At the TYPO3 Developer Days 2017 in Malmö, I met with Søren Schaffstein from DKD, a digital agency based in Frankfurt, Germany with around seventy people on staff. We got down to talking about how his company has found success and grown with TYPO3 CMS and how he sees being a TYPO3 GmbH partner will help even further.
DKD is an open source company, not just in their choice of software; contribution and collaboration is a big part of their company culture and success. If you work with TYPO3 or are thinking of trying it out, agencies like DKD are great examples of how to get the most from this robust open source CMS and community.
TYPO3 3.5 came out around the same time Søren started his first company. “TYPO3 kind of changed my life. I had just finished my university degree in computer science.” It started out as a team of four people, interested in state-of-the-art web development.
He recalled a line from a magazine article promoting TYPO3, “You'll need to invest three months to get it going.” At the time he said “Oh they’re joking! We’re so clever we can do it a lot faster. Boy, was I wrong!” he laughed. It took three months after all. “It was a perfect estimation from the TYPO3 team back then.”
The TYPO3 community emerged as a reliable resource when dealing with technical challenges and this typical open source sharing of expertise built strong relationships. Søren connected to the local user group in Frankfurt and the owner of DKD, Olivier Dobberkau. “We decided to fuse our two companies together. And if it wasn’t for TYPO3 - it wouldn’t have happened.”
Early on, they had the idea to connect an SAP database to TYPO3 for impressive results. “At the second TYPO3 conference I gave a talk about this, and it took the crowd by storm. We showed you could create ten thousand pages in a few minutes.” No matter what data source, “You just connect it,” Søren explained. The fact that TYPO3 integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, for example, opens doors into many enterprise companies.
In their daily business, this meant DKD could always push beyond what they could do before. Using TYPO3 CMS “was a guarantee for success.” He said “the amazing community,” is the other main factor that has kept DKD connected to TYPO3 CMS, “there are always welcoming people and help available.”
With TYPO3 CMS, DKD has the flexibility to deliver value to clients no matter their industry. Søren explained that DKD doesn't specialize in any one industry vertical, “Our focus is TYPO3 development.” With TYPO3 CMS they can work on projects of all sizes and across industries: construction, pharmaceuticals, financial services, NGOs and more.
“We have to first think about ‘What is value to our clients.’ This depends on the client and how they produce value.” Søren described their mission is to “Help our clients produce something better for their clients.” DKD aim to exceed client expectations with each project. They continuously look for opportunities to improve processes and their focus on excellence makes DKD’s work stand out. “We try to make things easier for our customers,” Søren explained how they “look into the processes the client uses, and we recommend how things can be done easier and more efficiently… often beyond what the client asks for.”
“TYPO3 offers a very good toolset to work in every aspect of web development. Because of the standardization, we don’t have to do everything from scratch with every project.” He described how the tools available with TYPO3 CMS ensure quality, like automated code testing and deployment strategies. “This helps a lot in delivering value. All of the small mistakes that happen can be minimized.”
Their investment in the community raises brand awareness and reinforces their word-of-mouth recommendations. “Because we’re a TYPO3 GmbH partner; or when we sponsor events, they see our logo; or they read about our work in the press, or they read tutorials we’ve written.”
For Søren, TYPO3 GmbH, the partnership program, and TYPO3 CMS certification helps close deals. “The professionalization of TYPO3 is very good for the perception on the market. Our experience at DKD, especially with larger clients, is that they need confirmation they made the right choice.” The services offered by TYPO3 GmbH help reassure them of this; the fact that there is an SLA available for TYPO3 CMS core is a good example. Furthermore, TYPO3 GmbH partner agencies need to have a certain number of certified developers. “The decision makers can tell their boss they selected an agency with 15 certified developers.” Having a guarantee builds confidence.
Søren also sees a lot of value in the project reviews offered by TYPO3 GmbH. Although “they cost extra money, you can learn a lot from a review. Especially if you’re new to TYPO3 CMS development, it can increase your credibility with your clients.” He suggests agencies could invest in an independent review and share the results with the clients, further building trust with clients while also improving project quality and team skills.
The TYPO3 GmbH partnership program puts TYPO3 on a par with other software ecosystems where decision makers can select “official partners.” Søren said, “It helps your marketing because you have an official badge, and of course you’re supporting the product you rely on yourself.” It seems obvious to Søren to join the partnership program, “Why wouldn’t you? Of course you should support it.” Increase your business’s profile while also strengthening the software you rely on and the community that builds it. It’s a win-win situation.
If your agency is new to TYPO3, you might be wondering how to make the most of your investment.
Søren has some great ideas:
Lean into the community to get help.
Find ways you can help others through knowledge sharing.
Raise your profile through sponsorship at events.
Get and keep your partner profile up to date.
Invest in code reviews to build trust and improve quality.
DKD raise their profile by investing in the TYPO3 CMS community. They do this through contributions, sponsorship, and by being a TYPO3 GmbH partner. All these investments strengthen the community through knowledge sharing events and improving the code itself. It’s a guarantee for sustainable success.
Get in touch to find out how the TYPO3 GmbH Partner Program can guide you to success or let us help connect you with an official partner to help you realize your next web project.