DocuWare Group President Dr. Michael Berger was recently interviewed by Annette Stadler of ecmguide.de. In the interview, he outlines DocuWare’s strategy for continuing a high level of service to our customers and explores the role of ECM in meeting their business needs.
What impact has the coronavirus pandemic had on DocuWare?
We’re maintaining our momentum and a high-level of service to our customers and believe that we will emerge from the crisis stronger than before. However, many companies are simply not prepared for this challenging business environment. The failure to digitize, be it for a small business or at the enterprise level, is causing problems.
Many companies still rely on paper-based processes. For example, you’ll find these manual processes used for insurance claims, orders, customer service and project documentation. Considering our current situation, this is a high-risk strategy. Organizations need streamlined automated processes to operate efficiently in this challenging business climate
What makes you so sure that DocuWare’s will maintain its stability?
We provide a service that helps companies to survive and continue to prosper in these uncertain times when their workforce must operate remotely. The product is still in demand. I am convinced that interest in document management and office automation will continue to grow after the crisis. We are a very solid company that operates internationally and focuses on ensuring our software is future proof.
You have subsidiaries in different countries. Do all your colleagues worldwide work from home?
Of our approximately 350 employees worldwide, 340 currently work from home. Only a few people in Germany and Bulgaria are in the office. For example, some members of our IT team are in the office to maintain hardware. Employees at our US headquarters have been working from home since March 11. Our staff at the German headquarters and employees in Bulgaria, France, Spain and the UK began working remotely on March 12.
Can you describe workflows at DocuWare?
We use DocuWare internally, as do our sales Partners. Not much has changed in the way we work, and our processes run exactly as they usually do. Regardless of location, we can process orders, approve and pay invoices, prepare annual financial statements and handle the requirements of a remote workforce. DocuWare has been operating internationally for many years. We are already accustomed to being in daily contact with colleagues in various locations via audio or video.
The crisis began to adversely affect businesses in March. How were your revenues?
In March 2020, we were able to increase worldwide sales by 19.7 percent from 4.328 million euro to 5.183 million euro compared to the same period last year. Our cloud offering, which is in great demand, is our competitive edge and continues to generate revenue growth for us.
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How does DocuWare work in the time of Coronavirus?
We adjusted our data protection and security guidelines to support remote employees even before the crisis. Mobile work has been around for a long time and employees have often been able to work from home for a few days each week. Furthermore, we created the right conditions to ensure that no part of the company is weakened. Contingency plans for central departments and systems have been drawn up, enabling us to maintain the operation of critical services and processes in various situations.. These include IT infrastructure, software support, and our CRM and financial systems, DocuWare Cloud, the website, payroll, and accounts payable and receivable.
We want to ensure the highest possible level of business continuity for our customers and partners. All of our appointments and meetings are currently taking place virtually. We use remote access to update and add new functionality to customer systems. Our advanced technology also enables us to set up new systems remotely.
If you look a little further ahead, what consequences do you expect?
As far as our business is concerned, we believe that especially in times of crisis companies realize that digitization and well-structured processes are of great importance and it is imperative that they act. For this reason, we believe demand will increase strongly. With our approximately 700 sales partners worldwide and around 2,000 experts on the subject, we are ideally positioned to advise customers locally and across national borders.
Above all else, we hope that we can return to normal as quickly as possible.
Will the coronavirus crisis change the attitude towards cloud-based ECM solutions?
Our numbers prove that the skepticism toward cloud-based software has already decreased significantly. Last year, 60 percent of our new customers opted for this type of approach, and our cloud revenue has risen by 71 percent compared with 2018. Our public cloud is a real alternative, particularly for SMBs since price plays a major role – both during and after Corona. With DocuWare, customers only pay for what they really need. You decide how many user licenses and the amount of storage capacity is required and preconfigured workflows keep implementation time to a minimum.
How do you think other ECM providers will cope with the crisis?
The entire ECM industry is positioned to provide real benefit to businesses in need. The crisis will also certainly lead to consolidation in the market. Providers who only offer on-premises solutions will have an even harder time.