Interview with Werner Krandick, CEO of Jodocus GmbH
To get straight into it, please introduce yourself.
My name is Werner Krandick, I am 56 years old, happily married, have two children, and am now a proud grandfather. I was trained as a spinner – and today I am the Managing Director and CEO of Jodocus GmbH. Of course, there were a few stops in between.
What stops have you already mastered on your professional path?
There are a few, but I'll try to limit them to the most important stops: As I just mentioned, I'm a trained spinner. I was also a shift supervisor at two of Germany's leading spinning mills. But at some point, I wanted to achieve more. That's why I went to night school to get my "Mittlere Reife" and my "Abitur", completed a degree in computer science in Osnabrück, and switched to telecommunications via a few "detours". In between, I also attended the Management Academy in Essen, which later helped me a lot in many management positions. I was the technical director at Strato Medien AG and, as CTO at the time, built up the web hosting project. I then founded Life-Medien and made it a success. After that, I went to Kabeldeutschland and implemented a new customer and mail system and ported the customers (10 million users) from the old system to the new one – of course with a team. Then 1&1 Internet AG and Web.de GmbH were on my way.
That means you've been around a lot through your work?
Absolutely! I've worked in Poland, Russia, South Africa, India, Ukraine, and of course, all over Germany. It was always a great experience to be able to work with such different people across all areas.
Do you remember a project that was particularly challenging?
Yes, I implemented a special and challenging project at 1&1. At that time, the company only had 1,800 employees. After I had created the concept for internationalizing the hosting products, I moved to the mail division. There I managed the complete restructuring of Web.de, GMX, Mail.com, and India.com. For example, I was also responsible for building up the India.com portal in India – to 23 languages within 6 months. As the saying goes: Just do it and get to work!
So working together quickly and efficiently is also an essential factor for you. How important is a well-coordinated team to you?
That's the most important thing, and I've always had a team of my own around me. That's how I was able to realize many – seemingly impossible – projects. Because I knew exactly how my team worked most efficiently. And I always knew: I'm only good if I have good people around me.
A second very important point in this context is: We spend the main part of our lives at work. So I also try to create a positive work environment. A rather familiar working environment based on the utmost trust – supported by mutual help and, above all, fun and enthusiasm for the job.
When did the time come that you became enthusiastic about the technical side?
Always! But I didn't have a chance to get into this field right away back then. When I was little, I always wanted a radio – a CB radio with three channels and a transmitting power of about 15 km. So I already had a technical affinity as a child. Even a spinning mill was highly automated back then – even more automated than other industries. There were compound machines to link process steps together. Robotics was used here in particular. This excited me and I worked on the fine development of the newly introduced machines during my time as a spinner. In the medium term, however, this led to the extinction of the spinning industry. This was because ever newer technology and machines made it possible to process cotton efficiently directly on site. Nevertheless, my technical affinity was always there, and that was also the reason why I graduated from high school. I then went on to study computer science.
You have already worked in many successful companies, why does Jodocus exist now?
Because I had the idea of digitizing business processes, based on Jira from Atlassian. In a software company where all the founders of Jodocus worked, they wanted to implement an ERP system. However, as the company's Unit Head at the time and Managing Director of its cloud subsidiary, I was against it. For one thing, ERP systems are very costly, complex, and expensive – especially to customize. For another, they force a company to adapt its way of working to the ERP system and I found it absolutely inappropriate for an agile software company. It would have hindered the company in its way of working – and even more, blocked the work in the team. That's when I had the idea of mapping all business processes with Jira and told my colleague, friend, and Co-founder of Jodocus Jan Szczepanski about it. Without further ado, he built a prototype in Jira which we used to prove that this approach works. Unfortunately, that software company didn't want to go along it. That's why I left because I believed in the idea and with me came the other 4 founders of Jodocus.
What happened then?
Five of us tweaked the idea and clarified the cost side and possible support. And so we founded Jodocus as a UG in April 2019. With an approach that is exactly the opposite of that of an ERP system: Companies can map their processes in Jira as they need them. And at a much lower cost, much faster, and much more flexible – all in the cloud. This is exactly what we saw as an opportunity and have implemented it very quickly and successfully so far.
What milestones have Jodocus already achieved in its short existence?
For a young company, there are quite a few milestones in such a short time. Clearly, I see the founding of Jodocus in April 2019 as an Atlassian Solution Partner as the first milestone. The next big step was of course the first customers – followed by the development of our first own apps for Jira. We were also able to hire our first employee in the founding year and even close the first year with a plus. In the second year, we continued in the same way with collecting milestones – especially in terms of growth at all levels: We achieved a balance sheet growth by a factor of 60. We also grew strongly in terms of personnel: by a whole 400 percent and now have 26 employees at Jodocus. We have acquired more major customers, for example, the Otto Group. And we founded Polymetis: Our very own app development company as a sister company to Jodocus GmbH. And recently – this could be in record time – we achieved the Platinum partnership of Atlassian. This means that in less than two and a half business years, we have made it into the top 10 Atlassian Solution Partners in Germany. A great success which is due to our great team, our partners and last but not least our customers. A big thank you at this point!
Why is Jodocus so successful?
We have focused on cloud technology from the very beginning. We have a high level of expertise in cloud migration. In addition, our people have a high level of expertise in customizing Atlassian's software. At the same time, we are honest and authentic. And we focus purely on Atlassian products – quite deliberately. Our customers also feel this expertise.
How did you know to focus on the cloud right from the beginning?
If you had looked closely at Atlassian's pre-announcements, you could guess that it was going to the cloud. And at Jodocus, we all agree that the future is in the cloud – especially in the area of digital business processes.
Do you think that's why customers want to work with Jodocus?
Yes, among other things. As cloud experts, we are of course in great demand – especially when companies are looking for a future-oriented partner to digitize and sustainably optimize their business processes.
But we also hear from our customers that we are different, think and act differently. And that goes down really well.
You have a principle that is also deeply anchored in the corporate culture – what is it?
Because we are first and foremost about people, one of the best-known maxims at Jodocus takes top priority: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" by Immanuel Kant. This principle accompanies us every day as a living corporate culture – both in the team and in cooperation with our customers and our partners. We fight together for everything we do, what is important to us and what we stand for. This is how we set course for joint success as a strong team with our customers and partners.
Coming back to your recent milestone: What does Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner status mean?
Expertise by Atlassian. For me, it was a dream to be one of the top 5. But now, after 2 years and 4 months, we have already achieved Platinum status and jumped to sixth place in the Atlassian Solution Partner list. As of now, we're aiming for first place – because we trust in ourselves as a team and know we can do it.
What opportunities do you see from the new status?
The perception among customers is now even better. We are at the forefront, appearing high on the Atlassian partner list now. And we benefit from even better support from Atlassian itself.
The collaboration with Atlassian has been very good and close since the beginning, right?
Yes, we work closely with Atlassian's cloud development. Because we don't just want to provide consulting and everything that goes with it for Atlassian products. We want to work with Atlassian to develop innovative, future-proof solutions, for example for Jira in the cloud. That's why we are also one of seven Atlassian Cloud Preferred Partners worldwide. And that makes us proud as a young company, of course.
What is Jodocus' next goal?
We want to continue to grow and achieve further entrepreneurial successes, which – and this is very important to me – we can experience and of course, celebrate together as a team. As an overriding goal, we can state: We want to increase market share for Jodocus. And not to forget Polymetis: Here we want to bring the Polymetis Appsuite to the market and establish it.
Please explain: What is Polymetis?
We separated the development business from the day-to-day consulting work. This allows all employees to focus precisely on their area of expertise. Nevertheless, Polymetis thrives on the fact that we – Jodocus – pass on our experience from the customer to Polymetis. So: What does the customer need? How does he work and think? Etc. Based on that, our developers can precisely innovate new, really useful apps that make a difference. The beauty of Jodocus and Polymetis is that because they are sister companies in a corporate structure, they can not only cross-fertilize each other's knowledge but also help each other through possible lean periods.
Where will Jodocus be in 10 years?
In 10 years, one of my colleagues will be Managing Director. Jodocus will be represented in several countries and will be known as an international specialist for the Atlassian Cloud. And I'll be there for the Christmas party – in a walker if necessary ;-)
What do you enjoy most at Jodocus?
The conversations with the customers. The conversations in the teams – the conversations with all the people around Jodocus. Interpersonal contact with all people is very close to my heart. And I think it's fantastic to create opportunities and see employees develop – professionally as well as personally.
What else absolutely needs to be said?
Jodocus has to make a profit just like any other company. However, we do not stand for pure capitalism – but rather for the social market economy. That is why every employee receives his/her share in successful years – from extra salaries to benefits, such as company car, job bike, pension plan, etc. It is important to us that those who work must also live. It has to be a balanced way of working.
I also often feel like I'm in the role of a coach. Of course, I am the Managing Director and also bear the corresponding responsibility. But I also want all employees to meet their own requirements and develop themselves.
That's why Jodocus is still very much "Werner-branded". However, I would like to move away from this in the next few years. Nevertheless, I hope that Jodocus will adopt some of the things I stand for: Humanity, putting employees first, profit sharing – things like that. But it is of course the case that Jodocus will also go its own way – with all its personalities adding up to the overall picture and bringing in their own focal points. But one thing I know will remain, and that is our principle: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, Jodocus GmbH specializes in optimizing ITSM processes and digitizing business processes with Atlassian products. From its locations in Hamburg, Hörstel, Düsseldorf, Kiel and Kulmbach, the well-coordinated team of IT and cloud experts as well as specialists in process and project management serves a wide range of industries. Starting from medium-sized companies and large enterprises such as German banks and insurance companies, it is now expanding to international big players.
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