We talked to Mercedes Lerena of Broken Rubik about how they provide a full range of services built on trust and high quality standards and here is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mercedes Lerena: That’s a question that’s difficult to answer. On one hand, I have to say my family and my life have maintained certain stability. The changes have always had a silver lining: spending more time with my three-year-old daughter, connecting with others in creative ways, spending time with myself, reuniting with books or activities that I had left aside. On the other hand, I’m aware of my privilege, and I don’t want to forget that for many this pandemic has meant the loss of someone they love, of a job or a home. Because of that, I believe the learnings we take from this pandemic are broader and deeper than our personal experience. They should be helping us improve our communities’ lives with the understanding of where we are most vulnerable and thus, become stronger as a society.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Broken Rubik.
Mercedes Lerena: I had other expectations regarding my life at the beginning. I wanted to be a biologist. The academic world ended up not being very attractive to me, however, the time I dedicated to earning money to make ends meet allowed me to get to know a world of which I did feel part of IT. I had a series of jobs associated with eCommerce, CRM and ERP. I ended up working at a local business associated with NetSuite, and I found my niche. It was from that company and consequently from NetSuite Montevideo (eCommerce department) that I built in my head the company I wanted to have.
That’s also when I understood there are companies that work towards the sole objective of making money and other companies whose objective is to satisfy and accompany their clients throughout their journey. Making money is a consequence of doing things right, of gaining trust. And that’s how Joaquín Vigna and I started to talk about this idea that we wanted to make happen with a real team. We pitched the idea to Sebastián Correa and Gustavo Cañete, they liked it, and that’s how it all started.
We are now a team of consultants, project managers, web developers and designers. We started by dedicating ourselves entirely to providing consultancy services, solution architecture, support and maintenance of NetSuite ERP and SuiteCommerce (NetSuite’s eCommerce product) instances.
Our modus operandi is to work out the trust with our clients in a way it allows us to form long term relationships with them. At this moment, after more than 4 years in business, we are investing in broadening our spectrum of possibilities. Options are infinite: other eCommerce platforms, mobile apps, web apps. We’ve already dipped our toe in the Shopify apps pond and the creation of our own apps that run on eCommerce platforms increasing their performance. We’ll continue down this path with the input of the team and our potential/current clients.
How does Broken Rubik innovate?
Mercedes Lerena: It’s interesting because we all have abilities we are not necessarily using in our daily job. Even so, this might turn into a reason why we want to change jobs. We are bored, or we think there’s so much we can do than what the company has us hired for. At Broken Rubik, we want to give everyone the space to work and develop our skills to the maximum.
Because of this, we created a transversal project called I+D+I (investigation, design, innovation). Our objective is for the company to invest part of its profit into a program where new things can be invented, created and tested. All of this, under the umbrella of a technical leader and an assessment team, to evaluate each idea, provide the materials and resources and the financials to make it happen.
This is only one idea of many more that can come our way in the future and that we are open to apply within Broken Rubik.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mercedes Lerena: We’ve seen work has been constant, and I can even dare say it has increased. In April, when the pandemic’s effects were already evident, and the quarantine was already being put in place, we hired two more people to join the team. We understand many businesses have doubled their efforts to improve their online presence, being that this was the only sales channel for many.
We can say that, in a way, the pandemic has accelerated a process that was already happening: eCommerce growing worldwide but also locally and regionally. At Broken Rubik, we want to and are working hard to live up to the expectations of the times we are living.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mercedes Lerena: Difficult decisions had to do with how to respond to the pandemic. The company has been healthy economically, which allowed us to maintain all of our collaborators under full pay during times when the offices had to be closed and work remotely. We had to constantly evaluate how to keep the team united and feel safe during times of insecurity and uncertainty. These were challenges we had to resolve quickly, trying to surf the wave instead of it just running over us.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Mercedes Lerena: Sport is my main ally even though I don’t always respect its benefits and spend days without doing anything even when my body is asking for it. Sometimes I only resort to disconnecting myself. I arrive home and leave all devices behind. I don’t have Discord, Slack, Mail, MeisterTask, Harvest, nor Trello on my cell phone. I take in the responsibilities that I can take in, and I’m smart about my strengths and skills. That’s why we are a team, we need to lean on others for the machine to work, and that for me is the greatest mitigation of stress.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mercedes Lerena: Imagine the title that groups us together is “NetSuite Service Providers”, then our competitors are thousands: multinational consultancies, NetSuite associated digital agencies, boutique local and regional businesses working with NetSuite and other technologies, boutique businesses that only work with a handful of NetSuite clients and that’s what they need to maintain a small team working full time.
We compete with all, but it wouldn’t be fair to say they are all our competitors. It depends on who we want to reach and how. With multinational consultancies, we try to create alliances, and we are their development team, they work out the client relationship. Digital agencies do compete with us, but only when it comes to eCommerce clients. Broken Rubik does much more. For each example, we have a strategy and an objective. Our actual competitor would be a company that has the same answers to the same type of businesses. We haven’t found any yet.
Your final thoughts?
Mercedes Lerena: This space to reflect on what this year has meant through answering your questions has been really enriching for me, thanks very much for it!
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