On the lighter side of things we ask Christian Lucarelli, Nintex Vice President, Sales, APAC, about what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
Keeping a business powering along while you integrate a new team into your organisation and a new product stack into your offering is always challenging and history has plenty of examples of it going poorly. Nintex acquired two businesses – Promapp and EnableSoft – in 2018-19, which meant we had to go through that process twice, in the space of less than a year. I’m proud of the way we managed to pull it off and maintain momentum and customer service at the same time.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
I’ve always had an interest in IT but my career actually began at Siemens, as an advisor in the human resources department. The time I spent there raised my awareness of the ways in which people were interacting with technology, to drive change and innovation in their roles. My curiosity was piqued and my next job, as a management consultant with IBM, saw me start working directly with solutions.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
People make our business work and we impact people through the activities of our business. I aim to understand the employees in my team and encourage them to harness their skills and strengths to achieve good outcomes, for Nintex and for themselves. One of the lessons I learnt working in HR is that the majority of issues that arise in organisations stem from poor communication. That’s why dealing with people directly, honestly and consistently – and encouraging them to do the same – is a huge focus for me.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence are both huge – I see them come up day in, day out. They’re no longer niche technologies; customers are stepping back and looking for ways they can be integrated more broadly into their operations, to drive down costs, and boost productivity and competitive advantage. That’s going to become even more critical as we come out of the COVID crisis.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
In a few different ways. Sometimes I lock myself in and play some music on the guitar. I’m a fan of neo-soul; I like the fact that it’s a bit upbeat and a bit slow at the same time. The great outdoors is my other great love. I’m fortunate to live on an acre of land with a tennis court and having a game with my wife and our friends and family is a fantastic stress buster. So is spending time at the gym. And I have a 17-month-old son who’s a master at simultaneously distracting me from the travails of the office and keeping me on my toes!
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m a big believer that things happen, good and bad, to help you mature and grow. For that reason, I feel thankful for the mistakes I’ve made because they’ve helped me develop skills to be able to manage similar issues and situations more effectively, as they arise. Of course, that’s a philosophical position that’s easier to take in hindsight!
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
I’m noticing SaaS companies investing heavily in industry specific solutions. There seems to be a general move away from broad investment in platforms and a greater focus on understanding how solutions can add value in specific sectors. We’re doing this ourselves with the Nintex Process Accelerator Gallery, which is a hosted gallery of solutions for commonly occurring, industry-specific problems.
What are the region specific challenges when implementing new technologies in APAC?
Cultural and linguistic diversity is the over-arching one, for most vendors. APAC encompasses so many different languages and cultures that supporting all of them across one platform or suite of products is no easy feat. Localising software and services at the speed at which customers want to consume them is an ongoing challenge. So is the issue of data sovereignty and determining where centralised facilities like data centres should be located. Having Australia or the US as the default option might not necessarily work for customers in Japan or north Asia. That means companies like ours need to think about how we can diversify our infrastructure across the region.
What changes to your role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
I’m nominally in sales and I do manage our sales team across the region but over the past year my role has morphed into much more of a client advisory one than it was in the past. I’ve pivoted to become something of a strategic evangelist, working with CEOs and CIOs and Chief Digital Officers, helping them respond to trends in the industry and identifying ways technology can add value more broadly to their operations. That’s likely to continue over the next 12 months. As the SaaS industry matures, customers are increasingly looking to develop relationships with vendors, to understand what they’re doing and how that can benefit them. There’s also a growing appetite for information around best practices, with organisations keen to gain learnings from the successes of other customers.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?
Assuming they know what they’re talking about technically, I’d say start with people. Being effective at the C level is about setting the right vision and strategies and motivating your team to help you execute on them. If you’re not a strong communicator, I’d recommend finding a peer or coach who can help you develop your skills in that area. Learning to listen to people is critical. I regularly seek 360-degree feedback from employees at all levels because it allows me to understand what’s happening on the ground and deal with issues early. Finding a great mentor is incredibly helpful too – someone who can sanity check your approach and provide feedback to keep you on the right track as you navigate various career milestones.Click below to share this article