Randy Keith knows Navision. The 25-year software industry veteran served as president of Navision Software, which Microsoft acquired in 2001. Now he has returned as CEO of Serenic, Microsoft's 2007 Industry Solutions Vendor of the Year, Inner Circle and President's Club member whose nonprofit, government and public sector accounting products are built on Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
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Jay Malik, who resigned as director of the corporation in June and may continue to serve as an advisor, brought on Keith as president and COO in November 2006 with plans to transition him into the top seat.
Keith talked about his plans to help lead the company's international expansion efforts and spread product awareness:
How is your background with Navision helping Serenic's relationship with Microsoft?
This is a back-to-the-future opportunity for me. I had a hand in helping Serenic get established when I was the president of Navision. In 1999 when Serenic's founder approached me about becoming a partner, it coincided nicely with some of the things I was looking to do with Navision in North America strategically-going into the vertical markets, [including] the nonprofit space. I've been connected with Serenic as a board advisor over the years. For me, coming back into the NAV family is pretty much like slipping a hand into a glove because I know a lot of the people at Microsoft who were part of my Navision team.
When you were hired in November, what was the anticipation of what your responsibilities would be and how is that changing with your new title?
When I joined, it was to take over operational management of the company. Serenic is not unlike a lot of growth companies where you have a number of processes and practices and people that all need to make sure the gears are meshed. That's what I came on to do.
What are some of the accomplishments you've seen in the past year?
We've really sharpened our focus on making sure our solutions are tightly aligned with the markets we want to serve. Grants are a very important component to nonprofits. We have a product rolling out called AwardVision to manage that whole process. We have been able to continually and gradually position ourselves in more of a position of prominence. In the past six months, we've been successful in securing business with very large NFPs. We just closed a substantial deal with Care USA where we will be deploying Serenic [in 60 offices] globally.
Outline some of your goals for global expansion and how your channel is contributing to that.
One of our major markets is humanitarian relief. Their interests are global and their accounting solution needs are global. One of our strategic objectives is to aggressively expand internationally and the way to do that is through distributors and partnerships initially. We've signed on Tectura [which has a presence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia], Techno Brain in Africa and a distributor in Puerto Rico. It's easier to put the flag in the ground through partners who know the local markets and have already established credibility with the local markets. As we can, we'll supplement that with Serenic resources to help engage with the channel and then put direct sales teams in place and then international support teams in place. In Europe, NAV has an incredible presence. That's a leg up in finding potential customers and partners because the knowledgebase and the NAV domain experience is pretty robust.
What are some of your other goals?
We're not looking to get distracted. My mission and challenge for this company is to make sure it stays focused like a laser beam and serves the markets we know that we serve. Our customer base is full of people who wake up every day thinking about serving humanity. That's a great customer base to have.
What are some of the key hiring decisions the company has made?
[In September], we hired a director of marketing [from Kintera] who came to us with years of experience in the nonprofit software business. I have a strong team of managers who have been with the company for a long time. Being able to find people who know our industry is the premium, and that extends to anyone in the company.