MM: So with the mindset of having the best-of-class system for your particular organization, what led to the need or idea of, “We’ve got to do something different?”
TM: Well, luckily, when I was hired at Hubert, actually in the interview process, I mentioned to them that I’d been looking at database publishing solutions for my previous job, which was with a centralized prepress group for newspaper circulars.
As it turned out, that company decided not to go down the road of database publishing. But I had already researched many solutions that would help production efficiencies.
During my job interview with Hubert I mentioned my research of database publishing systems. That intrigued them. I believe that my research became one of the key reasons they hired me. Consequently, a couple of years later, they gave me the freedom to continue that research. That involved going to events like Seybold and Print and ACCM—looking into the providers of these types of automated database publishing solutions or content management systems and digital asset management, and coming up with a solution that was right for Hubert at that time.
When I came on board at Central Restaurant, it was very easy for me to jump back into research mode and take a look at all of the pieces. All of the different vendors who had been out there—many of whom were the same. That was reassuring. But also to take a look at some of the newer vendors out there, and to make a determination of whether or not those solutions might be a better fit for us.
MM: So, looking back, the idea of ‘investing yourself personally in research,’ and developing mental maps as well as thick folders of research, you were also really investing yourself in understanding the next technology wave in this case, the next generation of database publishing.
So, not only did you find it gratifying, but it became a differentiator in the job market, making your more attractive as a potential employee.
TM: Yes. And it’s ongoing, of course. Not only did it help me get the job at Hubert, but also Hubert then allowed me to continue my research, and to become basically an expert in the field while at Hubert. That then allowed me to broaden my wings and move on after Hubert. Although I must say, Hubert was a great place to work.
MM: So, the mindset of having a best-of-class system must also entailed hiring the best individuals who understood what it means to be best of class, and who—in your case—are real innovation leaders. So Hubert, had already invested in the idea database publishing as the “next wave” of innovation and productivity—and hired your to execute that idea. What happens next?
TM: Well, I think the key is to develop a systematic way to gain buy-in, so that the company can move forward with an innovation.
At Hubert this started with writing a white paper that depicted what database publishing could do for Hubert. It was fairly in-depth on how it would affect the organization—and in some ways, the hierarchy of the organization.
It basically outlined, “Here are the steps that we have to do.” It’s not just implementation. Part of the success of database publishing involves bringing in the key vendors that are involved – to have them methodically work through a process with you, and to show the company that they understood what you were doing. That way, they could present to you, based on what you wanted out of the software.
Even before there were presentations being done there was a lot of dialogue outlining how those presentations should be done for Hubert.