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Milestone plans for miles ahead with partners at the side

Milestone plans for miles ahead with partners at the side
Milestone plans for miles ahead with partners at the side
With continued efforts to support its partners and customers, and innovation to meet rising complex demands, Milestone foresees collective growth.
Facing a pandemic-struck economy, most security companies have had to improvise their business strategies to reach customers and complete projects. Such an unprecedented need to improvise has forced companies to be extremely creative. It is precisely this creative approach with an entrepreneurial mindset, robust knowledge of commercials and channel marketing that Thomas Jensen would bring to Milestone Systems as he begins his stint as the company’s CEO. 

“2020 will go down in history as a unique year, where businesses learn the importance of adaptiveness and agility at an accelerated pace,” Jensen explained. “From our perspective, we have put in a lot of effort into how we enable effective, responsible use of technology. We have shown that we can support efforts to manage this pandemic in many more ways than our customers would have imagined just 12 months ago.”

Challenging the status quo isn’t new to Milestone. Jensen feels that the pandemic’s disruption has created the perfect occasion for businesses to evaluate and reevaluate existing habits and find areas to improve. 

“I think this is ingrained in Milestone’s DNA,” Jensen continued. “When you look at video technology, for instance, we think of how we can impact traffic patterns, how we can think innovately about how our technologies can help improve the environment, how we can help to do things that really support our approach from that perspective. We give high value to promoting innovation and creative thinking in our teams to encourage the ability to challenge the status quo.”

Leadership with responsibility, not power  

Jensen considers himself a culturally curious person, which has been one of his strengths as he managed positions across businesses to steer global growth. Cultural curiosity is essential because if you acknowledge the difference between cultures and are curious about it, you can respect differences and work together. 

He was the Executive VP of the B2B IT Systems Integrator Bechtle before joining Milestone. And before that was Head of Worldwide Channel Sales Strategy. Two remarkable achievements in his career stand out; he led the separation of the company’s channel business at Hewlett Packard when it split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He also managed restructuring and consolidation of HP Denmark’s PC & Print Division that saw over 30 percent improvement in employee engagement and satisfaction.

“Bridging strategy and execution is my sweet spot – I have a unique flair for understanding both,” Jensen continued. “My expertise is international expansion and scaling across go-to-markets and sales channels. I look to the rest of my team to complement these competencies so that together, we make a strong company.”

But he is quite aware that management is often a balance between company goals and making difficult and painful decisions. We get a glimpse of this sensitivity as he narrated an experience early in his career. At HP, he had to oversee the merger of two divisions that resulted in 20 percent employee downsizing. 

“This is when you learn the extended responsibility you have as a leader,” Jensen said. “You have a responsibility not just to your company and your shareholders. You have a responsibility to your employees because they put their faith in you to put bread on the table for their families. Suddenly, when you say goodbye to more than one-fifth of the ones you’re responsible for, it touches you in a way that gives you different personal values moving forward.” 

Such incidents are emotional, but they also teach you something about the values you want to bring into a job and prompt you to consider what kind of people and organizations you want to work with. Jensen is clear that this is one of the main reasons he chose Milestone Systems and not any other CEO position.

Building on one another’s strengths

Milestone’s core strength has always been the people-centric approach. This approach gives utmost importance to individuals - from employees, partners to customers. Jensen explained that this is a unique strategy that leverages partnerships and fosters inclusive growth. 

“For me, the core foundation to win is every individual in each team,” Jensen said. “The sum of each colleague’s strengths and competencies is what enables us to reach ambitious goals. Our focus is and always will be, people first.”

The company’s recent successes would underline the efficacy of this approach. Revenue has grown 14 percent in the past five years to touch DKK 1 billion in 2019. To meet rising demand, it expanded its Dubai office space and the ANZ team. To further strengthen its technology partnerships, Milestone created a Technology Partner area. Topping it all is Milestone Marketplace2.0 which harnesses the power of partnerships - the core of Milestone’s success. 

Now, combining all these with a culture that fosters creativity and innovation would be Jensen’s primary focus as he takes the company forward. Undoubtedly, partners, customers, and employees would receive priority seats as the company accelerates with video technology changes. 

Global brand with APAC strength

According to IHS, Asia Pacific continues to remain a major contributor to the rapid growth of global video surveillance market. Milestone’s performance in the region underscores the market data. In the last three years, Milestone APAC has posted an average growth of 15-20 percent, outdoing the market and leading many regions. Benjamin Low, VP for APAC at Milestone Systems, attributes this success to their inclusive approach. 

You get the bigger picture when you connect this to the habit of cultural curiosity that the company’s CEO talks about. Asia is more diverse than any other region, and close awareness of this diversity is critical to succeeding here. 

“It’s because we are inclusive,” Low explains categorically. “We bring them (our partners) opportunities and deals. We have technology partners from Australia to Singapore, India, and other parts. We have more potential partners asking, how can I be part of the community? The ability to help our partners extend and deepen their reach into other regions in APAC  is what we deliver.”

Milestone listens to its partners and customers by regularly conducting surveys among customers that reveal in-depth responses. Recently the company surveyed Singaporeans to get an insight into changing consumer perceptions about video technology. 

Other initiatives include experience centers for live partner demonstrations with the latest offerings, online classes, and webinars with attendees from several countries. Evidently, Milestone’s ability and willingness to listen and learn will be a crucial advantage for the company in APAC to ensure long term profitable growth. For partners, this means reliable support for their efforts to increase market share.
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