25 years PiSA sales – Interview on the anniversary with Anastasios Kotsilas
25 years in the IT sector are half an eternity. A lot of companies that started during the 1980s do not exist anymore today. Once big players have disappeared from the scene. When PiSA sales was established in August 1989 shortly before the German reunion the three young founders already focused on sustainability and satisfied customers. An approach that paid off 25 years later.
Today the company provides with the PiSA sales CRM one of the most powerful CRM software solutions and celebrates its 25th company anniversary. Reason enough to talk with the managing director Anastasios Kotsilas about past, present and visions of the future.
What has motivated you to establish a company in the IT sector?
Anastasios Kotsilas: For us young founders it was very early clear to step into self-employment. The first business idea concentrated on the development of a flexible integration platform for database application – back then a globally unique approach. To bring this vision to life was our main motivation. A few years later our technology was used in medium-sized companies around the world. That showed to us that our ideas are going in the right direction. After that we used our knowledge about information systems for the industry to close the gap for CRM systems in the B2B sector with the first project oriented CRM suite. A further approach of our business operations was always to fully focus on a set goal. So it was immediately clear that we become a 100% CRM company.
In summary the identification of market gaps, to bring interesting ideas to product maturity and to 100% focus on the set goals have influenced our entrepreneurial activities in the past 25 years.
Which values have shaped PiSA over the years?
Anastasios Kotsilas: We’ve always understood ourselves as a long-term partner of our customers. High customer satisfaction is particularly important. We listen to our customers. Proof of this is the strong integration of customer requests in our product management which is demonstrated by new developments for PiSA sales year by year. For example the new questionnaire module and the new maintenance process, the installation database or “PiSA sales touch”, the solution for tablets and smartphones, can be mentioned as recent developments.
The continuous optimization of our high quality standards is an important factor against which we want to let ourselves be measured. For example we try to make all of our teams better with internal audits. Only high quality standards enable secure and working installations of our software and thereby satisfied customers.
It is equally important for us to build and cultivate an honest and open communication channel together with our customers. The safeguarding of the customer investment in our software is a decisive parameter for all decisions made in our company.
Finally we should not underestimate the healthy company climate. Only satisfied team members are able to develop extraordinary software and to implement successful projects. Conservative values have shaped our company.
What do you think about the following statement: “Everything that grows fast won’t become old.”?
Anastasios Kotsilas: The statement contains a lot of truth. For example I see serious pitfalls regarding enormous speeds of company growth. A lot of businesses concentrate on a completely exaggerated performance pressure. Often quality and sense of products like online services or software fall by the wayside. Additionally there are dependencies caused by borrowed capital, investors and shareholders. PiSA sales is completely free of outside investments and is managed by the owners ever since. Since many years we grow healthy and without fluctuation chaos because we take the time to improve the product for our customers with care instead of investing uncontrolled in fleeting trends.
In the past 25 years which situations have been very challenging for you?
Anastasios Kotsilas: Always challenging is the fast reaction on customer requests and the identification of useful IT trends and their consistent implementation. Here you really need to keep the overview without getting lost. CRM projects for the B2B market have to be very powerful and demand a high degree of technical know-how. Our software engineers and product consultants demonstrate their talent daily especially when it comes to international rollouts like the ones we have done for Siemens, GEMÜ or the PSI AG. We are very proud that the team of PiSA sales is always ready to meet those challenges and that we always develop together the best solution for the customer. In case there are problems concerning the project implementation we always care to find transparent solutions together with our customer.
How important is the topic quality for you today and how would you define the term?
Anastasios Kotsilas: “Quality before quantity” is our motto. The quality of our software is decisive for the company’s success. Equally important is the customer service. A flexible software like the PiSA sales CRM can only continue to develop if we talk with our customers. Our users like the personal contact, the clear words and the diverse offers of support and trainings like our online seminars which we offer since 2011 with success in a maintenance contract.
Which goals have you set for the future? What can we expect from PiSA sales regarding upcoming developments?
Anastasios Kotsilas: The topics of the future are mobile, responsive interfaces on tablets and smartphones as well as cloud. In this sector one will hear a lot of things from PiSA sales in the next months. For now we do not want to reveal too much. But I will tell you this: Our strategic goal is to make PiSA sales the CRM software with the most powerful service module with focus on customer service on the market. But more on this later.
To conclude, what valuable tip would you like to share with IT-founders today?
Anastasios Kotsilas: If you have a good idea one should not hesitate to start a business based on that idea with all belonging risks. Equally important is to not develop products which do not meet market requirements. The needs of the customers are the main thing. Success does not come by following just any trend but by creating innovative products that offer a real added value for the customer. This is how success is measured!
Author: Christian Adamek