Anne Hardorf Hansen
Anne Hardorf Hansen
ABC Softwork Middle East
Work / title:
How long have you been in that company/position?
Approx. 1 year
Married to Malthe Bach-Hansen
How long have you been in Dubai?
5 1/2 years
Who has been your biggest source of inspiration in your professional life?
It sounds cheesy but my parents. They have shown and taught me to work hard and smart; not to be afraid of taking chances and that it is important to like what you do.
Is there anything in particular that you have repeated from previous jobs?
It is important for me, to know both the company I work at and the product well. I prefer to know how the different departments work and how they work together as a whole. As well as how my colleagues interact. The understanding of a company makes it easier for me to identify where I can optimize parts of, or the whole, process.
This is also what ABC Softwork is all about. Optimizing parts of the whole process to minimize costs and work load. So in a sense it is completely natural for me to think like that with any company I get in contact with.
What made you decide to move to Dubai? And what has been the biggest profit you’ve gained from it professionally?
We relocated due to my husband’s job. For me moving here has given me the opportunity to start ABC Softwork ME. It has been a dream for a while to introduce ABC Analyzer to the Middle East, as I can see huge potential here. Due to the economic growth, many companies have not focused enough on minimizing costs. ABC Softwork helps companies to lower inventory levels, optimizing stock and production and make their supply chain process more efficient. For me personally it is very fulfilling every time I can see my customers have achieved the goals we set together when we implemented ABC Softwork. And so far I do not have any customers who have not achieved their goals.
What is your favorite part of your present position? What do you like the least?
Starting a company from scratch in the Middle East has brought many different challenges. Challenges that I’ve overcome and learned from. I enjoy having contact with the customers through the whole process. From the first initial meeting to training the employees and analyzing the results with the management. Which is also one of the reasons it is important for me to know and understand my customer’s companies well.
The job can be a bit lonely from time to time. Especially those quiet months, eg. during summer and Ramadan, where I have fewer meetings with customers.
What is your biggest professional challenge at the moment?
The startup has of course been challenging. And the fact that I don’t have many local references yet. Setting up and using a new software tool like ABC Analyzer, is a time consuming process. Hence most of my customers are only halfway through. Even though ABC Softwork has 200+ customers in Denmark, more references from local companies, would make it easier for me. But I knew when I started, that the sales process for software is longer than for most other products. Also it is a new product, without any real competitors to compare to here, which can also be a challenge.
What do you wish that you had known before you came to Dubai?
Nothing really. I have come to the Middle East with an open mind. Overall I love it here. The experience of many different cultures, the people I have met, the companies here, work ethics etc.
What has surprised you the most about working in Dubai?
The openness, trust and respect you meet everywhere. Both professionally and private. I think back home most people have prejudices about the Middle East, especially about women. I have been positively surprised and not had any bad experiences because of my gender, maybe even the opposite.
In which direction is your industry headed? And is it the right path?
For ABC Softwork the “economic crisis” is not only bad. Even though the software can be a bit more difficult to sell as the companies are looking at their spending more closely, most of them understand how I can help them get a high ROI fast and in the long run. But of course it does cost some money here and now. Over all it is positive that I can help them focus on the bottom line by minimizing their costs so they can get through a rough patch by not just focusing on sales.
I do believe in general companies here in the Middle East will need to focus a lot more on minimizing costs as an alternative to more sales. Especially for those industries which might experience a decrease in sales due to the overall economic situation. So yes, I do believe it is the right path and time for ABC Softwork.
Is there anything holding back your industry from developing further?
No, actually I believe it is just the contrary. I believe there are several indicators showing that companies here have to be more aware of their costs. Many Middle Eastern companies are a bit behind Europe when it comes to procurement, supply chain management and S&OP processes, and I do believe that will change in the future.
In which direction is Dubai’s economy headed, in your opinion?
I think things will be pick up soon. The Expo2020 is just around the corner, creating jobs and attracting new businesses. Luckily Dubai and the UAE have invested heavily in not being dependent on oil income which the country will benefit from now. I don’t believe we will see another “2008 crash” but instead a slower growing but stable economic situation.