Pick up the phone!

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Rocket Software Phone CallsIn the software business we focus so much on the ones and zeroes that we can forget the most important thing: people. In fact, despite the fact that Rocket Software has created hundreds of technology products, we are still in the people business. That’s because our success depends not on just having great technology, but also on making sure that the individuals who use it feel confident in us as a company. They need to know that we care – and that when we call them it’s not just to ask them to renew a license or upgrade to a new version.

That’s why I and 30 of my fellow Rocketeers spent this afternoon in a conference room at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston. But instead of talking with each other, we all picked up our phones and called our customers. For three hours we did one thing: asked our customers how they were doing. We didn’t try to sell them software. We didn’t try to troubleshoot. We didn’t ask them to do a single thing. All we did was listen to what they had to say.

So what did we talk about? In short – everything. We called to ask them what they were doing, how their jobs were going, and how they are using Rocket products. We talked to people who have been using Rocket products for decades, and others who have only been part of the Rocket family for a few months. We talked to people who really understand who we are and what we do, and others who barely know anything about our company beyond the products they use. But mainly we listened to them.

This session was all about building connections with our customers, but it was also a way to continue to build One Rocket. The 30 people in the room weren’t representing one product or one unit – they were all calling as Rocketeers. This is of vital importance as we enter the next stage of our company growth. Rocket needs to be bigger than one person, one product, one geography, or one “silo.” In order to achieve our goals, we all need to speak with one voice – which is exactly what we did today.

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Jay Leader joined Rocket in 2014 as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Most recently he was Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer at Rapid7. Over his 29 year career Jay has served in a variety of IT and consulting positions including management roles in Network/Telecommunications, Business Systems, and Project Management at companies such as iRobot, Nypro Inc., Data General Corp., and Coopers & Lybrand. He is the former Chairman of the Boston Society for Information Management CIO Roundtable, and was named the 2010 Massachusetts CIO of the Year by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. He was also named one of Computerworld’s 2011 Premier 100 Leaders in IT. Jay is a graduate of Clark University, Worcester, MA, where he earned a BA in International Relations and an MBA.

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