We pave your way through the digital transformation

codafish is an online marketing agency that paves the way, through the digital transformation, for companies. With their focus on modern open source technologies and content management systems, such as WordPress, Drupal and Pimcore, they occupy a niche that is overlooked by many agencies. Why codafish cannot save itself from satisfied clients, and how the company is dealing with rapid growth: CEOs Andreas Wroblewski and Timo Müller in an interview.

How can a full-service agency set itself apart from the competition in Berlin and Hamburg?

Timo: There are, of course, many full-service agencies in Germany, and, especially in Berlin and Hamburg. We attach great importance to professionalism and expertise. As trained IT specialists, this is what we convey to our clients. We primarily focus on open source solutions, such as the CMS solutions Drupal, Pimcore or WordPress. In this way, marketing budgets aren’t spent on license fees. In contrast to our competitors, we score points with our lean structures and focus on cost efficiency, flexibility and transparency.

What are Drupal and Pimcore’s special features?

Andreas: Pimcore has such a broad range that almost anything is possible, here – from a simple website to the product management of a shop to the implementation of complex web applications. What is really special is how Pimcore handles data. The abundance of data types for modeling the data leaves almost nothing to be desired and guarantees a scalable and robust system that is already equipped for the future. Timo: In contrast to Pimcore, we use Drupal more as a content management system for websites. We are impressed by the large community of developers, the modular structure of the system and the flexibility with which individual solutions can be developed.

How well is your Ionic and Angular offer being received?

Timo: To begin with, Angular is a front-end framework that can be used to develop real, single-page web applications. Ionic, on the other hand, is a framework with which created applications can be run as a mobile app. The big advantage of this combination is the variety of ways in which business processes can be mapped digitally, and, together, in connection with Pimcore, you have almost unlimited possibilities. Another advantage is that you only need a single code base for the implementation of web applications and apps for Android and Apple iOS. We have many medium-sized companies that map their business worlds digitally in order to offer their B2B customers real added value with their online applications.

You have only been in the market for a few years. How long was the dry spell and how did you reach out to potential clients?

Timo: I can still remember when Andreas and I came up with the idea of founding a digital agency. Our ideas became more concrete at the beginning of 2017 – so we planned for almost a year. The hardest part of the planning was coming up with a name for our agency. We started our operations in June, 2018. Of course, we asked ourselves how we were going to finance self-employment. But, we got lucky in that we were able to immediately start work on a large Pimcore project and, therefore, didn’t experience a dry spell.

Your clients describe you as a very professional and well-organized agency. How do you accomplish this? Do you have well-structured departments or a management process that keeps track of things?

Timo: We concentrate on the essentials and avoid unnecessary overhead. We use targeted tools that support us and our clients in our work. For example, we use Jira as a ticket system to document requests and their current processing status. We also fully rely on modern communication tools, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams to enable direct communication with clients. We use our network of freelance workers in a targeted manner and they support us in our work. And, yes, of course, as the CEOs, we always want to keep an overall eye on what is going on in the agency.

Digitization has finally reached SMEs. Have you noticed that?

Andreas: What we are noticing is that the demands emerging from the digital transformation are increasing. By that, I mean: the processes and workflows that companies, nowadays, prefer to find digital solutions for, as this is what is also expected of their customers. Not only is the internet, as a platform, more effective and saves costs, but, at the same time, it also provides added value – for example, in the evaluation and analysis of data obtained. Many companies have recognized this and have explicitly asked us about it.

The online presence of companies is becoming increasingly important. Does that mean that clients' wants are becoming more and more specific?

Andreas: Well, before any project starts, there is, of course, planning. In our free initial consultation, an outline of the project is defined and the way for a trusting and transparent working relationship is prepared. At the beginning, the client’s needs usually leave a lot of room for guesswork. Only after some deliberate inquiries do they understand where the journey is heading – at which point, they, then, become more specific. The trick here is to put yourself in the client’s shoes and to work to proactively understand what they actually want – even if they, themselves, don’t yet really know. This is important for assessing the amount of time and budget needed for fulfilling their requirements – and that, ultimately, is the foundation for a successful project and a satisfied client.

What significant changes in the industry do you expect for the future?

Andreas: So, one thing is clear – the industry will continue to move even faster. Increasingly larger amounts of data will have to be collected, analyzed and exchanged with other systems. The topic of mobility is growing more and more important. The customer wants to access their services and data from anywhere. This is why applications and their user interfaces need to be optimized for mobile use. These applications will also need to be able to react appropriately to local conditions, such as, for example, where there is the lack of a network or at a certain geographic location.

And finally: What is your vision for codafish for the next few years ?

Timo: Our main goal is to grow and to position ourselves well in the market. We want to work with promising technologies, such as artificial intelligence, in order to be able to offer our medium-sized clients innovative solutions and to strengthen Germany as a business location.

"We concentrate on the essentials and avoid unnecessary overhead. We use targeted tools that support us and our clients in our work."
Timo Müller, CEO

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