The partnership between LeanIX and SAP emerged in the most compelling way: Customers asked for it.
“It wasn’t driven by two technology companies,” said Brian Zeman, chief revenue officer at LeanIX. “It was driven by customers who said, ‘Hey, we would love it if you would work together to help solve this transformation challenge.’”
LeanIX helps enterprises achieve transparency into their IT architecture, SaaS and microservices landscapes through its Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) solution.
SAP, a leader in the tech space, provides software solutions for business process management, data processing and information management.
Combining forces, through solution integration, is a game-changer for enterprise customers striving to harness their digital infrastructures. The partnership means that LeanIX’s Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) solution has been SAP-endorsed, following extensive testing and security consideration, and it is now available to customers in the SAP Store.
Maureen Sundman, director of solution engineering at LeanIX, explained that, “By using these solutions together, we can leverage those intricate process workflows and get a full 360-degree view of how they’re supporting the business and other critical dependencies. We can now accelerate those digital transformation journeys that impact the bottom line for our customers.”
While customers are the obvious beneficiaries, by expanding its platform and partnering with a globally recognized software company, LeanIX is now presented with unprecedented opportunities that have hastened internal growth.
“One of the challenges for a company is access,” Zeman explained. “The quicker you can tell your story and have a chief information officer understand the value, the better.” Through SAP, LeanIX is now able to access the resources required to extend its footprint into new markets and enterprise organizations.
As the company scales, it’s investing in roles across the board and seeking candidates who want to grow alongside it. “The ability to create new opportunities for people that allow their careers to grow while the company grows is what I’m most excited about,” Zeman said.
The stage is set for employees to make a direct impact. Dr. Gajda explained that an environment has been cultivated so that both long-tenured and newly hired employees are able to suggest ideas for innovation. “We encourage each and every employee to think like a founder,” she said.
THE IMPACTS OF A FOUNDER’S MENTALITY
Dr. Gajda looks for candidates who embrace a founder’s mentality and are willing to go the extra mile. It’s a hiring strategy that has contributed to LeanIX’s stable financial position and its ability to pursue high-growth opportunities such as the partnership with SAP.
Built In spoke with Zeman, Sundman and Gajda to learn more about the company’s strong market position and how the leadership team enables new employees to make their mark.
What makes LeanIX so stable, despite uncertain market conditions?
Chief Revenue Officer Brian Zeman: This is an exciting and expanding market and it’s fairly recession-resistant. If you think about folks looking at the entirety of their IT infrastructure, it’s massive, and it’s a major challenge for large enterprises. It’s a market that’s only going to get bigger, so providing technology solutions that are needed is very compelling. Also, LeanIX has done a really good job of investing aggressively while always remembering that it’s important to manage the company efficiently, so we don’t have to deal with a lot of the financial challenges that other organizations are facing.
Director of Solution Engineering Maureen Sundman: Our executive team has a strategy for steady growth, carefully assessing trends in our market and marrying those trends with feedback from customers and prospects to ensure we’re innovating in the right ways. We have maintained a solid platform of solutions focused on enterprise architecture, and our product team has consistently produced new features and modules that broaden the overall platform in complementary ways that set us apart from our competition. We have also established an unparalleled customer success organization, encompassing all different types of resources, to ensure that customers are always achieving the goals that we set together.
VP of People and Enablement Dr. Anna Gajda: We have a clear journey for success, which can be seen in our partnership with SAP, one of the biggest companies in the tech space. LeanIX is an inspiring company that is backed up financially. But most importantly, we are doing a great job of staying attractive to customers and, at the same time, staying attractive to our employees. When you look at our NPS score, our customers are extremely engaged and satisfied. It’s the same with our employees. We really want to understand what our employees need to be satisfied and engaged.
“We really want to understand what our employees need to be satisfied and engaged.”
How does LeanIX enable employees to contribute to the company’s growth?
Zeman: What typically happens as companies get larger is that they often fall into the trap of no longer enabling employees to understand why the company exists and the value it provides, and instead focus on the siloed portion of their job. LeanIX has never forgotten that first part. Whether you’re a customer success manager or you’re in finance, the company has invested very heavily through the people team to make sure that employees understand the why behind what we do. As a company gets bigger, there’s so much value in having context around your job as a part of a larger mission.
Gajda: When we talk about enablement, we drive a link between customer experience and employer experience. The whole idea behind the onboarding program is to connect not only an employee’s role but the broader picture of why we exist at LeanIX. We want everyone, no matter their role, to have a good understanding of our products, our departments and our customers. Everyone knows what the product is for, how our clients are using it and what our customers think so that they can execute on that view.
Sundman: One example is, to encourage contribution at all levels, we have a collaboration platform called Productboard where employees, customers and prospects can make requests for product functionality — whether it’s to simply add a bug report or ask questions about our roadmap. It’s where people can articulate things that they think are important for us to consider as part of our product. It’s a differentiator for us as a company. In addition, there’s really no limit imposed on employees regarding communicating and collaborating on any topic. Our executives listen to ideas and evaluate them consistently. It’s a very safe space, and it’s more about coaching and not judging.
On the topic of coaching, what development opportunities do early-career candidates have at LeanIX and how do leaders play a supporting role?
Gajda: Development encompasses the whole journey at LeanIX. It starts during recruitment, making sure the expectations for the role are clear. Onboarding consists of a two-week boot camp, then everyone has four weeks of department-specific enablement. We have training budgets that every team lead has for department-specific enablement, and we have an ambassador program to ensure cross-departmental and cross-regional collaboration. We also have a young leader program that we launched this year. Once an employee is promoted to a young leader role, they’re able to participate in the program, which includes a curriculum that is supported by external facilitators as well as internal mentoring.
Sundman: In addition to formal programs, there’s a lot of informal mentoring that happens because the communication style at all levels of the organization is very transparent. That’s one of the reasons I found it quite appealing to join this organization, and it has remained that way for my entire two-year tenure. We have quarterly feedback sessions, so we maintain a close pulse on every employee and an understanding of what their hopes and dreams are. We align on those throughout their employment with LeanIX, and we introduce them to new people in the organization, and across different offices, so they can build their global network.
Sundman said there are three characteristics that successful employees often have in common at LeanIX:
- They are comfortable with change.
- They have bold ideas.
- They are not afraid to have transparent discussions.
- It’s also important for potential candidates to envision their long-term future with LeanIX. “There’s lots of room for growth, and candidates have to be able to embrace it and also act upon it.”
Zeman: Our interview process is thorough, unbiased and balanced with multiple stakeholders and diverse employees involved. We have a “thick door” to make sure that the person is a good fit for the company and the company’s a good fit for the individual. Once we have that individual on board, we invest heavily in their success and productivity. When a company is growing rapidly like ours is, it creates more opportunities, and LeanIX has done a world-class job of maintaining that founder’s mentality as the company scales. We’re investing and growing, adding new roles and new leaders and new directors, which really allows us to map out a career path for someone and develop their skill set. This approach differentiates our company, and I think it’s part of the reason that our employees are excited to work here.