Tom Dirlich
go[ing] mad
Digital Architect & Trainer

Episode Summary

In this episode we talk to Thomas (Tom) Dirlich of Add-Wings and “Going Mad”. Tom is an Podio partner based in Munich and he and his team specialise in building system using the whole range of Citrix products (as well as their own custom mobile apps).

We take a look at what it’s like as a Podio Partner to integrate Podio into a customer’s business and how important it is to start and refine the processes.

It’s a great discussion and a great opportunity to learn more about how seasoned Podio partners approach a new project.

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Narrator: 0:01

Get ready for another episode of supercharged with Jordan Samuel Fleming, your weekly dive into the awesome impact workflow and automation you can have on your business when it’s powered by Podio, June, as each week, as we learn from the top Podio partners in the world as we investigate system integrations and add ons and hear from real business owners who have implemented Podio into their business. Now, join your host, Jordan, Samuel Fleming’s CEO of Gamechangers for this week’s episode.

Jordan: 0:34

Hey everybody. Welcome to this episode of supercharged. I’m your host, Jordan Samuel Fleming, here to talk all about the power of workflow and automation when your business is powered by Podio. Today’s guest is Thomas from add-wings and a few other companies. Thomas is a Podio partner, who has implemented all sorts of great solutions using Podio, Citrix products, and lots of different mobile hardware. Thomas, welcome to the podcast. Introduce yourself to the audience.

Tom: 0:59

Thank you for having me. I’m so. I’m Tom.Thomas is a very German. I’m head architect here at a conglomerate of companies. We call ourselves going mad, not because we’re completely crazy, but because we want to help customers to get their way through the crazy digital world and work more about hijab and digitally.

Jordan: 1:22

I was gonna say, and having met you. I know going mad is perfect. It’s perfect for you and the people you work with.

Tom: 1:28

Thank you very much. I guess we have to all be a bit crazy to work in this new world, making it efficient and fun. So yeah, that’s what we’re all striving for.

Jordan: 1:39

Excellent. So, um, I mean bringing it to Podio. I know you do a number of different systems and you, you work with lots of different technology, but in terms of Podio, how did you first get started with Podio? What was that journey? How did you get started? When did you realize it was powerful?

Tom: 1:54

Well, it was 2011, so about 100 years ago in my heart, um, we were looking for a digital management tool for our project management company because we just had too many projects and communication stuff flying around. Nobody knew where what was. And I asked a colleague of mine, a Jan in Hamburg, was very good in finding digital tools. Come on, let’s let’s find the perfect project management tool. And that was, that was the mistake in a way because we tested 80, 80 tools at that point. He was very meticulous. So we went into detailed testing with 10 tools, but I’m on the way. I had lost my heart to Podio already because it showed me the way, the way to implement all I had in my head, all the ways I wanted me and my people and the people I worked with to communicate and work it all was there and you could build on it. So yeah, even though we tested so many different tools, I came up with the perfect tool for me, which was Podio. And we started implementing it and after some time I also got Jan over to it and we found a new company there.

Jordan: 3:07

That sounds like a, a journey that so many of us have taken. We were looking for a solution, couldn’t find anything that fit. And suddenly Podio appeared. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I, and funny Andreas and I were, were in, in the last podcast around, we both kind of went to Podio and we both sort of had this experience of trying it and going what the hell, and then kind of what the hell and then finally going, Oh, you know, and every. Okay. And I think that’s a, that’s a journey that a lot of people I’ve, I’ve talked to in Podio have this kind of like, I don’t understand. I don’t understand that. Oh my God, this is amazing. Um, would you say that that’s a sounds familiar as well?

Tom: 3:51

In a way? Um, I was, I was very visually influence coming from, from the apple world, being an apple trainer, being grown up with apple products and Podio looked really, really engineering, you know, and Jan was always it’s not nice. It’s not visual. And I was like, what is so cool, you can do what you want. And so the engineer in me came out massively and I tried everything I could. So in a way it was what the hell? Because there is this enormous documentation as we know, none. And so by pushing and shoving and testing out, you know, amazing things happen.

Jordan: 4:30

Yeah. I genuinely don’t remember now. Um, what like I still have my first build, um, archived somewhere. Like I still got the workspace there somewhere and it’s just horrible. I mean, it’s messy and it’s cluttered and it’s disgusting compared to what we do now. But, um, I, you know, I always try to remember just that, that what I was Tryingn remember and I wanted it to be you. Like when did you, uh, so you were initially looking at it for yourself as a project management tool that, that echoes a journey I made in a lot of other people. When did you realize that this would be a powerful thing for your clients as well to add to your suite of products?

Tom: 5:10

Well, in the end can really quickly. We became partners in 2012 and we instantly took the same journey we had taken with Apple. Um, so we started talking to CVitrix management, seeing the huge potential in the product. It fit what we did for customers, uh, in the other world because we were experts for mobile work in the other world. So how to work with your iphone and your ipad and constructing mobility scenarios around that. And finally we had a, um, a, a tool to do the real digital work, not only the devices so that, that fit perfectly and in 2012 we decided to, to take it to the next step and started building mostly project management and crm. Um, as you know, that was like the thing to do at that point in time. We build it for companies and because I taught at universities, you know, I showed it to my students, I saw how the little laboratories in seminars we had the students suddenly came up with creative new ideas so that, that was an amazing journey. But yeah, not, not a half year after starting to use it, we said we want to help clients to go into this world. And that’s when we also came up with going mad because we wanted mobile, agile and digital work to happen. Um,

Jordan: 6:36

and do you find, I mean there’s a, I always like, um, I like to talk to your partners for a lot of reasons. Um, one of which is we all have our own kind of methodology. We all have our way of approaching the problem. I think a lot of times we all come up with similar outcomes and solutions in similar ways of thinking, but our journey there is, it is different. So when you are looking at integrating or designing a solution for someone using Podio, what, what is your, do you have a way of approaching it that you feel works well? Do you have, do you have things that you know you’ve got to worry about or think about what works for you really well as a partner?

Tom: 7:19

Well, uh, any end, um, what, what you really need to understand is how are the people do their business? So of course, what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. And the why is mostly unknown to most companies. They just do what they do. And, uh, interestingly enough, when you start talking about digitalizing stuff, people don’t understand that digitalizing only makes sense if they have thought through their business processes, so you suddenly talk about things where you’re going, why do you have this process in place? And they’re like, what we have in process in place. And so it’s an amazing journey working with clients because it, it, um, Podio is not only the build out to, I think it’s a wonderful tool for prototyping and visualizing for people to really, really understand what they do, how they do and why they do it. And the discussions you then have with clients are enormous and they’re always like, Geez, we just wanted a project management tool and you’re building a new new product around our business. And I say, yeah, well that’s what is going mad. You’re trying to digitalize something that is, let’s say shitty in the paper world and you’re trying to digitalize that. I’m not doing that. We’ll rethink everything and see how it adds up. And that, that’s, I think, the most fascinating part about this whole world that companies are now really, really into understanding their processes.

Jordan: 8:56

How dare you curse at my podcast, by the way. I mean, you know, you, you’ve met me. I don’t curse. No, I think what you’ve just said is absolutely spot on. I mean, as I sometimes feel like, you know, our company, people think of us as an it company or a software company now. I genuinely think that the vast majority of what we’re really doing is change management and process management because Podio I think is as you’ve just beautifully summarized, it’s most powerful asset in some ways is this ability to run business process and that is a journey that most companies we deal with have never really done. And we have to take them through that journey. And that I think is one of the things that the a good Podio partner, um, you know, has to do. And I think you’ve, you’ve illustrated that really well. Um, from a, from a pure Podio point of view, like forgetting the process for getting the clients either. What do you feel Podio is most powerful? Asset is?

Tom: 10:02

Well, the simplest and the hardest I think I quite know that produce the only tool where you have your follows, your communication and your processes all in one place, all on one platform. There are lots of different tools out there that that solve some of the issues. You know how, how do I store my files or how do I do my communication or how do I do with it cool business process, but to have everything integrated in one place creates a real digital workplace, which there is no solution out there right now and it it’s so amazing. If you dive into this world and you have clients that go with you into this world, they suddenly understand that a digital document is only something that you need. When you send it out. You don’t need documents inside your company. You might have files as pictures or videos, but you don’t need documents and they suddenly realize that they’ve put so much effort and work into documentation and then you’re finally at a point where you’re saying that documentation is the communication you have with data. And then they’re like, oh, yeah, right. So yeah, that’s, I think the strongest point that that’s the thing I love best in Podio is this real. You have these three assets that come together in one place. So files, communication and business processes.

Jordan: 11:29

And when you’re, when you’re talking to a company, I mean, one of the things I’ve certainly found over the years is, is, um, if I’m talking to a company that is relatively clued up on systems relatively, um, you know, sometimes you’ll be talking to somebody and they’re just using excel. They’re using excel and email and you’re just like, oh, okay. But then you’ll talk to other systems and there are people, their companies, are they using, um, you know, they using asana and salesforce and, and uh, you know, infusionsoft and etc. Etc. Um, and I feel like one of the Podio strengths is the ability to, to, to do all of those different functionalities in what under one roof, keeping the data aligned and allowing the company to not jump around across five different systems in terms of efficiency is, is that something that you find when you’re, when you’re dealing with companies?

Tom: 12:25

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I’m always the easiest sell. It is a diverse, Um, it environment where they have little solutions and bIg solutions for every process. Everything they do. And then you come in and say, hey, listen, Podio is just a digital hub, will just fill the gaps. Or as my colleague in marketing says, former sap manager, we do anything but sap. So we do all the stuff that a big erp is don’t do and we fill all the gaps between all of your software components. And over time the customers then understand that they might not need a special software component to make them happy. And they’re like, can we do this in Podio? And if they know us, they’re like, okay, we can do that. Just tell me a price.

Jordan: 13:13

Yeah, the answer is always yes. It’s always yes. So I’m taking it, taking it then a step back in terms of, uh, you know, uh, because I think one of the challenges, I think we as Podio partners face to faces as much as the people who come to Podio cold, which was us years and years ago, you don’t really understand what it is or what it can do. There’s nothing there to guide you. You know, citrix is trying to sell it as a crm as a pro and it’s none of those things. It’s all of those things. It’s, it’s, it’s nothing and it’s everything. Um, but when, when you come to actually integrate a system, you know, um, when you’re, when you’re changing systems in one of your clients, that is a very sometimes fraught and difficult challenge. Um, what do you, what do you feel in terms of when you migrating a Podio into a company, what do you think the biggest challenges are to that as well? Because I think there are challenges and opportunities, but there are definitely challenges.

Tom: 14:18

Well, I would, I would start the list of challenges and there are a few, um, of course, uh, building trust and knowledge about that. The system, as we know, Citrix marketing is not focused on Podio. Luckily Citrix has a very good standing and companies so they know, yes, it does something in the background with my data stuffy. But, but um, when, when you introduce people into Podio for the first time, they get the data overload when they started on their own. So they’re like too many notes and we always try to be very slow and very tiny process there and say, look, this is only your calendar. You can put dates there. And they’re like, ah, and kind of discuss the dates and you can discuss because if you show the breadth of what Podio can do, as you know, Jordan, even for us as partners, it’s sometimes completely mind blowing when you look at that and say, oh god, what am I doing here? Yeah. So, so in the end I think take it slow, take it easy, take it human. You know, they are very afraid. people out there are very afraid of the digital world because up to now, digitalizing or moving things into the digital world only changes things that don’t make them better. Everybody says my software will make your workday better and when you really ask them, they are like, yeah, my workday changed and you’re like, how did it get better? Not at all, but it change and management said it’s better. So yeah, and, and to really get the people understanding that we’re giving them, I think the most powerful tool to work in the digital world because it’s their tool, it’s their way they want to do it. It’s their approach to business is, is strange because they’re not used to freedom. They’re like, what is this app called? Yeah, well I say whatever you need it. What is this process called in your company? And they’re like, in salesforce this was called. no, no, no. What’s the process in your company? So sometimes it works quite well. A little story on the side, as you know, we’re located in munich and munich as part of the Bavaria Bavarians are these guys in leather pants and a lot of beer. So one of our clients when we started building building for them in Podio, it was um, uh, a building services company, um, so doing all the installations, uh, in gas and fluids and electrics. And the boss said, listen, you can come up with any digital tool for my guys. I don’t, I don’t really care. I know it’s going to get better, but we have one rule here. There is no high german. So this is the standard german. We have to have everything in Bavarian. So can your tool do the Bavaria throughout the system? Alternives have to be between the variant. And so we built in the Bavarian Podio, which was really crazy, and we sometimes showcase that to other clients because it’s so fun because the system talks to you in a very different german and they loved it of course, because you can customize it to even being in a strange local language. So I think that’s a huge asset.

Jordan: 17:48

That’s really, I, uh, I’ve, we’ve dealt with, you know, we’re now building systems that have built systems in, in so many different countries and with so many different languages now that um, you know, you get very used to have to have a translation table of what exactly does this field mean because I don’t speak that language, you know, we, we got to a contract with Lithuania right now and, and you know, we don’t, none of us speak lithuanian and so, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re getting there, but the, this is a great part of Podio being able to customize it and have it be exactly what they want to see in how they expect things. And I also liked what you pointed out about, you know, oh, in salesforce it did this because one of the things I always find is there’s a process when we begin a project of widdling away, bad habits. Like don’t, don’t tell me what, like I’m not interested in how your process used to have to work because you had shit tools. Let’s talk about what could the process be at its best and build to that. And I think that’s something that, as a partners, I mean, you must see that a lot.

Tom: 18:59

Yeah, same here. You have to get the old habits and really the bad habits are to the people and, and that’s a lot of change. So change management and getting the people onboard is, I think, a huge challenge and that’s nothing to do with the technology and for you it’s really to do with being human. Yeah,

Jordan: 19:22

absolutely. So let’s just, uh, let’s talk a little bit about your company. You do a lot of different things. Um, can you give us, without naming names, I’m not asking for, for, for, for anything like that, but uh, oh, you can, it doesn’t matter to me, but can you describe some of the things that you feel like some of the systems you’ve built that do awesome things that have really made an impact just so people can get a flavor of what’s possible because suddenly you don’t know what’s possible. So tell us a bit about what’s possible.

Tom: 19:49

Well, a year ago a Swedish partners came to us and said, um, we want to build a completely digitalized system for a swedish ukrainian company in the, in the building services, a branch, so meaning cleaning your offices and facility management and so on. And of course I pitched Podio, we had some experience in the sector. Um, yeah, we started building, we went through all processes for the company. So starting with, you know, how you get your clients through customer care, project management, stuff like automatic replacement systems if somebody gets sick and so on, quality assurance and invoicing and payment, blah blah, blah, blah, blah blah. And they said you can order that online platform. And we say, yeah, we did. And so we built it all in Podio. Uh, we massively worked, of course in globiflow we constructed our own ios and android applications for clients and for the workers using a Podio integration. We worked with ibeacons with qr codes and nfc chips and out came an industry standard solution for the building services industry, which we presented last year on the so called future forum for the building services industry in Germany. And uh, are now rolling out several customers because that’s an interesting industry, facility management and cleaning companies have thousands of employees have to have very efficient processes because they don’t earn a lot of money per time. Um, so yeah, that’s been a ride. Um, and that’s one of our big standard solutions standard as is in Podio, nonstandard solutions, but we have a lot of, let’s say in depth industry knowledge there. And the cool thing is we use the whole Citrix suite for this project. So everything that Citrix offers, including mobile device management and what you call it, we even connected their different locations via stp, which is a very deep citrix technology that I don’t really understand. But to make the internet always work and be very fast and encrypted. So it was amazing. It was completely amazing. We also presented that solution, uh, a few weeks ago and got very good, uh, revise on that. So

Jordan: 22:27

that’s excellent. And that, that is a, I mean, that’s a great example of, of, you know, I think that’s a great example of, of Podio being used to create enterprise level software that um, that would maybe take hundreds of thousands of dollars to build custom, but we can build it in Podio, um, you know, at a quarter of the price and, and repeat it. And so, and we’re as partners, we’re not doing the heavy lifting in terms of the servers or anything like that. They’ve got the security of using citrix space to um, servers. So, you know, if, if a company of our size goes under, they know that their system is secure. So I think that’s a really clever use of it. Um, you, you use, you talked about globiflow obviously everybody, you know, globiflow is the standard for all anybody doing things in Podio. Um, but what other, I mean, are there other integrations that you like to work with? What’s, what sort of things do You like to bring into our other systems you’d like to integrate into Podio?

Speaker 3: 23:28

Well, I’m, we’re going to roll out next quarter. hopefully our integration to sharefile, we built a very smart integration to share file that makes working with documents. Well, very normative. You’ll hopefully hear from us there, uh, because we, we, we try to work with, with the citrix suite as much as possible and we see sharefile as a wonderful tool to, to enter companies. Um, of course we love to build our own mobile applications. We have a lot of experience there. Um, how to bring, bring a defined workflow on ios or android to make the customers much easier to approach their Podio and personally I do love the smartphone integration a lot, especially when it comes to crm and customer care because it is a wonderful handoff when when the ticket comes in through our applications, then you have to call the customer, you have to record it. So Yeah, it’s an easy catch there.

Jordan: 24:29

So, so do you use up your own um, Ios and android apps then?

Tom: 24:34

Yeah, we do.

Jordan: 24:36

Excellent. Because that’s, I mean, the mobile experience of Podio is weak. Um, I, I think that the challenging that’s not safe.

Tom: 24:49

yeah. To have a real business process easy for clients is that, that’s not the world of the Podio application as such, um, but, but having applications that do small steps of it, like we have this wonderful customer facing application where, where a customer I’m in a room and is unhappy with the room or wants to order an extra service, they scan the qr code automatically, a ticket opens and they can start communicating and so on. So that’s, that’s, that’s really the stuff that then make sure Podio tick. It’s like putting little little windows into your Podio that makes clients easier to use it.

Jordan: 25:31

Absolutely. Absolutely. And we’ve found the same thing, you know, giving very direct processes on a mobile environment where people can, if they’re out and about, for instance, um, and they’re doing quite complex data entry, I’m giving them a more intuitive mobile form that we control, which allows them to, to do lots of things and then push everything into Podio is a much better experience because they’re out and about and they only need to do one thing. So let’s give them that, that, that capability. Um, so just as a final bit, I mean, how can plug yourself a little, how can people reach you up and people see what you’re doing? Give us a bit before we leave.

Tom: 26:11

Well, very easy. Go to going-mad.comSo going You’ll see what we’re doing there. We offer besides our projects a life we offer support and training and share file of course Rainer Grabowski who some might know is part of our team so we might have an expert for GLobiFlow if you ever need really, really crazy stuff. Yeah, just go there, talk to us. We’re happy to help in the process. Also, if you need help selling Podio to a client, you can take us along or in any other room.

Jordan: 26:54

Excellent. Well, yeah. Reiner is one of those guys that the Podio partners go to when they need help for GlobiFlow and calculations and add custom variables because it’s always a, I don’t know how to do this Rainer?.

Tom: 27:11

I would even define it in a way. Rainer is the person that Citrix goes to when they don’t know what to do.

Jordan: 27:17

Probably I would agree with that. Well, listen, Tom, an absolute pleasure to speak with you, mate. Thank you so much for joining me on this. I’m, I’m really, uh, I think it’s so exciting to hear what you guys are doing to hear your approach to Podio. Um, I think it gives people a good opportunity to understand how they can come to Podio. And, um, obviously when this podcast goes up, we’ll, um, we’ll add the links to your website so people can easily click on it and do it. So, uh, for now I say thanks very much everybody. Have a great week and tom, thanks for being on the podcast.

Tom: 27:47

Thank you very much.

Narrator: 27:50

You’ve been listening to supercharged with Jordan Samuel Fleming. Subscribe today on itunes, google play or spotify for your weekly dive into how you can supercharge your business by making it powered by Podio. Be sure to checkout our website Where you can learn more and arrange a 30 minute call with Jordan to help you understand how Podio can supercharge you.

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