How Jakub Tomiczek, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at ConnectPoint is supporting digitization in the different industries, energy and utilities.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these Covid-19 times?
Jakub Tomiczek: Thank you. The most important thing is that we are all healthy. Apart from that, like most families, we face the same challenge every day, that is how to effectively reconcile work and care for children who stay at home due to the closure of educational institutions. We have a preschool-aged daughter, and a son was born a few weeks ago, so our family life and work organization had to go to an even higher level.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ConnectPoint.
Jakub Tomiczek: It all began when, working as a consultant, I realized that the future of utilities is not asset-centric but information-centric instead. Such companies were not utilizing at all the potential of having the right information from the right assets at the right time can be much more valuable than having the assets themselves.
We decided, together with the other cofounder, that ConnectPoint will be connecting such disparate islands of information into one meaningful piece, bringing a new layer of added value to the companies.
How does ConnectPoint innovate?
Jakub Tomiczek: We are doing a couple of things; we are always listening to our customers to identify new ways to create value through new products and services. We are close to the market to sport trends and new possibilities. By doing so, we have developed 3 new products in the last 3 years.
Finally, we are also connecting with companies that have innovative products that can explore synergies to co-develop solutions for our clients. For instance, we recently participated in the Helsinki Challenge, a competition aimed to decarbonize the district heating of Helsinki. We prepared a proposal together with other 5 companies from different countries to tackle the challenge. Our proposal was within the top 10 out of 252 applications, and we are currently in conversations with some municipalities to review our solution.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jakub Tomiczek: Although we operate in an industry that is not so severely and directly affected by the crisis, such as gastronomy, it is impossible not to notice a certain slowdown. Both some of our regular customers and new companies with whom we talk about cooperation approach with some reserve to new projects and investments. We saw most of this in the first wave of the pandemic, but it is still happening now.
Fortunately, we have not had to downsize. Nevertheless, managing a team in times of pandemics is a bit more difficult. We are an IT company, we have three offices – in Poland in Warsaw and Częstochowa, and in Germany in Dusseldorf. Our employees, on a daily basis, even before the pandemic, often worked remotely with the use of modern tools. This form of communication and organization of work in the company is nothing new. The pandemic only forced more remote work and severely restricted the use of the office, but we see that for many people, this is a difficult situation. We try to support our employees in this. For example, the company works with a psychologist on a regular basis who has put together a lot of guidance for the team and can be reached out to if needed.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jakub Tomiczek: Our customers are mainly large enterprises. We were accustomed to regular participation in thematic conferences and relatively frequent face-to-face meetings. This has all become digital, and we started using more tools for online content management and organization. The main challenge we see are not the tools themselves, but the fact that it is harder to catch attention and engage the people now when they are constantly flooded with information without leaving their desk.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Jakub Tomiczek: ConnectPoint benefits from state and EU grants for research and innovation projects, which certainly helps to stabilize the business in difficult times.
Your final thoughts?
Jakub Tomiczek: Covid-19 has undoubtedly had an impact on our activities, but we see it more as evolution, not revolution.