Into the future with more market proximity and new power
BY JÜRGEN BURGER
Since 1st July 2015, the asim GmbH of Waiblingen is a subsidiary of comosoft in Hamburg and thus belongs to Evers Frank Group, one of the leading printing and publishing companies in Europe. Peter Jozefiak as CEO of comosoft as well as the asim GmbH, and Benjamin Ferreau talk about the takeover’s background and the opportunities for the company and the market associated with it.
Mr. Jozefiak, how did this merger of two companies that both work in product communication come about?
Peter Jozefiak: Sometimes things just belong together and then come together – such is life. We are excited about the merger of two companies, which might serve different industries in their core, but share the same goal: to support customers with product communication. At the end of the day it is a long and fascinating history, but to keep it short: Druckhaus Waiblingen was looking for a new home for asim GmbH and it’s globally operating customers. Mr. Villinger (Managing partner of Druckhaus Waiblingen) has long known the Evers Frank Group, and in particular the ppi Media, also a company of this group and sister company of comosoft. He knew comosoft would be the right home for the asim GmbH. Now, ‘the best of both worlds’ has been merged: asim as an expert for the industrial sector and comosoft with its two products for the B2B and B2C multichannel commerce.
What advantage does the change hold for the asim GmbH?
P. J.: comosoft has operated worldwide for over 20 years as PIM and omni channel commerce system on the market. We know how to build software and have the necessary power to drive innovation. As part of Frank Evers group and especially with our subsidiary ppi Media, we have access to a large pool of experts and can scale in all divisions. It is here, where our new partner, the asim GmbH will benefit in the future. Over the coming two years, we will develop a product for our customers that is to meet future market requirements. Additionally, our existing clients will be presented with the opportunity to actively participate in the product’s design.
What goal are you pursuing with the acquisition?
Benjamin Ferreau: Our goal has always been to provide our customers with platforms that enable them to meet the challenges in the multichannel media production. We always take into account the complete process: from product data creation and refinement and scheduling through to the production of promotional materials. Obviously, the whole process is always controlled via user and workflow. The respective core processes and requirements of the different target markets comosoft knows for trade and asim for industry down to the smallest detail. This, we intend to expand with shared expertise and combined impact. Moreover, all clients participate in comprehensive modules and offerings such as the Marketing Resource cockpit, the Online Marketing Suite, the powerful Print plug-in, and much more. In the end, only one thing counts: We want to be the one to-go contact in the field of multichannel media production, one where customers know they are in best hands.
What advantages does this development entail for your existing clients?
P. J.: It is important for our customers to know that we will support asim base at least until the end of the year 2017. We are of course aware that a high integration of Asim software into the system landscape of our customers exists and we need to provide appropriate and innovative solutions in this regard. We will take that into account and plan to introduce first ideas already at the beginning of this October.
Will the Waiblingen office be kept?
P. J.: Yes, by all means. A large number of comosoft customers operate from southern Germany. Already at the beginning of last year, we started to look at how we can implement a more spatial proximity to our customers. Now, with the acquisition and the ability to rely on an existing infrastructure, we will introduce an additional branch office in Stuttgart-Waiblingen and will thus be able to support both our industrial customers as well as customers in the mail order business and trade in the best manner. We will start with 15 employees initially, who are all industry and trade experts.
What challenges exist today for your clients in product communication?
B. F.: The challenges our customers face in product communication are still the same as before: to reach people with their products in order to make them happy. The challenges are manifold: certainly, we have industry-specific requirements in this field. Considering the classic B2C market, we will find that the ‘touchpoints’ for comosoft- and asim customers are expanding. It is here, where the customers of our clients take the decision whether to buy or not to buy.
The same is true for consumer loyalty. The number of these important points of contact increases vehemently. For more and more people the ‘Mixed Reality,’ that is the fusion of reality and the digital world, is already quite normal. The triumph of internet-enabled mobile phones is the main driving force behind it. Hence, two storylines now usually have to be considered, between which the buyer moves back and forth with virtuosity: the online and the offline narrative.
In your opinion, what distinguishes a good solution provider in the product communication industry?
B. F.: We both quite agree in this realm: understanding ones customers and their challenges, detecting challenges early and always finding a way in which clients can meet these requirements. As software providers, we also have to be able to suggest measures they might not have considered themselves yet. Of course, this might lead to discussions but mostly these have ultimately led to good solutions. On top of that, as a solution provider you should always have a nose for additional products in the Media Supply Chain which can be covered by close partnership and cooperation if applicable. This is precisely the manner we go about resource management in marketing. In line with the motto ‘You do not have to reinvent the wheel,’ we cooperate with Upper Network in this regard and furthermore provide our customers with MARMIND, a marketing cockpit designed for clients to execute Resource Management across the board – standalone or fully integrated. To us it is important to show “one face to the customer,” as we call it – that lets us stand out.
What personal challenges does this task carry?
P. J.: Apart from the almost ridiculous travel schedule, it is a great challenge to combine these different segments of commerce. I, as a native north German, have already been accustomed to working in southern Germany for years, and am always happy when I get the chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery, the great climate and savour lentils with spaetzle noodles above all.
B. F.: From my perspective, the personal challenge lies indeed in connecting the most diverse retail segments, I agree. Because it is no longer just about features and functions today. It is about the entire media supply chain through to multiple output in the wide range of communication channels instead. Our credo is “We love Multichannel Media Production,” and that is what drives us every day – especially me personally.
The comosoft GmbH, with headquarters in Hamburg, is a solution provider in omni channel commerce for B2B and B2C companies in the areas of trade and mail order. Since July 2015, the enterprise has extended its solution portfolio to include the industry sector.
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue Q3 2015. Picture credit © Dietrich Christoph Müller