Swissness in Software Development
Openness combined with purposefulness are the basis for innovation
Since we started our “What is so Swiss about Schaerer?” blog series in early 2021, Schaerer staff from a wide variety of departments have shared with us the virtues they see as being typically Swiss and how they are expressed within our company. “The Swiss are reliable, but they are also obsessed with detail.” “We like to look at things from different angles before we make a decision.” “The Swiss are all about precision, safety and quality.” The wording might have varied slightly, but these same sentiments came up in all our conversations on the matter. Georg Berger, Telemetry Software Product Owner, agrees with all this, but he believes there are another two traits that make the Swiss stand out: openness and purposefulness. In his day-to-day work, both of these qualities are essential to help him reconcile the requirements of customers and the market with the possibilities actually offered by the software.
Our motto at Schaerer is “We love it your way”, which puts the core idea behind everything we do into a perfect nutshell, if you ask me. Our strength lies in equipping machines to meet individual customer requirements. In terms of software programming, for example, this involves designing the touch display to give an optimum user experience and fulfil the customer’s design needs. And more and more of our customers are putting the ability to network their coffee machines at the top of their wish lists. In my role as Telemetry Software Product Owner – a term with its roots in agile software development – I am the link between customers/stakeholders and the Development department. As a product owner I am largely responsible for the quality of the results achieved using our solutions too. My duties include recording requirements, working with Product Management to define a product, then passing that information on to the Development team. I also collaborate closely with both sides throughout the entire development process, present the initial results and forward any requests for modifications. The principles of agile software development allow us to respond flexibly until we achieve a solution that fits the customer’s exact requirements perfectly.
For me, openness and purposefulness are two typically Swiss traits, which are also reflected at Schaerer. If we are to fulfil individual customer requirements in the form of a software solution that will ideally be useful and beneficial to the sector as a whole, we need professional expertise plus exactly these two traits. We need to be open to the customer’s needs – to have a feel for precisely where their problems lie – and have the will to see the job through in order to reach our shared goal. But for us at Schaerer, openness also means identifying new trends early and developing forward-looking, market-defining products from them. We are not known as one of the industry’s pioneers when it comes to digitalizing coffee machine operations for nothing. A striking example of this is the Schaerer Coffee Link digital platform. Since the first version of this digital platform was launched onto the market five years ago, we have continually improved it, taking individual customer requirements, new trends and the industry’s needs into account. Nowadays, our portfolio includes solutions for taking mobile payments and adjusting the coffee machine displays remotely. The latter is helpful when it comes to a number of customer services – for example, the beverage menu on all networked machines can be modified from a central location. This reduces staffing and vehicle costs, making it a sensible choice from both an economic and an environmental point of view.
Our latest development, the customisable API (application programming interface) Schaerer Prisma, meets another key customer requirement and points in the direction of where the trend is headed. In contrast to cloud-based APIs, like those mentioned above, Schaerer Prisma provides a local connection, which therefore allows data to be transferred between the coffee machine and the customer system incredibly securely and much faster than usual. The ability to connect directly to customer-specific apps, software solutions and systems (e.g. CRM or ERP) also opens up an even wider range of possibilities – from linking to apps for ordering and payment as well as creating loyalty programmes and operating coffee machines in unmanned convenience stores.