Kerem Koca is an industry pioneer in digital transformation and cloud-native data analytics (“Data Cloud”) implementation and consulting services, co-founding Blue.cloud (formerly Bluenet) in 2004. Today Blue.cloud enables enterprises to seamlessly transform to cloud which has become an essential service for start-ups, mid-market companies, and Fortune 500 enterprises alike during the pandemic.
Kerem and Blue.cloud’s vision is at the forefront of the Digital Transformation movement and have experienced tremendous growth since March 2020 including growing their team headcount by 5x and increasing revenue by 400 percent on a quarterly run-rate basis. Kerem’s proven track record of building teams that deliver superior and actionable Information Technology solutions positively affects the bottom line profitability of Blue.cloud’s clients.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Kerem Koca: My name is Kerem Koca and I am the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Blue.cloud – a cloud-only digital transformation company. I grew up in Istanbul and after working for Deloitte in Canada, I moved to Tampa, FL and founded Bluenet Technologies in 2004 which would eventually become Blue.cloud. For over 17 years, I’ve been focused on delivering digital transformation strategies to enterprises which makes me a bit of an industry pioneer in the space.
Since March 2020, we have experienced rapid growth including growing our team headcount by 5x and increasing revenue by 400 percent on a quarterly run-rate basis. Blue.cloud is currently observing increased demand from verticals including financial services, insurance, and compliance. We are currently focused on executing long-term, transformational cloud solutions for enterprises well beyond the pandemic-fueled transition to digital.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Kerem Koca: My father was a top judge who became the Senior Justice in my hometown of Istanbul and although he very much enjoyed being in public service, he had always encouraged me to become an entrepreneur. I really did not know what being a business owner entailed at the time but I knew politics and government work wasn’t for me.
The transition happened for me when I was 25 years old and working for Deloitte in Toronto. I established my own company at a time when entrepreneurship wasn’t nearly as glorified as it was today. The corporate trajectory was still very much celebrated and my supervisors highly discouraged me from taking the leap. Fast forward to 2021 and I’ve been enjoying the ride ever since.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Kerem Koca: Back in 2011, I was experiencing major burnout and took a 7-year break to travel the world. During my travels, I hiked the Chitwan trail in Nepal, ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven consecutive days, and trained hundreds of hours in Ashtanga Yoga. The experience gave me the energy and inspiration to return and build the digital transformation company that Blue.cloud is today.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Kerem Koca: An entrepreneur is someone who creates a new business to realize an innovative idea and assumes the risk for its success or failure.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Kerem Koca: In Digital Transformation, we are always striving to build a culture of innovation through realigning an internal organization’s core values, mission and vision. Employees are the focus during this process because they’re ultimately the driving force behind a business’s success so it’s important to create a culture in which they can align with and advocate for on a daily basis, especially with customers. This process translates to improved employee retention as well as increased employee satisfaction and productivity.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Kerem Koca: Attracting and fostering talent is a key disruption strategy that we practice ourselves. When the entire company is empowered to bring new ideas and concepts to the table, the opportunity for disruption is ripe. If executive leadership can create an environment (whether in-office, hybrid or remote) that supports innovative thinking, this will ultimately lead to further improved products and services that drive business success and customer satisfaction. Supporting and developing company talent, defining goals and open collaboration are among the tactics to foster this culture.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Kerem Koca: I use technology to help companies become more successful.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Kerem Koca: I founded Bluenet in 2004 and achieved amazing success with it. Last year, around this time, it was clear to me that I wanted to run a “Cloud Only” organization so, in November 2020, we decided to rebrand as “Blue.Cloud” and shift our company’s focus. Initially, it was a difficult transition but has become the best decision we ever made.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Kerem Koca: Overthinking and overanalyzing previous decisions.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Kerem Koca: “I will sleep when I die”
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Kerem Koca for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Kerem Koca or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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