WE’RE READY TO MAKE OUR MARK ON THE MARKET.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN BEMAN, LOBSTER’S COUNTRY MANAGER UK.
It’s been a busy of couple of months for John Beman. Not only has he moved back to the UK from Malaysia during a global pandemic, but he has also joined the Lobster Group as the company’s new Country Manager UK. This places the Yorkshire-man at the helm of Lobster’s UK expansion efforts. Although replicating the Lobster Group’s German success story in the UK may be no mean feat, John is excited by the possibilities that lie ahead. As a keen sportsman, who even sprinted for England in years gone by, he doesn’t shy away from competition and has already set out a whole host of plans for the company’s UK operations to help Lobster’s stand-out software solutions for data integration and digital process automation make their mark in the UK. We sat down with him to talk about his goals, potential challenges and the home comforts he’s enjoying most now he’s back in England.
So John, how did you first hear about Lobster?
I’d been working in Australia and Malaysia for the majority of the last 20 years, and had been toying with the idea of coming back to the UK for a while. One day, I was browsing LinkedIn and came across a job breakdown advertising a Country Manager position for a company working in data integration called Lobster, which immediately caught my eye.
Tell us – what was your first impression of the business?
My initial impression came from the website. Right away, I was intrigued by the striking branding and niche online presence. As soon as we hopped on that first initial call, I also saw how friendly the team were and within minutes I was wowed by the possibilities and the real-world problems that Lobster really does solve. Facing these sorts of challenges head on is something I have made a career out of, so it was very impressive to see how Lobster’s solutions make light work of resolving them.
What do you believe sets Lobster apart?
I remember, I was on a zoom call with the Lobster team and we were trying to resolve a particular issue. Instead of chewing the fat for hours and postponing the call to another day, the HQ team in Germany simply pulled the respective tech team member into the meeting, who was able to immediately shed some light on the matter. This speed and ability to act definitely sets Lobster apart. Many IT providers with the volume of customers that Lobster has can be cumbersome and slow in their processes – both in supporting customers or adding new features. Lobster has incorporated scalability and ease of use within the design and architecture of its products, giving customers very fast returns on their investment.
And turning to the UK IT market itself: how does it differ from its European counterparts?
What immediately springs to mind is the UK’s slightly aged supply chain network which still relies heavily on paper, with many businesses still requiring physical documents to be processed between companies within the UK and outside it. Then, of course, there is Brexit and the number of supply chain challenges it has caused and will continue to cause. This, again, intensifies the need for faster, more accurate and seamless processing of information and orders. There is so much potential for data to be integrated which will, in turn, allow processes to be automated and thus streamline operations.
So what’s first on your to-do list?
Growing the team, continuing to foster a great team culture and putting all the building blocks in place for even more success. In this respect, our short-, mid- and long-term business plans will be finalised during an entire-team meeting next week in the UK. Another item on our to-do list will be to build our network of Integration Partners, as implementation experts, and Solution Partners, such as resellers, OEMs und platform providers, on the ground here in the UK.
What’s your vision for Lobster on the UK market? Do you foresee any challenges and how do you plan to address them?
As with any company looking to grow its market presence, we have our fair share of challenges. However, we’re making sure they’re being addressed right away. Lobster is already a very well-known brand and market leader in Germany, so an interesting challenge is replicating this success and continuing to grow our market share within the UK. Working with the marketing team is key to improving that brand recognition whether it be through sales campaigns, public events or user group meetings.
And are there any particular digital developments you see on the horizon?
One big shift we are already seeing now is the ability to stream all manner of content, allowing everything to move online. The roll-out of 5G is bringing AI and the virtual world right to company’s doorsteps. While platform and software as a service (PaaS & SaaS) have been around for quite a few years, the adoption rate has now picked up exponentially. Lobster offers amazing value here as it covers both aspects of this shift online. Not only can its solutions be accessed either on-premise, from the respective company’s cloud or even the Lobster cloud (iPaaS) but the business’s middleware Lobster_data, in its capacity as an EDI/EAI converter in particular, can also take care of any related data integration necessary to create a coherent digital ecosystem.
You’re now back in the UK having been abroad for quite some time. What do you enjoy most about being back?
I loved my time in Australasia, but what I’m enjoying most is being back with family and friends, enjoying good company over some good food and a good bottle of wine. On that note, I’ve actually also got a number of personal ventures on the horizon: I’m currently in talks to begin brewing my own cider, which is exciting. And although I love Asian cuisine – I even brought my own chopsticks back to the UK – I have to admit that it’s also been great to tuck into a traditional fish and chip supper again. No one does that quite like the British!
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