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Behind The Scenes @ Formus Pro With The Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics – North America

As I say, I’m brand new here at FormusPro (or was when this was written), hired to expand our footprint here in the US with a bit of a mouthful for a job title… “Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics – North America”.

So, for anyone that’s just clicked the link and is reading this, I’m not 100% sure how much of a behind the scenes look this will be at FormusPro as I only started in October but don’t go yet… if you keep reading, you’ll get a pretty good behind the scenes look at myself, which hopefully is just as interesting… I promise!

As I say, I’m brand new here at FormusPro (or was when this was written), hired to expand our footprint here in the US with a bit of a mouthful for a job title… “Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics – North America“.

Simplifying that down, I’m responsible for leading and growing our business here on my home continent, which will include expanding both our client portfolio and our North America team… and if either of those interest you, please reach out to me on LinkedIn.

What did I do before FormusPro you ask?

Well, in one form or another, I’ve been in consulting my entire career, and as it turns out, it’s all revolved around Microsoft.

Starting out, I spent about ten years at Microsoft directly and was actually part of the initial group that was destined to became Microsoft Consulting Services, eventually spending that part of my career leading the national Financial Services practice.

From there, I was part of the team from that created Avanade. In fact, I was the first sales resource in the firm… which coming from Microsoft at the time was a true start up experience for me! During my thirteen years at Avanade, I held several leadership roles, covering client, sales and delivery, including managing the business with our largest global client and also our alliance relationships for all of North America. It was here that I started my Dynamics 365 journey, selling and delivering projects with CRM 1.0!

After Avanade, I took on additional growth roles, leading the global D365 practice for HCL Tech and was COO for several years at Avtex (now part of TTEC).

Most recently, I led the US expansion for Nexer Group, establishing a new company and building their foundational client portfolio and delivery team. In fact, I’m particularly proud of this role as it started from scratch in the US and took it to a place where we built a terrific team, with a client portfolio of nearly $5m annually… all in a really short time frame.

As you can see, Microsoft has been the common thread throughout my entire career and is where my heart lies (and probably always will). I’ve worn a lot of different hats over the years, including sales, delivery and operations etc. Looking back however, I think my favourite roles have been the ones that allowed me to leverage all my experience to drive the  business forward.

Growth can’t happen without a great team, and I think I’ve always done an excellent job of surrounding myself with outstanding resources that make us all successful.

But I’m still the same geek I was when I started out, still love the technology (and embracing the latest & greatest developments) but most of all I love teaming up with Microsoft to find ways to change our clients’ organisations for the better.

I think my favourite thing about working at FormusPro will be that I get to help build our business, both here in the US and globally.

I’ve always found that it’s the journey that is the true reward, and I love that I get to pull from all my past experiences in the industry to help guide us forward.

It helps that there’s a great culture here though.

Being part of an organisation that values and cares for its employees is incredibly important for me. Everyone genuinely enjoys being part of this team, which directly translates into the quality we deliver to our clients.

Being able to use Microsoft tech in innovative ways is crucial… I get really passionate about helping our clients change and improve the world.

As you can imagine, I’ve done a lot with the Microsoft stack over the years, so I thought I’d include a couple of examples, just to highlight how far things have come!

Back when I worked at Microsoft, I led a team that was working with United Airlines. We were developing software that would allow their customers to book flights… are you ready for this… directly on their computers!

No one would think twice about doing that now of course, but trust me, it was absolutely revolutionary back then. In fact, it was the project that started me on my digital transformation road; a road I’m happy to say I’m still on today.

No matter what the project, being able to apply technology in a way that changes a client’s organisation will always be incredibly cool to me.

After that though, I feel the need to give you a more modern example of something I’ve helped build!

Hmmm… One of the more interesting ones was a project for a NonProfit operating in the healthcare space.

They had the challenge of validating that all their providers (doctors and the like) were keeping current with all their various certifications. The requirements were complex and varied by state, and it was an incredibly manual, even paper-based, never-ending process for everyone involved.

Our solution combined Dynamics 365 and Azure to turn this into an automated process. The architecture was a terrific example of the power of AI – an absolute game changer in how the client managed this part of their business.

It’s not all Microsoft tech though. I do have other things I enjoy!

Outside of work I’m a bit of an exercise fanatic; you’ll find my on my Peloton bike every day.

I’m also an eternal optimist when it comes to Chicago sports teams (the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls). I attend whenever I get the chance and, to my mind at least, there’s nothing better than a sunny day at Wrigley Field!

What else? I love to travel with my wife and I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time in the UK now… maybe even beyond that if I’m going to be in that neck of the woods anyway.

What else? I guess I’m a huge music fan and the highlight of my summer in Chicago is always Lollapalooza… I never miss it!

Finally, rounding this interview off, the Marketing team asked me if I could invite any three famous people (alive or dead) to a dinner party, who would it be and why?

What a fantastic idea! Do I actually get to host this? Mind you… I’m not sure some of my guests would be available.

I think my first invite would have to go to José Andrés. He’s a fantastic chef but I think it’s even more impressive as to how he’s used his talent to help out in incredibly challenging situations. Hopefully he’d also help me make the dinner.

Next on the list would be Michael Jordan. I was actually lucky enough to see him in person a few times as he led the Chicago Bulls to the championship six times. I’d want to invite him to dinner, if for no other reason, to thank him for that. That being said, I think he’d also have some amazing insights on how to build a winning team.

My final guest would be Richard Noyce. He invented bot the transistor and founded Intel… so no big deal!

He’s one of those people who have had an outsized impact on all of our day-to-day lives; it’d be fascinating to hear how he started out… See, I told you I was a geek!

Written By:

Todd Johnson
Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics – North America, FormusPro

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