Mobile from a CEO Perspective
Running a company is fairly simple. You only have three things to worry about: strategy, people, and cash. With that in mind, I’d like to share my experience on how to execute these things and what role mobile technology plays for me in my job.
Once your strategy is set, the real work starts: turning it into reality – which requires a lot of communication. Every company meeting, every executive meeting, every decision, every dialogue needs to reflect your strategy to allow everyone to align their job accordingly. On top of the direct communication I try to keep everyone updated on the progress we’re making, which means being very transparent about our numbers, e.g., every employee is updated on the financial performance of the company. That is why we livestream every company meeting so employees on the road can participate with their mobile devices.
To engage the team I also share stories directly from the customers I meet. Usually I take a quick picture at the customer’s office and post it with a meeting note to our Intranet. This serves as a conversation starter because all employees can comment on the post, which gives me the opportunity to engage in a conversation to emphasize our strategy in context of real customer examples. For capturing the customer meeting pictures and notes I use our Sitrion ONE mobile solution because it’s integrated with my calendar, CRM, and, of course, Sitrion Social applications. For the social conversation that follows the meeting I use the Sitrion Social mobile client as it puts my posts in context of what else is going on in the organization. For 1:1 conversations I use Microsoft Lync/Skype and Google Hangout.
Our hiring process is driven by the hiring manager and supported by our HR team. Every new hire gets the opportunity to talk to a peer, their hiring manager, at least one other executive, and me. The budget owner is free to hire, but both Craig, our CFO, and I have a 24-hour veto period in case we are working on a conflicting project, like an acquisition.
I love the approval capability of Sitrion ONE, especially for people-related processes. Within seconds I see an approval request – including details and attachments – and can approve it right from my phone (or it’s auto-approved after 24 hours). Those details can be a CV as well as all the links to the candidate’s social profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Technically we are able to capture interview notes via ONE as well but we have not implemented it yet.
In addition to the hiring process, retaining talent is a key element. On top of many ongoing dialogues, we have at least two performance dialogues with each employee per year. This happens with the employee and their manager. I read all of our performance dialogues and my HR team is kind enough to provide these via OneDrive so I can access them on my iPad. We have ideas on how to capture this more fluently during the year with each dialogue question being a mobile "card," but we're also careful about the level of digitization we would like to have. After all, the core idea is the dialogue!
Engaging with our people is what makes our company different. As a global organization this is not without challenges. For our anniversary we gave everyone a Fitbit, and as a little pet project we built an integration with Sitrion ONE that allows you to share your status with your colleagues directly from your phone to HAL, our Intranet. We’re also working on a Kicker App that allows you to start, run, and keep score of a foosball table tournament. It is still a work in progress, but that is not a technology issue, it’s because of my stubbornness to build the app myself. In R&D some of the team members capture their scrum notes via a Sitrion ONE micro-app like a personal scrum diary.
Cash is basically the mother of all KPIs. KPIs and mobile are the perfect match! Not all KPIs require daily monitoring so it is important to have the relevant information ready at the right time. Also, some KPIs are useful to a smaller group and some to a wider audience. One major improvement I’ve seen recently is the ability to access our forecasts directly on my phone. Not just from Salesforce.com data but the entire numbers set. In my Sitrion ONE Productivity Stream, I get a mashup of information from multiple systems as an info card that includes closed deals, revenue our sales team feels comfortable selling, and the potential upside. All of that is provided in context of the budget and includes information from Salesforce.com as well as the deferred revenues from the prior period from our financial system. Sounds very complicated – and actually it is – but for me it is a simple card that shows up on my phone every Friday. If I am interested in more details I also have access to a detailed report … of course again mobile-ready.
Over the last two years, mobile technology has brought a major change to how I do my job. More and more, I find myself traveling with just a phone and an iPad. I even leave my laptop in the office on most weekdays. This may all sounds trivial, but we’ve come a long way and I see more cool stuff being added every day. I can effectively run most of the company from a mobile device today.