Leverate’s new COO takes a look at customer needs “through their eyes”

FX brokerage technology provider Leverate has appointed a new Chief Operating Officer, Nir Shem-Tov. Mr. Shem-Tov brings with him 25 years worth of experience in the computer software development industry, with senior level tenures at very prestigious companies behind him, including four years as VP Delivery at AMDOCS, and 5 years at Websplanet as Chief […]

FX brokerage technology provider Leverate has appointed a new Chief Operating Officer, Nir Shem-Tov.

Mr. Shem-Tov brings with him 25 years worth of experience in the computer software development industry, with senior level tenures at very prestigious companies behind him, including four years as VP Delivery at AMDOCS, and 5 years at Websplanet as Chief Operating Officer.

Today, Mr, Shem-Tov details his account of how to view customer requirements through their eyes.

It was the early 90’s and my career was taking off as a striving junior developer.

I was at the time part of a team that developed an untethered Sales force selling application and we were commissioned by a customer with thousands of sales representatives, to develop a project aimed at allowing sales reps to sell while ‘disconnected/untethered ’ from the main systems.

By extracting a daily download of data into the rep’s laptop of his assigned customers and at the end of the day dialing up and linking to the main system, the sales rep could sync and reconcile the off-line data captured during the sales meetings.

This may sound a little pre-historic if you are younger than 30, but seriously … this was pre-Google, pre 2g / 3g /4g /wifi, when the dialup wireline was king …the problem with dialup was that it was not reliable nor wide enough to allow interactive data exchange with the main system.

As part of a pioneer team, I relocated to the customer’s premises in order to assist in implementing, deploying and supporting the project.
This was a revelation!

Up to that point, the customer was a virtual entity reflected through the product specs, meanwhile, here I was, meeting real users, interacting with code that I had written … (frankly speaking, up to that point, most of us programmers felt that having a real customer using our code was a disturbance .. why reveille and report bugs? why interfere with our code … ? )

In order to get the “real feel” of the application, I began shadowing John, a sales rep who had been chosen to pilot the system. I was “riding along “his real sales day while observing him sell, using the system I had coded … Hallelujah!

The year prior to my shadowing John, I had spent my days (and quite a few sleep-less nights) developing a module which I was extremely proud of. It was “bugless”, fascinating algorithm, Brilliant and useful…I felt so smart….

Bummer – As soon as I began shadowing John, I realized that the glorious module which I was so proud of was hardly utilized by him! But there was this little feature which I had sneaked into the product (half a day worth of work, no one knew about it … which I felt was nice to have …) which he kept using …. Surprise!

During my first week of shadowing John, after a long sales day, I sneaked some additional features into the system and John was eagerly utilizing them during the following sales day.

We were tuning the system “under the radar” and John had become a star, topping over any sales record ever achieved in the past as well as compared to the other reps piloting the system.
When word got out, I became a rock star. I got some very interesting requests (followed by suggested rewards) to ride along with other members of the sales team.

I felt like a super hero!

Fast forward 2 years into the future… The system was assimilated into the sales organization so seamlessly that it had become a necessary tool for sales reps. Cool!

Following such grandiose implementation, I became a system analyst gathering and analyzing change requests coming from the customer’s business unit.

Remember John? He was promoted to Head of biz dev unit of their sales organization. One day, John approached me with a request for a change in the system, something he thought was a great idea, a life changer …

Well, after reviewing John’s request, I got back to him with an estimated work effort worth of 6 digits (in USD). I told John that I refused to perform this change. I told him that the change request had a negative ROI compared to the investment.

I suggested a minor change to the system instead. Something that might achieve almost the same benefit and I gave it to him for free.

That day John called me the “worst sales person he had ever met” I told him that I refuse to sell and that I’d rather have him buy. Something that is worth paying for. This was a win-win. As an organization we believed in professional integrity, long term relationships and bringing real value for the customer.

During my years at this company, I implemented more than 6 figure worth of change requests and all of them brought the real value the customer was looking and paying for. Working on this project helped me come to the realization that a system is a live creature – it keeps growing and evolving- and therefore requires constant adaption to the business’ and user’s needs.

It taught me that whatever improvements we make to our systems, no matter how cool they may seem, they should always have the customer’s needs in mind.

I recently joined Leverate, a tech company that operates in the B2B space. When interviewed for the COO position, I asked Kobi Gur, the CEO, about the company’s core values and as he explained them, two of them really stood out and caught my attention and had a significant impact on my decision to jump on the Leverate storming train:

  • Continuous Improvement
  • Customer Focus

Having been on board for just over 3 months, I have strongly experienced these values. We listen to our customers and we get to know them well. Many of our employees come from the Forex industry so we bring practical value to our suite of products. We continuously strive to improve our products, while bringing real value to our

Leverate has felt like a perfect match to my own business core values…

Nowadays, John has his own successful business. I called him up and told him about Leverate and suggested he accepted. He likes running his own business but he was happy for me to have joined a company that has such a great business conduct vibe….

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