Born from experience
It all started in 1992. David is working at an international bank as a change manager, where he talks to colleagues from different departments, like sales, administration and IT. The most important question in these conversations was how payment transactions are handled? David tells us about that time: “We were collecting information about how payment transactions worked and how to process all of that into one information system. That system could be also used to share knowledge with other colleagues in different countries. During these conversations it became clear, that the differences in point of views of the various colleagues were enormous. At that time everyone had their own ideas about how things should work. And often, these ideas were so far apart that it was hard to believe that they coexisted. We started to look for a common ground, in which all of the stakeholders could identify themselves with. But more importantly, it had to be sufficient and precise, to ensure that vital details would not be lost. During these conversations I used one of my favorite disciplines from my studies: ‘knowledge-engineering’.”
Unexpected side effects
“In all these conversations we would draw process models on paper with input and output, and hang those next to each other. This gave everyone a completely new perspective of the situation. We immediately saw the loose ends and the blind spots. We created appendixes which contained the detailed descriptions of the input and output. These descriptions created an immediate recognition of the organization. Through discussing and describing the processes, we were able to make unambiguous agreements. People became more aware of each other’s needs and interests. As an unexpected side effect, the entire working atmosphere became a lot more agreeable. Everyone enjoyed to contribute to the overall process. From that moment on, meetings contained more relevant elements. Problems that we had for years, became tangible and were solved in no-time. Everyone experienced their own benefits of this project.” These experiences were the foundation for David to develop the Comm’ant system that we know today.
“In 1996 the first company VisualTOUCH was established. This company developed the technology for online server applications. In 1998 the first cooperation started with the SqEME Expertise centre. This group of business consultants wanted to have a virtual office on the internet, so that they could work together from any place in the world with a access to a modem. We built the Extranet Office System, which can best be described as the predecessor of the well-known Dropbox. Later on, we were asked to develop a Process Modeling system, inspired by the SDW-AO system.” This sparked David’s memory and his experiences from 1992. A multi-disciplined team was composed: business experts, organizational experts, communication experts, and software developers. This connection between several types of expertise created a storm of new ideas about designing and managing organizations with an integrated approach for process management. At the end of 1998, the team started on a development – and investment – trajectory with the goal of realizing the Comm’Ant tool (pay attention to the capital letter ‘A’). David and his former business partner Remco were interested in developing a product which could make more than just this customer happy. In 1999 the first customer started to use the tool. A manufacturer of high quality industrial label printers from the United States. The Dutch establishment has been a customer ever since! Soon new customers followed, mostly because of their need for a simple and effective quality system. However, in that period of time was process management not familiar”.
Way ahead of its time
The Comm’ant solutions were available in the Cloud from day one, in 1998, even though it was called something else back then. First, it was called the Extranet edition and later on it became the ASP solution. Larger organizations preferred working on their own on premise server, which is still often called the Intranet. Comm’ant Netherlands B.V. became official on July 27, 2000, David Ruting’s birthday. From this new entity we were able to focus on the marketing, sales, and support for the Dutch market. Over the years a complete servicepack had been developed to provide customers with a comprehensive and a scalable solution. Our clientele increased over the years. Since 2005, Comm’ant has decided to become a networking organization. They actively built a network of partners who are entrusted with the method and tools of Comm’ant. Over time the implementation became quicker, more efficient, and now it is fine tuned to each specific situation and need of the customer.
Future oriented development
In 2012, the cooperation and integration was developed with LeanForms, the platform for registration, workflow, and reporting. This enrichment in functionality made the package complete. It was called Comm’ant+. It had become the one-stop-shop for the entire Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. Nowadays, Comm’ant is a supplier for small consulting projects, SMEs, large organizations and multinationals. Step by step the organization has published new editions of the Comm’ant software. These developments always were, and will always be, created with the need of the customer in mind. The Comm’ant method is subject to constant renewal. One of the developments is Process Model Canvas. This is a very effective tool for organizations that want to take the next step after a strategy project with the Business Model Canvass. This approach also is of great use for startups. With the Process Model Canvas, you visualize the essence of your business process, together with your team. Working together towards a beautiful future, for everyone!