January 13 by Kamal Ahluwalia
As 2015 begins, I am thrilled to see Apttus has risen from just 30 employees a few years ago to well over 600. This time last year we recognized the need to bring on board new talent in order to keep pace with rapidly growing customer demand and market opportunity. But at the same time we wanted to maintain what has been key to our success, deep domain expertise and the ability to quickly deliver value for our customers.
Rapid growth is often seen as a sign of success in Silicon Valley, but as Forbes writer John Hall explains, “high growth can also mean high uncertainty.” We also knew in 2014 that our anticipated success in establishing Apttus as the category defining leader in Quote-to-Cash would gain the attention of many other companies eager to profit from a growing market opportunity.
As I look back on the year and think how we managed the challenges driven by relentless change and competition, the answer has been a steady investment in people as well as a commitment to adopting technologies and solutions that support our ability as a team to excel.
Developing Domain Expertise
Before Salesforce was a household name and SaaS a common business practice, my co-founders and I made the key business decision to approach Salesforce with the idea that Apttus build enterprise applications completely inside their cloud infrastructure. By doing so, not only did we afford customers rapid deployment, immense scalability and the world’s most secure platform, but because we did not need to create an immense infrastructure, we were able to innovate and adapt in a very fluid manner. This allowed us to build out the industry’s most robust Quote-to-Cash footprint and to develop solutions to match any customer’s evolving needs.
We approached our rapid growth in the same manner. We made the decision to investment in our people, by creating the Apttus Academy in which every new hire undergoes eight weeks of intensive training. Each employee of Apttus is Quote-to-Cash certified and disciplined in everything from Configure Price Quote (CPQ), Contract Management to Revenue Management. Our academy ensures everyone from our receptionist up to myself are domain experts.
By starting with a strong infrastructure of knowledge, our employees, like our solutions, are better able to provide value to our customers and respond effectively to the rapid change we know will be constant in the year ahead. We are investing in our people and empowering them with the tools and knowledge to deliver deep capability fast to all our customers.
Speed with Optimum Cohesion
Our growth has been expeditious, at one point tripling in a quarter’s time. But speed has always been a fundamental part of Apttus. It’s our name – “us” at the end of a word in Latin means fast – and it’s in our DNA, from our rapid pace of innovation, swift deployment of solutions, to our products’ ability to streamline processes, down to the overall momentum of our company. Speed is what we do.
However, when most people hear speed they usually assume it means a sacrifice of control, especially when it comes to rapid growth. Executing fast isn’t about reckless acceleration, but perfect cohesion.
By implementing top to bottom visibility and eliminating points of friction, you allow your employees to operate with unmatchable agility and precision. That is what we help companies realize by implementing our solutions and eliminating siloed processes. It is the same philosophy we carry in-house and that has allowed us to manage our rapid growth.
Throughout my life I have been an avid rower. To me, rowing is the ultimate team sport. Not only does it require tremendous strength, perseverance, and work ethic, but to reach max speed, you have to work in perfect unison. This is a message I relay to our employees whenever I can, and am proud to see the success they have achieved so quickly. We have a great team to meet the challenges ahead in 2015.
Join me as I discuss the keys to successful leadership with one of the world’s most influential business thinkers Gary Hamel, who has been working with business leaders across industries to address topics critical to reinventing management and harnessing technology. Register here: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage