What it means to be a Comunite...
By Mark Ogden
Many people have asked me recently what it is like to work at Comunet and what makes us different. Previously I was apprehensive before I answered as it seems to me that many businesses make claims about how they are unique, most seem to suggest that it is their customer centric approach that sets them apart. However, more often than not these claims fall short as actions do not replicate the words. So with this in mind, here is my attempt to outline our reality, one that was founded in an obsession in delivering value to our customers.
Before joining I sat down with Paul Lewin, one of the founding Directors and asked him why he started Comunet. His response was the following and a key reason why I took on the CEO role:
1) To deliver value to clients - Paul's philosophy has always been to treat the clients' money like our own and I have seen this in action on a daily basis.
2) To create an environment that people want to be part of - from our stacked fridge and pantry, to our multiple coffee machines and flexible working environment, we continue to strive and evolve to continuously improve.
3) Generally if we get the first two right, then we make a profit to enable us to keep doing what we are doing
It was Paul who was the driver of our Cloud First approach two years ago, when our Partner Manager from AWS asked him his rationale, he answered simply, "because it was the right thing to do by our customers, whether to lower their costs with us or helping to deliver solutions faster".
So what is it that we actually do and how do we go about it - I have tried to summarise this by answering three key questions:
- Why are we in business – to help our client partners grow through technology.
- How do we do this – through providing access/utilisation to global best practice solutions, delivering efficiency through scale, capacity and capability.
- What we do – understand our client’s business needs and work environment to ensure they achieve maximum performance through an optimal approach. Solve their problems regarding IT strategy, infrastructure and development needs.
True to Paul's founding philosophy, we don’t have a sales team, not even one that we have just called something else, we just don’t have one. Our engineers have always owned the relationship with our clients, in fact our total sales & marketing team represents around 5% of our total workforce. Through personal experience, Paul found that if the job came to him via a sales team member than it was often aligned to a commission or quota. With the engineer owning the engagement, they can start with a blank canvas and be agnostic in their approach, ensuring their focus is best value for client. An example to prove this concept is that in the past few months we have received rebates/commissions from suppliers that came as a complete surprise. If the solution is the best fit for the client than it is chosen over a trigger for a payment to us.
Last year we held a strategic session with our senior team and reviewed our value statements to ensure they were representative of who we are and always strive to be. Our identified values represent what makes people who work at Comunet special – our intent is not to just replicate the standard, run of the mill style of “company values”, yet call out those that are relevant to us. We like the fact that we don’t quote for work that we don’t believe will deliver value to the client, even if it would be a nice littler earner for us. We appreciate people who hold our client’s interests at heart and don’t accept the easy option but look for the more difficult game changer. We value action over words, hence our clients have always been the biggest driver of business development for us over 20 years in business. The following are the value statements that we believe best define us and keep us pushing hard to deliver against:
- Inspire our clients and our people
- Lead by being curious and embracing change with the intent to do better
- Collaborate with our clients, our partners and our people
- Deliver with pride to exceed expectations
Hopefully this has provided some insight into what makes a Comunite a Comunite. You may not get the most polished sales pitch from us (although we are getting better), our focus has always been and will continue to be delivering true, sustainable value to our clients, and that is our obsession.