This month on Meet the Hiring Managers, we’re exploring the world of Enterprise Performance Management with our EPM Practice Lead, Laura Colquhoun!
Tell me about your role within Namos.
I joined Namos in January this year, as the EPM Practice Lead. I manage a team of talented Consultants that have a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. We have Consultants with 15 years’ of experience who have only ever worked in Consulting, as well as recent graduates who joined us straight from university, came through our Associate program and are now qualified with 1-2 years of experience. There is a very broad spectrum within the team!
My role, first and foremost, is to make Namos a great place to work for our consultants, so that we can attract and retain the best talent. I want them to adopt and roll out best practice, and really foster strong client relationships. Everything we do is to provide excellence to our clients. My key remit is to deliver projects to time and within budget. If we can get good people in, retain them, keep them happy, and ensure they enjoy their work, everything else will flow.
Can you talk me through your previous experience?
My background is a little different – I’m a Chartered Accountant. I have worked in a variety of organisations as a Finance Analyst, Systems Accountant, and Finance Business Partner, mostly focused on Central Government and Higher Education. As part of those roles, I was involved in a number of ERP and EPM system implementations. This gave me the impetus to say, “this can be done better”. It piqued my interest and I loved doing it, so it felt like the right move to join the world of Consulting. That was the first time I’d focused on Oracle products, and I remember thinking “Gosh, I wish I’d had this for the last 15 years ago, when I was struggling with data analysis and preparation!” 5 years on, I’m now putting my 15 years of client-side experience to good use. Seeing how a business process works, seeing the challenges that organisations face – now that I have consulting experience, I am making the best use of the products available and aligning that with my understanding of an organisation’s needs and pain points. It’s about making sure that we get the most efficient and effective product for the client.
What led you to join Namos?
I was working at another Consulting firm, and it was impossible to ignore on social media the attraction that Namos were getting in the market. They were on a significant growth trajectory, and it felt like every week someone new was joining Namos! I was thinking, “wow, what’s happening over there?” Fortunately, there happened to be an opening for an EPM Practice Lead, and a few conversations later with Jerry Seager, our Chief Operating Officer, I understood where Namos was, where they wanted to be, and I really wanted to be a part of that. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity, a company that was on a fantastic upwards trajectory.
What do you love about working for Namos?
That’s easy – it’s the culture. I’ve been here for four months, and so many people have helped me in that time – it really does trickle down from the top. There is no one who isn’t approachable, and that’s something I’ve never experienced before. Chris makes himself available to me and all our consultants. That culture is fostered all the way through. Whether it’s Consultants helping each other across different projects, and across our support teams, everyone pitches in and there’s no one you can’t reach out to. Even if that person can’t respond immediately, they’re always helpful and that’s important. I really love the culture, and I haven’t experienced anything quite like it in nearly 20 years of working for other companies. It’s pretty special.
Talk me through the typical roles you recruit for within your team.
I’m in the middle of restructuring at the moment, to define Functional and Technical roles within the team. We’re separating the roles out, to create Consultants who will specialise in all the different areas of the EPM suite of products. There are 6 or 7 qualifications that candidates can get, and we support people to gain a breadth of experience across that. Functionally, we like candidates to be able to implement a number of EPM products.
Then there are Technical Consultants, such as Developers from the Hyperion space, who work across multiple projects. Having a more technical focus, where we can innovate and use people’s skills to create the best fit for their strengths – this means that we’re putting the right people in the right place, at the right time, doing the right work.
We also have a path for Graduate Consultants. We’ve taken on a couple of graduates in the last few years, who are now fully qualified implementation specialists.
What qualities would make someone a good fit for your team?
I don’t look for specific qualities – it’s about diversity for me. When building and expanding a team, there isn’t one set of qualities I look for. I don’t want 10 of one type of person. I want organised people, with a solid project management approach. But I also want innovative people, who know when it’s the right time to push boundaries and do something a bit different. I like people with excellent people skills, who can bridge that gap that exists between technical language and the reality of talking to a client doing their day-to-day business. The people element of it is exceptionally important. I don’t expect everyone to tick every single box, but by having diversity in the team, we help each other and learn from each other. We’ll grow to become the most rounded Consultants we can be.
Which aspects of your work are you most passionate about?
The reason we do what we do, is to deliver a good product for the client. That’s the reason all of us are here. We deliver a service, and we make their lives better by giving them technology that aligns with their business processes. We take the time to understand what they need and align that with a product that can support them. My passion is seeing a client take on the product, excel with that product and allowing them to push forward in their business area. One recent piece of feedback said, “this was a game changer for us” What could be more inspiring than that? Our job is to give technology to help the business and hearing them say that it has transformed what they do, that’s inspiration for me. Knowing that we’re doing a good job as a team, and we’re helping the people we’re working with.
What does the future look like for your team?
The future is exciting! The demand for EPM products is high, and Oracle is leading the way in the EPM innovation space. Client demands are changing as well. I strongly believe in developing an EPM team that doesn’t just implement, but one that consults and delivers the most effective and efficient use of the tools that we have. A theme that is very dear to me, is to make sure that as a team, we are working for the client. We understand the client, and that’s where the future is for EPM. We don’t just throw a product at the client the day it hits – anyone can do that. It’s about looking at how clients will benefit, taking the time to understand where the pain points are, and where we can meet their needs. The Namos EPM team can really give an added value implementation. My hope is that this resonates with the candidates we want to attract and reflects in our sales cycle too.
EPM is exciting, Namos is exciting, and together the future looks good!
What advice would you give to candidates starting out in the Oracle world?
Absorb content. There’s so much out there! I started using Oracle 5 years ago, and every day there’s new content. Take the time to find what you’re passionate about, don’t just jump into something. Find something that’s exciting for you. There are so many opportunities out there. The best job in the world is one that feels like a hobby. If you can find something where you think, “that’s something I’d like to learn about in my own time”, everyone is a winner.
My advice would be to find something that makes you tick. If you can be passionate about what you do, you’ll inspire everyone around you, and you’ll be successful.
Join us again next month, when we’ll be sitting down for a cuppa with our ERP Managed Services Delivery Lead, Matt Panayides!
About Namos Solutions
Namos Solutions are an award-winning Oracle OPN Modernised Partner specialising in the implementation and support of ERP, EPM and HCM business solutions, both in the Cloud and on-premise.
Although based in central London, we work wherever our clients need us to be. Many leading organisations located all over the world trust and rely on our expertise to deliver industry-leading business solutions. Namos customers can currently be found in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America and Africa.
For more information, please visit www.namossolutions.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Namos Solutions at LinkedIn and Twitter.