On 26 July 2010 the starting signal for the company was given with the signing of the foundation charter. Over the years ondeso has developed in an impressive way from a small start-up to an innovative medium-sized company.
In this interview ondeso co-founders Rolf-Dieter Metka and Martin Stemplinger as well as COO Peter Lukesch report on the ups and downs of the past years and take a look into the future.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Stemplinger: Through many years of working as an external consultant in the field of client management of production computers for global corporations, such as Siemens AG or Continental, the necessity to develop a product based on the needs arose from daily work. A first prototype was already successfully in use at Continental on several thousand computers worldwide. Encouraged by this experience, the decision was made to found a company in order to develop a product that could cover these requirements. A name that carries the product concept approach was quickly found – ondeso – on demand software or on demand solution. Since our product focused on the security of production (rollout of current software and operating system updates), we decided to use a logo that represents the wheel of a safe.
Metka: I was familiar with being an entrepreneur, because I wanted to act and decide on my own initiative, with all the opportunities and also risks, and I wanted to do so very consciously! As I had already been active as a founder and entrepreneur since 2000, the decision to join ondeso was made very quickly. In 2009 I was introduced to Martin Stemplinger and Nicolas Voggenreiter and they introduced me to their software development idea. I had already come into contact with production and IT in the 80s, which is why their product idea immediately grabbed me. Based on the existing software ideas and my experience in the field of software product development, business development and management, it did not take long to start ondeso together with the other two founders. After a few months we had worked out a business concept and a first business plan together. And immediately the founding journey began – because less than 8 months later ondeso was launched!
Metka: Since our target market, industrial IT, was not clearly described until 2016, customers naturally had no clear idea of the challenges and problems that computers in production would bring with them as networking increased. So one of the biggest hurdles on the way to founding the company was to find and approach customers who were already dealing with the challenges of industrial IT or who were open to these topics.
In addition, there were two situations in the company’s development that involved major existential uncertainties: in 2014 we had not reached the third milestone agreed with the investors and in 2017 we had to overcome a liquidity bottleneck. Looking back, we would therefore certainly have structured the financing and the accompanying contractual arrangements differently. As you can see, there were also difficult times at ondeso, but we were always able to overcome these with our team and emerged stronger from each problem.
Lukesch: The special thing about ondeso is, on the one hand, the software that has been especially developed for production. We try to put ourselves in the customer’s position already at the time of the requirements and to understand their pain and profit in the daily work with our products. The focus is always on the person who actually does the work. Our primary perspective is to support this person in the best possible way and still enable and maintain the specified processes. We always look for the optimal and most efficient solution together. We do not adapt the processes of companies to our software, but use it as a powerful tool to create benefits and added value for our customers.
Metka: The enormously long lifecycles of production plants and their IT systems represent an almost insurmountable hurdle for the managing products known from the office world. Thus, a niche market has developed here in which our products and also our competence are almost unique. The ondeso products enable customers to manage their production IT systems in a fully comprehensive and integrated manner. The heterogeneous IT landscape is precisely served by our systems.
Stemplinger: In the last four years, the OT market and thus Industrial IT has been shaped by the Industry 4.0 developments and has taken on an enormous dynamic. This applies both to the operator market with the manufacturing companies and to the equipment market with all its machine and plant manufacturers. The products of ondeso can be used for both target markets almost unchanged. We have pursued and implemented this strategy in software architecture and product development right from the start. Our great competence in industrial IT and the flexibility of our products are decisive for the new OT market.
Stemplinger: Before the foundation of ondeso, a necessary business plan for the planned company was created. With this business plan we participated and won the Munich BPWN in March 2010. Thus we were able to achieve the first success before the actual foundation, which was confirmed 2 years later by the IKT Gründerpreis 2012 and thus gave the company the necessary tailwind for the next tasks. The next, but even more important milestone among the successes was the group contract with Daimler AG, which enabled ondeso to win the flagship project.
Metka: The confirmation that the product and market strategies we have already set up for 2011 have proven to be accurate and correct also filled us all with pride. Our customer portfolio is also certainly something to be proud of. If we could concentrate more intensively and more freely on the open market, far greater successes could be achieved. Unfortunately, this is a very German phenomenon. However, we are most pleased about the growing team of companies. We have selected all employees precisely in line with our corporate values and fundamental management and development strategy. In this way, we were able to implement our ideas of leadership and corporate performance, of team and success orientation, even against emerging resistance from the corporate environment. How else would it have been possible to convince one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world and to use it in all its factories around the world with, at that time, a team of 20 people.
Lukesch: Within the management board, we roughly divide the tasks into the areas of corporate management, administration, sales and marketing (CEO), development and QA (CTO) and professional services and product management (COO). Teamwork plays a central role for us. From the very beginning we made sure that all ondeso employees fit into the team and have the willingness and motivation to grow together with ondeso.
We always master challenges together and then share the successes. Our department heads have also grown up with ondeso, have established themselves, take on responsibility and are constantly expanding the teams and internal processes so that we are also optimally prepared for future challenges.
Metka: We would certainly have to consider the specific situation at one point or another. Since our foundation was based on very solid and also valid experience, market knowledge and observations, we would certainly do it! We were and are fully convinced of our visions and concrete ideas.
Metka: I would ask them, ” What is stopping you?” Not because it’s hard, you don’t dare, but because you don’t dare, it’s hard. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman politician and philosopher, once said that. Thinking and acting in terms of opportunity is a significant quality of the founding spirit.
Lukesch: I would give young companies in the current situation the following advice: Concentrate on what is important and essential – your core product and the development roadmap. Better to do one thing well and correctly than to diversify too much too early. Convincing and certainly necessary products and services are needed, even during and after the current pandemic crisis.
Metka: We have managed the company in a very good and outstanding position. Well prepared for crises, such as the current one, and placed in a technology market based in Europe. Our central goal is to achieve the market penetration that has now begun as a consistent continuation of our corporate development strategy and to permanently exploit the opportunities that arise. In addition, the implementation of our sales and partner strategy, which is based on three pillars: direct sales, partner sales and sales with and via machine and plant manufacturers, is also at the center of our current activities. This will make ondeso a medium-sized leading software house in a market that is innovative, growing and anchored in Central Europe and Germany.
Thank you very much for the interesting interview and all the best wishes for the future!
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