In our Centered on Your Success blog series, get to know our experts and how they measure success for clients. In this installment, meet Eddie Francl.
What’s your story?
Before graduating high school, I was convinced that when I grew up, all I wanted to do was to write code. My first real job was as an application developer. I worked hard, and it provided me with more learning (and opportunities) than I could have hoped for. I was fortunate to have lots of great teachers, work with different technologies and learn something about working with clients along the way.
Why did you decide to become part of your field?
I think it started in grade school when my dad bought the family a computer. At first, it was just a way to play games, but over time I started writing code and realized I could get the computer to really do things. I remember there were sample programs at the back of one of the books, and I would type those in, run them and save them. Over time, I started adjusting those programs to try to get them to do different things. That set the foundation for me that technology was something I wanted to pursue. I was hooked, and that was enough to fuel my passion and draw me down this career path.
How are you working to guide your clients to success right now?
I focus on really listening to my clients. Business today is more disruptive than ever before, and many organizations’ technologies and processes are not keeping pace with the quickly changing environment. The biggest thing for me is simply listening to understand: what issues are they facing? Why haven’t they been able to solve for them so far? I try to ask questions and dig deeper to make sure my team is providing the solution to their underlying problem, which might not be the problem or solution they originally had in mind.
What does the success of your clients mean to you?
I tell prospects before they become clients that I want to be their trusted advisor, and what that means to me is this: I want to solve their problem, exceed their expectations and leave them in a better place than when we started working together – but not in a way that creates a dependency on Centric. The client needs to be able to proceed without us. But the next time they have a problem, I want them to remember the experience we provided and the results we delivered. Then I want them to call us. To me, success goes beyond just delivering the project. It’s about what happens next.
What, in your opinion, do companies need the most help with right now?
Companies need help looking beyond technology. Many of our clients take a siloed approach to the tech and business sides of their organization, and that’s holding them back. It’s about marrying people, processes and technology to not only deliver a solution for the sake of the solution but achieve their goals, meet their needs and deliver on their vision.
What do you think they should be thinking about next?
Businesses should be thinking about technology adoption. When you’re thinking about technology, you need to have change management at the table as well. Don’t think about it as an afterthought. Don’t skip out on it. If you really want to be successful with your advances in technology, you have to think about the advances in people and adoption at the same time.
What are you looking forward to in your industry?
What’s exciting for me is that in the past, clients came to us with technology problems, and clients came to us about change management problems separately. Now, we’re seeing clients coming to us and realizing it isn’t only a problem with the technology or only a problem with the adoption. They’re looking at tackling these problems from both fronts at the same time.
This shift in view really pays dividends. We’re starting to see more success because we’re talking about change and adoption while we’re going through the implementation. We’re starting to see them come together more than we ever have in the past.
What piece of career advice keeps you passionate and purposeful?
One of the things I say when I’m talking to candidates or people coming out of college is to try to zero in on your passion. For me, it’s easy – what keeps me going is the intimacy created with a client when we really listen to them and solve their problem, delivering a win/win to both teams.
That’s the piece of my job that I absolutely love – when you nail it. That’s what keeps me going and why you need to find your passion.
What do you do when you’re not guiding clients?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my wife, kids and dog. When I’m not spending time with family, I enjoy swimming, biking, running and being outdoors.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Chicago area?
Working my way around the alphabet. I love to eat, and a friend of mine introduced me to a new game where you choose a restaurant you have not been to by rotating through the letters of the alphabet. There are so many options and so many great places to go. There’s always somewhere new to try. We are on F.