A conversation with Stefan Rüttimann
October 2022: The Head of Software Engineering at emineo talks about everyday challenges in his department.
When did you join emineo?
I joined emineo in April 2022 as Head of Software Engineering and therefore responsible for individual software development. Before that, I worked for a software company in Eastern Switzerland with focus in the insurance and telco industry. Thanks to my 20 years of experience with complex IT projects, my focus is on leading growing teams that work in an agile manner. In this respect, I can “live it up” at emineo.
What do you like about your job?
My job is extremely varied. No day is like the other, because both the business world and the technologies have never developed as quickly as they do today. Therefore, there are new things to learn every day – new challenges and tasks. Solving these in collaboration with highly trained, motivated specialists from a wide range of disciplines excites me.
What does your department do?
I could simply say that we develop future-proof digital solutions using the latest technology. But in everyday life we do much more than that. The first step is, of course, to understand our customers and their challenges. Because every industry, every product, every organisation has its own peculiarities. These individualities find their way into our target solution. Together with the customer, we design solution, develop prototypes and finally a new software solution according to the latest standards.
But even there the journey does not end. We support our customers in the operation of our solutions and the associated change management. The people who will work with the software solution need to understand it in order to work with it. In addition, in many cases we take over the maintenance as well as the support of these IT solutions. This results in long-lasting and sustainable customer relationships as well as a deep understanding for each other. And that in return leads to new creative ideas and fruitful cooperation that goes far beyond the average service relationship.
What areas does your department cover?
We cover the entire spectrum of the software project business: account management and sales, project management, business analysis, software engineering and support. We also have expert knowledge and a lot of experience in project delivery with agile methods such as Scrum or SAFe.
Can you give an example of a current project?
Citysoftnet is currently our largest and most complex project. For the social welfare offices of three large Swiss cities, we are developing a case management system with several Scrum teams. In this project, we are combining SAP and Java/Opensource technologies. But medium-sized and smaller projects also have their appeal. It makes us proud that we are charged to develop the digital tax solution for the cantonal tax office in Zurich and thus offer Zurich citizens a simple and user-friendly solution which make filling out the tax declaration even a bit fun.
What are the greatest strengths of your department?
Clearly the people – my excellent employees. On the one hand, they have excellent technical engineering skills. On the other hand, they act prudently in their dealings with customers and partners every day, weigh up the best way to proceed in each case and show a high sense of responsibility. This professionalism impresses me.
What challenges do you see ahead in your department?
The targeted growth is a challenge in two respects: Firstly, the tense situation on the labour market makes it difficult to recruit new specialists. So far, we are still succeeding in attracting new talent for emineo, despite considerable competition on the labour market. Secondly, we want to grow healthily while remaining lean and agile in order to continue living our values such as customer proximity and pragmatism. These are exciting challenges in our management team.
Our claim is “this is how digital works” – how digital are you personally?
I use digitalization wherever it offers me convenience. I often and gladly use mobile payment or online shopping services because they simply make my life easier. I notice how much digital offers have changed our lives in recent years in the central importance of the mobile phone, which has become an indispensable part of my everyday life. In return for digital networking, I place a lot of value on maintaining physical and personal contacts – this applies both privately and professionally. The pandemic in particular has shown how important personal proximity and one-on-one conversations are.
emineo has been around for 20 years: Where and how were you professionally at that time?
20 years ago, I filled my backpack for professional life at the University of Zurich. Parallel to studying business informatics, I was working part-time in the IT architecture department of the then called “Winterthur Insurance”. There, I already applied what I had learned in practice and got to know the everyday working life in an IT organisation. Obviously, I liked being in the IT industry.
What do you wish for the future?
I would like us to maintain sustainable and trusting relationships in this fast-moving and constantly changing ICT world. This applies to our customers, but also to all other interpersonal relationships – in the team, with friends and with partners. We should always remember that IT and digitization should serve people and not the other way around. This also requires a high degree of values, ethical thinking and action in our industry.