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Meet Stephen Jay - International Sales Director for HansaWorld UK
Meet Anabela Paolo - International Consultant/ Product Manager for Portugal
Meet Stephen Jay - International Sales Director for HansaWorld
What’s your background?
After doing a law degree, I qualified as an accountant with Arthur Andersen. I didn't particularly enjoy the auditing role, and moved across in the last six months of my articles to the micro-computer division - where I programmed tax computation models.
I then spent five years in Mergers & Acquisitions, where my biggest role was as part of the team that advised HM Government on the privatisation of British Airports Authority. Again the most interesting part of my job involved computers: I initiated, and subsequently managed, the project to put 100 Macs into our division - a somewhat revolutionary move in a bank that worked largely on Wang and had a tie-up with a specific PC manufacturer.
However, I didn't find sufficient opportunities for the real giving of advice to customers in this role, and so I set up my own consultancy in 1991.
When did you first come across HansaWorld?
My consultancy specialised in providing general systems advice. In particular, I wrote books and magazine articles on accounting systems, and I was approached in 1993 to add MacHansa into a roundup of smaller accounting systems. At that time MacHansa was only an accounting system, and aimed solely at small companies, rather than the Integrated Business Platform it has now grown into. That said, it already had some very neat features, including most of Nominal Ledger features now in place, and had the architecture that made it clear it could be developed without compromise.
When did you start working for HansaWorld?
It was not until 1997 that my company, Activate Systems, was approached to take the UK distribution for HansaWorld products. We worked with HansaWorld for one and a half years, and it quickly become clear that it would be better for all concerned to become part of HansaWorld rather than stay on the outside. HansaWorld programs and writes all central marketing materials in English, and so creating a centre of excellence based on native English speakers was part of HansaWorld's strategy.
How has the work and your role developed since you first started?
I've actually had almost every role in the company! Whilst I ran the UK and did all the bookkeeping, I started primarily as a consultant - although even in those days I was probably more interested in the selling of additional licences and services than the actual provision of consulting advice. I also provided telephone support in the early days. I learned HAL, so I could do some basic programming tasks. Karl took me aside fairly early in my HansaWorld career, and told me I would be best placed in sales. Initially I worked with UK customers and larger sales, but fairly quickly I moved to international sales and developing markets. I have helped establish the offices and initial operations in South Africa, UAE, Australia, North America, and most recently in Asia. This has meant that my role has become more related to helping partners build their businesses than direct selling, and also there has been a gradual and consistent increase in the size of sales opportunities that I have worked with. Also Enterprise now covers so many areas that it demands higher skills and much greater preparation for each sales case than when I was first involved.
What is the best thing you have done and experienced during your ERP career at HansaWorld?
It's tempting to cite the signing of some particularly large sales case, or submitting the winning entry for all of the many awards we have won. Also there's a special excitement when a new technology or special feature is introduced inside the software, like the iPad client we're now introducing. However, for me variety is at the heart of my enjoymen