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Bringing Logic to Microsoft

The modelling software market is highly competitive. 150 providers – of which 45 are located in Germany alone – are trying to persuade commercial customers that their product is the best they can use in order to structure and depict the complex internal processes of their company.

The Potsdam-based company Semtation GmbH has achieved precisely that in an exemplary manner: not only does it equip renowned businesses around the world with its software SemTalk, but the company has also reached the rare status of a “competency partner” of the IT giant Microsoft. The cherry on top: in 2014 Semtation received two prizes in the framework of the prestigious “Innovation Prize IT“ awarded by “Initiative Mittelstand”.

The prizes are still very “fresh”. Just a couple of weeks ago the two managers of the company Semtation, Frauke Weichhardt and Christian Fillies, received both prizes from representatives of the “Initiative Mittelstand”! Semtation received a prize in the category “Knowledge Management“, and one as Brandenburg’s state champion. Altogether 5,000 businesses from all over Germany competed for the prize and Semtation won it with its software solution SemTalk – a planning instrument.

SemTalk can help mainly large businesses and consulting firms to structure, graphically depict and analyse vastly different and complex processes. In comparison to other products by competitors, it bears advantages: SemTalk, for example, integrates with the popular application Microsoft Visio, which is being used by about 20 million clients worldwide. Furthermore, it can be easily integrated into another widely-used collaborative platform, namely “SharePoint”, which serves as a document manager and workflow system. Finally, it also offers numerous sophisticated features.

One of ten Microsoft competency partners worldwide

The fact of the matter is that the IT giant from Redmond in the US state of Washington made the foundation of Semtation possible – at least to some extent. As early as in 2001, Microsoft became aware of the first product of the then freelance developer duo Weichhardt and Fillies. “We were honoured in the framework of the Microsoft XP Challenge,” remembers Semtation boss Frauke Weichhardt, “and we used the prize money of €10,000 as the basis for starting our own company.”

Today, Semtation, which is located at the edge of the palace garden of Sanssouci, employs 10 programmers and customer service advisors. German and international clients, such as Japan Tobacco International, Bayer and Vattenfall, rely on the innovative solutions of the mid-tier company, but the number of customers from the public sector is also growing steadily. Among them are state ministries, municipalities, higher education institutions and theatres.

The company from Potsdam has meanwhile reached the status “Gold Application Developer” at Microsoft. That is the highest level in the framework of the partner programme. With regard to the software “Visio”, Semtation ranks among the illustrious 10 companies worldwide that advise Microsoft on Visio’s further development.

It cannot be done without skilled employees from the region

Semtation’s company philosophy is delightfully down-to-earth. “From the very beginning we put a lot of emphasis on organic growth,” explains Frauke Weichhardt. This also implies that subsidies are used only in exceptional cases and merely to jump-start certain projects. Thanks to the fact that the business had focused on the development of products and not on business plans, it survived the bursting of the Internet bubble and it was even able to strengthen its own market position.

Semtation has been, for a long time, closely linked to the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg/Havel through cooperation. “70% of the persons we have employed over the course of the past 10 years came from the University of Applied Sciences. Without this source the recruitment of personnel would be a complicated issue for us,” says Christian Fillies with conviction.