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Turning Problems into Solutions: The powerful idea that became Flowers Software

Interview with Co-Founder and CTO Daniel Vöckler.

You can see from the bird's eye view the legs of two people standing in front of a writing. The writing is written on the asphalt floor and says: Passion led us here

Describe your solution in a few sentences.

Flowers gives you incredible flexibility to work on tasks without looking for information or duplicating work. We take the whole decision tree of a given process and compress it so everyone knows what already happened and what needs to happen next. The system learns and always reflects the current process so you avoid double work, and you have all your docs and information in one place so you don’t have to dig around in folders.  With Flowers it’s not just a tagline that you can get work done faster - it’s literally true.

Why did you create this company?

My co-founder Andreas and I have known each other for around15 years but the idea for Flowers was first born when we met at a party and got to talking about a problem I had at work that day. My previous job was COO at a Pharma company in Switzerland and there was a last-minute emergency.  A single workflow had been messed up because it was missing one critical piece of information - a six figure mistake. Without the information the goods couldn’t be unloaded and it was hot so they were ruined. As a result, I arrived late to the party in a bad mood and Andreas offered me a beer. We got to talking about what happened and it turned out Andreas had experienced very similar problems. It dawned on us that BPM tools just don’t work  - they’re too static and they don’t have the right information - so we started white boarding what a good solution should do and Flowers was born then and there.

What’s special about your company?

A couple of things.  First, Andreas and I agree we need smarter people than us and we need to listen to them and give them freedom to do what needs doing. In my experience everyone claims this but it’s actually not so common to give people that kind of freedom.

Second, most solutions solve limited use cases but with Flowers it’s incredible how many use cases there are, from contract management to process excellence.  We tell employees that whatever frustrated you at your old company, you can probably solve it with Flowers.

The third thing that makes us special is our modern tech stack and continuous innovation. We started 3 years ago with the most modern tech stack available and continuously adapt our technology.  We have an ‘AI Lab’ where we test and gather data and as soon as we see a benefit we push it to customers. We have bi-weekly on the job training so everyone can learn best practices, and we discuss as a group if there’s a potential customer benefit for new ideas. This continuous striving for excellence as a team sets us apart from other companies and work environments.

 

What is enterprise-grade workflow automation, and what does it mean for customers?

Large enterprises can afford to build a tool they want exactly as they want it but it’s very expensive.  With Flowers you can do the same thing in no time with no up front investment because you only pay for what you use. Enterprise-grade automation means you can easily automate your workflows exactly as you want - like large enterprises with deep pockets - but for a fraction of the cost.

How is Flowers software technically different or better from other workflow automation solutions?

On the user side, mainstream Business Process Management (BPM) and Workflow Management tools are built for specific use cases and they’re too complex for non-technical people even though workflow is part of everyone’s daily job.  So we build a tool that anyone can set up on their own, that can be shared and used across the company with no code or specialized knowledge.  Our workflow builder is based on templates that are super easy for everyone to use with just a few click elements like tasks, documents, responsibilities, etc. It’s a real game changer.

What is Organization Management Software (OMS)?

Here’s OMS in  nutshell: You have a CRM to manage contracts. You have PPS to manage production.  You have a finance system to manage finance. There are so many products related to one part of the business but organization isn’t about a specific element - it’s about the flow of work across the business, tasks that need to be done, documents that need to be sent around.  Flowers was designed to organize work across the business and coordinate activities for leading and controlling an organization.

What gets you up in the morning?

Since we founded Flowers I wake up every day excited to build this solution. Flowers already offers so much customer value but as CTO I get to live 6 months in the future building the next big features. It’s like working in a SciFi movie! To release new features and get such amazing feedback from customers is really motivating.  The other great thing is working together with an amazing team and seeing what they come up with.

What’s the most important benefit to customers?

Of course automating recurring tasks creates value because it helps save time and money but the biggest benefit is transparency.  With Flowers you have a real-time overview of which tasks are open, which are finished, who’s working on what, etc., and all the information you need is right at your fingertips. 

I'll share a personal example of why this matters: 

When I worked in Pharma there was a girl in the contracts department who spent 10 days a month using a ruler to check numbers in the system and I asked her manager to look into why she needed to do that. It turned out she was manually checking a list of all the stock on a specific day so the warehouse manager could write off expired articles. She was doing this because a retired employee had nothing for her to do so she gave her the list to keep her busy, and somehow it stuck. So in one year that poor employee wasted 4 months checking nonsense! 

Flowers creates exceptional value because it gives you full transparency into any process.  You have all the information you need to complete each task right at your fingertips, and you can easily identify wasted time and eliminate obsolete tasks.

What ‘killer feature’ does the product offer today?

Automation that supports manual steps. It sounds simple but it’s actually very powerful and unique. Other solutions can fully automate your workflow but they don’t handle manual steps very well so people waste time with workarounds. With Flowers you can combine automation with manual intervention seamlessly and avoid time consuming workarounds.

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