We talked to Andy Haack of Enginatics about the world’s fastest operational reporting for Oracle EBS and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Andy Haack: Fortunately, we are all still in good health, but there are a lot of cases here in Switzerland, so we remain careful until we get vaccinated.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Enginatics.
Andy Haack: After graduating from university with an engineering degree, I worked in IT as a consultant helping companies to implement Oracle E-Business Suite ERP software. On such projects, I especially liked working on software development and challenging tasks, such as SQL reporting or performance tuning. Colleagues often asked me for help extracting data from the Oracle EBS system, which wasn’t very easy. I usually wrote a SQL query, ran it through database access tools, exported the dataset to Excel, and sent it to business users. As this process was not very efficient, I developed a small program, which was the predecessor of our current product Blitz Report. That first version was very basic, just exporting data to comma-separated text files, but it was very successful. In the first company using it, the number of active users grew to more than 3 thousand within a short time and I then founded Enginatics to provide this solution to everyone working with Oracle EBS.
How does Enginatics innovate?
Andy Haack: We never thought much about how to innovate, as it is in our nature to constantly think about ways to improve our solution. Initially, most ideas came from our own consulting experience. Now that we have a growing user base, many of the enhancements we build into the product are coming from our customers. We think that software is like a living organism that constantly needs to evolve and adapt to become a perfect fit for the business that is using it.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Andy Haack: The biggest change for us was the cancellation of conferences. Up to February last year, we attended a lot of marketing events worldwide and when that suddenly stopped, we saw a significant drop in new leads coming in. So we focused all our marketing efforts on digital since then, which in hindsight was the right thing to do anyway and Covid just accelerated this shift to online. In the first few months of the pandemic, we also had prospects delaying purchase decisions due to the uncertainty of their business. Luckily, we were still able to grow last year and we are grateful to work in the industry sector being least affected by the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Andy Haack: Fortunately not. We had concerns at the start of the pandemic that companies would reduce their budget spending and we recognized a slowdown, but reducing our travel and conference expenses enabled us to continue without any cuts and even to increase our team.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Andy Haack: We use Trello, Slack, and Zoom to communicate, but this didn’t change very much as we always worked remotely as a team. Now that we rarely meet up in person, however, we recognize the importance of having regular calls with the whole team to keep the communication flowing and the spirit up.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Andy Haack: The Oracle EBS reporting market is not very big, and there is not very strong competition. Even though most of our competitors started their business earlier than we did, we have an edge over them as our solution is much easier to use and the fastest on the market. We also simplified the sales process as we think that buying business software should not be more difficult than signing up for a Microsoft 365 subscription. We see a rising demand for our product and it is not about staying in the game, but about accelerating growth right now.
Your final thoughts?
Andy Haack: People tend to explain hard work as the main reason for their success, but I know that our company was also simply very lucky in 2020, operating in the right industry, meeting the right clients, having the right team and remaining all healthy. I am very grateful for all of this knowing that many other people were less fortunate.
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