Bruno Steiner, Senior manager, Kappeler AG
Kappeler AG specialises in bathrooms and kitchens. It uses Smart ICT, Swisscom’s end-to-end solution for SMEs, to ensure its ICT does not bring the business to a standstill.
The mood is upbeat at Kappeler AG in Bern’s Lorraine district. Laughter can frequently be heard coming from the warehouse as we talk to company owner Benjamin Kappeler and his management colleague Bruno Steiner in the meeting room. One corner of the room, housing a desk reserved for Benjamin Kappeler’s 93-year-old mother, symbolises the company’s family feel. “She pops in from time to time,” grins Kappeler. A lot has happened since she founded the business with her husband in 1951, especially in terms of data processing, which has been Bruno Steiner’s responsibility for 25 years.
Saturday evening backups
What does the company need from its ICT, Mr Steiner? “Customers have become less patient, so everything has to be much quicker nowadays. At the same time, software is becoming more complex and files are getting bigger and bigger. The product directory that we download for our catalogue contains 360,000 items, for example. Our spare parts warehouse is also well stocked and includes some older parts that make our service unique. Last but not least, we need to store our data securely.” In other words, an ICT solution needs to function efficiently and securely at all times. Kappeler AG used to devote consid-erable resources to this, as Bruno Steiner recalls: “I spent many Saturday evenings here, backing everything up on tapes. It wasn’t much fun. We subsequently got an out-side company to back up our data online overnight. We sometimes had a nasty surprise the following morning because the system no longer started up. Online backups were also expensive.”
In-house or cloud-based server?
All in all, ICT used to take up far too much time and was rather stressful, remembers Bruno Steiner. One day, he asked himself whether he really wanted to carry on and contacted Swisscom to find out what the alternatives might be. That was the starting point: together with local Swisscom partner Q-NET and Swisscom experts, Kappeler AG reviewed its ICT situation and examined vari-ous possible solutions. Bruno Steiner explains: “From the start, it was clear to me that we no longer needed our own server. A lot of similar-sized companies see it differently and don’t want to get rid of their servers. For me, the time is right for a cloud-based solution and I trust the security that Swisscom provides. In our industry, in-house servers will gradually disappear because they are simply too expensive for an SME to operate.”
A complex process completed with enormous dedication
Smart ICT is Swisscom’s end-to-end solution for SMEs that would rather devote their time to their core business than worry about IT. Liking what it saw, Kappeler AG placed an order with Swisscom and Q-NET. Swisscom operates the server in its cloud, while Kappeler can access data and software via a secure, fast Internet connection. Backups are automatic, IP telephony is included and staff can contact the Swisscom helpdesk for support. As soon as on-site assistance is required, Q-NET is ready and waiting. So far, so good, says Bruno Steiner, although: “There were a few stumbling blocks on the way. One was the integration of our previous ERP software, which proved more complicated than expected and led to the project being delayed. But Swisscom and Q-NET showed enormous dedication during that difficult period."
Seamless ICT operations for a fair price
Smart ICT has taken a huge weight off Bruno Steiner’s shoulders. “All the systems are stable and we now have a single contact partner for everything,” he says. The monthly bill is always the same and Kappeler now gets more for less money than before. Expansion plans? “Of course, we could now work from home. But we delib-erately keep work and home life separate.” It’s all part of the company’s family-centred philosophy.
Kappeler AG’s 12-strong team advises and supplies customers and installers with bathroom and kitchen components, including planning services. The long-established Bern-based company attaches particular importance to aesthetic and technical excellence.
«It saves me time and stress, which is good for our customer service.»
Bruno Steiner, Senior manager, Kappeler AG