What a ride 2018 has been. When I sit down to write this end of year review, I try to think back over the year and share with you what we’ve been doing and what we’re planning to do next year. If I’m honest, this year – I’m just looking forward to the break! I’m exhausted, but exhilarated at the year we’ve had, with some genuine once in a lifetime moments. Once again, I can’t help but be hugely proud of the work we’ve done, and the tremendous effort made by the whole team has blown me away. From Cathal and Paul, to the new recruits, it’s an amazing pleasure and honour to work with such a hard-working dedicated bunch of people, who carry my values, and the Bedford values to customers and partners alike. I really hope the team get’s a well deserved rest and come back refreshed and raring to go for another hectic successful 2019.
The year started as ever with Annual Kick Off in Vegas. I can’t say Vegas is my favourite place on the planet, and I’m looking forward to a change of scenery to San Francisco in 2019, but AKO has such a buzz about it, you can’t help but be caught up in the amazing atmosphere. And yes, Cathal and I do enjoy a bit of the social Vegas as well. My favourite thing about the AKO is the new people you meet, the ones you’ll spend the rest of the year in the trenches with, and the strong bond starts to grow from those intense few days in February.
This was followed shortly after by the award of the Anaplan Partner of the Year for EMEA in March. This award means a lot to me, every year we’ve won it, it gives the whole team a boost. Sometimes the hard work you do is not always recognised, but to have this external recognition reminds us of the important role we play, and the value it delivers to the Anaplan ecosystem. I look forward to fighting for this award for many years to come.
Fast forward to October and I was very humbled to be invited to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to witness the Anaplan IPO. While this is a huge corporate achievement, a stepping stone to greater things for the Anaplan org, for me the personal stories of the people who shared in that day are what I enjoyed the most. To share the day with the “originals” was a huge honour, people like Louis Peacock, Ed Hickling, Julian Small, Moritz Kopf, David Smith, Simon Ritchie and of course the amazing Michael Gould, who have been ever present since we got involved in 2011. For me personally, it was a nice moment of reflection on my career, I had sat outside the NYSE at the age of 19, and marvelled at what must happen on the floor of that imposing building, completely overawed by the magic of New York and dreaming of the future. 16 years later, after all the festivities had died down, I took some time to sit on the same stone bench opposite the NYSE, now covered in the worlds largest Anaplan banner (really!) and I thought of how Michael and those early Anaplan pioneers had set out on a journey which has changed peoples lives, and in my case, driven my career. Although they built a platform to solve business challenges, they also created something which has gone on to change peoples lives. Amazing really.
2018 was another year of expansion at Bedford with an 80% increase in the CS team through the year. Excitingly we also ventured into Germany with the appointment of Dirk Zayko as Country Manager and have been, slowly, getting to grips with the German market and seeing if we can make a dent in the corporate behemoth that is SAP. In the UK, I’m in the process of appointing two new members to the Executive Leadership Team to support me on the Sales and Finance areas of the business and will be looking to make sure our back-office team can support the ever growing team through 2019. As with all years, we said goodbye to some good friends who’ve moved on to pastures new and we wish them well in their future endeavours. It’s never nice when someone leaves Bedford, we take it personally, and we try to learn from everyone’s experiences and make sure we’re empowering our people to be the best they can be. I am constantly saying how proud I am of the team, they astound me in the amount of work they can get through and the attitude with which they go about their roles. It is humbling and I cannot thank them enough. You’ll notice I didn’t exactly use the photoshop perfect image of the team, but I thought this one really captures a lot about the Bedford way.
Our customers are of course the reason we do what we do. Equipping them to execute Connected Planning is a very rewarding endeavour for us, and every single one of our customers does their very best to hear the message. From the moment the paperwork is signed, they show sheer determination and commitment to getting the projects completed and utilising Anaplan to connect their organisation. Without them we are nothing and from all of us at Bedford we thank you for the amazing work you do.
To all of our friends, families, customers and of course our colleagues at Anaplan we wish you all a very Happy Christmas. I hope you get the chance for a well-deserved rest and enjoy the festive period with your family and friends. Thank you for what you’ve done with us in 2018 and I cannot wait for what 2019 will bring.
2018 - Wow.