From a one-person team to a top tech business team - by Hyeongtae Um , Lead Tech Business Developer
Q. Hello, Mr. Hyeongtae, please introduce yourself.
A. My name is Uhm Hyeongtae, and I work as a lead in the Tech Business Development (TBD) team at Elice.
Q. Mr. Hyeongtae, you joined Elice from another company, what made you decide to join us and what are the characteristics of Elice compared to your previous company?
An acquaintance of mine who works at Elice suggested I try working at a good place and have fun. I then went through the recruitment process and joined.
I’ve worked at startups before, so I’m familiar with the work environment. However, at Elice, I have much more autonomy and the work is well suited to my aptitude. In terms of career, I think there is a lot of room for growth. As time goes by, I realize the importance of software training.
Q. You are the TBD team lead at Elice, please describe your role.
I am in charge of business-to-business (B2B) and government business (B2G). In B2B, I find companies that would be interested in our courses and propose training. In B2G, we plan software and AI workforce training projects for government departments such as the Ministry of Science and ICT, Ministry of Employment and Labor, Ministry of Health and Welfare, and local governments such as Seoul, Busan, and Gwangju.
Q. Elice is gradually expanding into education and testing, why is that?
When I joined the company, the TBD team didn’t exist and I was the only one in the sales team, and I was the only one who researched and wrote proposals for the government’s education service projects. In corporate training, many companies contacted us first because of our excellent content and technology, but even if they agreed that they needed training, they didn’t have specific needs, so I acted as a consultant to define exactly the problem they were facing and provide solutions. As we trained, our services gradually diversified: we needed a scale to evaluate our training capabilities, and we developed a coding test function while communicating with the development team. Competitions were added in a similar vein. In this way, as we planned and discovered businesses and services that didn’t exist before, we thought of a team name that captured our work, and "Business Development" was born. In terms of organization, the scope of the team also expanded as the operations team was added to handle the operations of the trainings we received.
Since our team manages everything from business development to training operations, everyone is a PM, and we’ve created an environment where team members can grow quickly as their roles and responsibilities grow.
Q. The TBD team needs to identify competitive new business opportunities. I believe that business plans and proposals are important for Elice as we are involved in government business as well as corporate business. Do you have a strategy for this?
The most important thing is to look at the business from a corporate or government perspective. First of all, you need to identify their pain points - what are their goals, what are their problems, etc. The key is to deliver exactly what they want, so I format it in a way that solves their pain points and conveys what works within their budget. This is where we do our research and make sure that it reveals the points of differentiation for Elice compared to the competition.
Q. The TBD team also organizes project based learning (PBL) using data, so I know you’re tech savvy. As a tech business developer, do you think it’s necessary to have a good technical understanding, and do you make any effort to do so?
There is a lot of learning by doing. We have a different point of view than developers. We focus on the expected effect of the technology rather than understanding the technology like developers. What is more important than the exact description of the technology is the result after introducing the technology, so we focus on how the AI technology is applied to innovate, increase productivity, etc.
I learned a lot from Jae-won, who is the CEO, because I had a lot of opportunities to sell with him when there was no sales team. Jae-won is a doctoral student in AI, so I learned the technical part, but I was able to learn various aspects of the business. Now, we have a lot of talented people who majored in business administration, big data, and so on. All of them have a good understanding of the software industry, so the company has grown a lot while incorporating new ideas into the business. In fact, Elice is ranked number one in the B2B sector.
As I believe that Elice will grow even more in the future, I want to improve myself in many ways. I want to continue to grow in my learning about products and services, my presentation skills, and my persuasive communication.
Q. You have a lot of repeat business, to the point where it’s been said that ‘there’s no place I’ve worked that hasn’t done an Elice training, but there’s rarely a place that hasn’t done it once.’ Is there anything unique about Elice?"
I don’t think that once the training is over, it’s over. I’m constantly thinking about what else I can offer. *I’m constantly looking for additional opportunities to upsell: coding tests after training, data analytics after Python training, artificial intelligence after PBL training, etc. I emphasize the opportunities that come with expanding their DX footprint, becoming more competitive, etc. I use Elice to convince them with objective and effective results.
There are two ways to do DX. There are two ways to do DX: hire DX experts or external consulting, or build internal DX capabilities. The truth is, not only is it hard to hire DX talent, but it’s in your best interest to empower your employees. Employees have on-the-job skills and domain knowledge, and because Elice is programmed by interacting with the instructor rather than being taught in a one-directional lecture, employees can actually improve their DX skills.
- Upsell: A sales strategy that encourages customers to purchase additional products or utilize higher-level services in addition to their previous purchases.
Q. TBD has produced many squad leaders such as Yonghyun and Jiwan. Why do you think you have so many talented team members? What are the qualities of a leader that you need to encourage the growth and development of your team members?
I’m lucky to have great teammates, and of course the job itself is fascinating. In terms of what I’ve done to help, I’ve tried to create an environment where my teammates are self-motivated - I’ve delegated entire projects to them after thinking about how they could use their planning skills. Giving them full control has maximized their intrinsic motivation and they’ve taken the initiative.
In addition to the existing team organization, Elice also has a squad organization that has been reorganized into core project units. Yonghyun and Jiwan, who are part of our team, have been selected as squad leaders. I always tell them to give their team members a lot of authority. I think that when you create an environment where they have enough ownership, they feel more responsible and rewarded, and their performance improves.
Q. Elice is a fast-growing company, can you tell us why?
First and foremost, our products and services are outstanding. It’s hard to explain a product or service without being convinced of it yourself. I think there are two motivations for starting a company: entrepreneurship or solving an existing problem. Elice was born out of research into effective software training methods, so I truly believe in the value of our solution. It’s different because the three founders solved an uncomfortable problem themselves. As confident as we are in our technology, we’re always looking for ways to showcase its intrinsic value.
Q. Recently, the business development team has been winning large-scale business. You must have had many experiences in overcoming difficulties in the process. Please tell us about your memorable experiences.
The most rewarding experience was winning a business in a fierce competition. The Gwangju A.I. Academy project that we recently won is a typical example. As it is a project that Gwangju Metropolitan City and the A.I. Industry Convergence Center are promoting with 15.6 billion won, 10 teams including large companies participated, and we won the project with pride. We had a lot of internal concerns because it was such a large project, and we were expecting strong candidates and a difficult review, but I was confident that we would receive a good evaluation because I believed in our stable education operation capabilities, curriculum know-how, and innovative platform that we have accumulated over the years.
Above all, we created a customized strategy that suited the nature of our local flagship business. We presented job placement rates, AI certification acquisition rates, and intellectual property applications, and planned to raise our targets every year through a process of performance analysis and improvement. In addition, we proposed a plan to create a local AI business ecosystem by training 50% of our graduates to become local residents in order to contribute to the development of the local economy. I believe this strategy was well received and helped us win the order.
Q. Please tell us about your business vision and dreams for Elice in the future.
I want to further establish ourselves in the B2B and B2G space. In B2B, we train almost all of the top 20, but I want to expand our reach to small and mid-sized companies. In B2G, I’d like to collaborate with more government departments and agencies, and I’d like to go a step further and develop our pre-sales capabilities to propose new trainings. I’d also like to expand our business scope and go global, such as the US and Southeast Asia, to create more market opportunities.
Personally, I want to grow as a DX expert, moving from a role of selling training and coding tests to a consulting expert who solves problems faced by companies and government officials based on my specialized knowledge.
Q. What would you like to say to those who applied to Elice Business Development?
Elice is going where no one else has gone before in the education space, so we welcome people who are quick to learn and adapt and have a strong desire to grow. Flexibility and a sense of urgency are also a plus.
Knowledge of technology is not a requirement; what is important is that you are open to developing new business. We need people on our team who take ownership of their work and pioneer their own work. It would be a plus if you can see the problems our customers have from their perspective.
*This content is a work protected by copyright law and is copyrighted by Elice.
*The content is prohibited from secondary processing and commercial use without prior consent.