Somentec Software AG


It was in the spring of 2003 that Nick Nikijuluw, Managing Director of Data Access Europe BV, invited me for a presentation. The presentation was about a new tool that would allow people to develop reports quickly and easily.

At that time, I did not have the time (and desire) for a product presentation; a while ago, we had just reviewed several tools and had decided to use Crystal Reports.

Somehow we felt that we had a good overview of what the market provides for this kind of solutions. On the other hand, our awareness grew that for most customers it was not that easy to develop and run their own reports with Crystal Reports.

We have gone through the experience that Crystal Reports would give us trouble, time and time again. In those days, the DLL’s didn’t comply with any versioning, so our hot-line was frequently informed of problems when a customer would change anything on someone’s workplace. Because often the shared DLL’s would be affected, the reports in Crystal Reports would not work properly anymore. Neither support staff, nor our customers were pleased. I was almost at the point that I would rather not provide reports with third-party tools. The support overhead simply could not justify the minimal margin on providing the Crystal Reports product.


It was at this point that the invitation came, to watch this new product, developed by a small Danish vendor Cintac A/S. Since I have a long-time business relationship with Nick, and he and Carsten Sørensen (CEO of Cintac A/S) offered to visit our office for the demonstration, I was persuaded.

What shall I say? Only a few minutes into the presentation, I was somewhat excited by the tool Dynamic AI!
From a technology- as well as user standpoint, it is a completely different approach. Dynamic AI is 100% browser-based and it can be installed centrally. So, problems with configuring workplaces belong to the past.
For developing reports and presenting them, the same interface is used. To stress that point: The integrated interface from Dynamic AI allows the user a fluent transition from designing to using the report. This is truly a unique strong point of Dynamic AI! Every software developer knows that one can build so many reports in an application, but every other end-user will have requests for different sorting, selections, grouping or column-names. The continuous dialogue with customers regarding this can be dealt with elegantly - thanks to Dynamic AI.

Another aspect of Dynamic AI that struck me immediately, was the “data oriented” approach, as opposed to a “formula oriented” approach, as seen in other products.

Surely it must be nice for a technically not so savvy end-user to paint a dream-layout with a lot of dedication, without having to worry about where the data has to come from. But this philosophy is very short-sighted because at the end of the day, the report will only work if the correct data is used and for that, some skills are required for getting access to the correct data.

Designing a report with Dynamic AI always starts at the data. I find it very practical that Dynamic AI automatically proposes a report design by itself right from the start. Basic adjustments are then easily made and the results are immediately visible. On top of predefined reports the end-users can then take all the time to fine-tune the report, or decide to change some parameters quickly in the Ad hoc design mode without asking his systems administrator to do it, or call our Hotline.

This approach allows a software-house, or an intern systems administrator with some database knowledge, to provide the basis for reports that can be easily used and changed by end-users. For meeting reporting demands on a day by day basis, no programming skills are required.

It has been some time since this first presentation in my office and a lot as happened in the meantime. Much progressed, in the product of Cintac A/S, and in the distribution of this great tool to our customers.

At the beginning it became easy for us to convince our larger customers with their own IT department and technical database administrators, of the power of Dynamic AI. It was even positioned and installed alongside products as Cognos or Business Objects.

Soon, we found excited customers presenting their own Dynamic AI reports at our user-conferences.
To increase the awareness among our customers, we have defined a special “Startup-Edition” of Dynamic AI. It contains a limited selection of reports that are typical for our application and the demands of our customers. We progressively succeed in providing access to this tool, for a growing number of customers.

In the latest version of our application, functionality is integrated that allows Dynamic AI reports to be started from the menu-system. With a single-sign-on and parameter passing it allows for seamless integration and adds value for us and to our customers.

We have taken on the plan, not to keep developing the reports in our system, but to make them available as Dynamic AI reports instead, one after the other. I am sure that we can convince all of our customers of the advantages and great performance of Dynamic AI.

The author, Christian Hartlieb is responsible as CEO for Software development and Product management at Somentec Software AG. The flagship product of Somentec is XAP. which is a comprehensive standard application for flexible and efficient management and billing of energy and water at different utilities and service providers. Somentec was founded in 1994 by Christian Hartlieb, together with two partners and three other staff-members. Today, almost 60 people work at Somentec at the locations in Langen and Dresden. The main region is the German domestic market, but the approximately 80 small, medium and large customers are spread all across Germany and beyond into Austria and Luxemburg.

Newer articleOlder article