#346: How CFOs And CIOs Can Work Better Together With Sebastian Grady

#346: How CFOs And CIOs Can Work Better Together With Sebastian Grady

Our Guest Mentor: 

Sebastian Grady is a 27-year veteran of the enterprise software industry with proven executive leadership experience. He has a strong track record in global customer service, enterprise software sales and marketing, enterprise software maintenance sales and service delivery. Mr. Grady has led global enterprise software firms and has developed emerging high-growth technology start-ups into successful ventures. 

He is a goal-oriented leader – numbers focused operational executive leveraging expertise in sales, marketing, and customer service. His specialty lies in building successful customer facing teams in fast growing software companies.  

Mr. Grady oversees all revenue operations for Rimini Street worldwide, including Global Sales, Global Marketing, and Global Client Care & Success teams. 

Key Quotes from the Episode: 

[On management] “The things that I learned, I’ll impart back to our company, and talk with my colleagues and our management team. Skating to where the puck’s going. Not just doing well with what we have now, but what’s the market going to look like in five years. What do we need to look like as a company in five years?  You have to spend some time on that. So five years doesn’t catch up and you’re like, wow, did we miss it?” [6:59] 

[On software] Software runs the world. It really is everything. Software is in your car. It’s in your homes. It allows you to do all the things you love.” [13:10] 

[On software] When you’re forced to get things done because of something like a pandemic, it’s amazing how people rise to the occasion.” [21:04] 

[On buying software] “Dip your toe in the water. Try something, prove it works with a very small subset of the business. And if it does, then start going all in.” [22:34] 

[On business case] “If there’s one thing that your listeners should take away, it’s double down on the business case. Get some small wins and then it’s an iterative process. Iterate the business case maybe every three months as you discover new things, as you’re rolling it out and you’re learning. Change the business case, if you have to. You know if you’re lucky your business case, if it’s done extremely well, might be what, 60% accurate, if you’d iterate it.” [25:11] 

[On career advice] “Knowing your craft, that’s table stakes, there’s no substitute for hard work. But rolling up your sleeves and being collaborative with other people is a real art.” [28:34] 

Key Points from the Episode: 

  • Why is software so valuable today and some ways of maximising ROI from it. 
  • The relationships between CFOs and CIOs, how these have evolved during the last year. 
  • His personal experiences with Fortune 100 CIOs particularly how the pandemic has accelerated them making things happen during the past year that would have otherwise taken much longer. 
  • Key insights from their recent global finance survey of 1572 CFOs and finance leaders 
  • The importance of doubling down on the business case.  

Time Stamped Show Notes 

[03:10] Sebastian shares his career journey 

[07:42] How as a people person Sebastian managed the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic and some approaches to conference calls, sales travel as well as return to site.  

[13:19] Sebastian talks more about software as an industry, why it runs the world and his journey through it from when it was starting out. Why it’s important to think the customer is in the room. 

[14:41] Sebastian shares with us the key results of their global finance survey with 1,572 CFOs and finance executives across 13 different countries. And each of the companies that they represented were at least $200 million in annual revenue. 

  • The importance of technology investments & digital transformation 
  • Optimising existing projects and processes 
  • Where they look to cut investment in IT 
  • The challenges of evaluating ROI on tech investments and ideal payback periods less than two years 
  • Why IT need to learn more about the business and embrace business relationships 
  • Why CFO should be more tech savvy 
  • How the CIO and CFO relationship has become more close during the pandemic 

[20:14] Sebastian shares what his personal experiences with Fortune 100 CIOs particularly how they’ve made things happen during the past year instead of over 5 years, when your  

[22:07] Sebastian shares the thoughts of CIOs on how they’d like finance to work better with them and vice versa (Boil the ocean is dead, agile, scrum development, prove it works with a small subset of the business, same as buying software). Why it’s important double down on the business case. Get some small wins and then it’s an iterative process. Why you have to let anyone in the organisation be allowed to question it, example from the Israel arumy. 

[27:10] Sebastian talks about the best piece of advice he has ever received in his career. 

[29:56] Sebastian gives details on how to connect with him 

[31:49] Sebastian shares his parting thoughts with the audience. 

Resources Mentioned: 

Link to study:  

Connect with today’s guest: 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sebastian-grady-91837/  

E-mail:   sgrady@riministreet.com  

Mobile: (510) 914-1712  

Full transcript: 

#346: How CFOs and CIOs Can Work Better Together with Sebastian Grady 

[00:00:29]Andrew: [00:00:29] Hi everyone. And welcome to this weeks’ strength in the numbers. And today we interview guest mentor, Sebastian Grady. And one of the main reasons of bringing Sebastian onto the show is that he commissioned a survey of about 1600 CFOs and finance leaders. 

[00:00:46]So you got a sense of a number of key areas and key topics for them, particularly around the space of it, the relationship with the CIO to the chief information officer. And I was actually really curious to find out more about some of the insights. And also Sebastian has got a great network of CIOs and top fortune 100 companies. 

[00:01:07]So it was also an opportunity to get a read on the pulse, around their perceptions of finance leaders and where we could perhaps work better with them. 

[00:01:15]so on top of delving into those areas, because Sebastian has got such great experience of how the it and software industry has evolved over the last few decades. It was a great opportunity as well, to unpick some of those trends. Yeah. 

[00:01:30]And it was actually quite neat because software is becoming increasingly essential to organizations in this day and age. And because of that, it’s actually throwing up a number of really exciting opportunities for finance professionals and finance teams to get involved with. 

[00:01:44]So not only do we own pick the results of the survey, but we also go into areas where 

[00:01:50]finance teams by better working a better appreciation. The technologies software and where the it team is coming from can actually go on to deliver much more meaningful impacts in their organizations into the future. 

[00:02:03]also where a lot of companies are finding success around maximizing ROI or return on investment. From their information technology and digital investments. 

[00:02:14]So again, I want to thank Sebastian for being such a great sport and coming on to S I T N show, if you happen to enjoy the interview, as much as 

[00:02:23]hi did chatting with Sebastian, you couldn’t. Find out more about the key quotes, transcripts detailed timestamp show notes are more at sitnshow.com. 

[00:02:32] As well as we really appreciate it. When you recommend the show to your friends and colleagues, when all the major platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon music. And I guess that’s it all for me for now. So without further ado, over to Sebastian on the show. 

[00:02:46] Sebastian, welcome to the show. 

[00:02:52]Sebastian: [00:02:52] Thank you, Andrew. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.  

[00:02:55] Andrew: [00:02:55] It’s  a pleasure to have you on our show with our audience. Your background is actually not finance, but you and your company came up with a rather interesting survey I’d love to delve into, but before we do that, would you mind maybe sharing with our audience your career journey, please? 

[00:03:09]Sebastian: [00:03:09] Sure, andrew. I work at a company called Rimini Street right now, and we are a $350 million annual revenue organization. We provide services and solutions around support for Oracle and SAP applications and Salesforce applications and we’ve been doing this for 15 years. When I joined the company about 10 years ago, we were about a $30 million company, and now we’re publicly traded and about 350 million. 

[00:03:41]Pretty excited about how we’ve been able to grow. Not too many companies can do that. Prior to that, I have a computer science degree and a management minor from a college or university called Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York. And I started my career with Accenture, which used to be called Andersen Consulting back at the time. 

[00:04:06]And I worked there for six years and I was so excited and that was back in, let’s see, I started at Andersen in December of ’87. And that was a time when technology was exploding. You had Moore’s law of just so many advancements in the microprocessor and computers and everything in software. 

[00:04:26]I took a liking to software and after about six years with Andersen, I decided that I really wanted to work for one of these companies that made the software. So I looked at Oracle. I looked at I think there was Walker Financial. It was a financial services company. And I eventually joined a company called PeopleSoft, which was the first client-server company out there. We switched from mainframe to client-server to the internet, to software as a service, and now everything’s cloud. So it’s funny how the same type of functional applications just take on different technical basis. And when we were client-server, we didn’t have the best human capital management software out at first, but we grew so fast because everybody wanted the shiny new technology, which client-server.  

[00:05:19] Andrew: [00:05:19] Yes. 

[00:05:19]Sebastian: [00:05:19] The PC or the laptop computer was becoming so much more powerful in and of itself. So they were moving some of the processing power away from the big mainframes onto your local computer. And that was what the origin of client-server was. And so it was pretty exciting. In PeopleSoft, I was there for eight years and they ended up being, for the first five-year period, we were doubling revenue every year, doubling clients. We were doubling employees. We were fifth best performing stock on the Nasdaq stock market. 

[00:05:51] And it was just a very exciting time when technology was exploding. And then you got right up to 1999 and remember the Y2K problem and the frothy internet bubble and then 2000 hit and all of a sudden it was like, wow, what are we going to do?  

[00:06:09] And I worked for a few other companies. I became president of a few other companies. I’m president of Rimini Street now, but it’s been a fun journey.   I’ve learned a ton, I fully believe you’re never too old to learn and I fully believe that you can learn from all kinds of different people in the world, whether they’re older, younger, from different countries, from different backgrounds, from different industries. I spend most of my time today as president of the company working with clients and prospective clients. 

[00:06:41] And meeting people as much as I can to just get their feeling about what we could do at Rimini Street to help them along their journeys, whether it’s digital transformation or going to the cloud or their five, ten-year application roadmap strategy. And that’s where I try to spend a lot of time. 

[00:06:59]The things that I learned, I’ll impart back to our company, and talk with my colleagues and our management team. Skating to where the puck’s going. Not just doing well with what we have now, but what’s the market going to look like in five years. What do we need to look like as a company in five years?  You have to spend some time on that. So five years doesn’t catch up and you’re like, wow, did we miss it?  

[00:07:21] Andrew: [00:07:21] Yeah.  You know what was really interesting there, Sebastian, is actually in this world, we find ourselves, during that period of time, when I suppose the pandemic was taking it’s grip, like how easy or how challenging was it to actually continue those conversations or customers, and then feed that back into your organization? 

[00:07:39] Like, how did you manage that challenge? 

[00:07:41]Sebastian: [00:07:41] I’m a people person. I like seeing people. I like talking to people and even pre-pandemic, I would say most of my meetings, even though I had 3 million miles on American Airlines, most of my meetings have been over video conference.  

[00:08:02] And I’m going to say for the two years prior to the pandemic, I would never do an audio only conference. In the old days, people used to send out phone lines. We could dial in the phone line. 

[00:08:13] I don’t see any reason today to ever do something like that because everybody wants to either see other people’s faces or show screens, or do calculations that everybody can see right in an Excel spreadsheet online. And that seems to be the future, so I probably do, I don’t know, at least 10 Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, you name it, Webex, meetings a week. 

[00:08:39]We’re going to get back a little bit to travel. I can feel it coming. I know some clients and customers that want to celebrate our new partnerships and meet in places now that most of us, at least in the United States, I shouldn’t say most of us, but have a lot of us in industry are fully vaxxed. I call us double vaxxed. So we’re ready to go. We got our new shots. It’s been two weeks after our second shot. But there’s a lot of areas in the world that aren’t so fortunate and the rest of the world is still trying to get beyond this really bad pandemic. 

[00:09:13]But I think you can see, you can feel people want to get back out or they want to get back out.  

[00:09:20]Andrew: [00:09:20] I think some of our listeners are thinking,  what does that mean for my budget? I’m with you on that one, sebastian. I do think there’s a bit more of a pent up demand for people to get back out but maybe not to the same level that once was.  

[00:09:32] Sebastian: [00:09:32] No. We’re a $350 million company. I’m not sure I have the exact number, but I think we saved like $6 million in travel expenses. That’s a lot of money for a $350 million company last year, the pandemic. And we were one of the fortunate companies that grew our revenue 16% in 2020. 

[00:09:50]We were able to work really well in this remote world,  which we were very used to pre-pandemic. Yeah, we were already fully technology enabled, all of our 1500 employees. Now I don’t see travel like sales travel, ever getting back to the way it was in the old days, because I honestly think a lot of it’s unnecessary. 

[00:10:13]It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. But don’t travel 3000 miles or 5,000 miles for one meeting that you probably could do over the phone. That’s not strategic or it’s not absolutely necessary. Now, the way I look at things as if I can go somewhere for a week and I can hit four or five different clients, prospects, important clients, prospects, spend some face time with colleagues and, really have a productive trip. Those are the types of trips that I probably look forward to doing again.  

[00:10:51]Andrew: [00:10:51] I suppose finance leaders and so on, I think they’ll get that. It’s just finding that balance and also thinking as well from an employee’s perspective, there could be so when they sat returned to site in those countries that probably have to catch up on the vaccination programs and so on, when they return to the site, they might’ve moved away. Their circumstances might’ve changed. It’s going to be a very interesting dynamic to see what if our customers and our business partners actually do end up back on site. Or if it’s going to be a hundred percent remote or what level it’s going to be. I think there’s going to be a figuring out period.  

[00:11:21]Sebastian: [00:11:21] Last week was my first day back in the office. CEO suggested that if your vaxxed, would it be a nice idea for the management team, which is about 10 people, to get together in our offices in Pleasanton, California. Now the building rules were we had to take pictures of our vaccination cards and send them in. We all had to be fulley vaxxed. That was the rule. And what was great was we’ve been working together and there’s a couple of new people on the management team who have never met our CEO and they report to him. And we’ve never met each other. 

[00:11:59] So it really was great getting together for a day, having an operating committee meeting in the office. We’ve had a lot of them through Microsoft Teams and having dinner together and learning a little bit more about each other personally. So every next meeting I have with a few of these people that I’ve never met before, it’s just going to be so much easier because I’m going to think of their face when I met them. There is something to be said for that.  

[00:12:25]Andrew: [00:12:25] The more we share what’s working, what’s not working in this space, I think the more we get back to the right way of working in the future. Sebastian I do want to pick into a bit of a geek on software. It must have been absolutely amazing to start it towards the beginning of that software journey and even grow as much as you did with PeopleSoft. 

[00:12:44]I’m trying to reference in my head a quote, I think it’s from Jeff Bezos. When someone in, I think it was like 2004, still up on Amazon a town hall and said, are we just not a retail company and Bezos said no, actually we’re a software company. Back then he saw the importance of software. 

[00:13:01]Did you see how big software could be as an industry or was it more you’re just along for the ride and enjoyed the ride. Where was your head at? 

[00:13:08] Sebastian: [00:13:08] Oh, software is everything. Software runs the world. It really is everything. Software is in your car. It’s in your homes. It allows you to do all the things you love.  

[00:13:20] And, remember I said that I’m very customer focused. One thing that I don’t know if you know about Jeff Bezos and Amazon is whenever he had a meeting, he had an empty red chair in the meeting room and he would tell everybody, look at that chair. 

[00:13:38] The customer is sitting in that chair. So everything that we do, pretend the customer’s in the room and you’re answering to the customer and think about that no matter what you put together for Amazon. And I think that’s an incredible thing that he did early on. And Amazon’s amazing. I think it goes, I’m not sure who the richest person in the world is. Is it Bezos or is it.  

[00:14:01] Andrew: [00:14:01] He’s up there. Isn’t he? Yeah. He’s one or two, I’d imagine.  

[00:14:04] Sebastian: [00:14:04] It might be Musk these days after his Saturday Night Live show.  

[00:14:09] Andrew: [00:14:09] Yeah. Yeah. We even saw bits of that over here at Ireland actually. Yeah. Interesting stuff.  Software pretty much rules the world nowadays. Although maybe it’s cash that makes it go round. We can debate that, but I think where I was going with that, Sebastian, was actually touching on the survey you guys did because it was one of the most comprehensive ones I could see. Definitely from the number of CFOs I think was like nearly 1600, 1500 1600 CFOs interviewed and yeah, it would rather me touch on the results. 

[00:14:38] What were the key results that you guys found? 

[00:14:40] Sebastian: [00:14:40] Sure, Andrew. Let me tell you a little bit about the survey. The survey was conducted with a company called Dimensional Research. And as you said, I believe it’s one of the largest global finance surveys in the world. It was 1,572 CFOs and finance executives across 13 different countries. And each of the companies that they represented were at least $200 million in annual revenue. 

[00:15:08] And for example, a 14% had over 5 billion in annual revenue, 27% were between a billion and 1 billion. 46% of the survey respondents were between 500 million and 1 billion. And 12% were between 200 million and 500 million. And they represented financial services and insurance, technology industries, manufacturing, professional services, healthcare construction, retail, telco, transportation, energy, media and entertainment, government, education, wholesale distribution. 

[00:15:43] So we really represented all the major countries, all the major industries and all kinds of different sizes of companies. So the data is amazing. And then the highlights of the data were, this survey was conducted at the end of 2020 and the results are hot off the press. They came out in April of 2021. 

[00:16:05]One thing we’ll do for your listeners, Andrew, is we’ll post free access to the survey. So don’t worry about.  

[00:16:12] Andrew: [00:16:12] Fantastic. 

[00:16:13] Sebastian: [00:16:13] Yeah. Don’t worry about taking copious notes of all the high-level statistics I’m going to give you right now. We’re going to give your listeners full access to the survey, and there’ll be a link to it right next to the podcast, but here’s the highlights of the results. 

[00:16:27]95% of the 1,572 survey respondents agree that technology investments are key to recovering from the business impacts of COVID-19. 71% of the global CFOs state that they personally believe digital transformation is key to their company’s success. They believe the number one priority that CIOs should have for IT initiatives is optimizing existing technology investments, as such projects will deliver the most business value and ROI. 67% of the global CFOs agree that they cannot afford to waste money on IT projects that don’t move the needle. 70% say they want to cut spending on non-essential IT investments.  

[00:17:25] And I know you personally dealt with a lot of this in your Dell EMC days. I’ve got about five more statistics here.  

[00:17:34] Half of the global CFOs report they cannot accurately evaluate the ROI on their technology.  

[00:17:40] Andrew: [00:17:40] Yeah. 

[00:17:41] Sebastian: [00:17:41] Another half want ROI on their technology investment within two years. And here’s a big one, 92% of the CFOs in the survey said that their CIOs need to learn more about the business now than two years ago. They also must take ownership in their part of the relationship. 94% of the CFOs believe that they themselves need to be more tech savvy. And then finally, 77% believe that the relationship with the CIO has strengthened. 

[00:18:22] As a result of business uncertainty in 2020. And Andrew, I know you talked to a lot more finance executives than I do, but is there anything that strikes your fancy in those results and from your background at Dell and EMC that  you think is a new trend or a change.  

[00:18:41]Andrew: [00:18:41] Actually, I think you were touching on it towards the end there, Sebastian. I do think the last probably what 12, 15 months have actually brought finance and IT closer together. And we’ve also got some common heritage as well. It wasn’t that long ago, most, I would say, probably the sales and operational organizations looked at finance and said, oh my God, they’re an expensive overhead. What value do they drive for us? We’re out there in front of the customers and so on. But actually I think there’s an appreciation now of the importance of getting to know finance, getting to know the business and vice versa, but IT might’ve been a bit left behind.  

[00:19:15] It’s the cost center. So hence, there’s that need to try and drive some costs out of the business, but then because of the crisis we’ve had, and a lot of organizations, they’ve had to stand up operations very quickly, work remotely, and that could not have been achieved without IT putting all hands to the pump. 

[00:19:34] I think there’s been a lot more respect that it can actually drive a lot of value. I do think a lot of the actions I’m seeing are backing up those statistics. But what I would encourage our audience to take from it is that, if the CFOs, the leaders of those organizations are saying, they need to be more tech savvy, that they need to better understand the ROI of IT investments, and also look for particularly non-critical operational type savings from IT. If you want to take the next career steps, that’s you know, the next decade or two to come. These are really great areas to go and learn. That’s where  I’m coming from, Sebastian. What do you think? 

[00:20:11]Sebastian: [00:20:11] I think you’re spot on and I’ll tell you from my personal experiences with Fortune 100 CIOs, they’ve told me in the last year, that in a strange way, the pandemic has forced them to accomplish more in IT. Some of these companies have done five years worth of it work in one year.  

[00:20:34] Andrew: [00:20:34] It’s amazing.  

[00:20:34] Sebastian: [00:20:34] Because they’ve been forced to do it. They’ve been forced to figure out how to have 100,000 people that used to go into the office, work from home. And they’ve really had to make things happen, to be able to address their client needs, their customer needs. And so in certain ways, they woke up from this and said, Wow, we can do it. Maybe we don’t need all the red tape that we’ve had in the past to get things done. When you’re forced to get things done because of something like a pandemic, it’s amazing how people rise to the occasion.  

[00:21:11] Andrew: [00:21:11] Yeah.  We’ve definitely seen a lot of that actually, people rising to the occasion. Although I think there’s a balancing act to be found here with the red tape, because I was talking to one CFO of a Fortune 100 company, they’re just in the list there. 

[00:21:23] And they did make an investment, but they mispriced the return and their mind’s going back to the ROI. And they reckon they probably booked a 90% loss on it which isn’t great. The jobs still got done, customers, they didn’t get impacted or whatever, but they feel like they lost money on it. 

[00:21:39]I think there’s a role for finance at IT to maybe better understand some of these investments, but do so quickly. Not slowing down the progress of change because the last thing you want to do is not look after your customers. Which is what everyone’s trying to do, then they’ll go elsewhere and there will be no business. So I think it’s just this balancing act.  

[00:21:58]Sebastian, are the CIOs feeding any sort of thoughts to you on how they’d like finance to work better with them and vice versa?  

[00:22:06]Sebastian: [00:22:06] There’s also the backend.  When I started with Andersen consulting, we did these massive projects. Customers paying us a hundred million dollars a year. I think a lot of that’s changed. I think this whole idea of the Big Bang Theory of going live with a project or boiling the ocean, that’s kind of dead.  

[00:22:25] Andrew: [00:22:25] A good point.  

[00:22:26] Sebastian: [00:22:26] I think, between the CFOs and the CIOs, they’re really starting to do Agile Scrum development. Dip your toe in the water. Try something, prove it works with a very small subset of the business. And if it does, then start going all in. That’s true with buying software from companies like an Oracle or SAP. If you have a hundred thousand employees or you’re a $50 billion company, don’t buy software for the whole company you tested it.  Test it with like 10% of those numbers. And then if it works, have your price locked in as you grow .Don’t buy it all upfront because then you start paying maintenance on all that software before it’s live. It’s really a silly thing to do.  

[00:23:14]Andrew: [00:23:14] Yeah I bet you’ve got some of our listeners nodding and smiling when they’re hearing you say that, sebastian, because they’re probably thinking back, oh, geez. I wish I thought like that because some of those big transformations, those huge projects, there’s so much time and money socked into it, and energy. Wouldn’t it have been much better prototyping, ironing out some of the bugs, and then maybe looking at whether go or no-go. It’s like an option to go down that route, as opposed to go put all your bets down that route. And then you got a sunk cost fallacy where you put so much money and effort into it. You keep persisting with it, even though things might have moved on and it’s no longer the right thing to do. So I think that’s great advice. 

[00:23:52] Sebastian: [00:23:52] Yeah. Andrew, I’ll still say the business cases, the ROI, the TCOs, projects. They’re still nowhere near where they need to be. I would strongly recommend still in 2021 that CFOs and CEOs put so much more time into the business cases because these projects go awry and they go off the tracks for years before people pull them back and say whoa, wait a minute. That’s not  what we bought was originally going to be delivered. And it still happens. That needs to change.  

[00:24:30]Andrew: [00:24:30] I think our listeners are in good company. Awareness is key because we can do something about it. There was another survey out there where I think it was like 85% of finance teams are undertaking a digital transformation at the moment. 

[00:24:42]And that’s the thing is that corroborates the numbers you’re sharing with us, Sebastian, that only 30% are delivering the benefits they are envisaged to do. So there’s this huge opportunity where we probably haven’t done enough work on the business case, or I would take your advice, which is maybe start a bit smaller, tested our prototype, and use that insight to feed into a better business case. 

[00:25:04] And then your delivery is going to be more aligned with the expectations of outcomes, I think.  

[00:25:08] Sebastian: [00:25:08] Hundred percent, a hundred percent. If there’s one thing that your listeners should take away, it’s double down on the business case. Get some small wins and then it’s an iterative process. Iterate the business case maybe every three months as you discover new things, as you’re rolling it out and you’re learning. Change the business case, if you have to. You know if you’re lucky your business case, if it’s done extremely well, might be what, 60% accurate, if you’d iterate it.  

[00:25:41] Yeah. If you don’t iterate it every three months or so, you’re not going to get there. And if you blindly follow the original business case, just because you and some system’s integrator or, a cartel of systems integrators, hardware providers, software providers, all put their heads together and say, this is what it is, those things never deliver on the results that are promised. So you really have to iterate the business case to get it right for your organization. And you constantly have to question it and you have to let anybody and everybody in the organization question it.  

[00:26:18]For instance, I’ve done a fair amount of business at Rimini Street in Israel. We’ve got some of the biggest customers, biggest companies in Israel as our clients. And when you walk into those meetings, and this is very similar in the Israeli army, private is allowed to question the captain. Anybody allowed to question anybody and you go into some of these meetings and they get a little loud, a little emotional, but everybody gets to say their piece. And then when the meetings are over, everybody kisses and makes up. And they marched to a tune and it’s really a great iterative process.  

[00:26:55]Andrew: [00:26:55] Great advice. I feel like I could talk with you forever about this. There’s so much in there. But I want to be respectful of your time, Sebastian. We really do.  That’s great advice but in terms of yourself, what’s been the best bit of advice you’ve ever received? 

[00:27:09]Sebastian: [00:27:09] At PeopleSoft, I worked for a lady named Peggy Taylor, and she’s also on our board of directors at Rimini Street. She was the epitome of what I call a ‘doer’. And Andrew, I know talking to you prior to this call that you’re a complete doer, both in your personal and professional lives.  

[00:27:29] So you have to be a doer. That’s table stakes, but I think that’s one reason why we got along well. The amount she could get done in a given day, and the fact that her mind always seemed to be a step or two ahead of everyone in the room was incredible. And that rubbed off on me. However, she was also very patient and she was selfless with her time and her advice to others. loved to see her team grow. And she always gave them all the credit. So she really taught me that I was never too old to learn and that I should give back, which I try to do wherever I can.  

[00:28:12]Rimini Street, when I see some of our sales reps or our service people, our service delivery people really grow personally and start doing amazing work. And the client gives them that vote of confidence that they’ve done incredible work. I have such a huge smile on my face. I want to see that. Knowing your craft, that’s table stakes, there’s no substitute for hard work. But rolling up your sleeves and being collaborative with other people is a real art. 

[00:28:43] So one of the things I enjoy doing the most these days, is taking the hill together in what I’ll call an all for one and one for all fashion, more than anything. And when you do this, titles don’t matter. We’re all on the field together. Just like your rugby background, there’s no ‘I’ in team. There’s no one hero. It’s the whole team that wins. And I’ve also liked being the underdog.  

[00:29:11]But PeopleSoft. I joined PeopleSoft, we were a $30 million company. We became a multi-billion dollar company. Today we’re a little $300 million company, 350 taking on two $40 billion giants. The little engine that could. Nobody said we could do it. And here we are reinventing this market. So those things are fun. They’re not easy, but they’re fun.  

[00:29:33]Andrew: [00:29:33] That’s the key to it though, right? It may not be easy, but you find the fun in it and if you could do it with people you like. And I like you used that rugby analogy, I’m going to jump on that one, Sebastian.  There’s a place for everyone in the team where it’s fun. You’ll find a place. 

[00:29:47]Great advice. Thank you for sharing that. If our audience were to try and connect with you to continue the conversation, where’s the best place to do that?  

[00:29:54]Sebastian: [00:29:54] You can email me at sgrady@riministreet.com or you can even call my mobile at (510) 914-1712. Again, that’s (510) 914-1712.  

[00:30:13] Andrew: [00:30:13] Okay. We’ll put those in the show notes. Sebastian, if it does ring off the hook. All right. If it does, turn to the finance audience here, if it does, we will might have to re-examine.   

[00:30:22] Sebastian: [00:30:22] You know what if does, we connected with some people and that’s what we should do in life.  

[00:30:28]Andrew: [00:30:28] I agree. I agree. Actually, have you come across UFC at all? Dana White’s UFC? 

[00:30:32] Sebastian: [00:30:32] Yeah. Yup. 

[00:30:33]Andrew: [00:30:33] I had the pleasure of seeing one of those bouts in Las Vegas once, but actually I heard a story about him where he accidentally gave out his number. Unlike yourself, he accidentally gave it out. And it was ringing off the hook. But he actually found that it was a really good idea because it allowed him to engage with his core supporter.And he learned some very important things along the way. So I hope it’s insightful. 

[00:30:55] Sebastian: [00:30:55] Probably has a few more fans than I do, but I’ll take a call  

[00:31:00]Andrew: [00:31:00] You’ll take a call. 

[00:31:01]Sebastian: [00:31:01] I’m very good at getting back to everybody.  

[00:31:04] Andrew: [00:31:04] Ah, excellent stuff. Thanks, Sebastian.  That’s another question we tend to ask folks is resource-wise, look we’ll put the survey, the link to that in. Really making that available to our audience. But would there be any other resources, books, documentaries, white papers you recommend our audience go check out? 

[00:31:20]Sebastian: [00:31:20] There might be, let me give that a think. And we’ll post a few things that could be relevant to this conversation.  

[00:31:26] Andrew: [00:31:26] Fantastic. Brilliant. Thanks for that, Sebastian.  

[00:31:29] Sebastian: [00:31:29] It’s great talking to you. Thank you for having me on your great show, which I know a lot of people love and it’s my pleasure to hopefully connect  with you and your audience here a little bit.  

[00:31:40]Andrew: [00:31:40] That’s awesome, Sebastian. I know we already booked in this amount of time, but before you go, maybe any other parting thoughts for our audience? 

[00:31:47] Sebastian: [00:31:47] I think that’s it, let’s get everybody through this pandemic. Let’s hope another one doesn’t happen. I hope we can learn as much as we can from this together, both health-wise and business-wise. Maybe it’ll make us better companies in some way, shape or form. 

[00:32:02]Mostly I just want to see us, the whole world get through with places like India, South America, places that are really getting hurt bad. That’s probably the most important thing right now.  

[00:32:12]Andrew: [00:32:12] That’s some great poignant thoughts there to end the show. And Sebastian, thank you so much for those and coming on being great guest mentor today. 

[00:32:19] Sebastian: [00:32:19] Thank you, Andrew. Take care.  

[00:32:21]  

[00:33:51] 

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