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Get to Know: Miguel Valdes Faura, CEO and co-founder, Bonitasoft

Get to Know: Miguel Valdes Faura, CEO and co-founder, Bonitasoft

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On the lighter side of things we ask Miguel Valdes Faura, CEO and co-founder, Bonitasoft, what makes him tick.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

That would be the day my team and I arrived at the decision that we needed to make a big change in the way to develop the company. We started Bonitasoft with a hyper-growth development strategy and we switched five years ago to a sustainable business growth one. We have been growing the business steadily and are retaining a very high percentage of our customer base while adding new ones.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

As a kid I was fascinated by the appearance of the World Wide Web and the introduction of web browsers in 1990… at that time I knew I wanted to be an engineer in computer science.

Miguel Valdes Faura, CEO and co-founder, Bonitasoft

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

Trust and responsibility. This is for me the essence of management. I trust our employees to bring their best and I have seen them return that trust in our management. For example, we moved to a ‘work from anywhere’ policy, based on mutual trust and responsibility, well before the pandemic forced many companies to scramble to arrange work from home capabilities. I would also highlight the importance of excellence and meritocracy as vehicles to career progression. We make a strong effort to promote from within and have several members on our C-suite team today who started with Bonitasoft in non-management positions.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?

Current hot technologies are ones that are helping to save lives in this COVID pandemic: 3D printers, vaccine platforms and real-time diagnostic technologies.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

I practice yoga, I surf (I live near an excellent beach!) and have great family and friend time, what else? We support work-life balance at Bonitasoft and I believe in setting a good example!

If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?

As I mentioned, we shifted from our original hyper-growth development strategy to a sustainable one, and if I could change something I would have started with a sustainable model right from the beginning of Bonitasoft. I know now it’s almost impossible to combine hyper-growth with excellence, efficiency and sustainability.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

I see the process automation market entering the third stage of its maturity: process analytics (the first two being process execution and low-code development). There is still a lot of room for improvement in the way we can help digital automation platform users collect, analyze and optimize process execution data to make better decisions and anticipate inefficiencies.

Another important investment area relates to the current state of maturity (low-code development), especially in everything that relates to collaboration and governance in process automation projects. Good low-code tools allow ‘citizen’ developers to work side by side with professional developers – in addition to giving those developers a wider array of tools – and while this collaboration is a great advantage for innovation, it’s also a way to be sure that both internally and externally driven guard rails are applied and followed.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in North America?

We find that our partner strategy is important in North America. Our certified partners know the Bonita platform technically inside and out, and they know their market’s needs and unique aspects when it comes to automation projects – for example, we have a major US-based pharmaceutical client, and our partner is well acquainted with the specificities of integrating a wide array of lab equipment used for pharma research and drug discovery.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

While Bonitasoft was an early adopter of ‘work from wherever you are’ and I was working from home well before the Covid pandemic, I found that suddenly not having the option to meet face-to-face with other people (both internally and externally) was particularly challenging in two situations:
● Our annual kickoff and all-hands-together meetings where we used to take a week to talk about strategy and key projects and also have some fun together. This past year we moved the kickoff to all on-line sessions. We had an excellent event according to the feedback, but I will appreciate our next in-person, all-company get together even more!
● Our planning workshops in which we collaborate and brainstorm together. Video conferences work well to an extent, but I still prefer to do some creative brainstorming in person.
I think we’re all looking forward to when we’ll be able to have the option of in-person get-togethers again. I miss chatting with folks about their personal and professional thoughts over coffee, a glass of wine or a video game.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?

I offer the same advice I would offer to a CEO: don’t pretend to be someone you are not; listen to other people and learn from them; and work hard but be authentic and uniquely yourself. And remember, obtaining a C-level position is not an objective per se. This position is all about the content, not the container.

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