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Spring has sprung. Catapulting into Summer!

The Victoria Day long weekend in late May has always marked for me a sort of unofficial start to summer. Stuck about two thirds of the way between spring and summer solstices it marks a point when winter is a thing of the past, cleaning and renewal tasks are complete, we exchange our raincoats for flip-flops, and our thoughts turn to plans for the most enjoyable of seasons. Things really start to heat up.

And so it is for the Catapult ERP team. Now a full four months into the adventure of launching our “next level” ERP and CRM consulting practice, there is much to reflect on and much more to plan for.

Letting go of the warm comfort of our old home in Habanero wasn’t easy. Change is good though, and launching the Catapult ERP brand felt great. Huge props to our good friends at the Taiji Brand Group for helping us organize our ideas, develop our “why” and realize it in a fresh new vision, told as much as possible on our website through our customers’ eyes. We’re thrilled.

Though we ultimately didn’t win ERP Solution of the Year at the 2011 Microsoft Impact Awards in November, it sure felt like we did when Microsoft’s film crew landed in Victoria, BC to interview Andrew Paine and his team at Sitka Surfboards & Apparel  to shoot a keynote video for Convergence 2012. Andrew had mixed feelings about having his surfboards on stage at an IT conference but it must have been fun for him to let Microsoft “hang ten” for a while in the aura of the uber-cool vibe. It was cool for us too.

We were nervous about transitioning clients from Habanero to Catapult but it was a validating experience. To a person they welcomed the change, our new focus and commitment to supporting their ERP and CRM-driven improvement. We’re grateful to every one of them, and especially those who shared their perspectives, ideas and feedback as advisors in the buildup to our launch. It’s also been gratifying to feel the response in the market. Simon Sinek is right, people don’t buy what you do — they buy why you do it, and what you do only “proves” what you believe. If I’ve learned anything these past four months it’s that people out there actually do believe what we believe. Life is good.

We have an amazing team, I’m amazed by their commitment and their excitement about being a part of this journey. It’s not always smooth sailing, every one of them is passionate about their clients, their work and our company and it shows up all the time I love it when conflict is positive and makes us better, when it challenges us to look deep inside ourselves. I’m doing this a lot it seems. Recruiting is going a lot better than expected too and it’s gratifying to meet so many people who are intrigued about what we’re doing, our vision, and interested in joining us. Welcoming Marcus, Rob, Andrew and Joy to the team made us a whole lot smarter, not to mention better looking!

I’m not sure if the team at Microsoft Canada really understood why we were launching Catapult at first, or maybe they’re just used to a ton of reorganizing in the partner channel. It didn’t stay that way for long. At some point Catapult clicked and they quickly established a new standard of engagement. As always, their expectations are high and we intend to blow them away and rock the channel. We couldn’t have “made the leap” to Catapult without their amazing team. Big shout out to Brad Pawlak, Johd Lindquist at the AOC, Derek Gooderham, Mike Hilton, and Neil Tanner.

Speaking of Microsoft we are giddy with excitement about working with the Dynamics NAV product team on their plans for NAV 7. Lots of blog content already on that and wicked fun sending Lars Agger and Jeff Tang to Rome to network with partners and enjoy seeing our contribution to the new product discussed in keynotes. Woot woot!

A retrospective would be woefully inadequate if I didn’t mention Habanero. I said earlier that we were nervous about leaving the nest and it hasn’t felt that way at all. Collaboration between Catapult (the former ERP team) and Habanero is at an all-time high and we’re having fantastic conversations about the potential for what this partnership could be.  A cynic might say that ERP technology has just evolved to a point where different skill sets are needed, hence more project teams involving Habanero and Catapult team members. I don’t really think that’s it at all, in fact I know it isn’t. We’re just much more motivated to create new value propositions for clients and work together to find ways for our team to express what they’re passionate about. We just found a better way to foster innovation.

I’m excited for summer: for Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference; for ramping up CRM, for the Duarte Visual Story Workshop with Jeff, and Ben, Brian and Steven from Habanero; for getting going with new clients, exploring new partnerships, and welcoming new team members. Thanks for all your support and have an amazing summer!

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