Sandy: Hi Simon! Welcome to FinancialForce. I’m sure it’s been a hectic first few weeks. How are you enjoying everything so far?
Simon: It’s been a fantastic introduction to a wonderful organization. The executive team have been incredibly welcoming to me. I met with the heads of development and am excited at where the solution is at, and the innovation that’s coming. Jeremy Roche is a wonderful leader, and has engendered a culture of collaboration that permeates globally. Everyone I have met so far has been incredibly willing to help. We have a great opportunity down under, and the commitment and support to drive growth here is impressive.
Sandy: I think you are a great addition to the company and look forward to seeing the progress to come. This leads me to ask why FinancialForce and why now? What made you feel that this company is the right next step for you?
Simon: I think there is a latent demand, certainly in Australia, to really pick up on and truly deliver customer-centric business processes. Cloud CRM is really booming here. Why? Not only because of the software itself but because successful organizations are upping their game on customer-centric strategies, both in the front and back-office. Incumbents like SAP and Oracle maintain a very traditional, inflexible and often siloed approach.
Businesses in ANZ are demanding flexibility in the back-office, they know they must pivot to their customers to remain competitive and all areas of their business must do the same, not just those in externally facing roles. A single flexible platform, with the customer at the core is the new benchmark, not just in your CRM, but across your entire organization. One office, one platform, one customer record.
I joined FinancialForce because it is the only company I see that fulfills this vision. I see it like ERP 2.0 – it’s in the cloud obviously, but now it’s taking all the good stuff out of traditional ERP but truly re-imagining it from a customer-centric perspective. It’s simple to use and scales from very small to very large, and helps deliver value for our customers to their customers.
This is the future and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Sandy: You mentioned that there is a high demand in ANZ to grow in the cloud. Why do you think that is and what’s the best way to unleash that potential?
Simon: FinancialForce today is a relatively unknown entity in the ANZ market, but globally, the business is well known and has grown immensely. The ANZ software market is much like US and UK where customers want something better, yes – they want fast ROI and it must be simple to deploy and use, this is the ticket to entry. Our focus at FinancialForce is much more than this, it’s all about extending easy to use, mobile enabled ‘back-office’ capability into the hands of both internal and externally facing staff.
We are the leading cloud ERP vendor natively built on the Salesforce platform. This gives us a unique opportunity to leverage the world’s best cloud platform well beyond CRM using the same trusted cloud infrastructure and organizational data. There is an enormous opportunity for us to leverage the success of the Salesforce ecosystem here in ANZ.
Sandy: I absolutely agree. The US market and to some degree, the UK, has been very receptive to ERP 2.0, which I believe is not differentiating between the front and back-office, but making it a fluid, ‘one-office’ that breaks apart departmental silos to better serve the customers. I look forward to working with you to get that message across in ANZ. Now, let’s get down to the work. What are your top 3 immediate priorities as you settle into this role?
Simon: First and foremost, I want to get to know our existing customers. I want to know why they chose FinancialForce, how we are servicing them, how we can continue the way we engage with them and be even better! Secondly, we must create and raise awareness of FinancialForce in ANZ. We need to leverage the brand and strong reputation of the company in the UK and US markets and build a strong local following. In short we need to become known for our customer’s success here. Last but not least, I am eager to grow and develop our local team and culture. We need to quickly double our staff in ANZ in order to begin to capitalize on our market potential! I want to build and foster a local culture — something uniquely FinancialForce but which has an Australian or Kiwi spin on it. One our local customers will love working with and rave about.
Sandy: Busy times ahead. Very exciting! So, Simon, we always end the Q&A with something personal and the readers typically enjoy getting to know the new executive by knowing what keeps them going outside of work? Tell us, what are some of your hobbies or passions?
Simon: I am passionate about equality and diversity, both in the workplace and in our community as a whole. I am a longtime LGBTI advocate and have done a lot of volunteer work for LGBTI organizations and events in Australia over the years. Including the annual Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney, which is similar to the Pride Parade in SF. We continue to struggle here in Australia to get marriage equality over the line – soon I hope. Something our friends in NZ and the US have already achieved. While I was at Salesforce, I was an Executive Sponsor for OutForce – something I was very proud to support. We were able to educate and support the whole organization in understating the wealth of value in diversity. Imagine if you could not be your genuine self at work? Unfortunately, there are still many who cannot, and are unable to contribute to their potential as a result.
I look forward to continuing my involvement in driving true diversity in all facets of our organization as the ANZ Managing Director at FinancialForce. A truly diverse team will also deliver better results and innovation for our customers.
On the personal side, I love the beach, and that’s where I’ll be most weekends in summer. I’ve been very happily married for 21 years now and have 2 amazing kids. We love exploring different countries and cultures together. In fact, we are heading to Japan this coming January.
Sandy: That is awesome! I’d love to see ANZ participate in even more FinancialForce4Good activities. Once again, welcome to FinancialForce. Thank you for chatting with me!