SaaS Systems revolutionizes refugee coordination

Katharina Kittelberger

Startup Stories

The Corona pandemic, the 2021 century flood in western Germany, or the war in Ukraine that has been going on since the end of February this year clearly remind us of the omnipresence of crises. At the same time, they show us how important it is to actively seek improvements. Berlin-based SaaS Systems GmbH is symbolic of the latter aspect. 

Founded in May 2020, the healthcare startup started with a business model focused on digital visitor management. Their developed and field-tested "Software-as-a-Service" solution ensures fast and uncomplicated booking of both hospital, nursing home and rehabilitation clinic visits, as well as the arrangement of Coronatest and vaccination appointments. We have already reported on this

In the context of the refugee flows triggered by the Ukraine war, SaaS Systems tailored its "Software-as-a-Service" solution to improve the coordination of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Germany. Developed with German offices, this digital management and administration solution aims to avoid duplication of effort and Excel lists when coordinating refugees. 

In an interview with 5-HT, the founders of Saas Systems, Michael Bingel, CTO, and Guido Oberhäuser, COO, provide exciting insights into the work of the flexibly operating startup and explain why digitalization will also be groundbreaking for future crisis management. 

The founders of Saas Systems, Michael Bingel, CTO, and Guido Oberhäuser, COO

Urgency for a new solution 

The large number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Germany caused some challenges for local authorities. Because acting quickly and reliably in times of crisis is all too familiar to Saas Systems, Michael and Guido - contrary to previous experiences of German offices - developed a system for recording refugees within just four weeks: the Refugeesystem. 

Guido explains: "With the Refugeeesystem, different offices in a city can record the data of refugees. The entire process, starting with the arrival of refugees, through the recording of personal data, to the allocation and occupancy of accommodations, Corona tests and downstream health examinations, can be mapped by the software. In addition, the offices, insofar as the respective authorizations are available, can share this information with each other."

Michael: "In addition, there are fine-grained access rights to specific data and fields. Through this, the different users of the Refugee System have different views and can accordingly only view information that is specific to them." 

A refugee software unique to the city  

In the course of increasing numbers of Ukrainian refugees, a number of German companies developed various crisis management solutions. However, the refugee system is fundamentally different from many of them, as Guido explains: 

"The previous solutions were mainly aimed directly at the refugees and were designed, for example, as information portals or bed placement services. The use of the coordination software of our Refugee System has been developed exclusively for the cities."     

Fast personalization of the Refugee System to other cities  

The basic system of the Refugee System is very modular, namely by index cards, fields, reports and processes. This allows changes to be adapted quickly, which allows the software to be quickly adapted to other cities.  

Guido: " We estimate that the software of our Refugeesystem should fit about 85 percent of any other city. In addition, we have already developed several modules that can be reused. The collection of allowances such as food parcels or vouchers by refugees or the occupancy of beds in shelters are just two of many examples. Adapting the remaining 15 percent to the respective city doesn't take too much time in the following." 

Michael: "Due to the modular structure, our system is highly dynamic. Recently, an admin extended the system to include pets. How many animals are involved per person or family and exactly which animals these are could be entered by the admins themselves. Fast and straightforward."  

The Startup Mindset as a Model for Agile Crisis Management 

While the further development of inventory software in German offices usually takes rather longer, Saas Systems delivered its fully functional SaaS refugee system in just four weeks. Michael explains exactly how the two founders were able to do this as follows: 

"In advance, we are a very well-coordinated team. By now, we have already built five systems, which has given us a lot of experience, but also opportunities to reuse components. Add to that our strong startup mindset, because while larger companies have to coordinate decisions with a large number of employees, Guido and I can act very flexibly." 

Guido: "We are also economically independent, so we can easily implement projects that seem right to us. We are less concerned with developing big business plans aimed at maximizing profits. And we listen to customers, which saves a lot of time in development." 

Michael: "It is in this proactive approach that we see our added value. If we can make a difference, we do." 

The next crisis is surely coming. Reason to talk about future plans

Instead of planning new software, Michael and Guido will continue to focus on current emerging needs in addition to strategic developments. To be prepared, the founders recently had the website reserved for them. 

Guido: "This is exactly what our work is all about. Because we are now so experienced, we can continue to offer solutions quickly. Refugeesystem is thus just another building block in our toolbox." 

Michael: "With our evolution from Health also into Government, we currently feel very comfortable. In the new environment, we have already been able to successfully establish a number of new contacts and win Trusted Partners." 

In this context, Michael and Guido will continue to monitor where there is currently a need for new solutions in order to react flexibly accordingly. 

In conclusion, Guido emphasizes, "The important thing is that we don't just need fast systems, but reliable ones that will later function safely and under heavy load. That is and remains our claim."  

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