1stQuad is still on the road to success and is expanding. CEO Michael Hofer reveals interesting facts from last year in an interview, gives insights into the future, talks about the 10th anniversary and introduces a new product.

Michael Hofer, CEO

The year 2017 was a successful year for 1stQuad. How did it go in 2018?

We succeeded in confirming the previous year’s result – almost contrary to expectations, because 2017 was really an absolute top year. We assumed that we could not just repeat this. But we even exceeded 2017 sales in 2018 and increased them from CHF 4 million to CHF 4.7 million.

How was that possible?

With the substance, i.e. intranet projects based on Wizdom and individual developments, we were able to continue seamlessly from 2017 to 2018. New, large projects have also been added. And in 2018, the Process Management division really picked up speed with the AgilePoint product and generated additional sales.

Does more projects mean more employees?

Yes, we were able to recruit several very good people in 2018, across the whole spectrum – SharePoint/Office 365, development, consulting, process management and administration. Today we are in Zurich and in our new branch in Berne with a total of 16 employees. And we have expanded the nearshoring team by five people.

Were there any hurdles to overcome?

The workload was very high, which was challenging for all of us. And the customer structure and requirements are changing. We therefore had to adapt to the changed environment.

Let’s move on to the current year. How did 2019 begin?

We were able to pursue various major projects and entered the new year from a secure position. It also shows that we are benefiting greatly from decisions made over the last two or three years. For example, the decision to rely on holacracy for corporate management. Or to get support in software development through nearshoring. The choice of Wizdom for intranet solutions has also proven to be a wise one and is constantly generating revenue.

So what happens next?

In the first half of the year, we will certainly continue to draw on the success of recent years. However, the demands placed on intranet solutions continue to develop. Much is in motion. In recent years, we have focused on establishing the cloud as a platform for corporate IT. This has happened. Now the focus is on the applications themselves. We can also see that companies have done their homework on digitization. Today, automation and process management are becoming increasingly important – and these areas are also becoming increasingly important for us.

What does this mean for 1stQuad?

We must renew ourselves now, 2019 is a year of transformation for me. This is also evident in our environment: Microsoft, for example, is increasingly talking about teams. And simply porting applications to Azure is no longer the latest trend. When it comes to the cloud, integration and interfaces come to the fore.

2019 1stQuad celebrates the ten year old. How has the company developed?

In the beginning there were two elements: firstly what we do, i.e. SharePoint, and secondly how we do it – the Solution Architect as consultant, developer and support provider in personal union. This has changed over time. Today, the focus is no longer on SharePoint, but on the Digital Workplace in all its forms. Web-based business apps have been added as individual developments. And, as already mentioned, process digitization and process management.

What changed in the company’s vision?

At first, the vision was simply to be the best SharePoint specialist. Our slogan was “We speak SharePoint” for many years. Then we went one step further and put the digitalization of companies and processes as well as comprehensive consulting in the foreground. At the moment we are in the process of sharpening this vision and above all our portfolio even further – so to speak “Version 3”.

What does that mean?

So far, we have spoken somewhat vaguely of solutions, products and technologies. In the future, we want to focus more clearly on our competencies and communicate this. For example, we have extensive experience in compliance, collaboration and communication. And we are strong in business applications for aviation. We also have a really cool corporate culture, with the Solution Architects and the way we do nearshoring and deliver projects. For example, we don’t stubbornly work according to Scrum, but adapt the method to the project. We want to work all this out even more.

With deema, an “Employee Mobile App”, 1stQuad has just launched a new product. What is it all about?

On the one hand, deema is proof that we understand each other on mobile apps. And the product comes at exactly the right time. Many companies are ready for their own employee app, which offers more than standardized SaaS solutions or different apps for different tasks. And it runs on all platforms up to the smartphone, so that the entire workforce from the office to production and field service benefits from it.

What functions does deema offer?

At the beginning, most companies want the same from a mobile app: news, group chat, employee directory, documents and a good search function. Other features in demand are push notifications and single sign-on. Data sovereignty is also extremely important: Swiss companies want to know their data in-house and not somewhere in the USA or China. We have analyzed the market, found no solution that offers all this and developed deema.

In a nutshell: What is deema exactly?

deema is a company-owned app in the branding of the customer, which offers all basic functions and can be extended by connectors. The first version connects to Wizdom, Release 2 offers a SharePoint connector that covers various SharePoint services. Further integrations and functions will be developed according to the Lean Innovation principle based on customer requirements.