In September, I took on the new role of CEO at the UK end of German Enterprise Content Management (ECM) success EASY SOFTWARE UK. What attracted me to the role was the strength of the EASY offer, its loyal customer base, and the possibilities I see for synergy and expansion by globalising the brand, which has tended to operate in a very country-specific way up until this point.
I think there’s incremental value for the company and for our customers and partners if we can work more as a whole. What I’ve learned from my years of working at Oracle is that you need great products that have relevance to a particular industry, a particular business function or government department. But those products have got to address a business need. It’s no good just having great products alone – they’ve got to be delivered in a way that the buyers can see the value they’re going to derive in their own organisations.
Gone are the days when projects are commissioned just to satisfy people’s ego, or to jump on the latest bandwagon. Projects are commissioned based on a quantified business case; with a payback measured in weeks or months, rather than years or tens of years. And of equal importance are the services that go alongside them: we need to provide services – either from ourselves, or from our partner community – reliably and at the right price point. We need to be there when the customer needs us; when they ring for support we need to be there for them, to help them.
So it’s not just the product, it’s the whole life cycle of that journey for the customer. That’s one of the things I want to lead on here at EASY, and I’ll be doing that at a fantastic time to be in this market – the analysts place it at at least $8bn, and I think that growth is only going to increase. Take for instance the impact of GDPR in the HR department; historically, in my experience, HR functions have always been at the bottom of the queue when it comes to securing funding for new projects.
But GDPR changes that. Suddenly, companies are legally required to better manage their personal data and, currently, in terms of IT, many HR departments may consist of just a simple employee record and a payroll solution. They now have to start to get a much better understanding of and control of the data they hold. So areas like HR will see more investment – and that investment provides an opportunity to invest not just in compliance but in other areas, such as onboarding new talent, optimising career progression, and areas like contract management. These are solid areas of market growth we all need to address.
A great basis for growth
EASY is also building from a position of strength. Look at the customer base that we have: one of the first things I looked at was the retention rates of our customers – our retention rates are well into the high 90%, so we already experience a high degree of customer loyalty. Moving forwards, I’d like to get closer to those customers to better understand how have they derived value from the products that we offer, and then take those use cases and stories to new customers.
Key to doing that will be our channel partners. That’s always been a huge part of our success, and it’s going to be even more so in the future. We have already started a campaign to re-energise the EASY SOFTWARE UK channel, with specific focus on those partners where there’s mutual benefit for us to work more closely together. I’d also like to seek out new partners who can work with us to take our newer propositions to marketplace.
So we’ve hit the ground running, but the next six months are going to be very busy: I need to go out and see more customers, listen to them, hear what they’re saying, how do they use our products today, what value are they getting and how can we improve those products? What do they need us to do more of? What do they need us to stop doing, what should we be doing less of?
So lots to do in the first six months.