Roll into the grassy Chesterbrook campus that Deacom calls home and it’s hard not to feel at home. Spend your lunch break taking a walk, settling in for a picnic or even playing rounds of cornhole during company cook-outs among the sprawling hills. Though the company works hard to live up to its “Artisans of ERP Software” reputation, Deacom also takes full advantage of those surroundings, often utilized to help foster team relationships and spark innovative thinking.
Walking into the building, clients and employees alike are greeted with Deacom’s magnetic Artisan Wall, where pictures proudly display the companies Deacom works with teambuilding moments like Free Lunch Fridays, charity events and tournaments. Veer left, and you’ll see Deacom’s technologists working in an open space where ongoing collaboration is encouraged and asking for help on a project is as simple as turning to your neighbor. Whiteboard walls, as well as rolling whiteboards and TVs, make it easy to find creative solutions to clients’ problems.
With big plans for expansion (including the company’s first international office to open in 2020), Deacom is looking to broaden development and sustain the rapid growth the company has seen in the last four years. Deacom’s ongoing expansion exemplifies the Kaizen philosophy, the company’s cornerstone culture that promotes constant, continuous improvement. Through day-to-day steps toward enhancing specific projects and initiatives, the goal is to create a big picture of long-term, systemic growth and increased quality.
For Deacom, this can mean expanding their teams, creating jobs that didn’t once exist, or giving employees the opportunities to explore new projects. Combined with the company’s focus on training and career development, this ensures employees stay engaged and excited about the work they are doing each day.
“Deacom is great. My time isn’t wasted on politics or endless meetings. I come in, put my headphones on, program and create all day. It’s nice and peaceful — exactly what I want as a developer.”Erik Smith Lead Application Developer
“Deacom offers somebody from outside of the tech realm the opportunity to get into this business. I don't think I would've had this opportunity at a large scale ERP firm the way I did here, because we are working with a large group of companies and having that experience gives me an opportunity to apply my knowledge.”Dan Newman Project Manager and Team Lead
“The biggest benefit here is the people. It’s a very highly intelligent group of people that is always willing to help, and I think that's such a unique thing across any company that I've ever worked at.”Kristen Maney Senior Product Specialist
“Everyone is very adamant about tracking their progress, and it’s very well communicated. Our team leaders are very good at helping you hit your next step and being available whenever you need them. I don’t think there’s any shortage of people who wouldn’t look to see what your long lens is and how you’re trying to achieve a goal.”Frank Paone Program Manager
“I’ve learned a ton since I’ve started here. We used C# as our main programming language, and I didn’t even know it in the beginning. It was basically taught to me from scratch. If you have the know-how to understand the logic behind a new language, we’ll help you develop the skills you need to then use it.”Kim Thompson Software Development
“I prefer the projects that are absolutely mission-critical to our customers. That’s really enjoyable and a rare opportunity for someone in IT to have such a big hand in something so impactful. You’re not at a help desk just answering the phone or installing the printer. You’re understanding a client’s business process and identifying ways to help them improve and stay relevant in their industry.”Mark Mazich Program Manager
Tell me about Deacom’s growth and how it’s helping employees develop professionally?
We expect to see the company triple in size over the next 3-5 years — a goal we have just succeeded in doing over the past four years. Now, we are excited to take on this challenge once again and, as always, focus our efforts on hiring quality, not quantity.
A lot of the time it’s perceived that the only way you'll continue to keep your skills fresh or grow your career is through tenure, but here it’s all about your performance. Even if you only work in a role for just a couple of months but start to exceed expectations and prove to be a go-to resource on your team, you will have opportunities for advancement throughout the entire company. We’ve expanded so much that we continue to create new roles and new departments. In fact, all of our senior leadership has been from internal promotions, so you're learning from people who have already done it all, too.
What is the Kaizen philosophy and what does it look like in practice?
The Kaizen philosophy is something our founder and CEO implemented back when the company started, and it's still very much present in what we do, how we work with our customers and in the way we develop our software. It’s the backbone of Deacom’s development and the day-to-day consciousness of ensuring continuous progress and movement in every capacity. Whether it’s improving engineering processes or enabling a new functionality, we are constantly pushing ourselves to advance both our software and our skills.
In relation to our software, the philosophy is about thinking bigger than just a quick fix for a customer request. Instead, we take a step back and create new strategies for how this single concept could be designed to make a bigger impact for multiple customers and the software’s evolution. It’s a unique way of thinking about things, but it is one that has brought us to where we are today.
Our software used to run on a thick-client model which made it challenging to advance the software to handle market trends like mobile. We decided to completely re-architect the design of our platform to a more thin-client application. This strategy allowed us to build our mobile applications (for both iOS and Android) and web-based platform to give customers the ability to use the full application from almost any device, be it smartphone, PC, tablet, or even a Tesla dashboard. The five-year conversion project was a massive undertaking but enabled us to advance our product faster and more efficiently than the big players in the market.
What are the buzzwords you would use to describe Deacom’s culture?
Passionate. Our building is filled with individuals who are not only passionate about what they're doing, but also what Deacom is trying to do and accomplish in the marketplace. Innovative. We pride ourselves on the philosophy of continuous improvement, pushing boundaries and trying to do things better than our competitors. Collaborative. Throughout the building, there’s open space with lots of different breakout areas, different seating arrangements, rolling whiteboards and rolling TVs to aid teambuilding.
Also, impact-ocracy. It’s a word we made up years ago but, essentially, if you do something that is going to make an impact on how we do business or how our customers can do business, that's how you can grow your career here and move through the ranks.
What are the hallmarks of a good Deacom employee?
We pride ourselves on the fact that we don't hire just one kind of person. We are a well-rounded team, so we stack our teams with a lot of different personality traits and competencies. In our job ads, our requirements are rather lean because we don’t want to pigeonhole people into just one specific skill set. Our people are problem solvers across the board in every department and love puzzles and solving issues.
What is the working environment and daily pace like at Deacom?
The daily pace is definitely fast, which goes back to the different types of people we have working here and the passion they bring to the table. But at the same time, it’s a supportive environment, collaborative and team-based. You’d think a performance-based culture is highly competitive, but it’s people working really hard, making an impact, and supporting one another at the same time.
What misconceptions about businesses does Deacom dispel?
Some people may think the CEO isn’t really involved with a company, but here it’s completely the opposite. Our CEO's extremely involved in the development of our software and how our sales reps present products to our prospective customers. He’s highly involved with the overall strategy of the company down to the development of certain software functions. After all, he is the one that originally developed, sold, implemented and supported the software years ago.
Why should prospective employees choose Deacom over competitors?
The people here are incredible. They walk in the door and say they can’t believe how welcoming, friendly, and happy everyone here is. Also, our work is versatile. With most development teams, you specialize in one particular area, but here we expect our developers to know and interact with every area of the software. On the implementation side, we are constantly breaking into new markets and facing new challenges, and people are excited by that.
Why should I be excited by the prospect of developing ERP software?
No two days are the same at Deacom. Between the variety of projects we work on across industry niches and collaboration between our own departments, you are always on your toes. No matter the size or significance of each project, we are directly impacting the way our customers run their businesses. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the difference your work is making firsthand.
How often do employees learn new skills on the job?
From day one at Deacom, employees are given extensive training on our business, philosophy, development strategy, and direction to create a solid knowledge and skills base — emphasis on base. Ask anyone at Deacom when they last learned a new skill and you might hear about how it was just last week with an idea to improve our software or test out an alternative approach to functionality. Here, if you have an idea, you’re encouraged to run with it.
What is unique about your technologies?
We take a very different approach when it comes to ERP software development. While other software players incorporate third party software into their structure, we keep everything native to the base code. Sure, it might be a bit more difficult to develop that way, but it has allowed us to advance our software quicker than our competitors.
Our founder, Jay Deakins, wrote that original code in 1995 — and although it’s obviously changed a lot since then, it proves that even from the very top of the company, there’s an understanding of the life cycle of development. That’s a pretty rare find in the software world.
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