Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a leading C-suite figure in the business technology sector. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Elie Mélois, CTO of enterprise communications specialist LumApps – the Paris-based startup with clients that include Colgate-Palmolive, The Economist, Electronic Arts, and Logitech.
Elie – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
One of the biggest pain points for our clients is how to establish what we call a “strategic alignment” with their employees. What this means is giving them access to the information they need to do their jobs while also keeping them aware of the company’s progress, projects, strategy, values, and more. Employees also need to know the framework in which they can operate so they can be proactive achievers and actively engage with the company.
Another challenge for employees is enterprises moving to the cloud, which involves having to deal with lots of new products and information. Companies need to make that transition as easy as possible. This is important because employees are now accustomed to an easy user experience with their consumer products, so they expect the same user-friendly experience and tools in the enterprise workplace.
For companies, it’s really about figuring out how to capitalise on all the knowledge that’s flowing inside the enterprise and making it actionable information. With so many communications systems in place, it’s not easy for employees to extract useful knowledge from all the information that’s flowing inside the company. That’s why companies need to put the right systems in place to organize all of that information and make it actionable.
Technology that Excites You Most?
It’s not really a technology but I would say the research and findings in the field of mindfulness are very exciting. It seems to be getting a lot of traction lately inside companies. It’s a concept that is helping employees deal with too much information and too much noise, which makes it hard to focus on what matters the most and discover what is truly important.
Mindfulness combined with the right technology can make employees more efficient and focused, which in turn will make them more productive.
When you look at some consumer products today, it seems to encourage the opposite of mindfulness. Within the context of an enterprise, we don’t want to occupy our employees’ brains with lots of noise and distractions. We want them to be attentive and focused, and we don’t want them to spend too much time looking for information or having discussions that aren’t relevant or productive. In the enterprise, we don’t want to grab people’s attention unless it’s to give them information that makes them more efficient.
When we built our first bespoke intranet based on a single customer’s request, we couldn’t imagine it would turn into LumApps as we know it today. But this was no easy task. Aligning a group of people to one vision and collectively building a product together that increases productivity and impacts our customers in a positive way is something that took time and discipline.
Within the original core team, we had people from all departments, from engineering to product development and marketing — everyone within the company was working together to problem-solve for customers within their respective fields. While this was challenging, it was also very rewarding for me. I also think that’s a big part of why we’ve been so successful in the market because what we are building is truly helping people transform the way they work and solving actual problems.
We are pragmatists, which helped us during our period of rapid growth, but that real-time and short-term focus can also blind you when it comes to long-term projects. A prime example is the work we’re currently doing on the foundation of the platform. You tend to push those projects back and concentrate more on the day-to-day issues. In the future, if I had to do it again, I would search for a better balance between short-term wins and long-term vision. That’s easy to say, but to actually do it is another story!
Luckily, we’ve built a team of incredibly smart and capable people around the world who truly believe in the work we’re doing and in our mission to make people feel that they belong and have a purpose. Together, we understand the importance of continued evolution and operate as one team with the same mission to achieve our short and long-term goals.
In Another Life, I’d Be…
I have to say that I’m very happy with my life as it is and I feel very lucky to be in this position. But if I had to do something else, I would like to be a concert pianist with the ability to play Bach like Glenn Gould. Or perhaps a writer. love the way an excellent writer can transport people and shift minds. I guess just anything in the creative arts that would allow me to use a different part of my brain and explore creative avenues unrelated to my current role.