Asked to recall the experience of stepping into a CFO role for the first time, Nicole Anasenes doesn’t mince words.
“It’s a very lonely, scary moment,” comments Anasenes, as she considers her early days at technology company Infor—a CFO appointment that preceded more recent CFO engagements at Squarespace and now technology firm Ansys.Read More
“If only someone would have told me how lonely it feels to make certain decisions—you can bounce ideas off people, but you are the ultimate decision-maker,” continues Anasenes, who says that, looking back, she may have been able to ease some of the decision-making concerns if she had had a broader professional network to which to turn.
“I happened to have been lucky that Charles Philips, the CEO of Infor, was a financially savvy person, but since then, I’ve built a much broader network of people and a framework for how to have these types of conversations in which you don’t divulge the specifics concerning your company but get the mentoring and support that you need,” remarks Anasenes, who prior to entering the CFO office at Infor spent more 14 years at IBM Corp., where she last served as CFO of the tech giant’s middleware group.
“I learned very quickly after leaving IBM that you need to be open to networks and different types of networks,” explains Anasenes, before adding that her appetite for networking has grown along with her CFO talent development responsibilities.
“You are only good as the talent you attract, retain, and are able to keep engaged, so my relationship with the executive search community is quite broad,” she notes. –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Ansys. What does this company do and what are its offerings today?
Anasenes: Ansys is a leader in engineering simulation software. What we do is to help companies around the world develop products that you rely on every day. Pretty much no matter what you may touch, Ansys software probably had something to do with building it—everything from mobile devices to cars to airplanes to, frankly, everything in between. Our customers use our software to design their products in the digital domain on their computers.Read More
A lot of product development used to happen with physical prototyping. Remember the clay models on cars or those types of things? But because the world is becoming increasingly complex with the intersection of the digital and the physical world, it is almost impossible to continue to innovate at the same innovation rate and pace and cycle without the use of simulation, so what our products do is enable our customers to create this virtual world and simulate instead of prototype.
We have the best, deepest, and broadest technology in this space and a really large mode around us. My priorities are really around helping Ansys get to the next level. We’ve been working toward a goal of $2 billion of annual contract value in 2022. We’re on track to hit that goal, and we’re excited about this. But that’s next year, and so now we have to start planning for the next chapter. How do we get to $5 billion? How do we get to $10 billion? This is really the focus that we have today, which begins with thinking about how the business is going to evolve. How is it going to change? How are customers going to consume our products in different ways?
Then, given how this experience is going to change for our customers over time, what do we need to do to ensure that we are operationalizing the business to support it? You don’t want the operations of the business to ever get in the way of the opportunity. This is really where our focus is—to channel the priorities of the actions that we can take to make the biggest impact to get us to that next point.
Ansys | www.ansys.com | Canonsburg, PA