Harald Grumser: Output Management Is Becoming Increasingly Transactional And Is Going Into Cloud
Interview with the founder and CEO of Compart
1. Mr. Grumser, as a German company Compart has been present in the market for more than two decades and now has a strong international orientation. What makes you successful, especially when you look at your "home market", the DMS industry, which has been characterized by numerous consolidations in recent years?
Harald Grumser: We have always focused and concentrated on the technological components. In other words, Compart has developed over the years into a reliable supplier of a platform that fulfills all customer requirements for handling documents. In short: We have never been a classic DMS provider.
2. Initially you were considered a pure conversion specialist, but today Compart offers a comprehensive range of solutions for document creation, processing and output management. Why - in one sentence - does a company need Compart solutions?
Harald Grumser: In all internal and external communication, documents are the interface from and to applications or business processes, i.e. to obtain data from documents and to create documents from data - this is our task today. Documents are data in action.
3. How do you position yourself between the DMS/ECM providers on the one hand and SAP on the other? Your website states that you are setting the standard for multi-capable document management systems.
Harald Grumser: We see ourselves as a hub between these applications. We have always been able to convert and process documents, whether it is Word, PDF, AFP print data or SAP-GOF documents; we are now also able to convert data, regardless of whether they are available as CSV, XML, JSON or SAP-RDF. But we especially love documents with data.
4. The fact that output equals paper printout cannot be talked about exclusively anymore. What share do paper-based processes still play in companies today?
Harald Grumser: Paper - or let me call it A4 - is becoming less and less, but as long as people still want to provide their documents with two holes to store them in the living room cupboard, we will still have to serve this channel. Whether we print these A4 pages or send them electronically no longer matters.
5. Let's get to SAP: What does Compart offer in the area of print preparation of SAP data?
Harald Grumser: We have been supporting SAP customers in mass output for over 15 years now and they convert billions of documents every year with our solutions. And even if it is still in the good old SAF-GOF format, now also with Unicode and Smileys.
6. In your opinion, how does SAP manage to successfully assert itself with its products against powerful competitors such as Datev, PSI or MS Dynamics for decades now?
Harald Grumser: Let me answer with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein: "You should make things as simple as possible - but not simpler". While many vendors actually only simplify things, SAP has always offered the complexity that the world has, and not just praised it.
7. Running business in real time, developing new business models - according to SAP, the new S/4HANA product generation will do all this and thus promote digital transformation in companies. On the other hand, how can modern output management support digitization strategies?
Harald Grumser: To put it bluntly: output management is becoming increasingly transactional and is going into the cloud. Whereas in the past it was mainly batch jobs with hundreds of thousands of documents that were involved, today it is more a matter of hundreds of thousands of transactions with one document. This has a considerable impact on the solution architectures.
8. The use of smartphones and tablets in business makes information available everywhere. Fiori Apps and mobile applications from SAP partners can also be used to trigger many ERP processes while on the move. Do you also need document processing solutions in this context?
Harald Grumser: The design of a document that is to be displayed on a smartphone in both paper and fully responsive form requires completely different approaches: I am no longer allowed to "paint" documents. This means that it is not a question of "filling" a given standard page format, usually A4, with graphic and text objects. Rather, you have to describe the documents for the most complex channel. If you think "digital first", you can also do a "little paper" too but it doesn't work the other way around.
9. As a member of the board, you're expected to do a lot of work. Which character traits are an absolute must in order to be able to assert yourself as an entrepreneur?
Harald Grumser: Always maintain a positive attitude toward the tasks. A trust in the people and in the curiosity of a young person will take you half the way there. The second half is perseverance and some luck, which comes almost automatically.
10. And what does your work-life balance look like? How do you recharge your batteries in your free time?
Harald Grumser: I organize myself with few simple rules: Assessing important and urgent things correctly, when time is short 90 percent solutions are always better than no solutions and on weekends and holidays I consistently do not read any e-mails.
I have the gift of being able to switch off quickly and I prefer to do this with friends and family.
11. Keyword reading: Prose or non-fiction?
Harald Grumser: Prose hardly plays a role in my life anymore, but I'm still a big fan of John Irving. His book "God's Work and the Devil's Contribution" was a special attraction for me.
I read a lot of technical articles about business and IT topics, and I'm particularly interested in IT standards. Many of them are the result of the admirable cooperation of many very intelligent and committed people.
12. Which book has captivated you most recently and why?
Harald Grumser: For more than 15 years now, I have been reading a few hours a week in an online, somewhat different kind of book, in which I myself contributed hundreds of hours in the beginning. But I probably won't be able to read it to the end. The title of the work is "Wikipedia".
13. Suppose you had the opportunity to rebuild the company: Which mistake or detour in the past would you rather save yourself in retrospect?
Harald Grumser: Almost all young entrepreneurs make the same mistake and so did we 25 years ago: You try to stand on several legs instead of concentrating on one thing. In the first eight years, we were more of a consulting company with software solutions, but now we are more of a software solutions company with consulting. It wasn't until the dot-com bubble that we changed direction.
14. Finally, the question: Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
Harald Grumser: In five years, we don't want to have to travel back in time with our customers through 30 years of legacy in IT, but rather talk to everyone about a modern, standardized, transactional world of document and case processing based on cloud computing, in which architecture is obvious and whose components are as easy and convenient to handle as driving a car. Admittedly, some optimism is still needed here.
(Source: S@PPORT, March/April 2019)
Compart is a leading global provider of scalable, high-performance, platform-independent solutions for Omnichannel document and output management. Headquartered in Germany, the company has been active in the market for more than two decades and has offices in Europe and North America as well as a partner network in Latin America.
The DocBridge® product family, designed, developed and maintained by Compart, covers all areas of document creation, processing (conversion, modification, indexing, bundling) and output (dispatch, archiving), including quality control for all physical and digital channels. The solutions support both high-volume batch and transactional processing.