Hans-Werner Meyer, who has been at AUCOTEC since 1999, is one of the most experienced and important "door openers" for new customers. He is always called on when prospective customers want to know more about the capabilities and possibilities of AUCOTEC software after making initial contact at trade fairs, conferences or via the Internet. Meyer is part of a team of consultants who visit interested companies on request and explain the spectrum of AUCOTEC products and their potential to the decision-makers there – individually tailored to their industry and requirements.
Mr Meyer, how many presentations have you already given to prospective customers?
I've never counted but it's usually between 50 and 100 a year. In my 20 years or so with AUCOTEC, I have probably given well in excess of a thousand.
AUCOTEC relies on a high degree of standardization in its products. Why not also for presentations, especially when you are still at the beginning of the information phase?
It is important for us to show prospective customers that we understand their industry and its challenges. The requirements are very different in some cases. Nevertheless, we act on the basis of the motto: as much standardization as possible, as much individualization as necessary. With the many presentations that have been developed over the years, we have continued to expand our templates for the various requirements, so that today there is a quite comprehensive pool of examples for a great variety of requirements.
How complex is it to prepare such a presentation?
This still varies a lot as the requirements are constantly changing. But thanks to the pool, we find similar examples of solutions for almost every new prospective customer, which we only have to adapt slightly. Before we had created this pool, it took us almost a week to prepare a two-hour presentation to build customer-focused examples.
What are the key points of an individualized presentation?
As already mentioned, it always involves understanding the processes and current working methods of the prospective customer. Only then can solutions to optimize them be developed. In a presentation dealing with Engineering Base (EB), the added value of process optimization must be clearly emphasized as the system has enormous, unique potential for exactly this purpose.
In a second step, a Proof of Concept (PoC) is very helpful. This additional service from our consulting team has been used more and more frequently over the past few years now. We analyse the exact processes directly on site with the prospective customer. From this – and if necessary also from RoI calculations – we create fully customized project plans in the PoC. In the end, a complete cost-benefit analysis illustrates the advantages of Engineering Base very realistically and precisely tailored to this user.
What are the most important questions that prospective customers ask you at the first presentation?
Above all, the straightforward integration of the engineering system into the existing tool and IT landscape is very important for larger companies. The fact that EB is easy to handle here with many standard solutions is seen as a clear plus.
One of the "newer" requirements is the ever more frequently asked question about web capability. EB's openness thanks to its modern 3-layer architecture is the answer here. Our Web Communication Server offers a wide range of options for this. This makes it easy not only to view data from anywhere in the world but also to work with it, e.g. on a tablet or mobile phone.
Another important point, especially for operators, is the transfer of existing data. They need intelligent transfer of external data in order to reduce their tool landscape. EB offers this significant added value with a variety of wizards that help to apply this data.
What arguments/skills are most persuasive for future customers?
On the one hand, there are the EB answers to the most important questions given above. So first of all, installation and simple integration into their own IT landscape. The fact that EB's standard components SQL Server and Visio are already available in most companies is an immediate plus.
Another important point is the low training input. Here Microsoft Visio scores once again. Since EB's graphical front-end is intuitive and familiar to most users, they can get up and running very quickly.
And last but not least, what never ceases to win them over is that Engineering Base is such an open system. Security of investment is a fundamental argument, and EB's openness offers companies the security that future requirements will also be able to be easily implemented.