You have to constantly look up, and out, and understand the big picture.
Jay O’Brien is co-founder and CEO of BP Logix and a pioneer in business process management and Timeline technology. Awarded a patent for his process management system, Jay is responsible for guiding the architectural direction of the company, as well as leading BP Logix in new technologies and partnerships. Previously Jay served as Chief Technical Officer for both BP Logix and iMarkup Solutions. At iMarkup Solutions, and also at Peregrine Software, Jay’s expertise in authentication, security and encryption were acknowledged in the awards that resulted from software he developed. Jay is a graduate of Texas A&M with an emphasis in Computer Science and Telecommunications.
Where did the idea for BP Logix come from?
Having been involved with software companies previously that were focusing on collaboration and productivity, I realized that there was room for other technologies to address those issues. My idea was to create technology that would bring greater efficiency to managing and automating business processes. Never before had anyone attempted to apply a “time-based” methodology towards solving the issues associated with automating processes. We believed that approach offered a platform on which we could build and leverage. The US Patent Office agreed and we were granted a patent for our unique technology which we call the Process Timeline.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day involves conversations with as many customers and prospects as possible. It is exciting hearing the many different ways customers are leveraging our products to achieve business success.
In my typical day I am known for using a host of productivity tools, on my desktop, laptop, the tablet that I walk around with, as well as my smart phone. In many ways I am a productivity ‘absorber’, always looking for ways that I can achieve more in any given amount of time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I surround myself with the best and brightest in the industry. An idea would only stay an idea if not for the talented engineers that can actually turn ideas into products. Then it takes staff that can leverage that technology to market and sell it and outstanding staff that embrace the technology and are happy to help others understand and use it .
What’s one trend that really excites you?
We are seeing that traditionally heavily regulated and more conservative industries, such as healthcare and financial services, are now embracing the benefits of the cloud. By recognizing that partnering with companies such as ours to truly provides both security and access, we are creating a partnership of technology and collaboration.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to make changes rapidly. I am constantly reevaluating our industry and am able to recognize changes and patterns. I am then able to respond by making the appropriate changes to product direction. Some of the larger companies in our space react with the nimbleness of a freight train. By the time they recognize an opportunity, they are too late. That is why being nimble and responsive is a mark of who we are.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
My worst job was working as a Telecomm Analyst in a public utilities company. The reason I would classify it as the worst was because there was no leadership in IT, and there was no vision. Essentially every engineer was an island, working on separate, sometimes conflicting projects.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start over again I would engage industry analysts earlier. The product BP Logix created really re-invented the Business Process Management space, as it offers a new approach to designing, configuring, and running business processes. People that are stuck “in the old paradigm” of business process took longer to recognize the value of our time-based methodology. The analysts with whom we subsequently have spoken understand our product, and are able to educate the industry about the differences between our model and the legacy approaches.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
To coin a simple phrase, “Keep your head up”. It is too easy to become bogged down in a specific project or problem. It is easy to bury yourself in that, and develop a bad case of tunnel vision. To be a leader you can’t do that. You have to constantly look up, and out, and understand the big picture.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Very simple … everyone is part of the “sales team”. Every member of our company, both technical and non-technical, represents us and our products.. Everything we all do in some way touches or impacts our customers- and these touch points have to be handled in a way that benefits our customers. Everyone deliverable and action is a reflection on BP Logix and we all have an impact on our customers and the bottom line. It is truly customer satisfaction that enables us to grow and satisfying customers is everyone’s priority.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The first company I co-founded was built on incredible technology. It revolutionized the method of network management for highly complex networked environments. The product itself was outstanding, but the piece I had overlooked was the technique of selling the solution to our target customers. We subsequently realized that the target market was looking for a more encompassing solution for not only network management, but performance, security, and asset management as well. Customers would often choose bundled products but with inferior network management capabilities. We overcame this by partnering with, and eventually selling to a large IT software management company.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have always been fascinated with the ability to use technology in non-obvious ways. There have been great advances in optics, so I am wondering why no one has created an entire new turf for sports fields – one that incorporates lighting technology to actually light the field itself. Having coached soccer for over 10 years, we spend so much time setting up cones and lines for drills at practice. I would like to have a tablet and click on a premade design that draws the drill on the turf itself. Even during games it would be useful for fans to see real-time markers on the field. On TV for football it shows a virtual first down marker. That should be on the field itself. And then of course there are advertising opportunities as well. The other issue for schools is that the turf fields are being used by many sports now … football, soccer, field hockey, track and field, etc. Each of those sports is drawing permanent lines on the field which is making it more difficult to see which ones are relevant to your sport. Instead, the current sport should light the appropriate lines only.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why? (personal or professional)
$50 each on two Fantasy Football teams. In my opinion it is a sure win for me considering how well my drafts look this year.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
We drink our own champagne 😉 so I use BP Logix Process Director to manage many aspects for running the company. From my mobile device I can view and respond to sales status, support requests, development stages, etc. it is so quick to pull out my phone to get a dashboard of what is happening right now in the company.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. As an entrepreneur at times you can feel like you are facing challenges that no one else has ever encountered – or that you are making decisions that perhaps have never been thought of before. It is reassuring that no matter what type of company or what size that company is, that many of the challenges we entrepreneurs face are the same. This book offers some very simple tips and techniques to make them more manageable.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I find Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook), a brilliant innovator who is regarded as a top leader in tech, to be a great role model for creating a healthy work-life balance. She has been inspirational for me in setting and achieving goals that make me a more well-rounded and effective leader.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.