Esoft Vietnam: Prioritizing Workplace Inclusivity for Business Success

by Adobe Communications Team

posted on 10-23-2018

Disrupting the commercial visual asset industry

Back in 2006, Thomas Frisenberg was working in Vietnam for the Danish Government and United Nations (UN) when he met René Dines. Dines is the founder and CEO of Esoft Systems – a Danish company specializing in the management of high-volume commercial visual assets – and was travelling through Southeast Asia (SEA) to sniff out business opportunities.

With a European-based company, Dines wanted to take advantage of the favorable time difference in SEA by creating a visual processing arm that could deliver assets the very next day back to Europe. After meeting Frisenberg and sharing his vision, Dines threw caution to the wind.

“He basically offered me a job,” Frisenberg said. “We didn’t know whether it would work, whether we could train people, whether there was sufficient internet access. Back then, the internet was not as widely available in Vietnam as it is today. It was a gamble.”

Fast forward 12 years and Frisenberg is the Managing Director at Esoft Vietnam – the Business Process Outsourcing arm of Esoft Systems. Esoft Vietnam specializes in processing commercial visuals, mostly for the real estate sector. Today, the company is its own entity employing some 550 staff. In 2017, the Vietnamese-based operation processed more than 9 million images for clients worldwide.

What makes Esoft flow?

In addition to Esoft Vietnam’s BPO objectives, Frisenberg’s history with the UN has motivated a strong sense of corporate social responsibility within the company, which is committed to creating job opportunities for people living with disabilities.

Social stigma around disability is still common in Vietnam, but Esoft Vietnam has empowered its employees to have long, productive and fulfilling careers complete with ongoing training and support. Frisenberg said they have built a unique “team spirit” and community for more than 70 disabled staff members.

“In Vietnam, there are a lot of people with disabilities and part of the reason for that is ongoing impacts from the war and Agent Orange. We have staff who have been affected by Agent Orange, which is coming through generations later because it’s still in the soil,” Frisenberg explained.

To drive Esoft Vietnam’s culture of inclusivity, Frisenberg said it’s important that the company operates in an open plan environment, where disabled staff can work on par with everybody else and move freely around.

“We have an open and modern working office environment. There are no cubicles, very few walls, and no closed doors. This encourages more dialogue and sharing among staff and across teams, and keeps a low hierarchy where everyone is very approachable – even I do not have an office,” he said.

In terms of formal software training, Esoft Vietnam has implemented an internal training program to bring new employees up to speed and continue learning throughout the course of their careers.

“We basically have a school within the company comprising more than 15 dedicated technical trainers. Applicants must pass an entry-level test before undergoing comprehensive training that lasts anywhere from two to four months before they can actually touch live production,” he said.

This inclusive and education-based approach has attracted many highly-skilled applicants to the company, with Frisenberg admitting it’s been a great “recruitment tool.”

“I would say nine out of 10 people I interview mention, within the first 10 minutes, that one of the reasons they want to work for the company is because of the social profile we have,” he said proudly.

Adobe Creative Cloud for teams – maximizing operational efficiency

In its vision to become the world’s best image processing platform, Esoft Vietnam recognizes the role certain tools and platforms have in navigating industry disruption. The company engages with a variety of tools and services that enable flexible working and collaboration, and increased efficiencies throughout the business.

Esoft Vietnam’s Quality Assurance Expert for Film & Slideshow Products, Ly Tran Khanh, said being able to deliver the best, most efficient solutions for customers’ needs is something that motivates continued learning amongst employees.

“It just takes two to three months to know about the tools in Photoshop. But it takes years to become proficient. I don’t dare to say that I’m proficient because I can always find something that I didn’t know before. The longer I work at Esoft Vietnam, the more things I learn; everyday I learn something new and it helps me get better at what I do,” she said.

After implementing Adobe Creative Cloud for teams (CCT), Frisenberg noticed that the work flow of projects continued seamlessly across teams despite a lot of people moving between different offices and computers.

“As we see an increase in staff moving between our offices, the ability to collaborate remotely – and inclusively – continues to come in handy.”

One key enabler for this is Esoft Vietnam’s exploration into CCT’s file sharing capabilities. While the company continues to test out the potential of this feature, they have already benefited from streamlining its file sharing process.

“CCT has enabled us to share asset libraries across the team so the files are standardized for all staff regardless of where they are,” he explained.

“The majority of our staff work inside Adobe Photoshop CC. With this app, we are able to consistently turn pictures from ordinary to extraordinary,” added Frisenberg.

“Our work often starts with a professional shot taken by a professional photographer. That image then goes through post-production to enhance all the colors within a room and all the different pieces of furniture within. You need to layer shots of multiple exposures in order to really bring all elements of the image to life. Photoshop allows us to do that and provide the ‘wow’ effect to our clients and theirs.”

Beyond the magic of Photoshop, the Esoft Vietnam MD is ever mindful of emerging technologies and the impact they will have on operations too. Keeping a strong pulse on technology advances and ensuring that his staff continues learning throughout their career, Frisenberg is optimistic about the future.

“I believe that with the rise of artificial intelligence, in the not so distant future, we will be able to automate quality verification as part of our workflow.”

“CCT provides a strong platform allowing us to better address this ongoing disruption, and at the same time, cater to the needs of an inclusive workplace,” he said.

Topics: Creativity, Digital Transformation, Future of Work

Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud