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Peter Walser, CTO of ABAS Software AG

11-26-2010 06:23 PM CET | IT, New Media & Software

Press release from: ABAS Software AG

Peter Walser, Chief Technology Officer of ABAS Software AG

Peter Walser, Chief Technology Officer of ABAS Software AG

Karlsruhe, November 26th, 2010 - Peter Walser has been the Chief Technology Officer of ABAS Software AG since 2007. His rise to the top at the software provider in Karlsruhe was gradual but continuous. In 1983 the computer scientist got to know the company as a student. The foundation for the upgradeable business software had just been laid when he started working in development after finishing his degree. The objective pragmatist developed alongside the growing ERP software and started to be increasingly responsible for product, coordination and employees. He is proud of the upgradeable abas Business Software, "It is our strength that we control the maintenance phase of our software product. This makes abas Business Software unique on the market," summarizes Walser.

Practical experience spices up overly theoretical studies
"In the spring of 1983 I wanted to earn some money during the semester break for a trip to Ecuador. I found an advertisement from ABAS at the university, they were looking for student assistants. I went there for an interview and they hired me," remembers Walser. "At that time, studies at the university were overly theoretical. In my day we were still working with punch cards during my basic studies. For me it was a real plus to gain some practical experience. The originally planned semester break, quickly became four years at ABAS. From the very beginning I was able to realize small projects, for example, to program a final payment system or to develop the sales order processing for a timber wholesaler. I realized all steps from definition of the project up to completion. This early contact to customers was a huge professional benefit for me. My projects were quickly getting more sophisticated. After four years I decided to resume my studies and to get my degree."

The beginning at ABAS: database
"Werner Strub and Peter Forscht gave us the advice that we should hire Peter Walser before he went to another company," remembers Erich Sartori, one of the original programmers. "I still knew him from the time he was working at ABAS as a student and was very happy when he agreed to work for us. I wanted to go on a vacation and really needed someone who could take care of the database. I was, however, surprised that he only nodded while I was explaining things and after two hours, he said, everything was clear. I had actually anticipated more questions," says Sartori. "My big advantage was that I had a couple of years programming experience with COBOL, and index sequential files were not that different from the former database," explains Walser. At that time, remote access was still a foreign concept. If a customer database had a defect, the tape was sent to Karlsruhe, the data was analyzed and then the error was solved together with the customer by phone.

Erich Sartori, original developer and a good mentor
"In the early years I was allowed to deal with the basics of computer science and I really felt at home with this," remembers Peter Walser. His fields of responsibility were mainly tools and database. "As is normal at ABAS, I gradually passed on my knowledge . Then I developed mostly in the production area for some time. I have always been more of an all-rounder than someone who needs a special niche. At ABAS responsibility grows with knowledge. In Erich I had found a good teacher and mentor. We supported each other and I did not shy away from taking responsibility. Erich is a smart man with regard to programming, but he's not a fan of organizational things. We complemented each other well."

abas Business Software proves standard product life cycle ad absurdum
"During my studies I learned that a software's product lifecycle is seven years. When looking at the development of abas Business Software, this assumption does not hold up. It is our strength that we control the maintenance phase of our product. We have customers that have been working with the software without break for 20 years and are always using state of the art technology thanks to our upgrades. To my knowledge no one else in the ERP area can do this. We would have lost many customers if we would have allowed any interruptions. Continuity is our strength."

Upgradeability means continuous progress
Since 1990 the ABAS Software AG has ensured that customers always have the most recent developments available through annual upgrades. "This upgradeability is something special on the ERP market. Today, our first customers are using most modern technology, and they never had to migrate their data." Sometimes the versions provide small effective improvements, sometimes there are large leaps in technology in an upgrade which brings the software to the next generation of technology. There were numerous improvements in computer science and as many developments in the abas Business Software. Which steps were really relevant? In the following Walser names the developments that were most significant for him.

1993: first multilingual version of abas Business Software, 2003: Unicode
"Many experiences from our first foreign installation in France in 1987 were included in the first multilingual version. For lack of common standards, the abas character set with 8 bit was introduced at that time so that all Western European characters could be coded. Moreover, all texts from the source code were transferred into abas dictionaries. In 2003, we took the most important step to becoming a global software with the early introduction of Unicode. This cost a lot of work. We had to expand our character set to code the worldwide existing characters . We needed characters that exceeded 8 bits and therefore turned our program code upside down," Walser explains the necessary changes.

1994: Event-driven interface programming
Walser on the abas in-house event-driven interface programming (EFOP), "With its introduction we were able to increase the flexibility of abas ERP drastically. User actions in screens and fields are used as event-triggers. These EFOPs opened up further opportunities to carry out customizations which will remain after an upgrade."

1995: First installation on Linux
Against the general Windows trend in the mid-90s, abas developers realized the advantages of the free operating system Linux early on and made it available to customers. At first, the free operating system was used for in-house development, the commercial success came bit by bit. "In 1995 operating systems still cost a lot of money. This was one of the reasons our customers wanted to use Linux. Linux is also very secure, efficient and stable," explains Walser. Today, almost all abas Business Software installations run on Linux on the server-side.

1996: Member of the supervisory board, 1998: Chairman of the supervisory board
In 1996 the two individual companies, the ABAS GmbH and System III merged and became the ABAS Software AG. The cooperation in the supervisory board which consisted of employees of both companies really helped. At the time the companies were merged they were still in different buildings. The development was located in an historical building in the center of Karlsruhe, in which it grew and spread like an octopus in the entire building as soon as an apartment or a storage room became available. So it happened that Walser moved into an office next to the company founder Wolfgang Dannemann (link to Dannemann article). The contact became close and they got to know each other well. Dannemann suggested Walser for the supervisory board, two years later he was entrusted with the chairmanship which he held for eight years. The time in the supervisory board were important years of apprenticeship for the computer scientist in terms of rhetoric and presentation: "In my heart I am an engineer, I am not very good at presenting things, but I learned and developed."

1997: Graphical user interface
"For me as a programmer the graphical user interface was an important milestone. This development involved a lot more depth than could be seen by the end customers. For its realization we had to get from a two-tier architecture to a three-tier architecture. The application and interface tiers were separated. This also ensured a clear and standard structure of programs and a considerable leap in quality. We worked on it three to four years, then the graphical user interface was available in addition to the ASCII interface," Walser explains the complexity of the development.

2002: Log database
"The log database was a very important step to handle the installations which became larger and larger and also more numerous. It gave us transaction security and thus considerably less maintenance effort because since then there are no longer inconsistencies in the database. Prior to this we had to solve errors manually in the write operation, and later using repair tools. This support effort ceased to exist with the introduction of the log database," explains Walser.

2004: abas eBusiness, 2007: Portal
With eBusiness in 2004 and the Portal technology in 2007, the new Internet technologies found their way into the ERP system. "Both technologies have complemented abas ERP with modern and Internet-suitable solutions. Using abas eB, data from abas ERP can be made available for sales representatives, customers or business partners via the Internet for reading or writing. Access is secure and personalized. Less interfaces are needed due to the high level of integration with abas ERP. Applications, such as a vendor portal or access for service or sales employees can be easily created in addition to a webshop. The portal has an integrative character, it links various data from external and internal sources. Our customers can compare and link information from abas ERP with external data and provide this information according to specific groups," explains the CTO.

2007: Walser appointed CTO
In 2007 Peter Walser was appointed CTO of ABAS Software AG and since then has been responsible for the coordination of the development. "In the years before I had informally started to take on more and more responsibility by organizing various projects. I actively approached unsolved questions and always tried to find a solution. At ABAS Software AG there are deliberately no hierarchies and no titles. Responsibility comes with the willingness to participate. During my time in the supervisory board I learned how to think in a business sense and my willingness to take chances was trained," remembers Walser, who is also a family man. "These experiences helped me to accept offer to become CTO. I was very lucky in my development and always felt very close to ABAS." Since becoming CTO, company founder Werner Strub, who was promoted to CEO (Link to Strub article) now has more time to look after the partners and the economic aspects of the software company from Karlsruhe.

Outlook: a CTO and a software for all conditions
"It will be my job as CTO in the years to come to further develop our software in the triangle of existing customers, new customers and abas partners and to ensure the necessary internal and external transfer of knowledge. It will be especially relevant to find solutions for questions resulting from the global use of our software. Functions and operation of abas Business Software have to become more intuitive," describes Walser the future tasks.

He rides his bike to work every day and in all weathers and thus remains fit for his numerous jobs. Moreover, "My family also makes sure that I sometimes think of other things and relax," says Walser who also likes to swim. He does not only get support for his tasks at home and at ABAS Software AG, but also from the abas partners. "What I really appreciate in Peter Walser is his way to methodically deal with requirements. He analyzes new trends and, if it makes sense to realize them for the abas Business Software and our target group, then they are included in the development plan. He handles precarious situations with calmness, a clear head and analytical thinking. He always remains humane and always communicates with customers and partners on an equal level, this is what I really appreciate about him," Armin Englert, abas partner since 1996.

Company profile
Founded in 1980, ABAS is a leading provider of the most flexible and upgradeable ERP and eBusiness solutions on the market. ABAS serves mid-market manufacturers and distributors focusing on discrete, Engineer-to-order, Make-to-Order, Assemble-to-Order, and Job Shop Manufacturing environments. ABAS provides an unique solution for international customers through its multi-country functionality and global partner network. ABAS is uniquely qualified to successfully implement international ERP projects. No other company has the combination of a unified partner network, strategic orientation, globally enabled software, and international implementation methodology that defines the roadmap to success. ABAS provides quick ROI in that it is easy to learn, use, customize and upgrade. More than 2,300 customers have chosen ABAS as their long term ERP provider and work successfully with the internationally applicable abas Business Software. ABAS Software AG in Karlsruhe employs more than 120 people, and together with over 50 abas partners ABAS employs approx. 600 employees worldwide. The abas software partners provide a wide range of services including implementation, customization, hardware and network support. ABAS also provides on-site support and ensures short reaction times and high service quality. International partners in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, Ukraine, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Iran, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Canada and the USA represent the ABAS Software AG throughout the world. The partner network is continuously being expanded.

Product profile - abas Business Software
abas Business Software includes abas ERP for production, abas Distribution for distribution, wholesale, and service companies, and the eBusiness solution abas eB. abas ERP is an ERP application designed specifically for manufacturers in the Assemble-to-Order, Make-to-Order and Engineer-to-Order environment. abas Business Software is priced to fit most budgets while delivering full ERP functionality. It is flexible, adaptable, internationally applicable and a save investment for the future. The clear structure and well thought-out implementation strategy of the system enable a short implementation period as well as trouble-free integration into the company structure. New functions and technologies are constantly added to the standard software with each new upgrade. As a result, abas users are always using the most up-to-date product. abas Business Software is currently offered in 28 languages. ABAS has been a supporter of the open source operating system Linux since 1995. Approximately 80% of over 2,300 abas installations are based in Linux.

abas Business Software - range of services: Sales/sales order processing/shipping, purchasing/purchase order processing, warehouse management, scheduling, logistics, materials management/MRP, production/PPC, financial accounting, fixed asset accounting, cost accounting, controlling, eBusiness, portal, etc.

ONE GLOBE – ONE NETWORK – ONE ABAS
ABAS is uniquely qualified to successfully implement international projects. No other company has the combination of a unified partner network, strategic orientation, globally enabled software, and international implementation methodology that defines the roadmap to success. ABAS Software AG is a leading provider of the most flexible and upgradeable ERP solutions on the market today. ABAS serves mid-market manufacturers and distributors focusing on discrete, Engineer-to-order, Make-to-Order, Assemble-to-Order, and Job Shop Manufacturing environments. ABAS provides a unique solution for international customers through its multi-country functionality and global partner network. ABAS provides quick ROI in that it is easy to learn, use, customize and upgrade. More than 2,300 customers have chosen ABAS as their long term ERP provider and work successfully with the internationally applicable abas Business Software. ABAS, established in 1980, has become a global network of companies. The global ABAS network has more than 600 employees and 50 software partners. abas software partners provide a wide range of services including implementation, customization, hardware and network support. ABAS also provides on-site support and high quality services. International partners in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, Ukraine, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Iran, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Canada and the USA represent the ABAS Software AG throughout the world. The partner network is continuously being expanded.

ABAS Software AG
James D Jamaleldine
Suedendstr. 42
76135 Karlsruhe/Germany
Tel.: +49 721/9 67 23-0
Fax +49 721/9 67 23-100
pr@abas-software.com
www.abas-software.com

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