In a service enterprise like Induxx, employees are the most important asset, truly the beating heart of the organisation. We therefore like putting them in the spotlight.
Induxx employee Jaap Saller in the spotlight
Jaap Saller is a PIM consultant. He tells us how he landed in our sector and shares his work experience during this difficult COVID-19 period. Are you curious about his story? Then be sure to read on!
Hey Jaap, how are you doing?
Hey hey! Really good despite the abnormal circumstances. I certainly have nothing to complain about here!
Great to hear! Given these ‘abnormal conditions’, is working from home going well?
Actually, yes! As PIM consultants, we are of course partly used to this, since our customers and tasks give us the freedom to do so. After a recent move, I was in the process of setting up a separate office space at home. It was funny that my desk was set up and ready during the first weekend of the lockdown (first wave). The ex-bathroom had to go, but I am now well set up and it works well.
Fortunately, just in time! So working from home works well for you. What about team spirit & motivation?
Pretty good! We had a remote cocktail night & poker night with the whole team, which was great fun! I think we are especially lucky that we have a manageable team size (10 employees). The internal communication is going very well, as well as our cooperation.
After the first lockdown, we returned to our headquarters in Aalst fairly quickly. We have a fairly large space available there, which ensures that we can work together at a safe distance from each other. Of course, you notice on those days that the motivation is just that little bit higher. Before COVID-19, everyone went home immediately after an intense work day, but now you see that most of them stay longer to chat.
Social contact does indeed give a boost, you go home with a smile and a positive feeling. How did you end up in this sector?
I have to dig deep into my memory for that! I actually just ‘stumbled into it’. I have a graphic and digital media Bachelor’s degree, supplemented with some extra training in business and IT. Logically, I started working in the sector I studied. From the graphic world, I quickly came into contact with everything pertaining to data. More specifically, this involved direct mail, personalised print and web-to-print applications. These web-to-print apps are now very user-friendly, but back then, this was all still quite new. My interest and passion in PIM & MDM, the work I do today actually comes more from a former role as a product manager. When you have a PIM system within your company, you can automate a lot of things. Since I have been doing this, I understand the customer’s side much better. Where do they want to go and what do they want to achieve?
How did you end up at Induxx?
Before I started at Induxx, I had already been active as a PIM consultant for 5 years within the BeNeLux region. The name PHPro was not unknown to me at the time, because I regularly met them at clients’ premises. They had a strong interest in PIM systems and implementations. My very first contact with Akeneo took place at a Belgento conference, an event that no longer exists. This was a kind of Magento conference, co-organised by PHPro. It was there that I accidentally attended my first presentation of the Akeneo platform, where it quickly became clear that this would be the fresh wind in the PIM and MDM landscape. At the time (around 2014), this concerned Akeneo version 1.0, while other PIM systems were already many product iterations further, clearly a big difference. A while later (around 2016), I was invited for an interview at Induxx about the establishment of a new company, later to be called Induxx, with specialisation around Akeneo PIM. I did not hesitate for a moment to quit my current job and go 100% for Induxx!
Very impressive how you are so dedicated to Induxx. What is your role within Induxx?
As a PIM consultant, I guide clients from A to Z through their PIM process. From demos, workshops, analyses, go-lives to training sessions. Actually, everything outside the technical implementation and development. A PIM consultant with us can go broad as our domain is not demarcated so to speak!
Nice that you know so much about the whole PIM process. Akeneo has no secrets left for you anymore! As mentioned before, there are several PIM companies/systems on the market. What distinguishes Induxx from these competitors?
At Induxx, we are and remain modest. What makes Induxx unique is that the focus is 100% on Akeneo specialisation and not only on executive consultants. In both areas, namely in consultancy and development, we have also gained a lot of experience in e-commerce (Magento, Shopware…) & print. Our developers don’t sit still. They have extensive experience with Akeneo integrations. I immediately think of numerous ERPs, our CHILI plugin for Akeneo PIM, a web-to-print application we developed… In my opinion, our experience with both Enterprise and Community projects (and customers) makes us unique.
So basically, you are constantly expanding Akeneo’s functionality by developing integrations and new features?
Indeed. Our customers come (and have come) to us with many specific questions and needs. This doesn’t scare us off, quite the contrary! Such questions help us to improve the platform. It is a challenge we do not shy away from. This is how our CHILI plug-in came into being, born out of the need of an existing customer to set up flyers within Akeneo with a direct link to CHILI publisher.
Really interesting. As a customer, that amounts to true added value! What was your coolest project so far?
Not to give a political answer, but I don’t really have a preference. With every project I look back on, I am like: “Ah yes, that was fun and challenging”. Of course, there are projects that are more extensive in terms of custom functionality or challenging in terms of design. These I find the most fun to do. The customer’s enthusiasm also does a lot for me. The best projects are those where there is good communication and interchange between customers, consultants and developers.
Where do you see yourself still growing or learning?
You come across something new in every project, so you learn automatically. Sometimes I would like to learn more about the technical part of Akeneo. At the moment, however, my current tasks are broad and challenging enough.