Businesses using ERP today expect both longevity and innovation. Abacus masters this by combining careful technological planning with substantial creative freedom for its staff.
“Our key focus is on setting new trends. And so we choose the right technology to do that,” explains Philipp Zwahlen, Co-Head of Development at Abacus, which is based in St. Gallen. One example is AbaWeb. In 2007, this was one of Switzerland’s first SaaS offerings. The app allowed an accountant’s corporate clients to log in and check their balance, for example, while the accountant continues to take care of bookkeeping.
Abacus has a dedicated innovation department, which reports directly to the CEO. The innovation department analyzes new concepts and technologies, developing prototypes to test their assumptions. If the prototypes turn out well, the idea is handed over to the development teams.
These each work with different ERP modules (financial accounting, payroll, accounts receivable/payable, real estate, etc.) and are largely autonomous. “We don’t tend to look over our people’s shoulders. There’s a clear goal, and other than that, just: make something cool.”
Trust your instinct
The HR solution launched in 2018 is a fine example of this. We specifically selected the Vaadin Java framework, then built a prototype which the corresponding team used to develop a deployable solution.
Our teams are so autonomous that there isn’t even a uniform approach to software development across the company. The teams decide for themselves whether to use Scrum, Kanban, or another method.
The way innovation happens at Abacus is closely linked to the company’s nature as a product manufacturer. “We have to guarantee our customers that our products will last, which is why we make tech decisions with longevity in mind. Following all the latest hype is just bad for business,” Zwahlen explains. This cautionary approach has proven itself many times over. “Many times, we’ve built tools and frameworks ourselves, even though there were already solutions available on the market. But these would sometimes disappear again in a few years. If we’d taken the obvious approach back then, we’d have had massive problems.”
Aside from longevity, the other reason for making tech decisions on this basis is the complexity of the material. “It takes time for anyone to really become familiar with a module. Developers don’t just need to understand the technology, but the process, too, and the regulatory environment,” Zwahlen says.
Alternative concepts and challenges
The developers’ breadth of knowledge is also why product improvements are primarily initiated at the team level. “Technology provides the basis for product advancement.”
Abacus has gone against some of the common thinking in IT, like the idea that only companies that follow the latest tech trends will succeed, and that only companies like this can attract younger employees. “We have a lot of young people and there’s very little turnover,” says Zwahlen.
The company is supportive when employees want to switch around within the company, for example, when a completely new team is being set up, which was the case with the development of the HR solution mentioned above. Half of the team was new to the company, while the other half transferred internally. “Anyone looking for a challenge will find their place here,” says Zwahlen.
-->Table of contents show detail hide detail
- Index: -->Details
- Editorial: What do developers think? -->Details
- Basic Information -->Details
- How we do tech - Abacus -->Details
- Developer Profile -->Details
- How we do tech - approppo -->Details
- Programming, scripting and markup languages -->Details
- How we do tech - Opacc -->Details
- Frameworks, libraries and tools -->Details
- How we do tech - Adobe -->Details
- Databases -->Details
- How we do tech - Adcubum -->Details
- Platforms -->Details
- How we do tech - Trivadis -->Details
- Preferences and tools -->Details
- Carreer Aims + Opportunities -->Details
- Ethics & Technology Trends -->Details
More articles on General Administrative
- Thursday 31.10.2019
Einfaches Active DirectoryGeschulte Systemadministratoren sind teuer. Deswegen sollte ihre kostbare Zeit sinnvoll verwendet werden. Das ist das Ziel des ADprofiler von taNET.
- Tuesday 12.03.2019
Standardkonforme GeschäftsverwaltungFast alle Organisationseinheiten der Aargauer Kantonsverwaltung nutzen seit Jahren eine webbasierte GEVER-Lösung. Die neueste Version treibt die Standardisierung voran und modernisiert die Bedienung.
- Monday 10.12.2018
Collaboration-Plattform statt DatenchaosMit der cloudbasierten Dokumenten- und Prozessplattform deskOne will die ABF Informatik AG ihre langjährigen Erfahrungen in der Geschäftsverwaltung für die öffentliche Hand auch der Privatwirtschaft zugutekommen lassen.