Campus Club brings together companies and the TUT community
The rapidly growing Tampere-based software company M-Files is one of the members of the Campus Club, which serves as a new hub for university-industry collaboration at TUT.
“Kampusareena offers excellent facilities, and the Campus Club paves the way for closer collaboration between TUT and our company,” says Veikko Juusola, Vice President of Research & Development at M-Files.
The software company M-Files is a veritable hive of activity headquartered in Hervanta, Tampere. The company develops cutting-edge solutions for enterprise information management (EIM) and is growing at an impressive rate, so much so that it was selected as the winner of the 2015 Growth Company Award by the technology-oriented Finnish magazine Tekniikka&Talous in late September. Supercell received the award in 2013.
M-Files Corporation has seen its revenue grow from six million to 22 million euros in the past four years. Last year alone, revenue jumped 76 per cent and the number of employees rose by 40 per cent. The company hit the 300 employee mark this autumn.
Need for cross-disciplinary expertise
The rapid growth rate of M-Files is keeping the in-house R&D team busy.
“When we’re thinking about adding new features to our products, our R&D cycle can be as short as 24 or 6 months, or even only a couple of months,” says Vice President of Research & Development Veikko Juusola.
- Develops enterprise information management solutions.
- Headquarters in Tampere, Finland.
- Sales offices in Espoo and London.
- Subsidiary in Dallas, Texas.
- Approximately 300 employees.
- Customers in 100 countries worldwide.
- More than 400 partners in 89 countries.
M-Files has a list of research questions that their own team has been struggling to find time for. As a thorough analysis of these two dozen or so challenges requires specialist expertise, the company has turned to TUT.
“These challenges are not only related to R&D but also product management, business activities and quality. They can only be resolved by forward-looking visionaries with cross-disciplinary expertise ― and what better place to find them than the Campus Club,” Juusola says.
Insights into future technologies
M-Files is also interested in finding out how future technologies fit in with their document management software, which allows users to find files based on content rather than location.
“With an onslaught of new technologies bubbling up all over, it’s difficult to stay on top of them all. We want to know which of these emerging technologies we should look out for,” Juusola says.
- The Campus Club promotes collaboration between TUT and companies. It is located on the 5th floor of Kampusareena.
- Companies have the opportunity to work together with other businesses and TUT under one roof.
- The Campus Club serves as a platform that allows the members to build long-term partnerships.
- TUT supports collaborative R&D and the development of new products and services by offering a range of services and hosting, among others, innovation workshops and networking events for the members.
- The members are research-intensive companies that invest in R&D.
- Companies join the Campus Club for three years at a time.
“Our areas of interest include machine learning, in-depth data analysis, data mining, and the integration of new technologies, such as smart watch and smart glass integration. Our company could also commission the members of the campus community to conduct usability studies.”
Campus Club breaks down barriers to collaboration
M-Files has a long history of cooperation with universities, but up until now collaborative MSc thesis projects and other joint initiatives have been coordinated on an ad hoc basis. Juusola believes that the Campus Club will usher in a new era of university-industry collaboration.
Before the official kick-off event in early October, the representatives of M-Files and TUT convened a preliminary meeting with the Customer Coordinator and Network and Partnership Development Officer in the Kampusareena building at TUT. The Network and Partnership Development Officer invited faculty members with suitable expertise to the kick-off event.
The preliminary brainstorming session proved very fruitful.
“M-Files’s team had picked three or four particularly complex and interesting research questions, which the company and our researchers could explore in collaboration. We could easily identify multiple potential topics for master’s theses from among the questions presented by M-Files,” says Project Manager Jukka Huhtamäki from the Department of Mathematics at TUT.
Faculty members from the Department of Pervasive Computing were also pleased with the outcome of the brainstorming session.
“We discussed a couple of the technical challenges brought up by M-Files in more detail. We’re currently looking into two of them at TUT and have scheduled follow-up meetings with the company representatives,” says Professor of Software Engineering Kari Systä.