Impressions from the cplace Day 2017


by Prof. Alfred Katzenbach (photo Sendler), Katzenbach Executive Consulting

Prof. Alfred KatzenbachThe collaboration Factory AG, founded in 2014, organized the "cplace day" for the third time on October 19 in Munich. The namesake is the product of the company, the planning and control software cplace. More than 120 participants - customers, partners and employees of the company - were able to learn in ten lectures about the concept and the performance of the product.

For me, this event was an impressive proof that digitalization needs new approaches and lean, innovative and agile companies. The collaboration Factory seems to do something different - and more successful - than others.

Dr. Rupert StufferWith this company Dr. Rupert Stuffer (photo collaboration Factory), a well-known figure in the field of project management, in 2014 created with his experience and competence, but above all with his innovative strength, something completely new. For this he has gathered around 30 excellent people, with whom in three years things have emerged that have exceeded all my expectations in terms of quality and scope. It is a prime example of how the processes of change in digitalization work and in what a short time, amazing results can be achieved. This requires not only a modern software architecture, but also a contemporary partner concept and a customer interaction that differs from traditional approaches.

With a small team, a software platform based on the latest technologies has emerged that can very efficiently combine a large amount of information. At the same time, a dynamically configurable app interface has been created that allows users to configure the images they deem desirable for their daily work. For this purpose, visualization libraries are available that can be easily used. The software can be run in a variety of operating modes, from a classic in-house IT operation to a public cloud solution. Different stationary and mobile devices can be addressed flexibly.

The range of applications goes beyond the classic project management with cross-linked scheduling. For example, solutions for portfolio management, strategy controlling, maturity management, cost management and risk management were also presented.

How can it all work in such a short time of only three years?

Here I come to the essential experience that I was able to gather on this day and which motivated me to write this article: It concerns the partner concept.

On the one hand the collaboration Factory cooperates with other innovative companies and provides their software with a "shared source concept". The partner companies, such as Redpoint.Teseon from Garching or QuinScape from Dortmund are thus able to create their own applications and add them to the base. In several partner presentations, examples such as dynamic networking and mind map connections or also an app for project time recording were presented.

On the other hand, the collaboration Factory also cooperates with established service providers such as NTT Data, MHP or msg Systems, to realize the customer interfaces for the usually large customer companies.

The third aspect is the partnership concept with the customers themselves. In the customer presentations by Continental, Porsche and Volkswagen, it was impressively demonstrated that the preparation of the solutions does not have much in common with a classic customer-supplier concept. Rather, an agile cooperation model is lived here in partnership that enables customer-friendly solutions to be created in a very short time.

glass case collaboration FactoryAfter the event, I had the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes, or better, into the glass case (photo collaboration Factory) where this kind of collaboration takes place at the collaboration Factory. There, employees of the company sat and stood with those of major customers and those of other software and consulting companies and worked together on solutions. That looked a lot more like Silicon Valley than the usual way of working in Germany, which is tightly bound by rules and laws concerning the collaboration of employees from different companies.

In any case, the naming of the collaborative Factory does not seem to be a coincidence, but rather a basic attitude. On this day, I was able to experience how modern and agile cooperation concepts can work and what can be achieved with them.

But I also went home with a big question mark, namely the question of how these cooperation concepts of the 21st century fit together with the legal framework conditions - such as regulations of contracts for work and temporary employment - of the 20th century. I have no answer to that question. But it will determine our future to a certain extent. Maybe only one thing will help here: just do it.

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