Saturday, 6 August 2016

Part II - Positive Disruption - Want to be Really Successful in the Oracle Cloud? The Secret Is Simple…


Things have been so busy at Certus I simply haven’t had time to finish and post Part II. Wow – where has the time gone this year? So before reading this you might want a quick refresh and read Part I - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/positive-disruption-want-really-successful-oracle-cloud-mark-sweeny?trk=mp-reader-card
So continuing the second part of the two part special (from April 2016!) and the underlying theme of having “the ability to Execute and Deliver is Absolutely Everything”, here are the last 4 points!

7. Build a Great Team Around You – Involve your people, its everyone’s company not just yours - Be selective in recruitment and as you grow become even more selective!
Returning to my original point from Part I. Surround yourself with people that not only have different skills to you but are or have the potential to be even better than you! Be selective! I have posted previously that one of the best comments I ever received about Certus was from a partner of a tier 1 management consultancy who said “The nicest thing about Certus is that it works like an exclusive members club, to work there you have to be invited to join. Many want to join but very few are accepted”.   

For every new hire focus on the 2+2 = 7 scenario, aim to double the value of your delivery capability through finding the right hires and integrating them into your existing lineup. (Going to try and find the time to explore and share this in more detail as to how we achieve this in a future blog). For Cloud the emphasis is on business knowledge, you need people that can have quality conversations on the underlying subject matter.

In this day and age, finding the right talent is extremely difficult, but if you have a great company and happy people then it helps. The way to maintain the culture as you grow is to get your people involved in the recruitment process; after all who better to judge an individual if they are going to “fit” than those already on the front line

8. Develop a go-to-market strategy that involves doing everything completely opposite to everyone else – leverage social media, create positive noise and build your company profile and brand
From day one we wanted to build a “brand” as we could see the Oracle Cloud was going to be the next thing and from our experience saw that the traditional players (“our future competitors”) wouldn’t move fast enough or invest early enough in the product set. But there are a number of factors that make a brand, and we wanted to focus on putting our employees at the centre of it, as we knew if we could achieve high levels of employee engagement and satisfaction we would achieve similar levels of customer satisfaction, as our employees would look after our customers. We felt in doing so we would create the space as a small nimble start-up could easily fill, and by establishing a brand prospects, our customers and the industry itself would remember us and people would want to come and work for us.

 9. Execute and remember that your only good as your last project, and that you need to constantly achieve high levels of customer satisfaction
The larger operations can afford to have projects fail and there are numerous case studies out there relating to this. However when your operating on a smaller scale you cannot afford to have any project go wrong - ever! No matter what you have achieved previously this is the only thing everyone is going to remember– in-fact with the larger organisations it is almost expected that they will have a high fail rate, and you will constantly ask why? that despite this they always seem to pick up the next large contract. All I can say is “That’s Life”. So knowing the odds are stacked against you and you can’t necessarily always load the deck in your favour – the one variable you can control is your delivery. So make sure you not just deliver but deliver in the right way and achieve high customer satisfaction. This is critical with Cloud as you are looking at a long term relationship.

10. Finally, but really most importantly - focus on Customer Success and have happy Customers
I have personally become absolutely besotted by customer satisfaction, and every Friday I go through all of our customer engagements with my Exec team and ask not just that our engagements are on track but are our customers happy with our service delivery. If not, why not? and what are we doing about correcting this the following week. Without Customers you don't have a business period. Customers will do a more for you and from my experience help you grow, but only if they are happy!

So It's Simple?
Ok to be honest it’s really not so simple as maybe I might make out to be. You need a high appetite for taking calculated risk; a lot of passion; a “can do” attitude matched with a determination that you can achieve absolutely anything; an expert delivery team that will literally follow you over a cliff at times, plus keeping one eye constantly on the Cash - “Cash is always King

You also need however to be highly critical of your performance, and when you don’t deliver be forensic in your examination. So be prepared to admit you screw up, learn from it and move on quickly and naturally don’t do it again. If you can’t do this, you will fail.

No one owes you or gives you anything, you fight and take every inch of ground you can when building a business, and sometimes it really is a case of "last man standing" – just make sure your that man! Finally life is short so enjoy the experience and the ride, and remember it is supposed to be fun.
Oracle Cloud brings innovation, that used correctly can really transform businesses - I have seen this happen, and the endless possibilities is what makes it really exciting for your customers and your company. So go innovate and enjoy!