A historical contextualization of Plunet and the rise of automation

When Plunet originally started back in 2003, no one would have guessed where the journey of the once moderate but complex network administration service would lead them. It was at the height of Web 2.0, when smartphones and social media fostered a boost in digital communication. Allowing the exchange of unimaginable masses of information at a rapid speed, the impact of the Digital Revolution can even be compared to the effects that Gutenberg‘s printing press had, when it paved the way for “A New Technology […] of Information,” enabling the distribution of the newest findings in art, science, and philosophy.

Maybe not as revolutionary as the printing press itself, but fast forward a good 500 years later, Plunet was lucky enough to get on the moving train when it identified the need for better translation business management, as the demand for language service providers (LSPs) increased. The Revolution in Information Technology was hoping for a software solution, which Plunet offered very early on.  With a centralized management system, Plunet has helped LSPs standardize their processes and workflows as much as possible, while still maintaining as much individualization as needed. This unique approach has laid the groundwork for Plunet‘s evolution ever since, having maneuvered them through exciting times since the beginning of the Third Industrial Revolution to the bigger chances and challenges of Industry 4.0 and automation.

The reason for the persistence of Plunet can especially be found in the team, which is characterized by its ability to adapt to change and plan ahead for the future. It is the creativity and human intervention that makes Plunet more than just a software product. Over the course of two decades, this genuine approach has helped the company develop many additional modules like the QualityManager to track ISO 17100 compliance, the API allowing various programs to interact with each other, as well as the seamless CAT tool integrations and countless auto-jobs that help automate translation management workflows even further.

However, as it is often the case with such disruptive inventions, profound changes also challenge our understanding of work and life fundamentally. By 2003, when the World Wide Web had already conquered the world for more than two decades, the internet had not only influenced the ways we interact, or how we exchange data and information, but also how we work and live. Just as much as the First Industrial Revolution had completely changed its society during the mid-18th century, the Digital Revolution has been just as effective when it comes to shifting the conditions of work, and therefore of society at large. As societies were transitioning from craft production to the use of machines, they feared that their labor could become redundant in the future, as they were replaced by machines.

The same fears arose during the Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and early 20th century, when electrification originated in inventions such as the telegraph, the light bulb, and most importantly, the assembly line. Once more, the concern of becoming unemployed in the face of machines had proved itself to be wrong. As much as the new means of production may have amounted to the decrease of manual occupations, they have also created at least as many other jobs in return.

The same can be concluded with the changes in the translation industry, where the same fears of automation prevail. And yet automation has not only helped to rid us of redundant work tasks, but it has also allowed the industry to grow, create new jobs and establish completely new workspaces, such as remote work for globally operating or interdisciplinary teams, which is especially beneficial when it comes to handling a career and family.  Stefan Duemig, founder and CEO of Plunet recalls why he chose to develop a web-based software in 2003, long before cloud solutions became the norm: 

“Before founding Plunet, I worked in male-dominated industries so when entering the language space, we realized that our product was mostly used by women, many of whom were balancing a career and a family. That really changed the game for us. We realized that our software needed to cater to a more flexible work schedule and give the opportunity to manage projects securely from home if needed. Today, flexible schedules and working remotely are not just topics for mothers of course — global teams and flexible setups that allow a career and a family should be something available to everyone.”

All in all, the intent to improve further has always led to a continuation of inventions, be they mechanical, electronic, or eventually digital. These game changing figments have influenced the way we work, communicate, and live ever since. It is the aim of Plunet to notice and observe these changes with a keen eye, so that we can adapt in time and evolve with our products. That way we can build on a timely accordance with our clients’ needs, who can benefit from their surplus of time however they choose — be it by expanding their business, or by spending their time on a golf yard — that automation is here to stay is momentous for all of us!