Nine is considered the number of perfection because it contains three times the number three, which is considered a sacred number in many cultures. How Polygran GmbH has developed over the last nine years was told to us by the two managing directors, Igor Janz and Wilhelm Lehbert, in a personal interview.
What happened in the first three years of Polygran's history?
Igor Janz, the founder of Polygran GmbH, tells us that the foundation stone for the company was laid back in 2010. At the time, he was working as a freelancer on a project at an automotive company to stabilize the existing application lifecycle management system. The project was originally planned for three months. Due to the complexity of the system and the rapid growth of the instance, the project was repeatedly extended.
"Over the first 6 months, my office was almost like my second home – so much work had already accumulated at that time."
More complexity and growth naturally require more work, support, security and quality. Therefore, Polygran GmbH was founded out of the emergency situation in 2012.
The first employee, Uthayakumar Kiddinapillai (Udin for short), is still a very important colleague today, as he formed the basic features of the company culture with his diligence, expert knowledge and infectious good humor. Over the first few years, Polygran GmbH was able to build up a very good reputation. New projects and the growing workload required more and more employees.
One advantage when looking for support is that national borders and German language skills often play a subordinate role in IT. IT knowledge and experience take precedence. That is why, although many team members come directly from Ulm and the surrounding area, others still work at various locations today – including abroad. For some employees, Polygran was even a stepping stone to building a life in Germany. Gradually, new business areas were created, for which the colleagues who joined Polygran in the first three years are still responsible today.
The company grew as if by itself, new projects were thrown at it many times. After a few years, the successful projects turned into a problem. Polygran placed itself in a financial dependency on a single customer. As a consequence, other important projects had to be abandoned. A long time was worked hard to overcome the lean period. Many employees have nevertheless stayed on out of loyalty and trust.
"That lesson was the most expensive training of my life - but we learned from it."
What has happened at Polygran in the last three years?
Everything was done that was not done before: Polygran has restructured itself. Investments were made in sales and marketing, services were promoted on the market and cooperation with suppliers and partners was deepened. There was an all-round focus on core competencies. It took a lot of patience, a lot of trust and a lot of investment to get back on track.
"During Polygran's worst times, many team members stayed, didn't get discouraged and always stood by the company. I also give everyone a lot of credit for that."
"We have a functioning company, meaningful structures, outstanding professionals, financial resources and an extensive base of contacts, so we can use networks to develop."
The teams trusted the management and the management trusted the teams. New business units were established – some were successful, others failed. However, to get better, let’s not focus on who made what mistake, but what can be learned from a mistake. Efficiency within the company began to increase, because since the establishment of New Work concepts, colleagues have been able to decide for themselves how flexibly, how much and how quickly they want to work on the success of the company. The workspaces in the Ulm office were restructured into flexible functional rooms. Home Office applies to everyone as often and as long as desired. Working hours depend on project needs and your own energy level. Employee benefits are constantly aligned with the interests of colleagues*. Together, we developed corporate values, which today represent our anchor in turbulent times. They are the principle of our actions and the heart of our corporate culture. In short: Polygran has developed into a strong and future-oriented company.
"Decisions are made by stakeholders who know how Polygran works and those decisions are based on current, theoretical and practical knowledge. You just come in to me and bring new ideas - that's what I credit you with! At the end of the day, you are all the professionals, my job is to support you in all of this and clear the way for it! And you do that great, why should I interfere?"
So we throw ideas around lavishly and see how they can change our world. We have presented ourselves at various trade fairs, modernized our website and developed an external image that reflects Polygran professionally and authentically. We have expanded partnerships with our suppliers and are now a Microfocus Platinum Partner and Atlassian Silver Solution Partner. In this way, we were able to win over new customers and employees, as well as regain the trust of former customers and returning employees.
"What we have succeeded in doing over the last three years is stabilizing and polishing the foundation of Polygran. We are now continuing to build on this foundation."
What is planned at Polygran for the next 3 years?
For the coming challenge, the company needs the most intelligent, creative and courageous colleagues in the world. We work even faster and more flexibly today because tomorrow will soon be yesterday and we no longer want to run behind, but ahead. That’s why we formulated a vision and mission together with all employees at the beginning of the year.
"There is something we all need: a green field with guard rails. It is precisely these guardrails that represent the vision and mission. We all need to know where we are headed. That's why we define this vision together, so we can also believe in it together, share it and run together in the same direction."
"The direction Polygran is going in right now, that also comes from you guys. The teams are what make Polygran what it is today. We really pitch in everywhere and see what comes of it - that's always been my motto."
At Polygran, we aim to build relationships with customers and suppliers into trusted partnerships by enabling every organization to benefit from high-quality IT services. To do this, we are taking with us the tailwind we have built up over the past nine years. We are excited about the future that we will be able to help shape!