Most people don’t think of the US Army and the business world as having a lot in common, but Brad Scott says they’re essentially the same. He’s had ample opportunity to notice the similarities as a former combat arms officer and now president and chief operations officer at Epiq Systems, a leading global provider of technology solutions for electronic discovery, bankruptcy, and class action administration. “You can win or lose on leadership,” Scott says. “There’s a very significant focus on leadership in the army, and that’s a challenge for an army officer very early in their career, so first and foremost, the army’s about people. I happen to think business is, first and foremost, about people as well.”
In addition to leadership, technology also plays a large role in the army, Scott says, so it’s no surprise that he’s applied skills obtained from both experiences to his work at the provider of technology solutions.
“At West Point, I learned about the principles and tenets of war and things like speed, math, and agility. That’s also very important today in this business,” Scott says. “Every day I deal with the idea of speed in a technology-enabled business. Speed is very important. Business opportunities come and go in a very short period of time, so that’s very important to us.”
“Strategy is more about what you’re going to decide not to do than what you decide to do. . . . How do you get to a strategic point with as much of your resources as possible?”
People do associate the military with strategy, and Scott says that’s equally important when running a business. “Strategy is more about what you’re going to decide not to do than what you decide to do,” Scott says. “When you look at all the things you can do and all the ways you can attack your market, you can only do a few of those things, and that’s about mass. How do you get to a strategic point with as much of your resources as possible?”
A major part of Scott’s strategy focuses on the needs of his clients. He sees business as solution-oriented, which significantly impacts how he runs Epiq Systems. “When I was at IBM, there was a consultant that worked with us, and he would talk about the idea of serving your client’s client, and I think we focus on that,” Scott says. “If you have a relationship with your client, you’re better able to understand their actual needs as they’re serving their client, and therein lies the opportunity for solutions.”
Scott also sees a strong connection between marketing and a solution-oriented approach to serving clients. “It’s really part of marketing and creating a demand, because if you can really understand your client’s client needs and what’s happening in their place, it gives you a step up,” Scott says. “It brings you to a quicker solution, and it might be that you have something before your client even asks for it—one of the tenets of marketing and creating demand.”
This kind of approach to marketing and client services can create big advantages for the company. “Sometimes little solutions can have a big impact on our success, particularly with client satisfaction,” Scott says. “So it’s not only providing service in what could be somewhat of a commoditized business. It goes beyond that to what creates a different relationship.”
Another goal in client services is the expansion of Epiq’s global reach. One of the ways Scott and his team have accomplished this mission is by acquiring Iris Data Services, a managed services provider. “That really has brought to us this whole concept of managed services with a global footprint,” Scott says. “As a result of this acquisition, we can now fully service more clients in more places throughout the world than any other provider.”
With technology increasing market globalization, awareness of client needs and the ability to create specialized solutions are more important than ever, according to Scott.
“We really do need to be where our clients need us to be,” Scott says. “The whole idea of laws and regulations around data and data privacy makes it very important to have a physical presence in various regions of the globe. That larger footprint is something that differentiates us.”
Scott also stresses the importance of communication among your team. “What is the road map? How are we going to get there? Who has what explicit responsibilities? What are our dependencies with each other?” Scott asks. “That has a lot to do with how quick you are execute in the marketplace.”