Bob Kocis is Aptean’s president for the Americas region. He joined Aptean in 2019 and for the last two years served as the company’s CRO. Bob has over 20 years of sales leadership experience and is passionate about creating a culture that allows his team to perform at their highest level while having fun. This extends to his clients as well—always looking to delight customers and help them succeed.
Bob joined “Ready for What’s Next, Now” host John McCurdy for the episode “Aptean’s Past, Present and Future”.
John McCurdy: Hello again, everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of “Ready for What's Next, Now,” an Aptean podcast. I'm your solo host for the week, John McCurdy, and I'm thrilled to be joined today by Bob Kocis, our President of the Americas Region to talk through Aptean's past, present and future.
So Bob, would you start us off with a little introduction? Whatever you'd like to share from your prior experience and what your role here at Aptean entails.
Bob Kocis: Absolutely. But first, thanks for having me on the program, I appreciate it. I’m Bob Kocis, I have over 20 years experience in high tech all across the globe. I’m very proud of my commitment to the industry over the course of the last 20 years, very passionate about creating a culture where our team members can excel and have fun. A big thing for me is striving to make sure our customers are raving fans of Aptean. They love working with Aptean and they love the technology we provide and that we continue to provide great service for them.
I transitioned to this role as President of Americas from a role the last two years within Aptean as the Chief Revenue Officer, and I’m really excited to take on this new responsibility as of this last January to work much closer with all the great customers we have in north America.
JM: Got it, thanks Bob. Now, how about Aptean’s background? Can you walk us through that?
BK: Absolutely. Let me first share with you that we were formed back in 2012 when we had a merger with CDC Software and Consona. Our former COO, who actually led products for us and then was our Chief Operating Officer for many years, became CEO in 2018—that’s TVN Reddy. I've had the pleasure to work with TVN over the last few years, and I've seen how we've grown as an organization—it's been really fun to watch.
From the standpoint of Aptean, we are very focused on providing industry-leading and very vertically specific technology to our customers. And with that, we have a very strong acquisition strategy. So you can probably notice from looking at our website, we acquire a lot of companies. We do that very purposefully. We do that because we want to make sure we're bringing the best technology we can to all of our customers around the globe and [making it] very specific for their needs, whether it's food and beverage, supply chain and industrial manufacturing.
We bought a few companies that were the industry leaders in the Microsoft Business Central platform for ERP, these specifically in the food and beverage market. For example, bcFood and Linkfresh—these were industry leaders. Another one that might interest you, we bought a product called ProcessPro with our OSAS acquisition, which I also thought was a really nice addition to our team.
And then one other thing that's really key to our future that I want to share with everybody is we have a strategy to provide our customers a lot more in what we call “beyond ERP.” These are the solutions beyond just a core ERP product. [We want] to make sure that as you look at Aptean as a core provider for technology. You may partner with us on ERP and we deploy that for you, but then we want you to look at us first for many other technologies [as well].
So we have done a good job of acquiring technologies all around that. So some examples of that—in the transportation management space, it’s one of our hottest products right now, we acquired a great company called Paragon out of the UK two years ago. They have a great presence in the U.S. as well, and we're seeing really nice adoption of that solution by our customers.
In addition to that, we were able to pick up a French company called Lascom—another great acquisition, unbelievable technology. Another good example, is Workwise—they had a small technology for CRM embedded in their company. And what was so nice about that one from a “beyond ERP” standpoint is, many of our customers in the industrial space now are picking up CRM as a bolt-on for their Made2Manage, Workwise or OSAS solution, and that's brought some really nice additional functionality to our customers.
JM: All right—good stuff, all exciting news. That sets the table for this next one—I want us to cover who we are as a company right now. Bob, if you don't mind, let everyone know where things stand today and what we offer.
BK: [I’m] so proud of the company. We have over 10,000 great customers globally. We're providing solutions in over 80 countries. We have more than 3,500 great employees that wake up every day and are focused to deliver our client base tremendous value.
Our solutions do range, but we have a strong market that we focus on in food and beverage, and that's one of our core markets. We have nearly a thousand employees just dedicated to the food and beverage market, which is important because we are a company that's going to provide vertical expertise in our software. So having over a thousand people dedicated to food and beverage is really important for our client base.
Some other areas that might interest you are process manufacturing and biotech sciences with a great product called GQ that we provide in the market today—the GQ product line. [There’s also] financial services, apparel, cosmetics, consumer packaged goods.
The last one I’ll talk about is industrial manufacturing. We have not only a big industrial manufacturing [client] base, we also have some great new technology in industrial manufacturing, and we're starting to see some real traction with new clients there as well.
JM: Excellent. Clearly evolving, changing with the times and getting ready for the future. Speaking of, what's on the horizon for us and our solutions?
BK: Great question, thank you for that. I think from a standpoint of our future, we are seeing a massive migration to the cloud. We have a lot of customers that are on legacy systems—they're on perpetual software, but what they're doing now is they're saying they want to move to the cloud.
They want to move with Aptean, and we're providing that infrastructure, that path. We call it the path to digital transformation, and that allows you not only to move to the cloud and have a really great environment with greater security, reliability, lower upfront costs and just a more stable environment overall.
[And that] also allows you to tap into the whole host of “beyond ERP” solutions that we provide that are fully integrated with our ERP solutions that are on the digital transformation map. So that's a really exciting part of our overall strategy. We're also starting to see more applications for AI and smart technology in our target industries, that's an important one as well.
We're exploring ways that we and our clients can be more sustainable and active stewards for the planet. And for the future, that's important as well. Meanwhile, we’re staying ahead of the curve, both with the technology but also customer service—early on, I mentioned being very focused on having our customers become raving fans of Aptean.
That is a core tenant of ours. We want to make sure that our customers love doing business with us and they tell other people about it. And we know we have to deliver first, but our teams are very focused on delivering world class support and world class service so that our customers not only realize all the value they can get out of our solutions—because that's critical for their investment—but they also become raving fans of Aptean. We know we have to earn that, but we're absolutely focused on delivering that.
And last but not least, we're remaining committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and social responsibility. That's a core tenant of Aptean and I'm very proud our track record in that area thus far.
JM: Fantastic, Bob. I want to thank you for your time and insight today. Do you have any parting thoughts for the audience?
BK: Yeah, I do. I think from a parting standpoint, I just want to share with the audience that we have a really great podcast series coming up. We have so many internal experts that are vertically focused. One example is I know Jack Payne, who's a 30-year veteran in food and beverage is going be doing an upcoming podcast.
That's just one example of the depth of expertise we have in vertical markets that are critical to our customer base, and these podcasts will provide you some insight. You'll always have access to key people like Jack and other folks that you're going to hear from on these podcasts moving forward.
JM: Great. I know I can speak for a lot of folks in the organization when I say we're all very excited about this project as well. Anyway, that's a great spot to wrap it. Tune in next week for more compelling thought leadership content on another episode of “Ready for What’s Next, Now.”
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