Executive Insight - Craig Stanley
How long have you been with Pentana Solutions?
I have been with the company in a couple of occasions, this current employment just coming up to 10 years, in totality just coming up to 15 years.
Tell us about the varying roles you have had in the company.
I’ve had multiple roles in the organisation, they have been quite varied in fact. If I go way back to the start in 1988, I joined the company in a support role. I was first level help desk, then I was lucky enough to move into a project team that was put together to bring a product called ERA into Australia. So you would call that a development role where I was the application person, not the technical person. Then over the journey, I moved into installations where I installed the first 20 ERA sites in Australia and then trained other installers. I then moved into support and trained support staff. At one stage I was running our customer service centre (CSC) support/ installation / etc.
In my current role, I am the Executive in charge of innovation on a global scale. That is covering all our products and services globally as we have innovation department hubs in Melbourne, Sydney, Philippines, Thailand, Netherlands and Italy. We are also looking at other alternatives at the moment. Those innovation hubs cover everything from our distribution and retail solutions, which we have quite a number of, right through to our Parex and web based solutions.
What has been your proudest achievement since taking on this role?
Since taking on this role, I probably couldn’t separate them, there is probably two that stand out which are what I live and breathe today that gets me out of bed.
One is eraPower, which is currently in pilot and extremely close to general release and we want to invest more in it next year. There is still probably a couple more years in the journey as we work our way through the product and the client base.
The other achievement is an effort between Nev Blackley and myself, we both heavily invested into entering the UK and wider European Market. Right now, enhancing and driving the functionality of the DealerPro Europe product to be the best in the European market is equally a passion of mine as it is eraPower.
Pentana Solutions has achieved so much in the past 12 months, averaging 50 innovations/ projects per quarter. How do you motivate a high-performance team?
Interestingly enough, if the team is engaged and involved then almost by nature they become passionate, which then drives their motivation. The other element is, we have gone through a massive transition in the last 12 months, where a lot of our team were working on projects that were perhaps for a lack of a better phrase a bit mundane. The eraPower and DealerPro Europe projects for example and projects like Online Service Bookings and Pulse have naturally created that enthusiasm and excitement.
Innovation time, what is it? What are the benefits and how does it work?
I think there are a couple of elements, one is people like to work on exciting projects. The other element is, I actually think we still have room to improve in this area, I often believe the innovation team have the chance to create legacies. I, for example, would say that I played a small part in a small team way back in the 1980’s when we brought the ERA product to Australia. I’m still proud of the legacy that now there are 40,000 users using that product every day and they are using a piece of software that I had some involvement in 20 years ago.
So the motivation for ‘innovation time’ and other elements is that they get the opportunity to work or something that is exciting and get the opportunity to create something that is a positive legacy for our customers moving forward.
Therefore, our staff can take pride knowing they worked on a product that our customers are using which is making their business better.
It’s March and eraPower is due for General Release, what should our retail customers expect to see?
It may sound cliché, and our marketing team will thank me for this, however, our customers will see a product that is intuitive, flexible and has re-imaged functionality. This was exactly the feedback from our recent eraPower training roadshows, which is pleasing to see we’ve delivered on a promise. The shackles of using Internet Explorer have now been broken which now allows us to take this product to mobile devices, opening doors for new functionality.
After eraPower is released, what does the future of Pentana Solutions from an innovations point of view look like?
In a positive way, we haven’t finished with eraPower. There’s other modules we’re developing at the moment, such as accounting and our team is always so passionate they’re constantly coming to my desk with further improvements on what already is a great product.
On a global scale, we have some exciting developments for our customers in. We’re working closely with our customers and the feedback we’re receiving is quite re-assuring.
I expect in the next 12 months to create more opportunities for our teams, for more people to grow their skill set, grow their management skills and have career advancements. If we can achieve this, which I strongly believe we can, Pentana Solutions will continue in being the number one provider of innovative software systems around the globe.
This is where it gets really exciting for us as a company so watch this space.