In a Q&A, CEO and Founder of BQE Systems Shafat Qazi talks about what makes his business successful and gives advice to other business leaders.
CEO and Founder, BQE Systems
What was the most helpful part of your education and previous employment history that brought you to the position as CEO and Founder of BQE?
I’ve always been fascinated with understanding how things work and always looking at ways to improve them. Technology has been the driving force in my career, even though my master’s degree and early career was in structural engineering.
I would say that the combination of my two passions, engineering and technology, along with my entrepreneurial spirit, was a perfect recipe for creating BQE Software. As an engineer, I understand complex structures and can see how they can all work together harmoniously to create a fully functional system. This is critical when building a company that delivers sophisticated business management software.
You have focused on simplifying the customer experience with technology. What is key in doing this? And how have you been successful in streamlining technology for customers?
This may sound cliché, but in order to simplify the customer experience, you must listen to the customer. We work extremely hard at getting to know their business; what drives them and their pain points. When your customers can see that you are not only listening to them, but responding to their needs, you build trust and loyalty.
One of the ways we do this is making sure that all customer-facing members of our various departments not only ask the right questions but bring their responses back to our R+D department to help resolve them. Regardless of whether it’s a member of our sales team, customer service and tech support team, or our customization department, we learn so much about their business and processes that we can’t help but find ways to improve.
What is the importance of mobilizing your business? How has mobilization changed the industry?
The question can really be seen in two ways. First, is the ability to be mobile — doing work in a location other than the traditional office. This, of course, became ubiquitous with the advent of laptop computers and high-speed internet. But the more interesting way to look at the issue of mobilization is to think about what happened in 2007 with the advent of the first real smart phone. This was a pivotal time and we at BQE Software knew that the trajectory of business was going to be changed forever when the first iPhone was released. Our customers were not ready for this, but we could see the writing on the wall and started to plan our own revolution, so we would be ready to take our customers mobile when they were ready.
Today, everyone has a smart phone and conducts so much of their life via the device. It was only a matter of time before the associated technologies, such as cloud computing, and security developed to a point where it made sense and became easy to conduct business via mobile devices.
Today, our customers can do nearly everything they do sitting in front of a computer in their office from their handheld device. This represents not only freedom, but power. To be untethered from your office, to have information at your fingertips means you can make the right decisions all the time. You’re never operating blindly or purely on gut instinct.
Finally, there’s one wonderful aspect to mobile. What first looks like a huge problem, the form factor and screen size, turns out to be amazingly liberating and transformative. Rather than presenting people with spreadsheets of data, which are difficult to navigate and always have more information than the person really wants, we had to look for ways to bring people beautiful, visually impactful information that doesn’t waste their time on a small screen. This is where bringing brilliant user-experience designers on the team makes the customer experience fantastic and emphasizes the true potential of being mobile.
What seems to be the most useful tech solution for the legal industry for B2B? B2C?
I’m rather biased on this since we’ve spent the past five years, with a team of over 100 people, building the BQE Core platform which enables any service professional to manage nearly every aspect of their business from any device anywhere in the world.
Aside from our core platform, I would say that online meeting platforms have made a major impact, enabling people to have face-to-face communication in real time without the time and expense of travel. We know that nothing beats eye-to-eye contact and conducting meetings virtually where you can see the body language of the other parties means you are more effective while being more efficient with your time.
Lastly, online document signature systems. This has truly expedited the ability of people to review and sign legal documents in a safe and authentic manner. It alleviates a huge pain point for all parties and is extremely cost effective.
What is your biggest piece of advice for execs making organizational developments?
Have a plan. Someone needs to take the lead and you can’t expect to get buy-in from all members of your executive team. Put together a small team of people tasked with research and development. Enlist ideas from the rank-and-file employees and let the natural leaders run with their ideas. Not everything will work, but reward people for trying. Kill projects that don’t look like there is an end in sight and continue to nurture projects that have momentum and potential.
What business/ tech trends do you think we will see in coming years?
Without a doubt, the legal industry should be looking at Blockchain technology solutions as the new frontier. It’s a huge topic, but I’m quite certain that the Blockchain is going to disrupt so many industries and if you’re not on the leading edge of this transformation, you’re probably going to be in a losing position.