Denver startup week is the largest event of its kind in North America, with last week’s event attracting over 20,000 registrations alone. It says a lot about Denver as a location; as the definitive tech hub between the East & West coast, Colorado is the fastest growing state economy, and number one in entrepreneurship & innovation. Colorado Technology Association play a significant role in supporting this technological growth – their sole objective is to drive & advance the tech sector across the state. When they invited Invotra to feature on a panel focusing on emerging technology providers & their interaction with major enterprises, we didn’t hesitate. Despite our significant success in UK, we’re very much an emerging player in the US, and I had the privilege to sit amongst great company, sharing a panel with Alan Cullop, CIO DaVita, Brenda Horn, Global CIO, Enterprise Computing Solutions, Arrow Electronics & David Anderson, CIO CH2M.
Throughout the session I had the opportunity to chat through Invotra’s approach to a sizable new market. Okay let’s face it, the US is a huge new market! We started life as a nimble, feisty company who were forced to wade through bureaucratic treacle, and who stood shoulder to shoulder with Global SI’s to win our clients. In the early days, our champions were the change agents – those innovative CIO’s & business leaders who looked past the fact we were a small organization, understood where we were coming from and relished in our approach to supporting their vision of positive change. They grabbed our hand, metaphorically speaking.
We’ve grown & evolved in many ways in the past couple of years, but what remains constant is our desire to seek out these change agents within companies; those who want to deliver real change, real evolution, as opposed to minor change. Upgrading from one version of an application to another, despite it not fulfilling requirements or making users happy, isn’t the work of a change agent. Invotra’s success is as a result of aligning with folk looking to have a substantial impact.
Once we find these change agents, we must also show where we fit within an eco system that leverages, or wants to leverage the cloud. We achieve that by showing what it means to integrate & surface content from legacy systems, because we fully understand that this is a significant fear of organizations embarking down this path. Replacing an enterprise system is a big upheaval to an organization; the users are getting the new experience while IT are dealing with replacing old systems. We understand & have lived through the work involved in replacing these systems – we’ve built Invotra to allow us to create that surface while IT replace legacy systems in their own time.
To that end, a common objection we hear is that approach that we’ve taken, removes them from what they’re used to, which requires a huge shift in internal operations. For example, “Can I import a Word document?” While this is an understandable requirement, and yes you can still access these, Invotra’s approach moving forward focuses on all the comments, collaboration & conversation that generate that document. Who are the contributors? What do the analytics look like etc…. We tap into the intelligence of the enterprise.
Another objection I hear occasionally is “This sounds great, however we don’t think our systems will make it easy for you to do what you’re saying” – Again, we’ve been through the cycle numerous times and developed a number of tools that help standardize that data. We recognize it won’t be perfect first time, however we understand what’s involved in getting our clients there – which we always do.
As the hour progressed, one of the questions pertained to the biggest adjustments between working in the UK versus US. While I appreciate that each person, and industry is different, in my experience, it was the concept of an ‘elevator’ pitch. Now, I can only speak from my own experience, however we’ve come from a very consultative world in Europe – people are interested in telling you the totality of their problem – while we revert with a succinct response. In the US market, people want that succinct response without us understanding the extent of their problems. It’s an enterprise scale platform, therefore it’s naturally complicated. When you’re trying to digitally transform an enterprise, a 30 second elevator pitch isn’t often enough.
What we’ve learnt over the years, and what I want to bring to the US Enterprise Content Management market in the US is this – You can still change without taking huge risk. You can still change while managing that risk – we understand how to work with clients, mitigate risk and take them to a comfortable state. It’s what we do, and it’s why we are where we are.
All in all, it was a great session, and I really enjoyed my first panel speaking experience. The nerves disappeared once I reassured myself my stool WASN’T going to wobble backwards in front of everyone, however next time, I’ll spot check the location BEFORE sitting down, to avoid 90 seconds of sheer terror just as I’m about to speak!