5 May 2016
Driving IT Change
Combining computer code and people data as it generates analytics across applications, German company Seerene is looking to make the IT systems of large companies more efficient.
With blue-chip firms such as SAP, Mercedes, Adidas and Lufthansa already among its clients, Seerene is ready to take on Asia after opening its regional headquarters at the Hong Kong Cyberport in February 2016.
CEO Oliver Muhr says the idea for Seerene came during an academic research project at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Berlin five years ago, and was initiated and led by company founders, Dr Johannes Bohnet and Marc Hildebrandt. “The premise was: why is nobody able to look at code data and combine it with people data and visualisations to drive change across big IT organisations?”
Seerene was set up in 2012 with the goal of developing an IT solution that united these three elements. While the business was still being developed, several large enterprises enquired about the opportunity to improve their software using this unique approach. Four years on, the company now helps some of Germany’s most esteemed brands fix inefficiencies within their IT networks.
“By mining and fusing information from various existing data sources within a corporation, Seerene provides enterprises, IT services companies and regulators with the ability to make accurate forecasts and timely decisions across all software stacks, teams and technologies,” Mr Muhr explains.
Among its customers are engineering firm Heidelberg, the largest global manufacturer of printing processes. Seerene helped the company integrate complex software into Prinect, a complete workflow management system that provides a comprehensive operating system for job-printing and packaging-printing.
When working with Deutsche Post, Seerene created a series of software maps to migrate application development, break up unwieldy code components and expand test coverage. Displaying application landscapes as a cityscape, with city blocks and colour-coded buildings representing different aspects of code, these visualisation maps enable developers to work more efficiently on code and put forward the case for modernising applications to non-technical senior management.
“When we look across our customer base, it is always the same picture: you can have a software system with hundreds of millions of lines of code and you only have a few areas where you burn the majority of your development capacity. If there are areas of bad code that slow teams down, and lots of development capacity is going into these areas, these are the ones you attack first,” says Mr Muhr.
Entrepreneurial Hong Kong
Mr Muhr says he chose to set up the company’s regional headquarters in Hong Kong because of its central location in Asia and importance as a business hub both regionally and internationally. “Transport links Hong Kong to cities across Asia and the world. All of the region’s key markets are within a few hours’ flight time. We’ve established Hong Kong as our base to grow our business across Asia, but we’ll also focus on business development in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Japan and Korea.”
The company set up in Hong Kong Cyberport to be part of a digital community of like-minded entrepreneurs, says Mr Muhr, noting that its Hong Kong office is for now primarily focused on pre-sales, sales and distribution, and consulting. “Working from Cyberport enables us to meet and interact with a line-up of technology and digital content companies. Many of these firms need our software to advance and can refer us to other companies with similar technological demands. It’s a win-win situation.
“People in Hong Kong are also very open to new things and immediately see the value in our brand,” Mr Muhr. The Hong Kong Government invited Seerene to introduce its solution at a technical seminar at Cyberport, where senior government executives discussed the latest IT trends. Cyberport also invited the CEO to speak at its “Smart-Talk Seminar Series” in February, addressing such topics as how to reduce software maintenance costs and reduce software bugs and other IT risks.
Mr Muhr says Seerene is particularly excited about the Asian market and already has lined up many prospective clients ranging from IT service providers and software companies to customers from the world of industrial and financial services. While the company doesn’t have a specific industry focus, Mr Muhr says Seerene’s services plays especially well in industries where there is a big IT spend, such as telecommunications, software companies and the public sector.
Counting some of Germany’s most prestigious brands among its clients, Seerene is keen to replicate its success overseas. Having recently opened an office in New York in addition to its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong, Seerene is now focused on expanding its global reach.