By James Elrick
Good news. FreeBalance President & CEO Manuel Pietra is an awards finalist for the OCRI Next Generation Executive Award. OCRI is Ottawa’s economic development agency. It is the rallying point to bring business, education, research and talent together to create the winning economic conditions that allow Ottawa’s knowledge-based companies to thrive locally and compete globally. OCRI promotes sustainable economic development to maintain Ottawa’s high quality of life.
This award recognizes an individual who has had a significant impact on the success and/or transformation of their organization as a direct result of their leadership. The winner will be announced at the OCRI Awards on April 7, 2011 at the Hilton Lac Leamy. Here are reasons why Manuel is an awards finalist:
In 2006, Pietra brought international experience to FreeBalance and introduced a new management team. FreeBalance was restructured into a global customer-centric company with a focus on government financial sustainability. The company added new customers in Canada, Pakistan, Panama, Palestine, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, and Liberia.
Pietra developed a unique approach to involve customers in the product development process, including the FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC). The steering committee is all about the government customers. FISC is an opportunity for public financial managers to share lessons learned. To discuss emerging trends. And, to set company direction. This is necessary for a customer-centric approach.
With the introduction of a new business strategy and customer-centric approach, FreeBalance is growing at a rate of 18-20% per year. And, the third quarter in 2010 has been the best in the company history. Global employee growth has kept pace as FreeBalance has been actively hiring to support the growing customer base.
FreeBalance customers span the globe and the user community includes public financial management (PFM) professionals in 18 countries, including Afghanistan, Canada, Iraq, Kosovo, Mongolia, Pakistan, Panama, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, and Timor-Leste among others. FreeBalance has more than 60,000 users around the world. FreeBalance software manages a global civil service workforce of 1.5 million and also manages a quarter trillion ($US) annual budgets worldwide.
Pietra realized that values were important to sustain long-term corporate success. Effective PFM transforms countries. He implemented the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) philosophy at the core to the company mission. Global citizenship commits FreeBalance to international country development, knowledge sharing and service improvement.
Since 2006, Pietra has ensured that FreeBalance offers leading-edge technology that uses sustainable and proven open-source middleware and modern component-level Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).
Unlike competitors, FreeBalance does not hide old technology with a web “wrapper”. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite is pure web. FreeBalance technology is optimized for government needs for scalability, usability and maintainability. FreeBalance software is built with reusable PFM components. This lowers total cost of ownership (TCO) for government customers and makes the technology more extensible. FreeBalance leverages technology best practices to achieve technology leapfrog over our competitors. FreeBalance offers full support for any commercial technology stack, so FreeBalance can support customer requirements with both open source and commercial technology.