This article has been taken from issue 107 of the IABM Journal. The full Journal can be accessed here.
Making dreams come true
We spoke to CEO, Jutta Schönhaar, about Munich-headquartered x-dream-distribution’s operations and recipe for success.
Tell us a little about the history of x-dream-distribution – when it was formed and why?
We are a group of companies. x-dream-distribution was founded by me and our managing director, Stefan Pfütze, in 2015 following our founding of x-dream-media in 2013. When we started x-dream-media, we were involved in many software integration and custom software development projects. Then we started developing our own products and reselling carefully selected products that we came across within our integration projects – and so x-dream-distribution was born. So today, we offer a wide range of products as well as pre-integrated solutions for broadcasting and publishing companies.
Is there a story behind your company’s name?
Not a real specific story. It´s more… we make your dreams come true, whatever ‘extreme dream’ you have!
Please give us a brief summary of x-dream-distribution’s business philosophy and mission today. It seems from your website that you’re much more than just a product aggregator.
What makes us special is that we are very honest with all the parties we work with. We are focused on the best solution – the one that’s right for the customer –not just the one that makes us the most money. We work on long-term relationships with our customers in the same way as with our vendor partners; we grow as they grow – their success is our success. We continuously work to understand the needs of our customers and learn from them. And at the same time, we help our vendor partners to develop their products and companies based on our experience from the market.
Give us a brief run-down of the product lines and solutions you offer, how you do business and what makes you different – what problems do you solve for your customers?
We offer products and solutions as well as software integration and custom development.
Our product range includes:
Our range of end-to-end solutions covers:
What’s the relationship between the two parts of your business – how do they work together?
The idea behind x-dream-media came from helping our customers with difficult software integration projects. We stepped in when everybody else had given up or didn’t know how to fix them. This is what we still do in the x-dream-media business, as well as our own product development, OEM product development and being a service provider for certain vendor partners. In combination with x-dream-distribution, we can not only offer great products, we can also integrate them with each other, based on our knowledge of software integration, or integrate our well-selected products into our customers’ existing environments.
You place sustainability and social responsibility high on your list of key attributes. How do you square these ideals with running a successful day-to-day business where price often seems to be the principal consideration?
Sustainability is key to long-term success – and many would say, survival too. We consciously minimize our environmental impact across every facet of our business – whether that’s running a paperless office, drinking from reusable bottles, taking the train rather than the plane, or re-using as much of our trade show stands as possible – we keep waste to an absolute minimum.
Social responsibility to us means being fair to all parties involved in a project or business situation. Just as we are very happy if someone refers us, we are happy to return the compliment. The most important thing is that the customer gets what they really need – sometimes this may not be as cheap as they would like, but they know they can trust us to have their interests front and center.
Why do your customers choose you over your competitors – what’s your secret sauce?
The most important factors here are a mutual, trustful relationship and a great experience with us in previous projects. We are not ‘just’ a reseller; we know the companies we represent by heart. We are in continuous conversations with the teams from all departments and at all levels.
One of our most important selling points is outstanding support during pre-sales testing as well as in after-sales operations. We are approachable for our customers and sales partners even when the project is very small. We help them throughout the complete project cycle, have patience when budget approval drags out and never give up. And most of the time it’s the small things that count – for instance, quick implementation of a feature request (even in the pre-sales phase). Or adding a new codec to a transcoder overnight or giving the customer a contact person who can help them out in a critical situation.
Give us a few brief examples of work you’ve done for your customers and the problems you’ve solved for them.
Collaboration between vendors and technology buyers to deliver on-point solutions is today a major driver in broadcast and media – most vendors have had to move away from being just part of a ‘product supermarket’. Has this had an impact on the way you do business over recent years – and if so, what’s changed?
As we are still a young company, we didn’t carry that old ballast with us. We try to be very flexible. If a customer just needs an engine or a simple product, we do offer this as well as more complex solutions for seatrain problems. Today we are able to offer a nearly complete portfolio from ingest to playout – everything that is required to move video through the customer’s workflow.
You recently joined IABM. What are the most valuable member benefits to x-dream-distribution and how are they helping you grow and develop your business?
We joined IABM because of the benefits in the network, the options of discounts for tradeshows as well as using the IABM lounges during events. We are very happy with all the opportunities IABM offers to members regarding marketing and PR support.