Hi Jeff, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for our blog readers.
Q.1 Running Finance for a company like KANA must be a diverse job and I’m sure many people would love to know what it involves. What does a typical day consist of?
Answer: There is no typical day! My job splits into three main elements: first there is ensuring that the group meets all its legal, audit and tax responsibilities in every jurisdiction in which we operate (that was eight at the last count); secondly I see it as vitally important that the G&A function is always looking for ways better to support the rest of the group in its operating activities whether that be sales, services, engineering or marketing – this is one of our high priority goals for 2012; finally a large amount my time is spent working on M&A activities – this is more unpredictable but when it happens it tends to absorb a great deal of effort. I’m lucky to have the great support of the Sunnyvale and Belfast teams in all of these areas.
Q.2 You joined in January 2011 when your company, Lagan, was acquired by KANA. What has the acquisition of Lagan brought to KANA?
Answer: A great deal I think: KANA now has another customer service vertical (Local Government), which Lagan continues to dominate. Plus a strong presence in the UK, which has helped us really consolidate and grow the KANA customer base outside the US.
Q.3 Has the current economic climate altered these plans?
Answer: Not really no. We have a very satisfied and loyal customer base who continue to derive significant value from our customer service experience solutions and so continue to buy more products and services from us – that is a great situation to be in.
Q.4. On a more personal level, can you tell us what are the three most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or helped you get where you are today?
Answer: I’ve tended not to have pivotal moments – more of a gradual evolution. I started out in a large firm of auditors, then a VC firm, then a bank, all of which were interesting and gave me the chance to see lots of different sorts of businesses. But I wanted to get more involved and so when I was asked to join a software company in 2000 as CFO, I decided to take the plunge. Three software companies later, I don’t regret that decision, even if I still know very little about what goes on in engineering!
Q.5. Tell us a little about Jeff Wylie, the person. What do you do to relax when you’re away from the office?
Answer: With so much time spent on the road, I try to spend down time with my wife and three kids; a boy of 18 who is about to leave school, a girl of 14 and a boy of nine. I used to play a great deal of sport but since a knee operation a few years ago, this is limited to some cricket in the summer and an occasional round of golf.
Q.6. Finally, Jeff, if you could ask your customers one question what would it be?
Answer: What can we do to make your life easier?
Thank you, Jeff.