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COO Spotlight: Scott Raskin, Telelogic AB

By Angel Mehta, Managing Director, Sterling-Hoffman Executive Search

Angel Metha: To begin with, I'm always interested in learning how people got into high tech. What was your first step into this industry?

Scott Raskin: After graduating from the University of Texas with a marketing degree, I went to work for a joint business venture between United Telecom (Sprint) in Kansas City and IBM as a sales rep. The company was launching a new business to sell IBM computers to SMBs. I had no idea what computer software was all about. At the time, most of my friends were taking marketing jobs with menial salaries in big corporations. What excited me about the offer I received was a line stating: "At 100% of quota, you can earn…", and my eyes widened with excitement! I was not even sure what a sales quota was but knew that if all I had to do was hit a 100% and earn at this level, I wanted the job! That was my first experience in the computer business which later turned into the software business.

Angel Mehta: I always figure there are two gateways a person has to pass through mentally when making up his mind about staying in a field. The first is, 'can I do this job?" and the second is, 'can I be successful and love this job?" What were the pivotal moments that got you through those?

Scott Raskin: Just the other day my wife pulled out an old file from my first year of employment. It showed that after a couple months on the job, I was at 100% of quota and had the highest production numbers. From day one, I've loved the sport of technology sales and the ever-changing environment of this business. I think that is what keeps me so motivated, even after 21 years. There is no other industry that has had the constant evolution of disruptive products, new players and new channels to market. Just when you think you have it figured out…the game changes. The sport…the game is what makes it fun and exciting everyday.

Angel Mehta: Let's talk about Telelogic. I believe it's the largest company you've ever run - what were some of the challenges you've encountered that you've never faced before?

Scott Raskin: When I took the job at Telelogic, I had a classic sales background growing up through the ranks. I started with big companies and eventually joined a start up in the mid 90s, so my experience was varied but somewhat similar. I was focused exclusively on all aspects of sales, including hiring sales people, strategizing on how to get the product to market, increasing productivity and utilizing classic sales channels. When I joined Telelogic, I encountered different cultures, new products from multiple companies and a unique business structure that I was not familiar with.

In mid 2000, Telelogic acquired a number of global companies. At the time I joined in early 2001, our costs were much higher than revenues and both were going in the wrong direction. As a result of so many acquisitions, there were several factions operating with their own corporate cultures and individual ways of doing things. It was also a time when demand was flat in general and was made worse by the economic downturn following Sept 11. We had to restructure and bring everyone together and unite under one roof. We had to steer and focus the company in a new direction for growth and profitability -- which is what we did. We came out of that period a much leaner, stronger and more tightly focused company that we have continued to benefit from over the past few years.

Angel Mehta: What are the business issues that Telelogic is addressing today?

Scott Raskin: Telelogic has an expanding portfolio of products that are delivered in the form of solutions that help large organizations optimize their lifecycles of application software development, systems engineering and embedded systems development. In addition, we provide products to align these lifecycles to business goals and customer needs. This is all within the framework of Enterprise Lifecycle Management.

This helps our customers with challenges such as corporate governance, regulatory compliance (i.e. SOX), communication and collaboration across their enterprise and throughout their development lifecycle. For the past 5 years, it was all about doing more with less. Now, it's all about doing more with the same but also having to meeting growing compliance needs and getting the right products to market faster.

Angel Mehta: What are some of the challenges that come with running a company that is not based in the United States?

Scott Raskin: Our corporate entity is in Sweden with a primary focus on investor relations as we are traded on the Stockholm exchange. We drive most of the global business operations out of our Irvine, California HQ, which is where much of our senior executive team and I are based. We face the same challenges, as any global company. We have 55 offices in 22 countries. We have a global 24x7 support group out of Irvine, Ireland and India and development labs in California, Scotland, India, New York and Sweden.


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