Interview with EASY CEO Willy Cremers: „Automation is the key to future success“

In this interview, Willy Cremers, EASY board spokesman, reports on EASY’s new self-understanding, the steps we took to get there, and added value for customers.


What relevant future trends do you see for EASY SOFTWARE AG up to 2030?

We believe there are multiple trends which are relevant for us. If you look at the economic news, terms like Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, e-governance, and the cloud might have you thinking that the whole world is bathed in a digital euphoria. All of these are very closely associated with our core areas of competence. One major trend is the increasing need for mobility and collaboration. We know that the hybrid cloud world represents the future. The volume of data existing today is 6.2 million terrabytes. By 2030, increasing mobility will likely push this number to 30 or 35 million terrabytes. This is an awe-inspiring quantity of data, and we have to find a way to process it. In our understanding, the only way to do so is through automated systems. The trend towards much more flexible work time models is also key. Besides the ECM based work station, we also need mobile solutions on mobile devices that make us independent in terms of time and space. During the forward thinker lounge at EASY WORLD, our customers reflected on “their” topics with us. We would like to give a heartfelt thanks here once more to everyone who participated. One especially positive result is that we have discovered our customers’ needs correspond with the solutions we offer – both today, and in the medium and long-term to come.


What does this mean for EASY?

In our view, automating document-intensive business processes will ultimately secure the future of our customers. The market demands differentiated solutions for that purpose. Our goal is to coordinate these solutions with one another and make them available to our customers, even by combining parts of different solutions. We do so in collaboration with our partners. This means that customers have a stake in the benefits. Our approach is that we add features to the solutions we offer that make them valuable and unique for our customers. In other words: we offer added value to our customers.


What added value are you describing?

The solutions for automating document-intensive business processes we develop along with our partners offer our customers a way to simplify their corporate processes. They also offer process reliability, transparency, and high effectiveness in the sense of always repeating the right processes. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the quality of our customers’ processes, and to support them in increasing revenues. For EASY, this also includes the chance to develop innovations and bring them to the market.


That’s quite a lot. What do the differentiated solutions offered by EASY look like?

EASY WORLD 2016 at the end of September marked the launch of our new solution offers. We have been working towards this for the last three years. We now have four Suites with four responsible areas. These can be combined to create great solutions for our customers. Another important point is that This allows us to comprehensively serve market and customer needs. The four suites are the PCM Suite “SAP” with division head Jens-Peter Hess, the SPIRIT Suite “anywhere”, for which Marcel Rosenbaum is responsible, the SERVICE Suite, “at your service”, under the leadership of Stefan Schmidt, and our proven ECM Suite “open system”, which continues to look very promising under the leadership of Andreas Schneider. It is important to me to emphasise here that the four Suites do not differ in their completeness and in providing features in line with market demands. Instead, they stand together as equals and supplements to one another. They are all important for a successful future for our customers and partners. That’s how we see ourselves at EASY: as problem solvers.”


You called the new EASY and its four Suites the result of a future-oriented process. Why did you initiate this process? Was EASY in a bad position?

No, absolutely not. EASY remains a market leader for ECM solutions in Germany. We want to stay that way. That’s why we laid the groundwork for our continued success. With our four new Suites, we are able to offer a broad range of solution ideas. We understood the importance of technological change and forward-thinking corporate policies, and we’re making these issues a reality – now and in the future.


Are you the only one who sees the future in this way?

No, these trends are clear from numerous areas. The ECM Radar by the research company Pentadoc confirmed our work in this area, as did analyses by the Bitkom digital association. A survey by the corporate portal Impulse from 2015 also very clearly showed what German mid-sized companies expect when it comes to the topic of digitisation: A high level of flexibility in processes instead of rigid workflows, with the main focus on high-quality and secure workflows. In addition, we are always talking to our customers. They let us know what they face in their everyday business.

That’s why we’re also aware that there are some risks, for instance in relation to data security, legal questions, or a failure to meet technical requirements. We’ve all been involved in discussions on faster internet access, for instance, which is still a major topic for companies.


How does EASY remain a market leader?

We focus on three key areas: One major task is continuing to live up to ever expanding industry perspectives. Why is that? Business processes need more understanding. We need a better understanding of processes, sub-processes, and process steps in our customers’ document-intensive industries. Content management systems offer an opportunity to shed light on document-intensive processes in an integrated way. Here, as well, without a doubt we benefit from direct discussions with our customers and stakeholders, who deliver valuable input for our solutions – we’ve worked this way in the past, and will continue to do so in the future as well.


Are there other aspects?

Besides industry perspectives, future-oriented topics like mobile work, integrating processes into the customer environment, private, public, and hybrid cloud variations, integrated into different technology platforms, are also part of our set-up. Operational management using managed services is also important. For Only if we understand our customers’ processes, if we know what they need, can we deliver the elements that will best support our partners and customers using our EASY portfolio.


Is that why there are four Suites?

Right. This first of all gives us the chance to serve industries across the board, and secondly lets us deepen our service to the market. This is a central element of the four Suites. We have the “open system” ECM Suite, our trusted open EASY solution offer. It provides a high level of integration capability into existing IT infrastructures. Up to 40,000 users can use our archive. We are very well set up in this area. The ECM Suite is very highly developed, and has been successful on the market for years. I assume that it can look forward to a successful future as well. The “SAP” PCM Suite has been in the portfolio since last year, with EASY solutions as an integral part of the customer’s specialist solution and an addition and expansion for data processing solutions in SAP. The SPIRIT Suite “anywhere” was the third new addition.


How long did it take to develop them?

Marcel Rosenbaum and his team worked intensively on the Suites for two and a half years, using the most modern IT available and under the premise mobile and cloud first. The suites offer flexibility and facilitate mobility for our customers and stakeholders. The solutions created have a plug & play character.


And the SERVICE Suite “at your service”?

We define service as a product. We created software as a service products for operations and for the development of ECM, PCM, and SPIRIT solutions. We offer our customers service agreements in line with the market, in the sense of managed services.


You also spoke of a third aspect when you defended EASY’s leadership on the market. What is it?

This is the fact that all four Suites integrate based on the same architecture.


And that is?

A base element oriented towards the demands of the market. A 2Design element that allows us to quickly and flexibly design operable business processes.

Any automated process can be created in just a few steps, and tasks can be distributed and managed as well. Our 2go elements are the third building block. They offer pre-finished products for different corporate areas. These pre-configured products have grown from long-term practical project experience, and can be adjusted to specific requirements with very little effort.


That sounds like a well-thought-out architecture. Why put in so much work?

Why? We want all of our customers and stakeholders to be able to quickly understand our products. We want our customers and users to be able to quickly employ our products and use them inexpensively.


Then you have a positive view of the future?

Absolutely. I am convinced that the four Suites show we have understood the market and the demands of our customers. We will continue to successively develop the new products. We see some developments as still being in the early stages, and others as finished. In any case, we will continue to consistently pursue this path we are on. That’s the future of EASY. We have worked hard for three years to get where we are today. And you can be sure of one thing: We’ll be staying in motion – and in dialogue with our customers.