“We want to push the limits of what is possible, that’s why we came up with iObchodník,” says our CEO Kamil Kušnirák in an interview with Solitea
I guess the name of your company speaks for itself. However, when I looked at your website, I didn’t feel you only focused on the base. Rather, I view you as technological visionaries who want to bring something new. Mediocrity doesn’t seem to interest you. So who and what is SmartBase?
You are actually very close. SmartBase is indeed a smart base. We want everything to be built on firm foundations, to which we add the smart value. However, there is also another dimension to this, which is important for our customers. We want them to know they can always rely on the smart base because it is strong and stable.
With Solitea you are working on the iObchodník module. When did this cooperation start and what was the impulse for it?
We are keen on finding synergies with other companies. We see this as a benefit for end users. Our cooperation with Solitea arose because your people are thinking along the same lines as we do. Firstly, there was our team which met with customers who approached us with their requirement to create a customised ERP add-on for the online environment. As these requirements kept coming up, we started to think about how to get the most common scenarios to customers without having to go through the torture of customised development. Secondly, there were people from Solitea, who I value particularly for their openness to new ideas. Although at first it may seem that we come from different worlds, we have found common ground. This is how iObchodník was created.
I think iObchodník is a very interesting project. What does it offer Money ERP users?
It is a connection between age-old rivals, the offline world full of closed installed desktop apps and a fast online web world that enabled the origin of iObchodník. It is proof that also different worlds can create a perfectly functioning synergy. In this way, customers benefit from costs saved on a difficult and expensive process of customised development as well as the speed and mobility offered by a web solution. Salesmen equipped with iObchodník obtain an advanced assistant that helps them serve a greater number of customers.
How long did it take to develop iObchodník and where did you draw inspiration for its modelling?
It was about one and a half years from the first meeting to the launch of the test version of iObchodník. This shows the long process that each customer has to go through when developing their own solution. Not to mention the financial cost.
Another advantage of this solution is that it is a cooperation between two companies – Solitea and SmartBase. We can thus leverage a wealth of experience not only of people with knowledge of the subject, but also those who meet end users and know their needs.
Added value is provided by the experience of the environment of product development for businesses. Combined with a strong base in cutting-edge technology, it is guaranteed to be a success. iObchodník has a very clear layout, with elastic search, speed and mobility.
What was the biggest challenge in its development?
To satisfy end customers because their needs are connected with the world of ERP systems. This means high-quality search, filtering, recording of large amounts of data, high availability and overall clarity. To achieve this was a real challenge.
Do you think that these solutions are the future of e-commerce?
Definitely. The fast world we live in requires tools that will enable us to keep up. I assume that processes will digitise to such extent that almost the entire relationship with end customers will move to the online world. Solutions like iObchodník will become a sort of interactive meeting point, an online place for a fast, clear and factual discussion, a place where both parties will confirm a deal and, instead of shaking hands, will receive an e-mail or notification with a record of their discussion and an automatically created order. Does it sound like science fiction? Maybe a little bit, but we see it as getting ready for the future. If we prepare solid foundations now, in the future we will be able to offer customers solutions they are not even dreaming about right now.
What are the current e-commerce trends? What inspires you in this area?
We follow foreign trends, while also listening to the local market of Slovak entrepreneurs. We rely on facts and figures to make decisions, which greatly helps us in finding economic potential. The latest trends include B2B zones and education. Businesses no longer rely on being on the market for 20 to 30 years. Especially in the online world they have shown keener interest in customer needs. Suddenly, they want to know how their brand is perceived. They wonder if their website is modern and dynamic enough. They are thinking about how to provide high-quality staff training. To put it simply, they wonder if their online presence is as good as their offline business. This creates demand for the segment of apps that support these requirements, namely B2B zones, e-shops, and educational apps. Naturally, in an ideal world all this is automated and interconnected.
Connecting ERP systems with e-shop. Why is this so important for entrepreneurs?
Over the years, businesses have reached a point where they have a system for all their activities. However, this situation has changed with the arrival of online and digitisation. Current systems can no longer satisfy all end customer requirements as well as the online activities of the business as a whole. The replacement of these systems in order to try and achieve perfection in the form of system simplicity is pure fiction, which can be dangerous.
A need arose for new complementary systems, but without the need to change long-established processes. Interconnection and mutual communication of individual systems in order to meet overall requirements has proved to be a suitable method. Each system thus participates in its part of the process and together they form a functional unit.
The benefit of these solutions is their autonomy and the specialisation of each unit. Each of the systems can be extended independently of others as necessary and specialises in its part of the work.
The replacement of the entire system is a time-consuming and costly process, which entails considerable risks of failure as regards standard activities, such as invoicing, shipping or production. Such a restriction, even for a short time, can be fatal for a business.
Inter-system integrations are thus a secure means to gradually supplement and expand the system portfolio in response to market requirements without a lot of risk or an enormous impact on finances.
The theme of our magazine is connecting. That’s why I have to ask: What have you gained from your alliance with Solitea?
Aside from the fact that we got to know excellent people at Solitea, with who we click as people and at work, this has created space for us to collect feedback on our products and services. Together, we have reached a situation in which the requests and wishes of customers are not only heard, but also incorporated and made available within days or weeks. This perfectly closes the entire cycle and offers indisputable benefits to end customers.
Thank you for the interview
Viktória Pavlová from Money ERP, Solitea, talked to Kamil Kušnirák.