Every CEO is expected to keep improving the top and bottom lines, as well as get their company to move from where it is to where it could be. This is a tall order in a world where technology and market preferences change rapidly, and medium and midsized businesses are expected to keep pace.
CEOs of midsize professional service firms aren’t immune to these expectations. We recently interviewed Kirk King, CEO of CSS, a business technology systems integrator and Oracle partner about the challenges he faces every day.
The move from on-premise solutions to the cloud is big. The question is no longer if a client will shift to the cloud, but how they’ll shift to the cloud.
We aren’t having conversations with clients anymore where we need to sell them on the benefits of the cloud. Instead, we’re discussing things like the timing of a client’s move to the cloud, whether a hybrid solution will be part of their move, additional functionality they can get with the cloud, and how security will look and function when they move to the cloud.
If the timing of the move is gradual, we may also need to help clients plan how the coding between their on-premise and cloud-based services and software can grow closer together. Doing so can help keep any potential disruption to their business at a minimum.
Just like companies that have been in the market for a while, startups want to learn how they can leverage the cloud.
When startups only had on-premise options to choose, they had to buy a block of seats to access the services or software they wanted. They really couldn’t customize what came with that block of seats. But with the cloud, startups can buy access to the cloud on a user-by-user basis, and potentially on an app-by-app basis. This has significantly shifted the recommendations our firm offers to clients in the startup space.
Strategy is crucial in figuring out how we can work with others across the business. There are lots of opportunities available on who our firm can partner with, but it’s a matter of deciding what’s really important to us and our clients.
We also have to keep in mind how our partners’ cultures will fit with our clients. Does the partner we’re considering share the same values, vision, and goals as the clients we work with? If they don’t, and we decide to move forward with that partner, any struggles that come from those differences could affect our relationship with our clients and have a negative impact on our business.
There won’t be a shortage of clients needing help from firms like us anytime soon. The external experience we provide is incredibly valuable, especially as clients need to make major decisions about how they want to move forward and future-proof their businesses.
The biggest change I see will be needing to focus on how a client’s industry is impacting their business. Clients in the medical industry and the automotive industry may need to make similar decisions, but their challenges, needs, and goals are unique to their particular lines of work. Being able to provide services with a more focused view on an industry’s needs, challenges, and goals will be vital to how successful our firm is in the future.
By Kirk King, CEO, CSS