On the merger of Heidelberger and Neo 7even
BY TEMEL KAHYAOGLU
Neo 7even’s turnaround. We would like to find out how the 100 percent investment of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen affects the software company by asking its leaders. How will the enterprise and its solution look in the future? Seven questions – seven answers.
Marco Kahler is a trained Industrial Clerk and IT Consultant. Initially employed as Managing Director of a software company, he then moved on to become a Departmental Head and Supervisory Board Member for a media firm. After this came the transition to Consultant and Sales Manager for a PIM manufacturer. Following successful sales activity he took on the task of Sales and Product Manager for Neo 7even GmbH.
René Schieber has been employed by Heidelberg since 1998. He spent half of his career with the company in positions abroad, in Singapore, China and India in order to promote new business fields in the areas of consumer goods, consultation and software. He has been responsible for systems business at Heidelberg and has been Managing Director for Neo 7even since October this year.
Mr Berti, apart from yourself, a second man from Heidelberger can now be found in the management of the Neo 7even GmbH. What can we expect from the new dual leadership?
Christopher Berti: With this new dual leadership, we increase the clout of our company. René Schieber brings his experience of many years in international sales from Heidelberger and will lead our operations from the city of Siegen. My task will be the integration of Neo 7even into the Heidelberger Group. In this context, we have already implemented the first applications internally, meaning Heidelberger’s new online shops for the consumer goods business are powered with data from NEOzenzai®. Furthermore, we are working with Heidelberger’s distribution on market access in order to offer this additional solution to our customers worldwide.
This means there is internal demand at Heidelberger as well as the aim to advance your business internationally. Why has Heidelberger Druckmaschinen chosen you?
C. B.: At Heidelberger, profound changes were introduced some time ago and the firm invested heavily in the digital business. This has the software business as a core component, as revenues in traditional printing presses have ceased to show an increase. With Neo 7even, we point our customers to new business opportunities, to offer services before the data on the press is published. Our enterprise is an agile, dynamic software company, whose focus is on the application by the customer. Thus our product has become a part of our Prinect Suite as Prinect Media Manager.
The Prinect Media Manager can thus be likened with NEOzenzai®. In the USA, you are already getting a lot of attention.
René Schieber: Yes, indeed we are very proud that we were able to win another prize with our Prinect Media Manager. The GATF Award from the Printing Industry of Americas is the most important award for the graphic industry worldwide. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen has already won some of those prizes and the products have been very successful in the market afterwards. Especially the modular nature of the product, the ability to integrate with other products via individual interfaces or an API as well as the process-oriented approach of the UI had the jury convinced.
What practical effects has the Heidelberg management had on your business?
R. S.: Quite a lot. To give you an example, I would like to mention our development team. With Matthias Beyer, an experienced Development Manager from Heidelberger who also leads the team at Neo 7even. This means changes and we are improving internal processes significantly. In the course of this development, Scrum has been modernised and – more visibly for our customers – a reliable release planner with roadmap and four releases per year has been introduced. Therefore, we can respond quickly to our customers’ requirements and desires and offer our maintenance contract customers an improved software four times a year.
How do you work together with partners? Is it worthwhile for companies to not only use your product but to also enter into a strategic partnership with you?
R. S.: It is worth it for both us and our partners. We are pushing for several forms of partnerships. First, technology partners provide software, which we will seamlessly integrate into our NEOzenzai® before we start to sell it ourselves and also manage projects. Yet, even more interesting are our implementation partners. Here, we offer businesses such as media service providers, agencies, software companies, and consultants the chance to earn money with our product and to present its customers with more solutions. Implementation partners are qualified partners who have undergone our training to be able to implement NEOzenzai® for their own customers independently. Distribution partners are allowed to include our software into their own sales portfolio, which they round up by reselling our solutions. This partnership approach is designed to ensure that the applications of our customers are implemented as required.
Where do you see the medium-term orientation of your software in the future?
Marco Kahler: There are tasks that we can solve very well already like the multi-channel publishing needs of our customers, for example. But there remain tasks we still are not able to solve completely, but which we see as an important milestone in the future: a full range of MRM. Here, we already include a media asset management system in our portfolio and our NEOzenzai® Flow already covers the workflow-based work in media production. However, we have not been satisfied with our marketing calendar and therefore are currently developing a significantly improved version to be included in the upcoming release. With the new marketing calendar, we round off the MRM requirements in a first step and are thus able to offer the planning phase in marketing as a perfect addition for our customers.
Are you not leaving the area that omni-channel publishing traditionally covers, the roots?
M. K.: No, for us this represents a useful extension of our software. We will not forget our roots, on the contrary, we are expanding this area steadily. We are working on our own new E-Commerce module to allow our customers seamless omni-channel production. The Shop module is successively refined and – not to forget – we offer comprehensive solutions for the connection of digital marketplaces. NEOzenzai® Class fully supports our customers in terms of classification, BMECat and e-catalogues The NEOzenzai® catalogue allows you to display all print advertising media on pages to browse. Our new API will make it even easier to create interfaces to any output channels as well as social media.
The Neo 7even GmbH from Siegen is a subsidiary of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. It is considered to be one of the pioneers in the development of browser-based marketing management applications and with NEOzenzai, offers the world‘s only media production system with Mind Map User Interface.
NEO 7EVEN GmbH
Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
This article was published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue Q4 2015. Picture credit © NEO 7EVEN