Katherine Broder | CEO | GeoMax Positioning

Katherine Broder | CEO

Interview Katy Broder – Customer proximity and focus

GeoMax claims to be close to its customer in the field and even says that this is a big part of its success. What does it mean for you to be close to the customer?

As you already mentioned, it is key to our success and always has been. I think you can see it very clearly in the way we design our portfolio, especially focusing on workflows and the way that we present our solutions in the market. They are very close to the applications, very close to the user group and we aim to stay close. We have interactive exchange platforms where we continuously provide information which is probably something that our competitors are doing as well. However, we offer services that enable users but also distribution partners to reach out to GeoMax directly to provide input. And, we offer services that are designed to be adaptable and flexible to customer needs.

Why do you think that the closeness to the customer contributed so strongly to the success of GeoMax?

I think it is really the nature of our organisation. On the one hand, we are a newer organisation, being in the market for 11 years now. Being young,we have a set up that provides quite some flexibility on the organisational side. If we look at other companies, and I don’t mean to criticise, some organisations are very large and the nature of such organisations is of course processes which make things go not very fast. So for us, we have a quite dynamic organisation and even though we are growing quite strongly we strive to maintain that dynamic and flexibility. This is because it is one of our core values. We have proven success as we have been able to convert partners but also users because we were capable of providing that flexibility and closeness. So, it is a key part of our value proposition.

Would you say that closeness to the customer is the key to success for every company?

I think it comes down to who our customer base is. We are all human. In a world where a lot of things are becoming more and more standardised and we see that there is clearly a need, even in construction or is consumable businesses, that people want to have personalised things. I think the success of smartphones shows this very clearly. Before the products in the market were standardised. The good thing about standardisation is that gives you security but in the end we want the devices to meet to our needs. With the smart phones, the devices might be the same but all the different apps and the ability to customise the interface makes you feel as if it was designed for you. I think this is a generational trend which we address. Our customers get a certain standard and quality but we also grant them some flexibility. Of course, there is a price to that and this is part of our business but I think it really is a trend that all industries are facing even the quite conservative ones like construction. At the end of the day, it is all about individuals and that they would like to have workflows that fit to their projects. Even though the processes within the projects might be the same but still there are different needs.

On top of that everything is going more into digital so that makes it even more complex in a sense because every stakeholder has different needs for information. Everybody is generating data but nobody knows what to do with it. The winner is the one who can make data digestible for customers, the one who brings it all together and filters it so it becomes understandable and useable. Construction still is an inefficient industry, because nobody has been able to provide anything where all different information and data can be integrated into one platform. So being able to provide flexibility in the software to be able to provide that value to the different stakeholders is key.

Where does personalization for GeoMax start and what does it look like?

GeoMax mostly provides personalisation on the software side. We put ourselves in the shoes of the customer. Why does he have to perform the application and then we come in when it comes to the how. At the end of the day customers don’t actually use any equipment they have a need for information and how they get to the information should be as convenient and accurate as possible. Therefore we put that information to the forefront and that’s where the software and the workflow come in. Of course,our customers use equipment to get there and in this area, we might provide what is comparable with what others do in the market. But coming just from the philosophy side in terms of personalisation and customisation we handle things very differently. For us, customisable is to really understand there is this a special needs on projects performing different applications, for example,having certain interfaces to overlay data. We want to enable users to capture data that they are then able also to interface to other programs or other devices that actually capture different data. Having that ability of not being in a world that is isolated, this is a huge benefit.

Are there issues you face in using this strict customer-focused approach? Different customers request different things. If you try to perfectly satisfy each one of them you might find yourself all over the place.

I think there we are in a lucky situation that we are in the industry we are in. We have a very strong understanding of the industry because we are close to the market. Knowing of course that there are some trends, because you are right, customers can come with wishes that we have to distinguish; is it a onetime wish and there will be no benefit for us because there is nobody else facing the same challenge we could help with it? We funnel requests in the processes through portfolio management, we look at business cases, we analyse the requests and see if we can multiply them somewhere else. But then we also sit down with the customer and check if it makes sense for us to just include it or then we charge for it.

I would say our customers are all in the professional segment and if we look at the software and how it has been evolved, it has exactly grown like this. We were able to expand it and to cover some application needs through customers that addressed us with requests. Therefore we are always very open to that. Of course, the wishes have to be managed but we are in a lucky situation that we have a very professional relationship to our customers so we don’t get a thousand wishes or some that wouldn’t make sense.