Tech Flash Titans: Full Profiles Posted

Scott Francis
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Credit: Arnold Wells, ABJ

In the latest issue of the Austin Business Journal, the full profiles for the Tech Flash Titans recently awarded were published. You can see our press release here.  I love the title and subtitle:  “A New Kind of Process Server: Entrepreneur’s company excels by making other businesses better.” At BP3 we couldn’t be happier wearing that title on our byline.  It is what we’re here to do: make our customers’ businesses better through better business processes.

A few thoughts from my Q&A for Best CTO follows (I think fair use of my own words applies here), but I really recommend you subscribe to the ABJ, it is a fantastic way to find out what is going on in the Austin business scene. A couple of excerpts, first the overview:

Scott Francis has a stout track record helping lead many Austin technology companies, and today he is tackling his biggest endeavor yet as the co-founder and chief technology officer at BP3 Global Inc.

He’s working hard to keep up with demand for his company’s business process management software, and that mostly means hiring top talent for the growing company.

About 70 people are employed at BP3 and revenue has jumped 119 percent since 2012, going from $6.1M back then to $13.4M last year.  That was enough to put Francis’ company on the ABJ’s 2015 Fast 50 list.

A couple of the Q&A items are worth commenting on:

What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far? The highlight of my career so far has been this past year with BP3.  Our team has stuck together through tough patches – personally and professionally – and yet created an environment we’re all so proud to work for.  And the validation that we’re doing the right thing is coming from customers, journalists and survey results – not to mention financial results.  Accepting an award for being one of the best companies to work for from Fortune and Great Place to Work was just the capstone on a fantastic year, and eight total years with BP3.

Any award to a leader is really recognition of the team that leader serves.  There are many career highlights along the way, but every year with BP3 has been better than the last.  With what we have in the works for 2016, I expect it will be the best year yet!

What do you consider to be the primary duty of the CTO? To set direction for technology and software development that is in alignment with the values, philosophy, and business objectives of the business.  To me, the CTO role is primarily enabling business through technology, rather than technology for technology’s sake.

I used to think CTOs just sat in a corner office and dreamed up tech, possibly with the help of other folks, insulated from the realities of business.  Maybe that’s how it worked in days past, maybe not.  But applying yourself to understanding your business – and your customers’ businesses – is what provides the key insights to the technologies you want to leverage or develop.

What advice would you offer your fellow CTOs? My advice would be to reconsider what the T stands for.  As CTO the job is much more about talent than technology – and by talent I don’t mean just hiring the right people, I mean coaching and mentoring and focusing talented people on the right set of goals.  My job as CTO is much more about values and setting direction for our development efforts than it is about the specific choices of technology and technical details.

This is maybe the most important point I made in the whole article.  The T in CTO is for Talent – recruiting and developing Talent.  Because if I help our team align with our values and direction, they’ll make great technical decisions on their own, and at the same time they’ll learn how to anticipate our direction and objectives independently, which is how you build your bench of leadership talent. 

What advice do you have for non-tech-minded CEO’s out there? The most important thing to do is find a technologist partner that you trust.  There is no business in the world untouched by technology these days.  We’re all in the technology business.  So find a technologist that you trust, and that can open up new options and new business outcomes for your company with technology. 

The other bit of advice for the non-tech-minded CEO is to realize that the greatest value you can bring to your technical team is an unwavering vision, set of values, and compass to help them make good decisions as they are building software.  Lay out the goals clearly, explain how they tie into the values, and then hold them accountable to aligning their work with the values.  That doesn’t take a technologist, it just takes leadership and a vision for where you want to take your company.

We could have run BP3 as a business process consulting company and ignored technology. By embracing technology from the beginning, we’ve built a great technology-enabled business with many more avenues for creating value for customers. 

Thanks to the team at BP3 for making me look good! And thanks to the ABJ and judges for recognizing our company’s bootstrapped formula for success, right here in Austin.