Christian Walter ist Geschäftsführer und Redaktionsleiter von swiss made software. Bis Ende 2010 arbeitete er als Fachjournalist für das ICT-Magazin Netzwoche, publizierte zuletzt aber auch im Swiss IT Magazin, der Computerworld sowie inside-it.
Working with customers to turn data into business – that is what Trivadis does. This is supplemented with bespoke solutions and the company’s own products. Their work is driven primarily by intense curiosity, and the team’s passion and drive for inspirational innovation.
“The tech world is moving so fast these days that we can’t afford to become too wedded to any one particular technology. It’s much more about setting out a roadmap and deciding how we want to evolve,” says Martin Wunderli, Head of Platform Factory at Trivadis. The tech firm follows three key strategies as it navigates its way through the changing tech landscape: cloud first, no matter whether for applications or infrastructure; automation, particularly in the field of database management; and developing and continually improving new minimum viable products as opposed to building and releasing products that have been a long time in development.
Trivadis harnesses the curiosity of its employees to bring these ideas to life and stay ahead of the competition. It also uses a sophisticated trend radar, which its customers have access to. “Harnessing curiosity doesn’t mean reading blogs in our free time,” Wunderli explains. It’s more about providing space for creative freedom. This is based on a three-tier system. Employees are set a time budget within their working hours in which they can pursue interests relevant to their work with as few restrictions as possible. The aim is always to share what they’ve learned with colleagues afterwards. If a colleague’s informal presentation is well received, they can progress it to tier two by giving a formal presentation at one of the company’s bi-annual tech events. Should there be sufficient demand, the presentation is then converted into a formal training seminar with its own dedicated materials. This training is then repeated and adapted as required. This can also lead to public lectures or whitepapers.
Recommending technologies to customers
One example is Angular, which is currently being used to build most interactive apps for customers. It all started about four years ago with two employees in Zurich, who’d been reading up on Angular. “Our training manager was still skeptical back when we organized our first training session. But now we do it all the time,” says Wunderli.
This bottom-up approach can also be seen in other areas. For example, employees are also free to select the best technologies for their customer projects. “Our people act as both developers and consultants – which is what allows them to act with such expertise,” Wunderli explains. There is rarely a need for input from the management team: “The range of offerings might get cut back every so often, just if things start getting a little too broad.”
The trend radar
Aside from these employee-driven approaches, Trivadis also maintains a trend radar, as noted above, which is used to provide research and analysis for customers. The company also acts on valued input from its technology partners, such as Microsoft, Oracle, RedHat, and Amazon. Formal training is also provided, incorporating both third-party training sessions and courses developed in house.
Employee development is taken very seriously at Trivadis. “An employee can easily invest 5 to 10 days in the informal part alone. Some of the most active will even invest between 30 and 40 days,” says Wunderli. As with so many things, it is up to the employees themselves to decide how much time they want to invest.