Friday Interview: Eilert Hanoa, Mamut

17 Feb 2006

Eilert Hanoa (pictured) is the founder and CEO of Norwegian software firm Mamut, which entered the Irish marketplace recently

Your company’s software is aimed typically at SMEs employing 50-100 people and so far has been deployed in 50,000 SMEs across Europe. Do you believe larger software companies are overlooking the needs of SMEs?

Large software companies think as all large companies do and traditionally get it wrong when it comes to catering to the needs of the SME community. Key functions such as accounting software — factors that can glue work flow together — are the bedrock of keeping SMEs with small workforces on the move. Our approach is to simplify the everyday tasks of the smaller business community. In any company, accounting and invoicing are vital, and then if you tie them together in terms of customer relationship management and sales force automation. The aim is to have the same effects over their efficiency as Microsoft Office in most companies, but not just word processing and productivity.

What are the core differences between deploying IT in an SME and that of a large corporation?

Typically in a small business, people tend to switch roles. If you’re a big player, however, people tend to have the one distinct role. We approach smaller businesses as entrepreneurial-led operations. Take the accounting role, for example. In a smaller business you need to make it possible to switch automatically from credit control and be able to answer all questions about customer relationships. Empowering employees is the only way a smaller business can compete with larger companies. It’s about making sure all these areas are accessible from the same platform.

What are the key ingredients involved in enabling SMEs to compete with larger organisations?

Sharing information internally is the only way a small business can be focused and able to compete with larger companies. When it comes to SMEs, they really want to be flexible and have to juggle sales, consulting, importing, exporting and constant changes in the business model. The more businesses segregate these functions, the more difficult it will be in the long term to adopt to change and challenges.

By John Kennedy

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