Annual Review? We have one too... Simply because 2023 was a truly special year for Can Do. Why – and what this means for 2024: Our CEO, Thomas Schlereth, reveals it all in the interview.
Interview with Thomas Schlereth, CEO at Can Do
Thomas, let's start off in a general sense: What are your impressions as you look back on the past few months?
At Can Do, we notice the increased pressure on businesses: Digital transformation demands more projects with fewer employees in companies. As a result, the requirements for efficient and realistic planning have significantly risen. We see this reflected in the significantly increased inquiries about our project management software. As the CEO, this is, of course, gratifying for me.
Good reasons for generally good spirits... But, to be more specific: What was your personal highlight in 2023?
I mentioned the significant increase in our customer and user base. What particularly impressed me was the release of the second generation of our AI, which suggests alternative personnel based on neural networks for overloaded resources. I use it myself, and it easily saves me 2-4 hours of work per week.
Sounds exciting! What makes this advancement of Can Do's AI so extraordinary?
We optimized the system for resource management several years ago. Back then and even today, most systems in the market are "documentation applications", where there is little computation. Our system is different, focusing on human behavior, imprecise data, and artificial intelligence. This was initially underestimated by others, and today, we are leading in the field of skill and resource management, not just for projects.
And how does that impact the users? Do you have specific practical examples for that?
The algorithms simulate how a person organizes themselves when working on multiple tasks concurrently. What can they achieve? Therefore, planners don't have to specify exactly how people should work; they just set goals for them. If it's not feasible, we alert them, and the overload on the staff is significantly reduced.
The AI supports users with specific suggestions that a human could also determine. However, doing this manually would take 1-2 hours per issue, while the AI accomplishes it in less than 2 seconds. This results in significant time savings, allowing project managers to focus on important aspects of the project and team.
When is the full implementation of "AI 2.0" scheduled?
For cloud customers, this has already happened. All on-premise customers will receive the new AI as part of regular updates in the upcoming update cycles. By the end of the first quarter of 2024, all users should be able to work with this AI.
With the new AI, Can Do has made a significant leap forward. This raises the question: Are there any innovations in 2024 or is the direction towards consolidation? Do customers perhaps need to familiarize themselves with the new feature first?
All algorithms and artificial intelligences are based on real human work behavior. The effort lies more in the server; for the user, this means one or two buttons. Essentially, there's nothing to learn here.
Regarding updates: We are working on several topics simultaneously. In Q1, we will expand the features of the Alternative AI based on valuable suggestions from users. The other topics are not yet finalized; it always involves the challenge that with the AI model, we get many answers, but sometimes we don't yet know the questions. Specifically: What is the benefit? It sounds strange but is a crucial aspect in developing such models.
Even though AI evolution is at the forefront, what else is there to report from 2023?
The significant growth in 2023 is technically facilitated by the fact that virtually all new customers are using the cloud version. In-house installations are scarcely requested anymore. It can't be attributed to our SaaS licensing model, as it is also offered for in-house installations. This situation was entirely different 3-5 years ago.
The process of rolling out a Can Do system in companies has also changed. Two to three years ago, all requirements were theoretically documented, tested, the software adjusted, etc. Users only joined when the system was finished. It was always a lengthy, labor-intensive, and error-prone process.
Today, agile deployment is the norm. We have the first users on the system on the project's first day. It is immediately used with real data in parallel with the old systems. New use cases are introduced and trained every week. This way, the solution becomes productive much earlier, and only actions with tangible benefits are implemented. This agile approach has become widely adopted.
... and what is the strategic direction for the future?
We need to be able to support the large number of new customers at a high level. Therefore, we are growing and hiring new people. As we receive more and more inquiries from abroad, we will strategically position ourselves with partners. And it's clear: we want to significantly expand the AI next year as well, to increasingly relieve the users.
The year-end is the time for wishes! What do you wish for regarding Can Do?
The economy in our target markets is undergoing dramatic changes. The issues of Artificial Intelligence, the energy transition, and shifts in globalization pose significant challenges for companies. I wish that we continue to guide companies through innovation, courage, and technological advancements. Certainly, the focus will be on Artificial Intelligence, and we will consistently implement our ethical principles that we adhere to.
Thomas, thank you very much for the interesting insights and the open conversation!