"We place value on our long-established knowledge and experience of the sector and reliability"

An extract from the interview conducted by the Chief Editor of eDM Report with Dr. Walter Fischer, founder and member of the Supervisory Board of Fischer Computertechnik FCT AG on the occasion of the company's 25th anniversary in 2010.

What were the reasons for founding the company 25 years ago?

Dr. Fischer: We had already developed ground-breaking software for the 3D visualisation of molecules during our doctoral thesis at the Darmstadt Technical University in the 1980's and that's where the idea of setting up a company to develop standard software and graphic programs came from. We also saw an opportunity to realise our product development ideas in the then entirely new and innovative computer world.

What were your first ventures into the world of information technology and where do the roots of the company lie?

Dr. Fischer: It all began with a lecture in "Numerical Analysis" and the accompanying practical course using Fortran 77 and Algol while doing my maths degree. The magic words were data processing centre and punchcards and they radiated a certain fascination. While I was writing my doctoral thesis at the TH Darmstadt, the development of program libraries for the visualisation and simulation of biological elementary processes, for example, ion transport through biological membranes was where it all started. The Institute for Physical Chemistry was then where the idea of setting up the company came from.

How did you manage to convince your first customers?

Dr. Fischer: One of the most important requirements was always to develop a "software product", which we could then sell as such. At that time our speciality was the 2D and 3D visualisation of processes and structures. The functionality of our products and innovative solution approaches already convinced the first customers in the chemical industry at that time, and later in the mechanical and plant industry.

What is Fischer Computertechnik's philosophy?

Dr. Fischer: Today, the company stands for innovative solutions in the area of content management and authoring systems with outstanding knowledge in the mechanical and plant industry and the medical technology sector, together with our long-established experience and reliability spanning 25 years. Our philosophy is to bring in our experience to the advantage of our customers. At the same time, effective, harmonious cooperation, personal respect, combined with a sense of responsibility determine the attitude of our employees both towards each other and our customers.

You started with software for graphic visualisation, graphic management, drawing and document management - today your company offers an authoring system. What were the interim developments?

Dr. Fischer: Our aim was always to provide standard software for complex tasks in the manufacturing industry and create pragmatic, user-oriented solutions. After we had completely covered specific workflows, change management, and all the other processes involved in managing graphics, drawings and documents, we viewed our challenge as creating solutions on this basis to support customers not only in managing finished documents but rather in the creation and publication process of modularised documents. All our know-how from management processes has been channelled into the authoring system.

How do you view the advantages of your company and products as opposed to those of your competitors?

Dr. Fischer: We see a decisive advantage in our experience from the area of technical information management and in our historically related proximity to the topics of PLM/PDM, which is where we also come from. That means, we focus on integrating the authoring processes into the familiar environment of product development and engineering, manufacturing through to service portals. In addition, we see a great advantage in the flexibility and configurability of our software, which despite the standard, enables us to offer our customers a tailor-made, individual solution and also at an attractive price.

What trends are emerging in technical documentation?

Dr. Fischer: I've already mentioned a few of them. What is important to us is integrating technical documentation into company processes and into the IT landscape. At the same time, we see that the authoring system is becoming increasingly significant as a hub for organising all relevant information both in the pre-sales and after sales area, for technical documentation, service portals, and also for marketing catalogues, online shops and training documents. Automation is being further advanced to enable our customers to react quickly to situations on the market with up-to-date product information.

(Extract from the interview on the occasion of the company's 25th anniversary in 2010)

Dr. Walter FischerDr. Walter Fischer, founder and member of the Supervisory Board of Fischer Computertechnik GmbH

the interview (in German)