Drawn by the Claris platform

Meet the team

Dirk De Wilde
Drawn by the Claris platform

When you ask an employee who has been working for the same company for ten years – in this case Lesterius – why he stays, you expect words like “company culture” and “challenges”. Loïc Eeckhout, however, answers without hesitation: ‘because of the platform’ – in this case Claris FileMaker. His colleague and contemporary Kevin Van den Brande immediately agreed with him.

Not that Loïc and Kevin don’t talk about company culture and challenges, and about responsibility and freedom, but the two are computer scientists at heart. After a first interview with Glenn and Koen, who have been working for Lesterius (formerly SH partners) for 20 years, it is now the turn of Kevin and Loïc, who recently celebrated 10 years of service.

The parallels between the two are striking, they did not know themselves how much they resemble. Both were bitten by the IT bug halfway through secondary school. They spent many hours in front of the computer, one more for gaming, the other more for programming. A higher study in applied computer science and IT management was the logical consequence.

The first job was also chosen without much thought. A nice offer via a headhunter, and both arrived, with a few months difference, at Lesterius. At that time, the attitude was still one of ‘we’ll see, it’s only a first job’.

Ten years later, they are still with their first company, and have gained a lot of experience. I stayed because of the platform. Claris FileMaker can do an infinite amount. What we learned at school, FileMaker can do ten times faster. That way, we can help companies quickly’, says Loïc. Kevin agrees: “Claris FileMaker is indeed very strong, easy and achieves results quickly”.

Loïc is more focused on smaller projects, on solving concrete customer problems immediately. Kevin is more focused on large projects, often linked to web technology. He links the possibilities that FileMaker offers companies to the possibilities of the internet.

Co-Creation

Crucial in the way of working of Lesterius is the concept of co-creation. Lesterius employees are not programmers who work on an assignment on their own and deliver a computer program x weeks later. Here we talk about consultants who look together with the client at what needs to be done and develop it together.

Loïc: ‘From day one, the customer has access to the application that we develop’. Kevin: “There is contact and consultation every day. Both emphasise the importance of training. The more the customer knows about Claris FileMaker, the more possibilities he will see, the better the questions he can ask, the better the solution will be.

By co-creating the solution with the customer, a Lesterius consultant is also closer to the customer’s employees than to his own colleagues. Before corona, a lot of work was done at the client’s premises, now a lot of work is done from home, in close contact with the client. This gives you a freedom and a responsibility that you often don’t have in a different job’, says Kevin. Loïc clarifies: “What is good for the customer is good for Lesterius”.

Corona

Corona is an event with many tentacles and consequences. The most concrete and immediate was, of course, the need to work in a different way. However, this short-term effect also has long-term effects: the digitalisation that was already underway is being accelerated and expanded. Companies that had been waiting to see which way the wind was blowing now have to work hard to keep up with the new times.

The other side of the corona coin was that exchanges of ideas with customers and/or colleagues could not take place physically. The opportunities to physically attend training courses or conferences were also temporarily absent.
gone temporarily. The alternatives that were built up are good but cannot replace everything.

Keeping up is, of course, a challenge. Asked about the evolution they saw in their ten years at Lesterius, both refer to the technological possibilities that have increased enormously. Claris FileMaker remains of course a tool for internal use in companies, but the possibilities have grown exponentially. Where Claris FileMaker used to stand alone, it is now integrated into websites, accounting packages, …’.

This also broadens our knowledge. We must not only know our products, but also be able to advise our customers. We are not going to charge our customer for ten days to develop his own product when we can link it to a good existing tool in two days’, says Kevin.

Loïc has the same vision on how the technology will develop in the coming years. Low code will continue. There is not always coding needed, you can connect a business with great tools that already exist.’ Blockchain and crypto will continue. More and more is becoming digital and virtual. And who says ‘digital’, says ‘data’. And FileMaker can play an important role in this.

Kevin and Loïc can therefore reassure today’s gaming and programming adolescents: ‘If you are bitten, if you have passion, you can’t go wrong, there are so many possibilities in IT. There are so many technological possibilities, dare to expand your horizon.’

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Automated connection with PostNL in a snap.

Claris FileMaker

Since the advent of the Internet and mobile smart phones, people have started to email more and more when in contact with each other: letters have made way for emails, contracts can be signed digitally (see my other blog post about this) and SMS has made way for apps. Customer contact has never been so quick and efficient.

However, there are situations imaginable in which an e-mail address or (mobile) telephone number is not sufficient. What if your company delivers products or services to your home? At that point a correct address is important. This is where the specialists of Lesterius can help.

Together with you, our client, Lesterius builds a customized solution based on the Claris FileMaker platform. In this solution all data that is applicable at that moment will appear on your desktop or tablet, such as a customer address with postcode.

FileMaker integrates

Contrary to popular belief, FileMaker no longer stands alone. Your solution can link to external data sources and retrieve data. The possibilities are endless, addresses are just one example. These can then be nicely displayed within FileMaker, such as in a Google Maps window or even better: start up your favourite Maps app and let it guide your ride!

The computer does the work

Wherever data is entered, mistakes can be made. These can be overcome with validation, but wouldn’t it be nicer if the computer itself did as much of the work for you as possible? Automation allows us to take over part of the input process. This involves making a connection to PostNL, the authority in the Netherlands, which returns the complete address based on what has already been entered. In principle, postcode house number is sufficient.1

In the Netherlands, PostNL has done a good job with the classification of postal codes. Each postcode has a unique street name. Therefore, an address consisting of at least a postcode and house number is sufficient for delivery. This is different in other countries; postcode areas are larger.

Serving your customers

The advantage of filling in the form is not only for you (the administrator), but also for your customers! They have less work on your web page; after all, some street names are quite long. Moreover, you are assured of a correct address. PostNL offers various services, depending on the size of the search area and the data required.

What to choose?

PostNL offers the following API services:

  • Address check Benelux
  • National address check
  • Address Check International
  • Geo address check National

The product “Addresscheck Basic National” will be discontinued in the near future.

Which service is most suitable for your situation, will become clear in the preliminary process with Lesterius. For example, it may be useful to get coordinates for a precise location on a map. As an example I would like to mention Riet Beheer; they provide maintenance of thatched roofs. This company is actively seeking opportunities to support their primary business operations with the possibilities of modern technology. For example, they not only have drones in operation to track down problem areas and point them out to the customer, but also their administration in FileMaker. Typically, work is carried out on farms in the more remote areas of the Netherlands. The customer does not always provide complete address details required for invoicing. Entering the postcode is experienced as tedious. Through a link to PostNL, data are supplemented and, if necessary, corrected in the format that PostNL likes: “1234 AB GEMEENTE”. (Note: a space in the postcode for readability and then two spaces between postcode and city). In addition, PostNL returns detailed coordinates that can be used to locate it in Google Maps and then mark it.

How does it work?

You decide on an API subscription with PostNL, we can arrange this for you. Lesterius is not tied to PostNL, the most suitable solution from any third party will be discussed with you. We put the necessary code in the solution. This can be a button that sends the address request, but also more automated. It may be that PostNL cannot find a suitable address, in which case the result differs too much from the address details entered. How certain the result is, is indicated in a percentage. Based on this, further action can be taken, for example a Google search. A 100% result is of course entered immediately. If a “loose” search is carried out in Belgium, there is a good chance that several results will be found. An appropriate interface can be created for this.

Interested?

Are you interested in taking the next step on the path of digital transformation? Ensure correct addressing and be sure to reach your customers. Your job will be easier, too. Lesterius consultants in BeneLux and across Europe will be happy to assist you.

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Top three things that prove Claris is the best low-code platform.

The low-code market is booming. According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., “The low code application development platform market accounted for USD 11.45 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 22.7% from 2020 to 2027.”*

Yet fast growth can also lead to a cluttered market, and not all low code is created equal. So how do you choose a platform? Check out three common developer concerns, with proof that Claris stands out as the best low-code development platform.

#1. The Claris platform delivers unmatched reach and depth.

Most low-code platforms follow a similar design: cloud-based, drag-and-drop, and quick collaboration. Sounds great, right? Not always. This cookie-cutter approach often leads to frustration. InfoWorld contributing editor, Peter Wayner, says developers worry low code is “one size fits none.” Peter states, “There just aren’t that many things for you to change, customize, or code and so you’re stuck with them.”

That’s not the case with Claris.

Claris FileMaker — one of our flagship products for custom app development — offers extraordinary platform depth. Small and medium businesses and enterprise-level teams run significant portions of their business using custom apps built with FileMaker. As Eric Astor, chief executive officer of Furnace Records, explains, “If people knew what we are doing with FileMaker, it would blow their minds.”

What makes this depth possible? A big part of the equation is platform completeness. Claris isn’t just FileMaker — it’s also Claris Connect, our workflow automation product. Claris Connect helps users pick the apps and systems to connect, choose the information to share, then automate the way the apps and systems work together.

For example, Eric says he outfits his record presses with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, then leverages Claris Connect to automate reports on press conditions. In an interview with WIRED, Eric notes, “We’re capturing data that only big companies used to be able to afford.”

#2. Low code without limits frees you to innovate.

Some app developers worry that low code may hold them back depending on location or Information Technology (IT) resources. We get the dilemma. That’s why we built the Claris platform based on a philosophy of low code without limits, which includes:

  • Scalability: Digital transformation requires a platform that can grow with your business. Claris makes this possible with our low-code to pro-code design. From rapid prototypes and point solutions to full-featured and future-proof custom apps — our platform enables infinite possibilities. Developers who build with Claris range from everyday problem solvers (like salespeople, marketers, doctors, etc.) to IT coding pros.
  • Built for vast data: Claris can also scale to terabytes of data. Companies risk hitting a data ceiling with other low-code platforms while Claris blows right through it.
  • Cloud-smart: Most low-code platforms reside in the cloud. Initially, this makes sense because it’s fast, secure, and scalable — until you enter the real world of remote work and lost connectivity. Claris understands that the cloud and on premise work best together. So, we developed the Claris platform with a cloud-smart approach that combines the flexibility of the cloud with on-premise apps.

Additional reading: Download our 101 to Low Code ebook.

#3. Claris provides the strength and stability of a trusted brand.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and low-code innovation takes time, too. It’s risky to rely on an unstable start-up company or inflexible provider. If they fail to innovate or collapse completely, your business pays the price.

Claris customers rest easy, knowing they can count on:

  • Stability: With a 30-year head start on our low-code competitors, Claris delivers stability you can trust. Where will start-ups be in five years? We don’t know. But Claris will be here.
  • Help when you need it: Another advantage of 30 years in the low-code market? A strong community. The Claris Community extends to our 50,000+ developers as well as 1,400+ Claris Partners (find an expert here). The Claris Marketplace also offers ready-to-use apps and add-ons. So, when you need help or app inspiration, we’ve got you covered.

In an increasingly crowded low-code market, Claris stands out.

As the low-code market expands, Claris remains the clear choice. No other low-code development platform combines the depth of capabilities, proven stability, a thriving community, and low-code technology without limits.

Ready to discover what the Claris platform can do for your business?

Sources:

*https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/low-code-application-development-platform-market-size-worth-86-92-billion-by-2027-grand-view-research-inc-301122662.html#:~:text=The%20low%20code%20application%20development%20platform%20market%20accounted%20for%20USD,USD%2044.27%20billion%20by%202027

https://www.infoworld.com/article/3438819/why-developers-hate-low-code.html

https://www.wired.com/story/new-startup-no-code-no-problem/?fbclid=IwAR1qpTVe4lngDhDoauN894BLmCPpXMeL2CZ1lTS_xH4wtUxmEqUOra1QJws

 

This article is provided by Claris Inc, An Apple Company. The original blog post can be found here.

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Claris achieves SOC 2 Type 2 and ISO credentials.

Low code promises rapid development and delivering at speed requires confidence in professional low-code software. Information technology (IT) leaders expect technology platforms to be held to stringent security and privacy standards, providing the trusted foundation necessary for digital-first development. With SOC 2 and ISO credentialing, trust is codified in a way that instantly addresses IT security checklists, aligns business needs with IT, and dramatically speeds up delivery of the development backlog.

“Claris has extremely high expectations for privacy and security – the same central concerns IT leaders have – and the recent SOC 2 and ISO credentials validate our commitment to industry best practices,” said Brad Freitag, CEO of Claris. “We maintain our dedication to set the IT standard for professional low code, providing confidence to more than one million active users and 1,500 Claris Partners who use our low-code development platform for innovating digital solutions.”

For SOC 2 credentialing, KPMG, a leading global professional services firm, conducted an extensive audit of the internal controls related to the security policies and procedures for FileMaker Cloud and Claris Connect. The results affirmed Claris’ internal security design procedures and operations meet the trust services criteria for security, availability, and confidentiality issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the country’s largest member association representing the accounting profession.

Given the large presence of Claris’ global customers, FileMaker Cloud and Claris Connect recently received ISO certifications under Apple’s certification process from the British Standards Institute (BSI) for Information Security Management (ISO/IEC 27001) and Personal Data in the Cloud (ISO/IEC 27018). The latter certification is under the umbrella of information security management and contains additional privacy controls and guidance for use when processing Personally Identifiable Information (PII). ISO is the world’s largest and most widely recognized organization that develops and publishes a variety of proprietary, industrial, and commercial international standards.

Now more than ever, cloud service providers must ensure more trust in managing customer data via recognized certifications and attestations. Independent validations of security controls against leading industry standards not only deepen the level of trust and confidence with partners and customers, but also reinforce Claris’ ongoing commitment to a high standard of information security best practices.

“Security and privacy are in our DNA,” said Peter Nelson, vice president of Engineering at Claris. “The achievement of these voluntary compliance credentials demonstrates our deep commitment to providing an innovative and secure platform for our partners and customers around the globe. We continue to make investments in our people, process, and security infrastructure, and our dedication to protecting the privacy of customer data and protecting it against unauthorized access remains one of our top priorities.”

For more information on Claris’ commitment to security, visit these resources:

About Claris International Inc.

Claris International Inc. is the creator of the world’s leading rapid, low-code development platform, offering a suite of services that drive digital transformation in companies from every business sector. The company has more than 1 million active users globally across SMBs and the Fortune 500. Claris, an Apple company, has an unmatched record of business success for more than 20 profitable years. Claris is headquartered in California with operations worldwide, including London, Tokyo, Beijing, and Sydney.

Press contact

Clarity PR, for Claris

filemaker@clarity.pr

630-346-4936

This article is provided by Claris Inc, An Apple Company, and Clarity PR. The original blog post can be found here.

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Lesterius Lab: Displaying data with DataTables framework, part 1.

In todays blog we are thrilled to highlight the R&D work our colleague Glenn Vercnocke performed as part of our Lesterius Lab program. This Lab program allows our team to claim company time to develop their skills and broaden their understanding of different technical domains and trends.

Glenn from our Belgian team did a deep dive into the possibilities of presenting data in modern data-tables, without the use of any scripting. This development method is both very performant on large data sets, quite generic and of course offers all functionalities available from the DataTables framework.

This first part of a two series blog guides you to uncovering this technique which is outlined in the downloadable demo file below.

Stay tuned for part two.

Getting started: Adding a table to the API_simple_demo application

Download the demo file here.

Login: admin
Password: demo

FileMaker 19 Execute Data API script step: https://help.claris.com/en/pro-help/content/execute-filemaker-data-api.html

Documentation on DataTables framework: https://datatables.net

1. Tables

• Add a new table <<tablename>>

2. Graph

• Position the <<tablename>> occurrence on the graph
• Create a new API_<<tablename>> occurrence

3. Layouts

Application layout
This layout is used in your application for data entry.

• Create a layout [<<tablename>>] based on the <<tablename>> occurrence,
• Set the scripttrigger OnExitLayout (used in API_advanced_demo), with parameter
“test=1” & “|” &
“requestDetailID=” & requests::_k1_request_ID & “|” &
“limit=” & requests::query_limit &
If (not(IsEmpty(requests::parameters)) ; “|” &requests::parameters)

The parameter is used to clean up the $$request_JSON[n] when leaving a detail application layout with a web viewer.

API layout
For the Filemaker execute API to work we need an api_layout where the return fields are located.
Need to know, the order of the field objects are important, this has an impact on the column return order. At first run the JSON will be written for you with the fieldnames as column names, these can be changed.

• Create a layout api_<<tablename>> based on the api_<<tablename>> occurrence
o Put the fields you need on this layout , in the objects tab you can see the fields in order from low to high , the API returns the fields in reverse order. So the columns will be returned as ( _k1_country_ID, country code, country)
o You can also add related fields to this layout.

4. Records

• Add a new record in the “requests” table and fill in the data on the detail tab
o Add the description for example <<tablename>>
o Add layoutname api_<<tablename>>

5. Custom functions

• Duplicate an API_query_nnn_otherTable custom function change it to API_query_nnn+1_<<tablename>>
• Edit the new API_query_nnn+1_<<tablename>>
• Modify the API_queries custom function

 

6. Running a request

Select the [requests] layout

Go-to the [requests] layout, and press the “run” button .
The system will get the data using the Execute Filemaker Data API and show it in the web-viewer.

Example: Run the requests … this will show you the request records.

The arrow button brings you to the detail [layout] in this case the [requests]
Right to the columnname you can sort the selection.
The web-viewer data set can be searched.

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With AI-enhanced automations, small businesses can identify new opportunities, reduce costs, and improve productivity. Our profession is helping you orchestrate all moving pieces of AI, enabling you to instantly apply the limitless cognitive power of AI to your Claris FileMaker solution.

This whitepaper covers 5 real-world examples of how businesses are transforming the way they work by integrating AI into their workflows.

The Use-cases we’ll cover:

  • Image Classification
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
  • Tone & Sentiment Analysis
  • Transcribing Audio to Text
  • Automate object counting

Download your copy here.

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Since the early days of computer automation, less paper would be used. Lesterius delivers on this promise, by building solutions that empower clients with the right information at the right time. We figure out together, how to get the job done more easily and with less errors. Piles of paper or letters to be scanned (or faxed) are not the answer. It takes too long and taxes the environment. Instead, we are experts in leveraging the Claris FileMaker platform. This way, we transform your business into the digital age.

But what if there are legal contracts to be signed, you might ask? Can the Claris FileMaker platform do that?

Contrary to popular believe, FileMaker is not a system by itself anymore. It will integrate with other computer systems online, which can make your solution so much more meaningful. Today, Lesterius has partnered with Evidos, to allow our customers to further eliminate paper work from their workflow. Evidos allows to digitally sign legally binding contracts with confidence. Lesterius makes this work seamlessly from FileMaker.

Who is Evidos?

The name Evidos is derived from “Evidence in Online Services”. Based in The Netherlands,  they are rolling out their product throughout Europe. This not only means localised software, but a local team is ready to assist and further develop the product based on local opportunities. Evidos has agreements with local authorities like government agencies, banks etc. to enable identification of the signer. Have your contracts signed with confidence of who signs what, where and when.

Why Evidos?

There are other services that enable to sign a document digitally. Adobe PDFSign and DocuSign are such examples. The latter will integrate with FileMaker through both API and Claris Connect. Claris Connect allows for integration with internet services with minimal scripting. Lesterius can do this for you, if you wish. However, both lack signer identification like Evidos has and DocuSign might require a FM Connect subscription. This is mainly economical when using multiple integrations. Moreover, Evidos offers different pricing plans based on your needs. The entry-level pricing is much lower. Depending on your business rules, a Lesterius digital transformation consultant will propose the right service for your needs and make signing work.

How does it generally work?

Evidos provides a great introduction video which you can watch here.

Based on information already present in your FileMaker solution, the administrator can generate one or a set of documents to be signed. These will have special “moustache”-tags, to designate where will be signed by the contractor and/or your representative(s). Lesterius can help create these documents any way they have to look. Files already present outside FileMaker can be made to work, also.

With the document in place, the FileMaker interface allows to set all relevant options. When set, the file is then uploaded to the Evidos server by the click of a button. Evidos sends the file / contract / agreement to be signed. The signer will be guided through the entire process and can see his / her progress. After proof reading, the user is presented with selected verification methods. Signing in the box as one would do normally with a pen is possible, but not required. In this case, a tabled or iPhone would be convenient. After successful completion, you are notified and the signed document is placed in FileMaker. Evidos will retain your documents no longer than required.

Branding is part of the options and is done in the Evidos web interface. Passport verification is a separate product.

Interested?

Interested to take the next step of the digital transformation of your work flow? You will work more environmentally friendly and work will become easier. Lesterius consultants throughout Europe will be happy to help.

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Employee Spotlight: meet Ulf Bengtsson

Our “Employee Spotlight” blog series places the spotlight on Lesterius employees who tell us about why they decided to join Lesterius and what they do here. At Lesterius, we want employees to look back at their time here and say they did the work of their life at Lesterius. This week we sat down with Ulf Bengtsson to learn more about his career.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? About Ulf when he’s not working.

Whenever possible I’m out in nature. When not wandering through the open plains or forest of Norway, you can find me doing some project on the house or gardenwork. I also enjoy crafting sculptures in different types of stone. Not aspiring to be the new Rodin, but I profoundly enjoy working with this material.

 

 

How did you become interested in this area and what do you think is unique about your career area?

I first time I came in contact with database development when I was involved in a project to build up an environmental organisation.At that time, I was also involved in several sports organisations and soon learned all these organisations were struggling with Excel files and working in such an inefficient way. I strongly felt the desire and curiosity to change that.

Soon, I got hooked on the problem solving part. I fell in love with the Claris FileMaker platform because of it’s tremendous capabilities to develop solutions quickly and flexibly.

Many customers do not have the in-house capabilities to develop the solution they need. That’s when we come in. It is not uncommon that the problem the customer first is focused on is not the main issue in the organisations way of working.. Together, through a co-creation approach, we uncover that the root cause is something more profound.

We aim to uncover these real pain points in the way an organisation works through a (or several) workshop(s) in which the customer is heavily involved. We are then able to present the opportunities a tailored solution can offer and how this solution could enhance the organisations way of working.

For me,  the most exciting projects is to work on companies in their start-up phase. They’re growing and developing. The Claris platforms strength is its flexibility and speed during development and the ability to make rapid changes in an operating environment. I love being involved in developing new functions as needed, adapt the system to the rapid change that a growing company needs. This often means that you are involved in the development of the company’s routines, information and dataflows. Organically we are often consulted also for broader business decisions due to our profound understanding of the organisations workflows and DNA.

What jobs and experiences have led you to your current position?

  • I have a background as an engineer in development of new materials.
  • I was active in sports, also as a coach and coach in areas such as mental training, technical skills, at national team level
  • Archery: personal and as a trainer. Focus on upper body. Creating instruments to measure nerve focus on muscle memory
  • I have worked with Claris FileMaker for almost 30 years in various forms, as a subcontractor -consultant,  started up and ran several companies among which Atatiki SA which was acquired by the Lesterius Group and which I’m now proudly part of.
  • Worked in all roles from developer to project manager for teams.
  • Developed and held training courses for developers in FileMaker, participated in and started up yearly Developer Conferences for the Nordic market (Devcon Scandinavia).
  • Hired as a “crisis” consultant for projects where conflicts between consultant and customer have arisen.

How do you and your team prepare for the start of a new project?

If we can, we start by looking at the customer and their wishes and requirements. At first, we refrain from looking at things with a too technical eye. We want to understand how the people within this organisation work and collaborate. We ask questions like

What is the industry this company is active in? How do they currently work? What’s the corporate culture? Who will be the stakeholders in this project? Where is their focus?

We aim to create a ‘big picture’ for ourselves by gathering the views of as many different stakeholder within the company as possible. Based on that, we can plan for how we will work specifically with this customer and its projects

If the “older” you can advise the “younger” you, how would you encourage yourself and your work ethic for this industry?

I find it difficult to see myself even older, but for those who are younger, I encourage you to spend time learning to understand the users of a system and not just look at the technology to be able to create better systems. Take advantage of the experiences from projects in different industries and use this in new projects, help customers look at problems from new perspectives that others have found solutions in

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The vision of co-creation goes to Germany

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The vision of co-creation goes to Germany

“I like to listen to our clients, find out the way they work, discover the motivation behind their requests, and then work hand in hand towards a solution that makes their operations more efficient, faster, and enjoyable.”

Adrian Nier is the new partner in Lesterius, and brings the vision of Lesterius to Germany: Co-creating the digital transformation with FileMaker, for and with our clients.

“In my experience, when you can reduce the number of clicks that a person performs to complete their task from 20 to 1 or 2, you improve their wellbeing, and in turn the prosperity of the company they work for.”

For Adrian, the FileMaker-platform with its rapid development environment is key to human centricity. It’s more cost-efficient and easier to adapt to the client. The process of going from a requirement to a solution is faster, allowing more interaction with all stakeholders.

Germany is the ninth country where Lesterius is based, after Portugal, Spain, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway. Out of Nuremberg, Adrian will work with nearly two hundred existing clients (developers and end-users), in cooperation with the existing Lesterius consultants, spread around the other offices.

Where does he want to be in five years?
“I want to build a strong team of developers and consultants, working in the spirit of progress for our clients. Both ambitious in their technical goals and socially minded at the same time, so that we can contribute to a better world and a better society.”

Lesterius will have the same offer in Germany as elsewhere, including also hosting, training, coaching, sharing know-how internally and with partners.

Adrian Nier has two decades of experience as a developer, working side by side with his clients, in search of efficient and beautiful solutions. From an early age he discovered his love of Apple products and FileMaker as a tool that keeps improving with new features that make life easier for developers. He’s proud to join Lesterius, one of the many driving forces in the Claris-community that helped bring those features to FileMaker.

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Looking back on 20 years at Lesterius

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Looking back on 20 years at Lesterius

I don’t know what technology or computer language will be used in twenty years’ time, but I do know that it will still be about interaction with the customer, about looking for solutions together. Glenn Vercnocke and Koen Van Hulle have been working for Lesterius for twenty years. On the occasion of this anniversary they look back, and also ahead, to the future of workplace innovation.

Both are experts within the Claris FileMaker platform. Glenn Vercnocke is Digital Transformation Consultant, and was, in his own words, an ‘attic programmer’ 20 years ago when he started at SHpartners (the Belgian predecessor of Lesterius). Koen van Hulle is Business Unit Manager (responsible for hosting) and worked twenty years ago at a company that was taken over by SHpartners after a bankruptcy. That takeover caused the company to double from five to ten employees.
At that time, SHPartners did not even have its own offices. There was no need for that, we worked at the customers’ premises. We would meet at a car park along the motorway and drive to the client together, to work in the meeting room or so. Sometimes we had to ask the customers to move a bit, so we could sit down too,’ says Koen. Glenn adds: ‘I had a whole bag of cables for all kinds of peripheral equipment, wifi didn’t exist back then. Internet was hardly available. We could only read our mails at home’.
The projects back then were different from the projects today. It was very limited, the customer asked us to make sure he could make invoices or quotes, simple applications. It was very technical. We were the gurus, like ‘Mr Doctor’ used to be. Now it is much more of an interaction. Looking for a solution together with the customer. Technology is now more of a secondary concern.
We were pioneers. Twenty years ago, a lot of things were still done on paper. The fact that you could automate repetitive processes was not self-evident then.

Growing with customers
Customers had technological needs, such as the transition from Belgian francs to euros. That is why they came to us. And when we were at the customer’s site, soaking up the atmosphere, we were able to identify and solve their problems. We also grew as a company with our customers.
We never made hard sales. Once there is trust, the questions come naturally. A mistake that is often made in the software world is to think that a solution must be ‘finished’. That is not the case. Software must adapt over the years. Writing software is an ongoing quest. And it works well when the customer is sitting next to you, then you notice where he gets stuck.
Within Lesterius there are of course people with different profiles, one more technically oriented, the other more project oriented. For Koen and Glenn the switch from ‘technician’ to ‘consultant’ went smoothly. Glenn: ‘You just roll into it. You solve a problem, and then they ask you to solve another one. I’m right at home with my customers. I know my customers better than my colleagues, my customers are my closest colleagues. Koen: ‘I have more teams outside than inside Lesterius. It is an exciting variety. Besides, the solution to a problem is not always additional software.
This way of working of course requires from a customer a different attitude than towards ‘plug and play’ software. It is a very good exercise to have to explain your workflow to an outsider. It helps you get to know and understand it better yourself. By taking a step back, the customer sees the need for change. As an outsider, we then have an advantage. Moreover, we come into contact with everyone in a company. As a result, we sometimes even have the most knowledge of all.
The system of searching for solutions together, of ‘co-creation’, requires efforts from the customer. The rule of thumb is that the customer has to put twice as much time in the project as Lesterius puts in. To question everyone, to test, … Therefore, the customer must be given sufficient space to interpret his part.

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Especially in the ICT world, 20 years of loyalty to the same company is rather exceptional. Glenn and Koen give two explanations: variety and impact. Variety because, as a consultant, you work for the most diverse customers, and you can take the experiences of one customer to another. Impact because you see the concrete consequences of your work, the projects lead to visible results.
Koen and Glenn have changed and grown together with Lesterius. Technology keeps changing, more becomes possible, and it also becomes more complex. Therefore it is important to be able to fall back on a broad base and competent colleagues.
The main difference between a software company and Lesterius is that they make software, where we look for a solution. I have seen enough ‘applications’ that are technologically great, but offer no real solution.

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