Bogdan Dumitrasconiu and Francis Appels together during a day of work at Z-Application offices.

Francis Appels is the founder and director of Z-Application, a Belgian company specialising in providing solutions for product cataloguing and management to warehouse storage facilities.

He had been looking for ways to automatise the part of his business connected to the management of both existing clients and potential new business via the digital transformation of the process.

To do so he has participated in the DigitaliseSME project and been matched with the Romanian Digital Enabler Bogdan Dumitrasconiu. Let’s hear about their experience.

Hi Bogdan, Hi Francis, thank you for joining us today. Tell us, how did you hear about DigitaliseSME?

BD: I heard about this project from a local entrepreneurs organisation in Romania, PTIR, who was informed about it by European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, the project leading partner. I went to the website, where I got more info about the procedures and joined the Digital Enablers database, after which I joined in two matchings. Compared to other EU project this was a quick and simple procedure.

FA: I knew Bogdan from before our match as we have discussed doing business the past. When he mentioned the matching program to me, it sounded like a good opportunity. I have wanted to improve the automatisation and digitization of the sales process of my company for some time so, following his advice, I applied for the project and was matched with him.

What was your objective for joining in a match? What did you want to get out of it?

FA: My company specialises in the production of barcode scanning applications for warehouses as well as the custom development of warehouse logistics solutions for existing customers. With DigitaliseSME, I wanted to improve my sales through digitalisation – automatise the process so to speak – for example by making sure that my messaging system is connected to my website and selling platform’s Content Management System.

BD: I believe digital consulting is really needed by SMEs – digitalisation is a must nowadays. I enjoy working with them and this project was something special as the two of use work in a similar sector, digital solutions, but not on the same applications at all. It is very interesting to find out about business models in this specific area. My specialisation is connected to Customer Relationship Management tools and e-commerce while Francis specialises more in software-hardware interfaces.

You are at the start of your match. How do you feel you are benefiting from this experience?

BD: The project is starting well, according to expectations. I found out that, even with small or medium-size companies, you have more or less the same business needs than with bigger firms. With smaller companies though there are some challenges that are a bit less obvious but that can surely be addressed by the digitalisation process.

FA: I am already seeing some real benefits. We already had a first workshop and I already made significant improvements in how to understand my customers and how to profile them, which is surely going to help him with my sales. I never thought of this strategic approach and Bogdan’s input has been extremely valuable in helping see how we can set parameters for the realisation of a digital solution.

Do you have any final remarks or suggestions for the project?

BD: I am really glad I joined DigitaliseSME. I Like the kind of projects I worked on during my matchings as there is a lot to learn also from the consultant’s side. I really hope it will continue in the future and that many more SMEs will be able to benefit from it.

CS: As the founder and manager of a very small company, this project really provided me the opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with somebody in my domain who really understands my work and with whom I can bounce a lot of ideas, with the added value that we are from two different countries and that provides an even higher added-value.

There still is some time to benefit from the DigitaliseSME matching program. Don’t hesitate, register here.