INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Meta – Implementing Technology Solutions that Accelerate Results in the Digital World
Telmo Cost tells us how Meta implements technology solutions that accelerate the digital transformation in the world
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Telmo Cost: I am deeply convinced that together we will overcome this challenge. Nevertheless, the pandemic keeps us still on the alert, so we continue to protect ourselves through rules on hygiene and social distancing as recommended by medical and scientific authorities.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Meta.
Telmo Cost: I am the Founder and CEO of Meta, one of Brazil’s major Technology consultancy. I am also a Member of the YPO – Young Presidents Organization.
I am an entrepreneur who keeps a watchful eye on market demands. I founded Meta in 1990 when I was 24, with a commitment to generating results, differentiating companies, and enhancing customer growth through technology and digital transformation. Over the last three decades, I consolidated the company in the Brazilian market along with my team and expanded the business overseas.
Meta currently has 1,800 employees distributed across Brazil, Canada, and the United States. It was considered one of the technology companies that most grew and innovated in Brazil in recent years (Anuário Informática Hoje – 2020) and was appointed as one of the country’s 20 best large technology companies to work in (Great Place to Work 2020).
I, as one of the industry’s top leaders in Brazil, believe in the power of technology for transforming and boosting results, generating human development, and contributing to the construction of a more sustainable world.
I hold a degree in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Systems Analysis from PUCRS, with a specialization in Marketing. Over my three decades’ career, I have actively contributed to evolving the business environment through voluntary activities linked to entrepreneurship and economic growth. I was also CEO of the Institute for Business Studies (IEE) and of the Rio Grande do Sul Marketing and Sales Managers Association (ADVB/RS), in addition to being a Member of the Competitive Brazil Movement (MBC) and a Member of the Mercosul Biennial Exhibition’s Board of Directors.
How does Meta innovate?
Telmo Cost: Meta implements technology solutions that accelerate the digital transformation in the world, supporting organizations and companies to rethink their business models. The company plans and executes digital transformation projects and ideas from end to end through strategic consultancy, software development, application support, coaching, in addition to the licensing and implementation of SAP platforms, among others.
Since 2000, we have been partners with SAP, with whom we have a relationship of excellence and mutual growth. We even obtained the qualification of another package solution with Meta Run2S4 in 2020, a pre-formatted solution so that customers can acquire knowledge and evaluate the SAP S/4HANA system. The proposal was built considering three options with varied scope, adapted to the different business realities of each client.
Another strategic partner is Scaled Agile, holder of SAFe, the main agile and scale corporate transformation framework in the world. Meta specializes in SAFe, and we use it in our Digital Transformation and Agile projects.
Like SAP and Scaled, we are also partners with Gartner, the internationally renowned Institute for Research and Advice in the field of technology, with whom we discuss intensively the main trends and technological innovations.
We also have an important partnership with Ui Path, the world leader in process automation (RPA). In this alliance, we can count on the expertise of products for process automation through robotization to compose our solutions.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Telmo Cost: In 2020, many businesses of various sizes and niches had to rethink and reorganize themselves in order to remain competitive, and Meta worked intensely so that our customers and their teams overcome the challenges they were going through, with the help of our expertise and our solutions. Of course, we have been impacted by the pandemic, but we count on the commitment of all our people and leaders for this moment. We also have expert advisers in our segment and in business in Brazil and the world, who guide our actions, as well as an executive leadership committee that decides on strategic actions with partners every day, which made us quickly overcome the initial losses arising of the pandemic and return to the path of growth.
As a result of this daily effort, Meta recorded a 51% increase in revenue in 2020, exceeding what we had established for the year, and our customer base increased by 33%.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Telmo Cost: During 2020, still with the pandemic, we managed to collaborate for the transformation and efficiency of our clients’ businesses. This view of the market helped us to continue growing, and with that, we did not have to make delicate decisions in relation to the team. In fact, it was the other way around; we doubled the Meta team to meet the demand with a high level of quality in delivery.
Our greatest learning in this period was how to receive, incorporate and keep new employees at a distance due to social distance. Doubling the team was a great challenge, but we were quickly able to transpose and adapt fully to continue with a hybrid work model even after the pandemic. It is also a milestone for us to keep the Meta culture alive and in practice even in this remote model, demonstrating our strength and power as a company and team.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Telmo Cost: Yes, we do use a model like NPS, but authorial. We developed this system based on the configurations of the most used platforms in the market, but with its own development, which meets the peculiarities of our business and helps us to be more accurate in evaluating the solutions and projects offered and executed for our customers.
We also have service teams focused on day to day and who are able to bring the best solutions and trends to our partners, in addition to having a leadership team very close to customers, something that is still uncommon in the market today, but which is part of of our essence and values of “thinking and acting as owners,” and that we perpetuate within the entire company.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Telmo Cost: No, we do not have any government grants.
Your final thoughts?
Telmo Cost: I think it is worth mentioning that Meta has an international presence. We currently have customers in various parts of the world since Meta was planned to operate remotely, without the need for large physical structures. It is important to emphasize that despite this, we have physical offices in the main international economic centers: the United States (Miami) and Canada (Waterloo, a region known as Canadian Silicon Valley). In Canada, our operation was opened last year, and we already have more than 10 clients in the country. Our goal for this year is to keep growing, exceeding the 51% growth of 2020, and we still intend to triple the size of the operation in the northern hemisphere.
It is also important to emphasize that last year we founded Meta Ventures, a venture capital arm, which was born with the goal of identifying startups with high potential and synergy with our business. With our expertise, relationship, and execution capacity, we want to take them to a level that they would not reach alone.
The company has already invested R$ 3 million in Big Data, Internet of Things, and Marketplace startups and intends to invest more R$ 20 million in similar businesses in the next four years. At the end of 2020, Meta Ventures carried out the “Bring Your Saas Challenge,” which announced the companies Dialog, O2OBOTS, and Manfing as the winning startups. With the achievement, the three champions will have the opportunity to receive an investment from Meta ranging from R$ 500 thousand to R$ 1.5 million once the deal is closed after a series of validations with the investor. The contest had 139 businesses registered with participants from 16 Brazilian states, besides other international registrations.
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