As we say goodbye to 2019, the last few days of this decade provide a good opportunity to reflect over the year that has been, but also to cast our minds back over the full 10 years. It’s hard to recollect the people we were ten years ago, and from a business perspective for me, those 10 years have come and gone in a flash.
Bedford started the decade a small IBM Cognos partner, and finishes the decade a thriving Anaplan partner rapidly approaching our 150th Anaplan customer. We have a strong management team in place, from Finance to Sales, Customer Success to Enablement as well as some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with in our customer facing roles. We’ve worked hard to develop the Bedford culture, to make Bedford a place where people want to work, and just as importantly customers want to work with. At our recent Christmas party, we discussed our company values across the team, and the one I chose as the most important for me personally is humility. We work every day in a humble way, not complacent in our position but with a constant drive to continue to be the best and not to let our standards drop. To sometimes remember that we don’t know everything, that we can make mistakes, but we can be humble, ask for help from our wider team and partners, and work through any problems together.
2019 brought us the award for EMEA Partner of the Year again, something I am very proud of and I know the team are as well. We celebrated this year’s award by returning to Portmarnock in Ireland, where Cathal and I grew up. This was by far the stand out event of the year for me, sharing with the whole team the culture of Ireland, our national sports, and most importantly giving them a glimpse of the community in which we grew up. Cathal and I are very proud of the team we have built at Bedford, I am consistently blown away by the dedication, hard work and intellect of this bunch of people. I am also proud to have a diverse group, including our colleagues in Germany who bring a whole different cultural dimension to the team – most recently noted when Dirk reminded us of St. Nicholas day – something we don’t really celebrate here in the UK. I am proud of each and every member of the team, how they approach their work and how they have helped us grow Bedford into the organisation it is today.
2019 brought some other great Anaplan moments – AKO in San Francisco (with a short stop off in Vegas for some R&R), the remodelled CPX event in London in October, New York Stock Exchange in September for the newly inaugurated Partner Advisory Council and of course the many, many go-lives achieved across the team with our highly valued customers. At Bedford we get together as a full team each quarter to reflect and look forward, these events, although now a regular occurrence, are so important to me through the year and something I look forward to building on in 2020.
2020 brings bigger targets, more customers and no doubt challenging moments. As I look forward to 2020 and the following decade, I face it with confidence and humility. We are fortunate to be in the position we are, we want to maintain and build on that, but always remembering how we got here. I’m confident in the team we’ve built, I have no doubt they will pass all of my expectations for the coming decade and grow as individuals beyond anything we can imagine today. When I think back to 2009, to a 26 year old Neil, a year out of Deloitte and embarking on the daunting journey to build his own business – I could not have imagined where we are today. I know the same is true of 2029 but I for one am certainly looking forward to the journey.
Wishing all of our customers, employees, partners and their friends and families a wonderful and happy Christmas season and I look forward to seeing how the next decade works out for you all.