Mostly because he’s nosy and wants to learn.
This week - Consegna’s MD and founder John Taylor.
John Taylor (JT) is the first to admit he’s a cricket tragic, not the pyjama version of the game, more so the gruelling, yet highly rewarding five-day version of the sport. While Test cricket may not be everyone’s cup of tea, he believes every sports lover would agree that the game requires stamina, patience, hard work, and solid partnerships.
Just like any good business.
Since its beginnings in 2016, Consegna has believed in the long game. Five years ago, JT was approached by a number of partners who’d worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS.) Soon after, he and his business partner Michael Butler noticed that for many businesses the cloud was a very confusing concept.
JT: ‘At the time, a lot of the more traditional players were doing cloud to people. We decided that Consegna wouldn’t do cloud to you - we’d do it with you. Michael and I realized that with our combined experience, we could add a huge amount of value.’
JT’s question was simple, the answer more of a challenge: how could he enable businesses to leverage the public cloud to its full capability?
In 2015, he put together a lean canvas and mapped out the market segments, highlighting both the opportunities and the risks. Along with their small team in Wellington, Consegna presented to one of their (now) cornerstone clients, QV.
‘Through this opportunity, we helped QV take one of their valuation product offerings to the next level and moved it to the cloud, which resulted in cost benefits as well as technical flexibility. We then moved everything within their data centre and IT fabric to AWS (Amazon Web Services).’
Not many people in the market are aware that AWS has backed Consegna as a pure partner.
JT: ‘We don't work with any other public cloud providers. Once trust was earned with AWS, Consegna’s clients enjoyed the phenomenal backing and benefits that come with having a technical global leader at their fingertips. We’ve invested in loyalty and have passed that onto our clients, which is ultimately the most important thing.’
‘AWS has continued to back us through that journey and our partnership has blossomed into one of empathy, trust, and integrity. It’s as simple as treating people as you want to be treated.’
Consegna moves in an agile and fast-moving industry, meaning they have to stay on top of their game. Being client-centric was always at the top of JT’s list, as was access to support programmes Consegna could pass onto their clients.
‘We focus on outcomes, not just sell products. We also made sure that the company we created was backed by professionals who understood the technology and could walk the talk.’
AWS now spans 69 Availability Zones within 22 geographic regions around the world and has the largest global infrastructure footprint of any provider. The Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand has entered into an agreement with AWS to supply public cloud services to eligible government agencies.
JT: ‘It’s so great knowing that we have 24/7 access to global technical capabilities, yet our teams are local, based in Auckland and Wellington. This helps our clients in a nurturing capacity; we can help those who are struggling to get themselves ‘cloud-ready.’’
‘I firmly believe now, as I did then, that this is the right approach. Success to us means moving a client or company to the cloud and then taking a back seat while the client drives it forward and just sings out to us when they need a hand.’
What might surprise people about Consegna is our growth since 2016. They're the fastest partner to get to advanced AWS partner status and are well on the way to reaching the highest level, Premiere.
So what does a good day look like in the cloud?
JT: ‘To focus on the now. Things are really beginning to ramp up for Consegna and as a Managing Director, I want to ensure that my team is looked after and, similarly, that our clients’ needs are met. Nurturing relationships is key, working with people's strengths and weaknesses to support a client’s outcome. We try to achieve this through integrity and trust, human values rather than just tech. Balance those elements and you have progress.’
‘We have no time for professional development plans, which we feel infers some kind of KPI. Instead, we prefer personal development plans. We want to help our team develop as individuals. We also have an internal mentor programme, whereby they can buddy up with people both technically, and also from an EQ or IQ perspective.’
Consegna doesn’t focus too much on glossy marketing or blowing their own trumpet. They prefer to let their clients speak on their behalf. At the end of every sprint, they run a Net Promoter Score programme.
‘We hear a lot of things and I read all of them,’ says JT. ‘We often score above 80, a number we’re very proud of. We’re told that we’re a pleasure to deal with, have sound attention to detail, and excel in the follow-up. This is so pleasing as our mantra has always been if we say we’re going to do something, we do it. We also welcome constructive feedback.’
What about switching off? Is that possible for an MD?
JT: ‘Ha! Not as often as I should, though I do have downtime which includes coaching cricket at Howick and Pakuranga with my two young boys. I've been coaching for five years now and it’s been a blessing. My golf is neglected and the fishing boat on my driveway sits there and laughs at me. Like many of us, I’m sure, I’d like to spend more time with my family and friends.’
‘I know that if I'm not the best version of myself I can't focus on much else, so for the past two years my executive coach has allowed me to keep both my head and my business in order. I’d recommend this approach to anyone.’
What next for Consegna?
‘To maintain our trajectory and not dilute our value proposition, because as much as it’s about us being the technical specialist, it's about understanding the people in the business and solving problems. As long as we put the client in the centre of any conversation and enable them to do things quicker and smarter, at a lower cost compared to how they traditionally did it, we’re winning. We also strive to become, and continue to be, the best AWS provider in New Zealand.’
Because business, according to JT, is just like Test cricket. You’ve got to play one ball at a time, get yourself in, play to the conditions, and build long-lasting partnerships.
Can you tell he’s off to a game?
You’ll see him in five days.
More interviews and insights to come.