CRO Dominik Duchon: a (personal) LucaNet journey and its destination
Hello, my name is Dominik Duchon. Although I wasn’t one of the founding members, I have had a strong connection with LucaNet right from the start. I’ll go into the reasons behind that and why I turned down my first job offer from the actual co-founder Oliver Schmitz in a moment. First, I want to tell you a bit about myself.
For our client magazine, I was once asked by a colleague which actor should play me in a film about my life. I replied with Matt Damon. Because I feel he’s a multitalented, down-to-earth, and likable guy who has already played a diverse range of roles. I too have already held various roles at LucaNet, starting off in the Sales, Consulting, and Support departments and later heading the Sales and Marketing departments as the Director of Sales. And now I’m the Chief Revenue Officer, or CRO for short. What a journey! I have had the pleasure of witnessing LucaNet AG grow every step of the way and am delighted to have driven the next milestone. Obviously not single-handedly, but, again, I’ll explain more about that later.
How everything began and why nothing came of the first casting
As I’ve already mentioned, I’m not one of LucaNet’s founders. But I’m going to make the most of my narrative license to claim that I’ve known LucaNet since it was founded in 1999. It might not be exactly to the day, but my friendship with founders Rolf-Jürgen Moll and Oliver Schmitz really does go back a long way. And even though it may not have been love at first sight between LucaNet and myself, I was enthralled by the idea of a unified software solution for consolidation and planning from the very first minute.
And yet I didn’t accept Oliver’s offer to join the company. Why?
In theory, it would have been a perfect match. I had studied business management, specializing in controlling, capital market research, and financing. No wonder then that the fledgling LucaNet knocked at my door with a job offer in 2003. But I wasn’t ready back then. There wasn’t really a tangible product. Plus Oliver, also a business management graduate, was already on board. I didn’t feel there was any need for another. And so I initially found myself working for a management consultancy firm. While gaining professional experience for the first time there, I was always keeping an eye on LucaNet’s development and early achievements. I was convinced that the concept, the product, was indeed “simply intelligent” (and still is, of course): developed by financiers for financiers to make their lives easier.
In 2005, LucaNet and I finally joined forces. As employee number eight, I joined a still relatively modest team and took on the leadership of the Munich site. If you’re thinking “Wow, the whole site so quickly!”, then I should probably put things into context. Rolf and Oliver were in Berlin and Düsseldorf. In Munich, there was just me, but I was responsible for three different roles: sales, consulting, and support.
It was an exciting and, in its own way, challenging time where the aim was to consolidate our power in order to spread our wings so to speak and conquer the market. To do that, we all pulled together, regardless of where our desks were situated.
Growing alongside LucaNet
I’ve now been on the Executive Board since 2010 – after Rolf stepped back from the active side of the business at the end of 2020, I make up a strong four-person team together with Elena Aubell, Alexander Domene, and of course Oliver Schmitz. As CRO, I’m responsible for the following divisions: Consulting, Sales, Marketing, Channel and International Operations.
Whenever I look back, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and, between you and me, also sometimes slightly astounded. As you’d imagine, some moments are etched in my mind more than others. For example, I can still vividly remember the many firsts we celebrated together: our first thrilled customers, the first partnerships, the first colleagues abroad. And I can still specifically recall how elated I was when the first members joined my team and we reveled in our first team events.
It goes without saying that we still celebrate and are overjoyed by each and every customer because it shows that we’re doing the right thing.
What’s new and what’s stayed the same
A fair bit has changed since I started at LucaNet. But a lot is how it has always been. Customer satisfaction is still the number one priority. I still lie awake at night searching for the perfect solution for it then to come to me while in the shower the next morning (you’d think I’d learn).
But in contrast to when we were establishing ourselves, no one is phoning up accountants from the yellow pages anymore. LucaNet has gained a firm foothold in the market. Something that has been corroborated by various studies and multiple awards. However, the most important recognition of our work is obviously the satisfaction of our customers. More than 3,000 companies in more than 50 countries use our all-in-one solution. And over 500 employees and 100 partners worldwide ensure that LucaNet is present wherever reliable financial figures are needed.
Growing as part of a continuous change process
Sometimes I ask myself what was more difficult: growing from 10 to 20 employees or from 100 to 200. I couldn’t give you a definite answer. What I do know, though, is that the first thing I would always do on a Monday would be take a look at the latest figures (typical numbers guy) – not just to keep tabs but also out of pure motivation. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also love it when the numbers show you how the company is progressing and how things that have been changed and initiated have proved successful.
But numbers alone are obviously not enough for us to grow and keep going: early on, we set up our organization as well as the corresponding processes to allow for growth, while tweaking them on an ongoing basis. We’re in the middle of a continuous change process. Our challenge is to constantly question and check whether processes and structures are still suitable and to adapt them. We have to stay agile. As we’ve done in the past.
That’s exactly why 2020 was the moment for a big change and a new board. LucaNet has evolved, accounting requirements have changed, as has the market naturally. Increasing internationalization calls for us to take a different approach to 20 years ago. And, if nothing else, the coronavirus crisis has shown us how quickly we need to be able to respond to changes.
Repositioned, regrouped, and ready for the future together
It was a necessary step, and as always, I embrace this new role. That said – regardless of the pandemic and working from home at my son’s desk – the first months working together on our new board were still a challenge: a completely new setup; Elena and Alex had joined, and I had taken over the consulting side of things.
And even though we already knew each other well, we had to get accustomed to this new arrangement. For my part, I had to evolve in my new role, realign myself and the way I work, interact, and lead. Which was exciting and invigorating – but at the same time truly intensive, no question about it. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to again be a part of the next growth trajectory of the company in its fresh new constellation. Because that’s what makes LucaNet unique in my opinion. We never rest on our laurels.
New goals and a new strategy for (more) happy customers
We already started devising a new strategy for our new goals in 2020. It’s now about implementing the relevant themes from an operational perspective and defining the right roadmap: what in which markets, with which partners, departments, and teams?
As the new board, we took another really deep dive into specific areas relating to the market, our employees, the product, and above all our users. After all, for all our visions, it’s essential that we understand our customers’ obstacles, challenges, and wishes – with the aim of offering everyone an all-encompassing LucaNet experience.
There’s no future without the right team
Ideas, products, figures, goals, and agility are key success factors. But as a sportsman I know that no matter what we set out to do, we can only achieve it with the right team, the right spirit.
For me, that includes involving employees in processes. And ensuring that every single person understands how their actions make a difference and which goal they’re supporting in this respect. Only then can you cross the finishing line together – that also applies to the one we have set ourselves for 2021.
The pandemic has shown me how strong our team spirit is. Once again, I feel incredibly proud. “Now more than ever” was the overwhelming sentiment in every call, every e-mail, and every online event, big or small. That moves me to this day and proves to me that, although LucaNet has grown, it is still shaped by what I valued from the very beginning: we’re in it together.
How could I be made even happier?
My happiness would be pretty much sealed if it weren’t for the word “if”…I’ve genuinely really missed personally interacting with everyone in recent months – whether at team events or LucaNet.World. LucaNet stands for software and numbers, but also a great deal of camaraderie, fun, and getting together with clinking glasses and cheerful hubbub in the background.
So I hope to see you all in droves again soon. And as a massive gin fan, I’ll bring along my best bottle. That’s a promise!