An interview with Andras Pálffy, the Chief Technical Officer in TECH-ARROW

Recently we brought you an interview with Vladimir Werškov – The Architect in TECH-ARROW and Jürgen Wüst, Managing Director in TECH-ARROW GmbH. Today we will introduce the company and especially the field of works through Andras Pálffy, who is the Chief Technical Officer in TECH-ARROW.

andrasAndras, we mentioned in the previous interview introduction, that TECH-ARROW is a specialized company. Can you explain us, what is the area of the specialization?
Actually, it is a nice paradox. We are specializing on connecting different technologies and worlds, giving wider and simplified access to IT systems. In our case “specialization” does not mean narrowing our focus on some particular problem, but delivering solutions which are enhancing the existing systems. And this is great benefit for a lot of different companies.

You are the Chief Technical Officer, can you explain what are your tasks and specialization in the company?
Simply said, my main goal is to make our products better. There is a lot of input, I am trying to gather new ideas on customer meetings, reading articles, trying other software. You can learn a lot when you ask the people who are using our products about their impressions, ideas. It is also important to have an overview of the technologies, modules, solutions we already possess. Building a new product is an art of engineering, you are re-using the existing knowledge base just like Lego cubicles, add some great new stuff and in the end there is something really useful. Or not :).We are making a lot of prototypes and keep just the best from them.
As we are a middle-sized team, I am also taking care of some customers and managing a team working on some projects.

Does it mean, that you are gathering ideas and playing with the information to create something new whereas The Architect (Vlado) is the man who is working on the frame of the idea and giving shape and spirit into the product?
Yes, whilst I have a use-case driven approach to the products, he is the technical genius translating the ideas into frameworks and classes.

We were talking about some pre- / ad-hoc processes during developing products, but what is the standard workflow in the company, who is in charge of what?
We have regular meetings on which we are focusing on customer projects and product deliveries. There is a balance between these projects and developing our new products. It’s all matter of sizing the effort, prioritizing and planning. All products have their product owners who are responsible of the roadmaps, but, as we have a very good team, everybody can jump in and help out if needed.

Brainstormings are often, too. Choosing the best architecture, finding the best solution for a complex problem is usually a matter of discussion. A wise friend of mine said once: weeks of coding can save you hours of planning.

Thanks to your position in TECH-ARROW, you have a lot of experience with problematic stuffs under stress. Sometimes there are situation where even common sense fails, what is your hint for such a situation?
Keep calm and focus on the on the parts which are the most important. Communicate, lead and try to overcome the chaos. The most burning cases are usually customer related. If you first solve the client’s most painful problems and solve then one-by-one the others as well, you can achieve satisfaction on both sides. You can turn a catastrophe into success story, you can turn an upset customer into someone who will spread only good word about you.

Supposing there is an ideal Client, ideal communication and ideal work challenge – how would it look like for you?
The ideal Client… I imagine someone who can describe the problem they have, has an idea, how it could be better and is open for building a solution together, giving the expertise of both sides into the development process. I like the “team player” types, they give you all the information you ask for and understand that development takes time and money.

Can you reveal something you are actually working on?
I am working on building a bridge connecting the storage systems of a new implementation partner with the content access framework we have. Sounds technical, but you can imagine the end product as a large storage system with software capable to process your company data the way you want. Migrate it, transform it, move it, anything you want. And this all comes in a bundle.

If I have some free time, I’m helping in the development of the product closest to my heart, officeGATE. It is an add-in for MS Outlook connecting your mailbox with the company file system, DMS, SharePoint and cloud storages. You can drag and drop mails and attachments in both direction, can search the connected systems – there are plenty of useful features.

And at the end – the same question like for your colleague, please choose one of your products (maybe your favorite one) and give us a hint how this product can make our life easier.
Hard question, I like them all. From the server-side products I would say it is contentACCESS. This software is a mail management product, which allows you to categorize, filter and process mails any way you want. It already has a couple of predefined processing mechanisms and can be fit to customer needs very easily. We are able to give the customers exactly what they need.

From the client-side ones, the ones built for the users, it’s officeGATE as I mentioned before. It’s very easy to find out whether such a little tool will achieve success or not. You give it to your friends and then you check whether they are using it, whether it eases their work. This thingy is now published in narrow circle of our partners and clients, and there are people who are using it already. Including me.

And then there is our mobile app. You see, there are so many…

Thank you for your time.

(The interview was prepared by David Kaiser, 1.10.2014)

NEXT: An interview with TECH-ARROW’s CEO