Here's our latest 'Spotlight on', a quick-fire round of Q&A where we get to meet the people who make CloudSense great.
It's a fast, fun way to learn a little bit more about CloudSense's people – from what makes them want to come to work every day – to the meal they'd pick before they met their maker on death row.
Today we get to know a man who has been influential in CloudSense's success, Head of Product Management, Nick Flew.
Name, Position & CloudSense Office:
Nick Flew, Head of Product Management, London.
What do you do at CloudSense on a day to day basis?
I work in the Product Team and am responsible for managing the evolution of our products in terms of the features that we offer and when they are delivered. The Product Management team works closely with colleagues across the business to understand the needs of prospects/existing customers and then with colleagues in R&D to deliver on our promises.
How long have you worked here?
In 2012 I was working at Impactive who were a consulting partner to CloudSense. I was engaged as the solution architect on the original implementation at Vodafone UK and here I had the pleasure of working with CloudSense legends-in-the-making Kevin Jackson (Product Architect) and Ana Pejakovic (Head of Sales Production), (who did all the hard work and made me look good!!!)
In 2013, Impactive was acquired by CloudSense and so I ‘became official’ along with others. I then transferred to R&D in late 2014, immediately lowering the average IQ of the department!!!
What was your background before joining?
It pains me to say it but I have spent over 25 years in the IT industry.
I cut my teeth at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) straight from University. It was a tough environment but a great place to learn and I like to think that some of the ‘old skool’ practices that were hammered into us are still relevant today.
Then in the late nineties I joined Chordiant Software (a Silicon Valley based startup who were expanding into Europe) at the beginning of the dot com boom!!! I was a Solution Architect in the Professional Services organisation and worked on enterprise scale projects in both Telecoms and Retail Finance across Europe and the USA.
I see many parallels between Chordiant and CloudSense. At the time we were the new kids on the block trying to muscle in on Siebel’s turf. Customers bought into Chordiant’s architecture and vision as well as the passion and capability of our people. There was nothing we liked better than when prospects drew Chordiant and Siebel into a fist fight because we had a great track record head to head – similar to CloudSense and a certain competitor.
In 2001 it was over a Use Case Model at Chordiant that I met Mr Ian Chick who is CloudSense’s Chief Customer Officer but was then a floppy haired Business Analyst. Eventually (when Ian had been promoted to a floppy haired Customer Success Manager) we left Chordiant along with another colleague and formed Impactive, a boutique consultancy focussed on excellence in the key project disciplines of programme/project management, solution architecture and business analysis. We built a great team of whom we were (and still are) very proud and we counted some big names amongst our customers.
What's your favorite thing about the CloudSense office?
Whilst it sounds cliche, the thing I value the most is the atmosphere and genuine friendships between people from all departments, regardless of ‘seniority’. We all face difficult situations day to day – so it’s nice to have that to fall back on. This is true of all the CloudSense offices (certainly those that I that I have visited) and I think that in twenty years time this is one of the critical success factors that Richard will refer to when he writes his memoirs.
When was your best day at CloudSense and why?
The Zagreb Christmas Party in 2016 which was the first time I sang Karaoke in Croatian. Unforgettable for so many reasons.
Describe a ‘CloudSense person’ in 3 words...
Intelligent, Friendly, Focussed.
What makes you want to come to work every day?
My job involves a lot of plate spinning, a lot of communication and a lot of interaction with people much cleverer than me. So it’s exciting and fast paced.
There’s something exciting about being in our position at the forefront of our industry – even more so when this position is validated by none other than Gartner.
If you could switch jobs with anyone else at CloudSense, whose job would you have?
I would love to swap places with one of the software engineers and spend some time actually programming and creating product. However I’m not sure the test team would be ready for that volume of defects and so it’s probably best that I never do this.
Where do you see CloudSense in 5 years’ time?
Top Right of the Gartner Quadrant in our product category. My personal feeling is that this is realistic if we can continue to:
- Grow our customer base and make all our customers successful;
- Optimise the User Experience across all products; and
Where’s your hometown?
Wimbledon in South West London.
Where's your favorite place in the world?
The Jurassic Coast (an unspoiled stretch along the South Coast of England in Dorset). Much as I love our busy life in London, I really look forward to weekends away in Burton Bradstock and the chance to go running along the coastal paths.
What's your favorite book?
Anything by John Grisham. (Much to my wife’s chagrin - she’s such a book snob!!!!)
And favorite film?
The Usual Suspects.
What would be your desert island DVD box set?
What's your guilty pleasure?
90's comedy - Alan Partridge, The Fast Show & The League of Gentlemen.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to fly. No more South West Trains, no more London Underground and the ability to go on day trips to exotic destinations…
What would your death row meal be?
Hot and spicy chicken wings. And I’d wipe my sticky hands on the electric chair as a final act of defiance!!!!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Nigel Owens the outstanding Welsh Rugby Referee. I am an aspiring referee (although in a completely different sport) and I’d love the opportunity to talk to him and to get his advice. He’s a legend.
Elon Musk - CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla. I’ve read his biography and, whilst I am not sure that he’s a particularly nice guy, it would be amazing to find out what makes him tick.
Jamie Oliver - seems like a decent bloke and the boy can cook.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Matt Damon. Mind you he’ll have to work on his beer belly if he wants to convince an audience.
If Matt’s not available or feels that he can’t do the role justice (which would be understandable), then either of The Proclaimers would suffice.
If you were guaranteed to be successful in a different profession, what would you do?
The head says ‘doctor’. The heart says ‘airline pilot’.