We talked to IAS General Manager Ahmet Oturgan about his company's 2020 goals and the future of the ERP sector. Mr Oturgan told IAS's goals in 2020 and its journey in the global market, which closed 2019 with remarkable success, even though it was a difficult year: “We completed 2019 with our new offices in South Korea and Switzerland, and we started 2020 with our new US office. The number of new projects in the market is also increasing rapidly, and the customers who switched to caniasERP from the customers of our great competitors are in the majority. With our Industry 4.0 vision, we continue our work without slowing down. Our main business is ERP and digital transformation. Therefore, we plan our growth targets, R&D and investments to achieve higher performance in these areas. We anticipate that our current staff will double in 2021 if things go as planned. ”
Can you give some information about your company?
We can briefly define IAS as a technology company that produces solutions in the field of enterprise resource planning software (ERP). Our company was established in 1989 in Karlsruhe, Germany by Yaşar Hakan Karabiber, a young engineer who completed his education in Germany. Our establishment vision has been to produce technology and innovative solutions since the first day. Producing these solutions at the most affordable costs is also an important part of our vision. In this vision, our office was established in 1994, the IAS Turkey: Since then, software development and R & D center highlight our activities here. We have a structure that produces technology, not follows the technology. We broke new ground with TROIA in 1997 and caniasERP projects in the early 2000s. TROIA the first software development platform developed in Turkey. caniasERP, which we introduced to the market in 2001, is the first ERP solution in the world that can work on the web with its unique three-layer technology. Our competitors reached similar technology five or six years after us! We increase our R&D activities every year. At the point we have reached, we have turned into an institutional technology company that produces databases with IASDB, which we developed to provide the basis for our solutions in the field of big data management and artificial intelligence. It also works with the caniasERP IoT Box solution that we have created for data collection from production sites. As of 2020 with our Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, South Korea, India, United Arab Emirates and the United States (US), we have total of 12 offices available. We have over 50 solution partners spread around the world. We serve our customers from more than 40 sectors in 33 countries. We can list the main sectors of our customers as automotive, textile, defense industry, machinery and industrial automation, metal, packaging, food, chemistry, plastic, building materials, electricity and electronics, mining, furniture, health, service & Professional service.
How was 2019 for your company? Can we get your 2019 turnover?
As you know, 2019 was a challenging year for Turkey. Despite all the difficulties, it was a very good year for us. We started many new projects and we have signed over 80 new projects in total. Since 2015, we are one of the highest growth companies in Turkey. In addition, in 2019, there were transitions from some important companies using the products of our global competitors to caniasERP. We feel that this trend is increasing steadily. Our turnover was around 20 million euro globally. We managed to Show double digit growth globally. We also made new initiatives to increase our global relevance in 2019. In autumn, we opened our offices in South Korea and Switzerland. We opened our US office, which we completed in 2019, at the beginning of this year.
What is your turnover target for 2020?
Our expectations for 2020 are very high; We aim to grow and increase the number of countries we serve. But in the current situation, you will appreciate that it is difficult to state a number. 2020 seems to be a more difficult year than 2019, but so far we have managed well in harsh conditions. Since the beginning of 2020 both in Turkey and and other countries, we are continuing to win new projects. Our plans at the beginning of the year are to close this year with a growth over that of 2019. To be able to take 5-10 projects in countries such as South Korea, Switzerland, and USA, we also plan to enter the UK in 2020.
How is your growth plan shaped for 2020? What kind of growth plan do you have in your business areas?
As I mentioned, we aim for a year in which we will focus on our effectiveness especially in new countries and accelerate our global growth. We have a fairly high level of performance in Turkey and Europe while being based in Germany for many years. We think it is time to bring this performance to the global market. Our main business is ERP and digital transformation. Therefore, we plan our growth targets, R&D and investments to achieve higher performance in these areas. We plan to focus on Industry 4.0 projects, especially in the ERP backbone. It will also be a year in which we will increase the caniasERP projects working in the cloud for 2020.
As a company, what are the important issues in your agenda this year? What topics do you focus on?
Industry 4.0, digital transformation and user experience are the most important topics of our road map. Last year, we launched IASDB, our own database, for the use of our customers. IASDB is the primary starting point of our big data and Industry 4.0 studies. IASDB was created in direct alignment with our technological principles. IASDB is fully compatible with the caniasERP platform and provides high performance. This is an infrastructure study for our other projects in artificial intelligence, big data and IoT areas. In 2019, we started several IoT projects with our customers and some of them went live. We will have many more IoT projects in 2020; we see this clearly from the incoming requests. We have many innovations and R&D activities on the user experience side. In addition to the operating system and database independence that caniasERP has had for many years, we have brought a new dimension to the client side with our Webclient interface that we have offered to our customers in 2019. With our webclient interface, our end users have been enabled to use our software on any device. Moreover, with Webclient, it is much easier for our customers to integrate their customers or suppliers into ERP systems. Our customers are able to do all their own B2B or B2C projects without leaving the comfort of TROIA development environment. Another work on the user experience side is the caniasERP process atlas. We have carried our process atlas, which we previously presented, into caniasERP and it was liked by our users. On our process atlas, the list of all applications in caniasERP is presented in a conceptual way, via tutorial.
What are your goals for the Turkey market?
We will continue enhancing our "Company with most projects" title that we continue for many years in Turkey. We anticipate that our roads will intersect more frequently with our customers who cannot find the price-performance value that our global competitors expect in their projects. This will accelerate when we feature our projects, which were won from our competitors, into success stories. Another goal is to grow our existing business partners and to add new business partners to our family.
Which areas will you invest this year? How much total investment do you plan for which areas?
I talked about our 2020 growth plans and our focus. In this context, new countries and increasing our effectiveness in these countries are our investment plans in the operational field. In the field of R&D, we will continue to invest in Industry 4.0, IASDB, and user experience. Again, it is not easy to predict the exact number, but we simply anticipate that if our work goes as planned, our current staff will double in 2021.
In the long term, within five years, how do you locate your company in Turkey and the world?
We will increase the number of countries where we operate. We will continue to produce and be a pioneer in technology. To answer this question in the most brief way, our goal in five years is to reach 3000+ employees and open our holding to the stock market.
How large is your industry in Turkey? How much growth do you expect in your sector this year?
Research companies' estimates were that by 2022, the Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) market would grow between 5 and 10 percent each year. However, the growth rate in the market decreased in 2018 and 2019 due to the financial crisis. As a result of the recent developments, the auto factory project announced by Volkswagen in Manisa has been suspended. This project was large enough to affect the corporate software market in terms of sub-industries. International Data Corporation (IDC) 's estimates, this year will exceed $ 350 million toward the size of ERM software market in Turkey. Again, due to the epidemic that is happening in the world this year and it is not clear how long it will last, there is a much smaller contraction compared to previous years. This contraction, which will be experienced with the widespread use of home office models in our country, can be regulated to a certain extent.
What will be the biggest innovations and changes in your sector in the coming period? What will be the most important innovations that will touch the lives of consumers and companies?
Today, there is a big change for ERP. It is not enough to simply plan, the expectation is to follow production very closely. It is thought that they will start feeding big data soon. The functions of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications in ERP will increase rapidly. Digital transformation is not moving at the rate expected. In the most current situation, our preferences in the use of digital currencies and robots can accelerate digitalization in another sense.