DocuWare recently announced that, effective January 1, 2019, company presidents Jürgen Biffar and Thomas Schneck will transition their leadership positions to Dr. Michael Berger, currently the company’s Chief Technology Officer, and Max Ertl, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer.
Jürgen and Thomas have been the force behind DocuWare’s tremendous growth over the past 30 years. Founded in 1988 as Docunet, today DocuWare has headquarters in Germering and New Windsor, New York with offices in Spain, France and U.K. The solution is available in 16 languages, boasts 18,000 customers with 500,000 users across 70 countries, and is supported by a global network of over 600 partners.
Although Jürgen and Thomas will relinquish day-to-day management responsibilities in 2019, they will have a role as strategic advisors to the company’s leadership team. During this week, as DocuWare celebrates its 30th anniversary, we asked them to look back at DocuWare’s history and share their perspective on future developments.
Jürgen Biffar, President
In terms of the company, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
What stands out for me is that, as of today, DocuWare has 300 employees. We’ve created opportunities for 300 individuals who are making a living for themselves and their families. In addition to that there is an extended ecosystem of several thousand people, especially our Partners, who achieved success and financial security due to their work with our company.
Again and again, when talking to people who are using our technology I am happy to hear how happy they are with it. I also meet people in situations that are totally unrelated to DocuWare. When I tell them where I work, they will say they are using the software and are very pleased with it. To give employees the chance to do meaningful work on one side, and to have our technology benefit so many customers on the other – that makes me proud.
Photo: Celebrating DocuWare’s 30th Anniversary and a future move of its U.S. headquarters to Beacon, New York. From left to right: Max Ertl, Chief Revenue Officer, DocuWare; Jürgen Biffar, President, DocuWare; Sarah Lee, CEO, Th!nk Dutchess Alliance for Business; Thomas Schneck, President, DocuWare; Michael Berger, Chief Technology Officer, DocuWare; Anthony Ruggiero, City Planner, Beacon; Randy Casale, Mayor, Beacon
How do you create a business culture that can the handle big and disruptive changes that drive a digital transformation?
Striving for constant innovation is what makes the biggest difference in our industry. We don’t just design software, protype it, build it, and sell it for the next five years. Instead we’re asking our team to do something new every day. This requires curiosity, research and openness to new ideas. Everyone must be willing to learn new things.
There must also be an acceptance of failure as part of the process. We prototype a new functionality and test it. If it doesn’t work, we try something else. Personally, I’m not afraid of taking risks. We invested in Intelligent Indexing, which uses machine learning, long before other companies used artificial intelligence in their solutions. It was risky to make a major investment of time and resources in an unproven technology. The result is, our customers received the benefit of highly efficient document storage more quickly.
Our company values enable us to meet the demands of a rapidly changing technology landscape. Constant innovation can only work if you create an atmosphere based the core values DocuWare has adopted which include accountability, open communication, kindness, determination and discipline.
How do you think document management and automated workflow technology will evolve over the next five years? What role will the cloud play?
Document management and automated workflow will move almost exclusively into the cloud. Further development will overcome bandwidth restrictions and simpler configuration and more automation will make cloud-based solutions even more appealing. We will also see faster deployment. Increased automation will empower employees to create their own workflow without the help of IT specialists and consultants.
Thomas Schneck, President
What is the most dramatic change you’ve seen in the way document management affects the way our customers handle business processes?
Paperwork is burden and keeps organizations from focusing on what they want to do as a company. Office automation enables people and companies to concentrate on their true strengths. Rather than getting bogged down with routine tasks, they can focus on building their core business. The ability to automate processes with our software has a very profound impact on an organization.
When we started out, document management was primarily viewed as a means for document storage and retrieval. That’s still an important aspect, but the most significant value is realized by automating workflow. Today we also ensure that organizations can access documents anytime, anywhere in the world. Our solutions are location independent – that’s a functionality we were not able to deliver the early nineties.
Photo: DocuWare President Thomas Schneck (far left) and DocuWare Founder & President Jürgen Biffar (far right) are presented with a memento of the evening by Chief Technology Officer Michael Berger (middle left) and Chief Revenue Officer Max Ertl (middle right)
What makes you excited about Mondays?
The ability to connect with my DocuWare colleagues and Partners to execute our mission to give every customer an edge that contributes to their success by refining and accelerating their business processes. My day consists of meetings, webinars and email exchanges to work toward this goal.
In the last couple of months, the launch of DocuWare Kinetic Solutions is exciting. These solutions leverage many years of development and all the knowledge we have gained. DocuWare Kinetic Solutions are delivered via the cloud and are easy to implement.
How do you spend a typical work day?
In general, I spend about 25% of my time on the road meeting with Partners. An office day is mainly spent in internal meetings with my colleagues and phone calls with Partners. I make sure our sales team is working effectively to support our Partners in fulfilling their own business goals. I work to reach the full potential of our partnerships by leveraging each party’s strengths.
I’m also involved in the planning for DocuWare’s new U.S. headquarters in which is being built in Beacon, New York. Beacon is on Metro North’s Hudson Line and that gives us access to New York City and the whole New York corridor which is a good source for talent. Our new office is walking distance to the train station.