Spotlight on Strategy: Get to Know Simon Lawrence
As part of our spotlight series, we are getting to know Simon Lawrence, our UK-based Director. Simon’s background is in data and analytics and now supports our EMEA customers as well as helping shape our product development strategy. In this Q&A, we delved into Simon’s background and learned more about what makes him tick.
Where did your career begin?
When I graduated back in the early 80’s, I ended up in IT by accident as an IT trainee. It started getting really interesting when I became involved with decision support systems. It was at this time when I began hearing about what became business intelligence and analytics. Back in the early 90s, I got involved with a project implementing one of the very first decision support systems. That was early on, and ever since then, I have been enjoying my focus on analytics and data.
When did your involvement with StrategyBlocks begin and how did it come about?
It was early 90s when I first started working in data and analytics in the UK. In 1995, I moved to New Zealand and started working as a business intelligence consultant for CDP group, the parent of StrategyBlocks. In 2002, I returned to the UK and shortly thereafter, there was a transfer in ownership of CDP group. I joined two of the other senior managers in investing in the group and became a partner. Over the next few years, we began thinking about how to develop our own IT and StrategyBlocks grew out of that.
What motivates you?
Getting involved in interesting things. New companies, interesting people doing interesting stuff or just challenging myself with software development, how to implement, and how to get the best out of it.
What do you think are the biggest strengths of a successful business leader?
From a StrategyBlocks perspective, I would say the ability to take a helicopter view across the whole organization so that you have the ability to plan, react and be agile, but at the same time be able to delegate, trust and involve your people.
What is your favorite part of working at StrategyBlocks?
Getting involved and talking to new people across a variety of industries and sectors, from utilities and government departments, nonprofits to large commercial organizations. It’s a whole range of people. Additionally, it’s fact that StrategyBlocks is something we’ve developed ourselves and are very proud of.
What is your favorite aspect of StrategyBlocks SaaS platform and why?
Coming from a background as an architect working in analytics and data warehousing, coupled with having spent what seems like a lifetime building reports and dashboards for people, my favorite part is cascading metrics: the ability to aggregate, view, analyze and understand metrics in the context of your strategic plan; to really understand impact your strategy initiatives are having on your business.
Where do you see the strategic planning market heading in the future – what do you think will be the most profound changes?
At StrategyBlocks we have been talking to our clients about plans to digitize their businesses and processes. Seeing that information, big data metrics and that sort of stuff bubbling up into driving and impacting on the strategic plan.
What is your strategy to attack/take on your day?
To have a prioritised to-do list. I can only work with lists and I have a cloud-based system I use to do it and it’s the only way I can keep track of things.