Success at your fingertips

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Why do architecture firms need untermStrich
if they want to be more successful?

Ing. Markus C. Raming (Geschäftsführung, Leitung Vertrieb (CEO)), Ing. DI (FH) Christian M. Koller, MSc (Prokurist, Leitung Entwicklung und IT (CTO))

Christian Koller: So that they can really keep track of their projects and clients! untermStrich is a management tool that stores all the information about a project in a central place. You can find everything in seconds: documents, e-mails, drawings and notes from the CRM. untermStrich has a set of tools that help you organize projects. For example, a time tracking system that is easy to use and still exact; this is very important even in projects with a fixed price. And then, a way of handling changes that are requested by clients. With one click, untermStrich shows you the extra work you have done compared to the original offer, and how much you need to charge retrospectively. You also have a complete record of what happened: what information was sent when; when were the updated drawings sent to the builder, etc. untermStrich not only gives you a complete overview while the project is running, it also gives you a collection of records that you can use as a 30-year archive for liability purposes.
All the other information you want to keep at hand is easy to call up any time with a keyword search. Deadlines, appointments, tasks, addresses – they’re all on your screen in seconds.

Markus Raming: Of course you could do everything that Christian just mentioned without untermStrich. You can keep one list for the drawings that you sent out, another list for hours, another list for projects, and so on. It’s possible to do all that on paper. Our developers haven’t invented any extra tasks that you have to do. untermStrich just does the things that you have to do in your office anyway. The difference between us and your DIY office processes is that with untermStrich, you can always view and analyze your information – rapidly and at any point in time. Sometimes you need to know something right now: what stage your project is at, who got sent which drawing or who exactly sent this specific e-mail. At moments like that, with untermStrich, you have the whole history of the project at your fingertips. No other system can do that, and for sure you can’t do it with an Excel list.


You like to call the software the nerve centre. Why?

Markus Raming: Because it lets architects and engineers access all the data and documents from anywhere in the world. This is a huge advantage, for example, when you are in a meeting with the client and they want to know which are the latest set of drawings you have sent. Even if you aren’t in your office and you missed the last team meeting, you can go into the app and see what your co-workers have done, and you can pull up the latest data, invoices or plans. These days, people want architects and engineers to operate with this level of management and control. It’s taken for granted that everyone is professional and works to high quality standards. Design is a matter of taste; sometimes you win with it and sometimes you lose. But if I always have the project and my client relationship under control, that’s a clear advantage I can have over many other firms.

Ing. DI (FH) Christian M. Koller, MSc (Prokurist, Leitung Entwicklung und IT (CTO))

Accounting, management, documentation – is it hard to use such a complex piece of software?

Markus Raming: The software has to solve complex problems – that means there has to be a certain complexity in the system. But it is really not complicated. The software doesn’t dictate how you have to use it. You decide yourself what you want to use it for, and what benefits you want to achieve with it, and then you configure it individually for what you want to do. It’s the person who uses untermStrich who makes it a success. Just installing it doesn’t solve any problems. But if you let our experts show you how to use it, and start working with it, then you really start to experience the value, which is success in your projects.

Christian Koller: And the ultimate overview and total control of construction projects. For example, if you activate the telephone interface, then you don’t even have to click on anything to look for information. The moment your client calls you, all the important documents, data and the current state of the project come up on your screen. We guarantee easy usability; this begins with easy access to untermStrich any time, anywhere. You don’t have to go to a computer and start up a special program. Those times are long gone. Instead you use cloud tools that you already know. You have access to all the documents in seconds and you have full editing functions. Nobody wants to spend time searching for documents; our days are stressful enough already. Just log in to untermStrich, and with full-text search and links to projects and addresses you immediately have the e-mail, the drawing or the invoice you want.


Apropos up to date: For software developers life is all about updates …

Christian Koller: That’s true! In between our major releases, which we do every one or two years, we put our ongoing technical developments into new versions. But for our customers, these updates are completely automatic. What really matters in the programming is to know the needs of our users. We are always collecting feedback and if a request is interesting for a lot of architectural firms and it’s feasible, then we integrate it without further ado.
Markus Raming: Often the most important updates are the ones that our users don’t even notice. We are constantly working behind the scenes to deal with potential technical problems or security loopholes before they start causing problems. One thing we are really proud of: we usually implement an update across 5000 to 6000 installations. There are no different versions of the software for different-sized firms. Everyone is working with the same software. This keeps the costs down and keeps the software simple and practical. And it can be used in a wide variety of contexts, from small one-person offices up to large firms with 200 team members. We don’t want to make custom software. We want to make a big, stable platform that everyone can use.

Ing. Markus C. Raming (Geschäftsführung, Leitung Vertrieb (CEO))

In the last few years, you have used mittenDrin Live! to make your digital trade conference into a hotspot for the whole sector. Why do we need events like this?

Markus Raming: We want to give our users an added value that goes beyond the software. How can I, as an engineer or an architect, be a better entrepreneur, how can I do business better? That’s a question that isn’t answered at university. Some people manage this side by having a natural talent. But most people have to teach themselves and it’s hard work, especially because they have to learn by making mistakes. We want the next generation to profit from the experience of their older colleagues. Or we call in expertise from experts who have specialized in consulting in particular areas. Marketing, basic business know-how, negotiation skills, these are all things that everyone has to learn. And this is why we created a digital conference featuring lots of useful presentations, and people can join us for free and from home. What could be better?

Seeing how the untermStrich community is constantly in touch with you … who are the people behind the software?

Markus Raming: We are a very close and informal team. We are a gang of friends and all of us have been in the job for many years. Despite that our work processes aren’t tired, instead new things keep emerging. Every one of us is innovative and thinks for the company and the product. There’s a lot of brain and a lot of heart in untermStrich.

Christian Koller: Things I often hear in the office are “I had another think about that last night” or “At the weekend I came across something that could be interesting for us”. I couldn’t wish to work in a better place. A team where everyone is bringing in ideas about how to develop the company and the software so that in the end, the results are always the best.


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