10 yrs @Componence

Componence is a Portal Solution Provider for the Enterprise market. They provide standard reusable software solutions and promote the usage of it actively, as too much custom software is developed with 99% certainty that someone else has written it before. To do their job Componence has worked with teams in Ukraine, Romania, Poland and India. They are very close to people who still have not yet had the chance to get on a ride on the train of prosperity. Still in these countries there are hundreds of millions of people trying to survive with a monthly income less than 200 Euro’s.

To proof that ‘IT can deliver more for society’ and to actively contribute to it, we are committed to provide Enterprises decent alternatives for portal development services. In our opinion big System Integrators, even the big ones from India, charge too much for development services and implement too much overhead. Eventually it all results into less scope, max budgets and probably great expectation management. At Componence we rather try to deliver great scope, reasonable budgets and good expectation management.

We chose to deliver our services on the Portal domain as such projects can usually deliver high added value for it’s users, while investments are usually very high. With our reusable software and offshore development services we are sure that a stronger leverage can be achieved in delivering greater functionality for full service portals.

Personally I really think that there is no other more specialized portal development company in the Netherlands than Componence, support both Open Source portals like Liferay and more corporate compatible technology like Oracle Weblogic Portal and Oracle Webcenter Portal. Especially with their blended source strategy Componence has often won tenders from other system integrators as they can offer total project teams based on tarifs between 50-65 Euro per hour. And believe me when I say that Java portal is NOT cheap! I’ve seen many portals easily cost hundreds of thousands of Euros, even with the lower rates of Componence. Just imagine how much they can cost with average hourly rates of 90 – 110 Euros by other system integrators.

I’ve had a great ten years at Componence, from November 2001 to October 2011. It’s been a great ride from being a complete junior to the CEO. And during the crisis, which first started in 2008 when Oracle acquired BEA Systems just to be followed with the financial crisis , I stepped down in 2009 after two rounds of restructuring. Closing down our Kiev unit in 2008, which I personally built up, was by far the hardest decision I had to make as a CEO, but I guess it completed my management cycle. Stepping down allowed me to do the thing I actually love most, and that’s to pioneer and to innovate. It actually allowed me to proof that simple technologies like WordPress can also provide portal solutions when you’re trying to understand what Web 2.0 or social media can do for your organisation. In my opinion too many enterprises rely on their centralization of IT infrastructure too much, making it sometimes impossible for business units to try out new online concepts with small budgets like 10-20K Euro. Especial with social media projects, Enterprises should understand that expensive IT cannot activate social behavior that is needed for such projects.

In these past two years I have had the pleasure to envision how the future will be with social media, social business and social capital. Trying to sell many of my visions to larger companies and Enterprises I came to a very valuable conclusion, big organisations are just not ready to really care about relationships with their customers. Short-term gain has higher priority than building up firm relations with potential customers. In my opinion it is very hard, almost impossible, to develop profitable long term relationships in less than 3 months. Many marketeers working at these companies agree with my conclusion, but also accept that they just have to perform and report according to the quarterly financial reports. So it turned out that it’s easier to implement social business ideas at start-ups and smaller organisations. So that’s what I’ve chosen to do after 10 years at Componence; to help new startups and to have some of my own 🙂

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