Entering a 60 year legacy

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Mark Kuether, QA Engineer

When I interviewed with Widen this summer, there were many things which attracted me to the company.  The workplace was neat and clean.  The atmosphere seemed to be casual.  Everyone was focusing on their work which tends to happen when people truly enjoy their work.  There was one aspect, however, that was pervasive throughout the company.  Upon entering the building, I was immediately presented with a hallway completely covered with client names illuminated with bright white lights.  As I walked through the building, pictures of customer’s products, logos, and designs adorned the walls.  I was in a company whose bread and butter was prepress services and digital asset management software.  It was clear that they took pride in their work.  However, there was more to it than just pride.

After starting as a QA Engineer, there was a whirlwind of information that was near impossible to absorb at once.  I was introduced to company officers and personnel.  I was given a tour with a description of the different types of work that Widen did.  I was introduced to the people I would be working with, and given a brief overview of the products I would be supporting.  Coming from a business software background, there were a lot of new things for me to learn.  I tried to stay patient while I slowly learned the different aspects of the business.

As time progressed, an underlying cultural aspect began to become clear.  It was Widen’s relationship with the customer.  You could say that Widen values its customers, but it goes further than that. Customers aren’t faceless entities that purchase things from a shelf.  They are people using the services we provide.  Their names are well known throughout the company.  Our day to day work centers on them.

Customer focus can be a very subtle thing.  Having worked with other companies, I’ve seen when it’s truly there, and when it’s truly not.  It comes out in the small day to day activities we perform when we come to work.  It comes out when day to day discussions center on service, and not profit.  It comes out in our environment in which we work.  Over time, I noticed that all those pictures have the customer’s name on them.  They are not strictly about Widen’s pride in its work, but also about its pride of having those customers.

True customer focus is one of the things that will ensure success for a company for the longer run.  Coming from the software industry, a successful company is marked by five or ten years of business.  Giants in the commercial PC market are no more than 35 years old at most.  When I think of a company with a successful 60 year history, some things become clear.  The company must be willing to change as the market, technology and the world change around them.  They must have a long term vision and must be willing to invest in that future today.  Those were two other things that drew me into Widen.  As technology had availed itself, Widen embraced it to serve its customers better.  Change is not a reaction to the times, but an opportunity for growth in the future.

Four weeks after I’ve started, I can say that my work is quite dynamic.  The products I work with are being improved and enhanced every day.  My focus is not on a static part, but changes with our clients’ needs.  It makes for an exciting experience while I learn more about this new business.  With 60 years at my back, I look forward to growing with Widen, and seeing what the future holds.

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