David H. DeWolf is Founder and CEO of 3Pillar Global, a product development partner that accelerates revenue growth by rapidly bringing innovative software solutions to market started in 2006.
WashingtonExec discussed with the CEO about his company, his predictions about the futures of disruptive and enterprise technology, mobile product development, and more.
Read on below for our interview with DeWolf.
WashingtonExec: What factors do you attribute to 3Pillar’s rapid, continuous growth?
David H. DeWolf: There are three factors that have been, and will continue to be, critical to our success. First is market need. We’ve crossed a threshold, becoming a truly information-centric society. All companies, whether brick-and-mortar or online, must be able to harness information to meet the demands of their customers. In turn, companies need software products to process and deliver this information to satisfy their customers and drive revenue. We build those software products.
Second is our team. We have assembled a group of highly-talented individuals across the board, from product designers, developers, and managers to human resources, marketing, and business development personnel. Our people are the lifeblood of our business. We don’t just have great people, we have a great team.
Third is our approach. Most “outsourcing” firms lead with their technical capabilities and have technology dictate solutions. We take a different perspective. We start by focusing intently on the business problem, including current and anticipated end-customer requirements and behaviors. Our clear objective is to partner with clients to build revenue-producing product, period. Technology is our tool, not our end-game. We leverage technology to deliver the best solution to produce revenue-generating results.
WashingtonExec: How do you attract top talent?
David H. DeWolf: People spend most of their lives at work, so a job has to be about more than money. Individuals want to be in environments where they are respected and challenged, and where they can continue to learn and make a difference.
I think it’s critical for a company to define their vision clearly, commit to it, and execute it. People appreciate knowing your mission and consistently supporting it. It’s also important to create a workplace where everyone is respected and empowered to do their job and contribute to the company’s success and future growth. We embrace the concept that every employee offers value and the sum of our efforts is greater than the parts.
These foundational elements allow us to attract top talent. We’ve been able to secure top talent for two reasons. First, from Day 1, we’ve followed the philosophy that we should aim to hire people better than ourselves. Second, we recognize high-performing people want to work with other high-performing people, collectively pushing our teams to pursue and achieve great results. We’ve got an outstanding talent base today, and we look forward to making it even better tomorrow.
“Cloud, mobile, social, and big data come to mind, and that’s just in the past couple of years. It’s certainly possible we’ll see another one in the near-term. That said, I think the next big thing is going to be how we can more effectively leverage the intersection of these disruptive technologies.”
WashingtonExec: How would you describe the culture at 3Pillar?
David H. DeWolf: I’ve already touched on respect and empowerment. Those qualities go hand-in-hand with two other cultural tenets – integrity and dignity. Everything we do at 3Pillar is focused on integrity, whether it’s how we approach each and every client engagement or how we conduct our business internally. Integrity is absolutely essential to our long-term success, and personally, I couldn’t sleep at night if I believed we ever compromised our integrity for gain at the expense of our clients or employees. Similarly, we are constantly cognizant of the dignity of every individual who works for 3Pillar. Just like we are product development partners to our clients, our employees are our corporate development partners. It’s vital we ensure their satisfaction, which is why we strive to combine interesting work with their professional and personal development.
With these tenets in place, the culture becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our employees are highly-motivated to find ways to add value for our clients. They truly care about producing results, and have fun while doing so. In practice, our culture is ultimately defined by two words: passion and compassion.
WashingtonExec: What do you think the next big thing in disruptive technologies will be?
David H. DeWolf: Well, there have been a lot of “big things” lately. Cloud, mobile, social, and big data come to mind, and that’s just in the past couple of years. It’s certainly possible we’ll see another one in the near-term. That said, I think the next big thing is going to be how we can more effectively leverage the intersection of these disruptive technologies.
Individually, each of these technologies offers great benefits. Collectively, as an integrated package, they are going to fundamentally alter the way businesses perform.
At the end of the day, all businesses are focused on revenue growth. In today’s Information Age, optimizing the customer experience by providing service when and where customers want it is how you deliver. Information and software must be delivered with solutions that bring disruptive technologies together seamlessly to take full advantage of their combined strengths.
WashingtonExec: What sector has the greatest demand for mobile product development right now?
David H. DeWolf: I think the answer might surprise you, because I believe the need is greatest in sectors you wouldn’t necessarily expect. The natural inclination is to focus on software product companies developing complementary mobile apps to their traditional product lines. That’s definitely happening, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg – the obvious activity above the waterline.
What lurks beneath the surface is much, much bigger. I’m talking about industries that don’t think of themselves as being software product companies. That’s where the demand is exploding, because brick-and-mortar businesses have to become software product companies with a ubiquitous mobile experience if they are to survive and thrive in the Information Age.
We’re seeing tremendous demand for mobile product development from businesses in more “traditional” industry verticals. Media, education, and healthcare companies, for example, are coming to us because they’ve recognized that mobile products are integral to customer engagement, which drives top-line growth and ultimately the bottom-line as well. They simply don’t have the know-how or internal resources necessary to keep pace with technological developments and implement these products; they must remain focused on supporting the core business. We’ve been able to add value as a product development partner, understanding the business and the technology.
WashingtonExec: How does 3Pillar approach development to ensure the best outcome and experience for each client?
David H. DeWolf: I’d say we take a “top-down” approach, but not in the classic software development sense. Our clients engage with us because they have a business problem they must solve. So that’s precisely where we start – understanding the client’s business problem, their pain points, and the market opportunity they want to pursue. Everything we do must directly relate to managing and solving the problem.
We never lose focus on the client’s ultimate goal. Believe it or not, technology is a temptation with the ability to steer you off the proper path. Here’s where I think we’re different than other solution providers. We avoid the temptation of incorporating technology for technology’s sake. We make sure the business needs drive the use of technology, rather than the other way around.
Personally, I believe success isn’t defined by sticking to an artificial schedule and deploying cool technology. Our clients succeed when we efficiently and effectively position them to address their critical business issues, take advantage of the market opportunity before them, and capture the revenues that drive top-line and bottom-line growth.
“We’re seeing tremendous demand for mobile product development from businesses in more “traditional” industry verticals. Media, education, and healthcare companies, for example, are coming to us because they’ve recognized that mobile products are integral to customer engagement, which drives top-line growth and ultimately the bottom-line as well.”
WashingtonExec: What do you mean by saying that the company focuses on “agile methodology” for product development?
David H. DeWolf: The rate of change in our world, from both a business and technological perspective, is accelerating. Just look at the advances in the past five years in the areas I identified before – mobile, social, cloud, and big data. As technologies mature at light-speed, so do the possibilities for businesses and the expectations of their customers. There’s tremendous opportunity, and challenge.
Businesses must be able to get the right software products to market quickly. Those products, however, must be flexible, because they simply cannot remain stagnant. Businesses need to turn on a dime as market data and intelligence show where the pivot points for products lie.
The traditional “waterfall” software development methodology wasn’t designed with today’s market in mind, and it’s ill-equipped to address the business need. Product development takes too long. That’s why we use an “agile” methodology, promoting tighter team interaction and compressed lifecycle timeframes. It allows us to be more responsive to our clients, both in terms of initial deployments and updates. We can keep moving the ball forward, but continually adjust our plans along the way to provide the best results for our clients.
WashingtonExec: With software constantly evolving, how can a business remain up-to-date, even get ahead of, changing enterprise technology?
David H. DeWolf: Now you’re in my wheelhouse. Companies face a stiff enough challenge merely trying to focus on their core business needs, much less advances in technology. Realistically, technology is changing too fast for companies to keep pace. That’s where an outside partner like 3Pillar comes into play.
Sometimes, enlisting the support of a partner can be perceived as weakness, but I think it shows leadership, foresight, and strength. The key is finding the right partner. Businesses need a partner that’s investing in mastering the latest technologies and identifying the emerging technologies. They need a partner with proven experience in driving growth by understanding the business problem. The partner also must be equally fluent in selecting and integrating the technologies that will solve the problem seamlessly within the legacy operating environment. And they need a partner with an elastic business model that recognizes the fluctuations in the business and the speed of change and delivers the right teams and the right solutions to cost-effectively empower the pursuit of the market opportunity and associated revenue.
This is what we do. We push our clients forward with solutions that leverage technology to solve business problems, while simultaneously being responsive to the changing demands of their business.