Q&A – Esben Fiane

Another Q&A session, this time with Esben Fiane, Managing Director Blom Nordics.

When and what brought you to work for Blom?

I started as a management for hire in October last fall. My job was to implement a new Nordic sales organisation. As of from 1 January 2012 I accepted the position as a permanent employee as Managing Director for Blom Nordics.

I had just left as Managing Director for a Nordic software company. My background is from IT, technology and consulting. The geographical industry is new to me, but seemed very exciting. I am now starting to learn our products and how these might be used as valuable services for many industries.  In many ways the geographical industry quite is different to my previous experience, yet there are still many similarities. It is all about technology and the need to develop solutions rather than pure products.

My career has covered companies such as PwC, IBM, Telenor and Hands (the ERP software company) before joining Blom.

My hope is to contribute and develop an organization with more focus on customers and customer demand. This will imply a focus shift from product to solutions, benefits and values.

Implementing a customer oriented organisation is easy to say, but difficult to actually do. It is a journey that takes time.  The key is to be proud of our products and be able to sell our services with enthusiasm. Blom has very competent people. We just want to become slightly more agile and promote our services more aggressively. We have nothing to be ashamed of.

The “art” is to combine sales and solutions with our core geographic competence. We need to develop an organisation which is more responsive, but at the same time has a steady course forward with focus and prioritisations. The objective is to secure good customer dialogs and be able to design something unique for the individual customer based on standard products.

I see a lot of opportunities in Blom and hopefully we as a team can turn Blom into a more customer oriented organisation.

What is your role in Blom?

I’m managing director for Blom Nordic. I have a leadership team who manage the individual countries, and I try to facilitate the team to contribute with their best skills into the group. My primary focus is to build a stronger sales culture and leverage more of the core assets of Blom.

My career has involved several transformations from “product focus” to “solution focus”, and I have learned that this is a journey that requires many small steps. It is rather an “evolution” than a “revolution”. My primary job is to facilitate and motivate the organisation for this journey.

What do you find most inspiring working for Blom?

Blom is a people business. The most inspiring for me is to win and deliver successfully together with the team. When we succeed, we usually also get very good customer feedback. That is of course also very inspiring.

In addition, I find the knowledge and competence in Blom within the field of geographical information extremely motivating. We really have something unique….and one of our challenges is to become better communicators of what we have.

I usually say: It is all about sale. A good idea is not enough – you need to sell it as well! That is what I am trying to help people in Blom do.

What is a typical day for you working in Blom?

No day in Blom is very typical, but as my team is spread around the Nordic countries, I spend a lot of time using the LYNC communication tool. I need to talk to people in order to understand what’s going on. In addition, I travel around in the Nordic to meet customers and people. It is about securing individual ownership and make sure people are comfortable in carrying out their tasks as structured and efficient as possible. But it is also about passion for business. We need to be motivated.

I talk to a lot of colleagues outside the Nordic offices. This is very stimulating as I get a good feeling of being part of a larger group.

What are the challenges you see during the next year for our industry?

We are seeing a huge technology development in the industry. Google has been a key driver for this.

However, we see that there will be a segmented market going forward. Blom will have the prime target in the professional user market, while Google and several others will primarily focus on the consumer market. The business models are different for these segments. Blom will primarily be dependent of sales and revenues while Google has another model with advertisements.

Cloud computing will also have an impact for how we capture and store data in the future.

We are seeing an increased use of geographical information. We believe this will be further expanded into new areas. There will always be demand for geographical information However, requirements and needs will shift.  We need to develop competitive solutions in order to serve our customers like vise.