30 November 2017

The Short Story About Zonifero - The App Which Saved Our Office Life


Organizational chaos can kill even the most brilliant idea or business plan. What’s most important, however, is that it may reduce motivation among employees and have a negative impact on the work atmosphere in our company. How to avoid this state and at the same time make sure that our dynamically expanding office will be a friendly workspace, where we move freely? A Polish IT company has created Zonifero – which may soon become an absolute must-have among large companies throughout the world. Zonifero, a new Digital Office Management app, improves everyday work in the office and makes it more pleasant.

It all started from a simple need for new solutions improving everyday work. The ambitions of Robert Strzelecki, vice-president of the TenderHut capital group, exceeded from reproducing or improving the currently available tools, to developing innovative solutions. He created TenderHut from scratch, gradually implementing different ideas, expanding its activity to new business areas and acquiring new specialists. Competence, experience and a remarkable intuition is what allowed TenderHut to expand rapidly. In less than two years, TenderHut transformed in 4 subsidiary companies, which together are the largest IT company in the Podlasie region. The dynamic company has established 7 foreign departments in cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen, London, Zurich, Berlin, Dublin, and New York. It seemed, that nothing could interfere with the company’s ongoing success on the IT market. Sometimes, however, the need for improvement comes from the inside. In two years, the amount of employees has increased ten times. At the same time, the company’s office space has grown by 1700%. This success was the beginning of problems.

Success, corporate mergers and… gradual disorganization

In the end of 2016, TenderHut took over two local IT companies: Qburst Poland and LIT. The first acquisition resulted in acquiring several dozens of IT specialists, which together with their equipment and work tools, needed to find their places in the new office and new reality. Chaos and disorganization entered the everyday work routine. Swift task implementation and communication between team members decreased. Our new specialists felt confused within the office space. Interrupting meetings in conference rooms was frequent, desks of other workers on annual leave were being taken over. Occasionally, employees attended meetings, which had been cancelled a few days before. At that time, the company was facing a major challenge.

As an experienced manager, Robert understood that the longer this state would be maintained, the more its negative influence on the company’s performance could be. In practice, merging large companies in practice requires perfect task organization and flexibility when encountering new problems. And problems do occur in literally every phase, both before and after the merger. It is that time, when you need swift communication within the company, a well-organized workspace, and logistics concerning office and IT equipment. Last but not least, you need to provide an effective system and make sure all HR and administrative formalities are fulfilled.

A tool, which would solve the disorganization problem, and allow the company to move forward, was needed. The idea was to create a mobile app, which would allow new workers to feel comfortable and freely in our company from day one. Wouldn’t it be perfect, if everybody knew each other, knew where particular workers are located, knew how to find a person, with whom they contact everyday while implementing projects?

The entire office in a single app

I knew I had to find a solution fast. Despite our rapid growth, we needed to preserve the unique family atmosphere within the company, which enhanced our creativity – says Robert Strzelecki. I remember the first time we approached this project. Brainstorming, flipcharts filled out one after another, piles of documents, schemes. Finally our CTO, Mateusz Andrzejewski suggested: ,,Guys, look at the table. We carry our smartphones everywhere. Let’s create a mobile app, a kind of office organizer’’. At first, I thought it would be difficult, due to the fact, that the app itself would have to combine several systems. On the other hand, driving through cities, which we are unfamiliar with, also seemed troublesome back in the days, before the GPS was invented. We could transform the navigation mechanism to office reality. This is how the idea emerged – explains Robert Strzelecki. A few weeks later, a team of programmers from SoftwareHut, a subsidiary company of TenderHut, created Zonifero. The tailor-made solution for TenderHut, turned out to be the answer to common problems of disorganization within medium and large enterprises.

Zonifero – how to find yourself in an office and work more efficient

How does the solution work? With a single click on the touchscreen, we can locate a teammate, with whom we are implementing a project. We have immediate insight into his location (the exact floor and room). Without asking for directions, we can find our co-workers. Through Zonifero, we can also locate printers, conference rooms, restrooms or areas in the company intended for leisure. Let’s get one thing straight. Zonifero doesn’t monitor people, It does not gather statistics about how often we use the bathroom. The system is not designed to control employees, but to make their communication and organization easier and more efficient. The app shows the worker both his and his colleagues’ location. If we want to contact a co-worker, we can notify him via Zonifero that we want to speak directly to him, without knowing his phone number – explains Robert Strzelecki.

The app is adaptable to particular needs of every company. Zonifero can have tremendous interpersonal effects, encourage those, who have problems in establishing relations with other workers. And most of all, it decreases the time needed for adapting new employees to the company’s work routine to an absolute minimum, which is beneficial to large companies.

Work comfort influences work quality

SoftwareHut programmers, when designing the app, tried to identify additional functionalities that would improve their everyday work routine. They also interviewed their co-workers about problems, which decrease work effectiveness and at the same can be solved though Zonifero. They assumed that all solutions, which simplify moving within the office space are desired. Therefore Zonifero, besides locating people, allows us to find and book conference rooms. Robert Matyszewski, Chief Sales Officer in TenderHut explains: Previously, during business meetings in conference rooms, a random worker would enter and interfere when I was in the middle of a presentation. I would lose track of the conversation, the listeners would be distracted as well. It was very disturbing. On the other hand, when I urgently needed a room, I interfered with other business meetings. I was losing precious time and felt more and more frustrated. Something like that really causes discomfort. Zonifero has resolved the problem in both cases. Tablets, which view the reservation schedule, have been installed in front of conference rooms. Motion detectors have also been installed inside, in order to automatically cancel scheduled meetings, when the room remains vacant. A little thing?- Robert Strzelecki asks rhetorically- It may be so, but it has changed a lot. Many a little, step by step, makes a mickle. As a result, we've got a system in which the work comfort is highly noticeable. And that's really SOMETHING!

At first, a trial version of the app was launched. The development team was performing upgrades for several weeks. Today, workers use Zonifero willingly. They don’t waste time going around the office – one quick glance at the mobile phone and I immediately see the entire company’s movement, which desks are vacant, which conference rooms are taken. Workers even sign the attendance list via Zonifero –Robert Matyszewski says with a smile on his face.

The ultimate trial and interesting functionalities

News spread quickly. When Zonifero’s development process was completed, we received several inquiries from companies interested in implementing our solution. The app was facing a trial in real life conditions. Despite a favourable reception from its own users, SoftwareHut wanted to make sure, that the app would operate properly in other organizations. The system works just fine and - what is most important – it has managed to positively surprise the users.

Probably none of the creators of Zonifero had expected the kind of problems they would have to encounter. One of our foreign clients requested a functionality, which informed about restroom availability! – says Robert StrzeleckiIt’s no joke! It turned out that the company’s spatial arrangement caused workers to waste lots of time in order to find a vacant WC. The company estimated that this caused serious losses. For us, the problem seemed easy to resolve. When we implemented Zonifero in our own headquarters, this additional functionality turned out to be a bull’s eye for our employees as well - they received it with enthusiasm and use it willingly.

Many departments – one office application

Zonifero also works in organizations, which have several departments and offices in different parts of the world. – Again, the origin of this feature comes from our observations. Currently, TenderHut has 7 foreign offices, therefore I know what kind of problems it may cause. Workers which travel between departments when using Zonifero – can instantly check where they can find a place to work or a particular colleague. This simplifies a lot of things. Zonifero has already been implemented in Thermo Fisher Scientific, the international supplier of laboratory equipment and software, which hires over 50 000 workers in 50 countries all over the world. Thermo received a dedicated version of the app, with a special design and coloring. Also, access to the app was granted only to those users, who have an email registered at the company’s domain.

Will the creators of Zonifero persuade more companies to purchase it? The product is constantly being improved with new functionalities, combining several large IT systems into one simple app. Thanks to Zonifero, you can manage projects, tasks or problems within particular departments of your company. It allows to digitally sign the attendance list, it replaces the office’s internal communicating system. Zonifero enables to book conference rooms. It also allows to optimize the usage of our office space on the basis of gathered statistics. Currently, the app is being implemented in large, international companies, as well as public entities in Poland. Negotiations with universities and trade fares, where optimizing space management is also needed, are in progress.

According to Robert Strzelecki, innovativeness and quality will always find potential buyers. The development team is considering adding new functionalities , so that the product can simplify the work process to the highest possible extent, as well as correspond with the needs of any organization. Even the most bizarre ones, such as the so-called office heat map, opening doors with your smartphone or gathering information about office space usage. The main target of the app however, is to conform to needs of employees and solve their everyday problems, which normally consume time. Time efficiency is a priority in every company with aspirations and a competitive spirit.

Alicja Szymkiewicz
PR IR Manager

Experienced Corporate Communication Manager in fields of IR, PR and marketing. A philosopher, PR person and IR person by profession. Privately enthusiastic diver, mum for a son and young Labrador, and happy wife for one husband.