used for student & teacher e-mails, time tabling and daily register. With businesses and employees geographically dispersed, the contract based solutions are secure enough to have been trusted by the Berlin Senate and user friendly enough for a teacher to have described them as “intuitive”; Patrick emphasised “You don't adapt to our software, our software adapts to you”.

Uwe Brodtmann of Inchrom breezed in for an enthusiastic presentation. 80% of innovation in cars is now electronic. The rising number of components have to talk to each other, accurately and without fail within milliseconds (just think what could happen if your ABS fails at a critical moment!). Timing is everything – yet each electronic component has its own clock speed – and these can also drift. Inchron's simulation software allows the user to model scheduling of events and even simulate different scenarios, based on the electronic components talking to each other; Hence “Think real-time for embedded software”.

With more employees, the complexity of management increased exponentially, so processes and Standard Operating Procedures required. The difficulty is often visualizing them and then ensuring that they are followed. A quiet, unassuming Stefan Zorn of Imatics demonstrated his software solution with aplomb. Accessible set up to ensure that new users or followers of SOPs are assisted and guided through a completion process that makes compliance painless. When I asked, tongue in cheek, whether he had a process set up for his sales strategy, his humour shone through as he promptly pulled one forward so that we could use it for our further discussions.

I must admit having looked forward to the MicroMovie delegation of CEO Jasdan Bernward Joerges and his colleague Katrin Ebersohn. MicroMovies provide short films for major advertisers with a twist. Mobile phone users can take a picture of themselves and upload it to a particular advertisers movie and be integrated into the action. I couldn’t resist having a go for their demo based on a ZDF soap!

Whilst I’m fairly adept at technology, I really appreciate solutions that make life simpler! What I had not realized was that this could also safe large firms a lot of money. Christian Dietze of Revacom introduced be to a hidden benefit – software packeting. Think of easy to install Acrobat reader or other software with it’s own installation wizard – it’s the wiz that is the packeting. If a large company wants to install new software company wide, having it encapsulated in a software packeting can save several man days in work time and as we know, time is money!

I ended the day enthused and after a well earned Mexican meal just off the Karl Marx Allee, hurried back to send out some tweets on the subject:

miltoncontact #potsdam "You don't adapt to our platform, our platform adapts to you!" http://bit.ly/9xu2O -12:27 AM Apr 7th, 2009.

miltoncontact #potsdam "Think realtime for embedded software when considering our simuation solution" http://bit.ly/49RD7L -12:32 AM Apr 7th, 2009

miltoncontact #potsdam Simple visualisation and implementation of process procedures for non-IT managers http://bit.ly/2NwrJ8 -12:39 AM Apr 7th, 2009

miltoncontact #potsdam micromovies with customer's faces are innovative new viral marketing tool used by german TV soap http://bit.ly/j0fdC -12:42 AM Apr 7th, 2009

miltoncontact #potsdam Superior international outsourcing partner creates software packaging for companies worldwide. http://bit.ly/kt1j -12:22 AM Apr 7th, 2009

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