Jon Spencer has spent more than a decade working with companies to centralize enterprise-wide automation. When Fortra acquired MVP Systems Software in 2018, he embraced the chance to play a key role in the company’s automation business, with a wealth of new resources and career opportunities to boot. Now director of sales for the Automation business unit, Jon looks back on how open communications helped him feel right at home from day one.
The History of MVP and JAMS
MVP Systems Software was founded in 1985. Its flagship enterprise scheduler, JAMS, gained global traction over the years for its ability to reliably manage critical IT processes from a central dashboard. Thousands of customers look to JAMS to manage, execute, and monitor jobs regardless of the platform or application they run on. Fortra took note and acquired the business in 2018, making it a key part of its automation portfolio alongside its popular Automate solution.
Open Communication Makes for an Effective Acquisition
Jon says the acquisition went well and credits the Fortra leadership team with establishing open lines of communication and a positive tone. “I really connected with senior leadership,” he remembers. “They did a really good job of making us comfortable with the whole transition. From the beginning, the leadership team was communicative and open to hearing from our team. They wanted us to keep doing what we were doing successfully, while looking for areas of the business where JAMS could be introduced.”
The JAMS business accelerated as part of the Fortra Automation portfolio. “We didn't miss a beat acquiring new customers or taking care of our existing customer base,” Jon says. “I fell in love with the business, its operating model, the leadership approach, and the culture.”
Jon describes his JAMS brethren as being highly driven individuals who excelled in a startup environment. Together, they had built JAMS into a recognizable brand. “Everyone was hardworking and willing to go the extra mile to ensure the business was successful,” he says. “We were a tightknit group of professionals. The growth was rapid, but we had a lot of fun, too.”
Fortunately for Jon and the JAMS team, the two cultures clicked immediately, especially when it came to work ethic. “I haven't met anybody who didn't completely blow me away,” he says of his experience at Fortra. “The passion is way up there, and it's because people feel like they can own the work they're doing.”
The Value of an Expanded Automation Portfolio
As part of Fortra, some of Jon’s former competitors became his coworkers. He points to the wealth of opportunity to collaborate with the sales directors from other Fortra businesses. “The cross selling program is tremendous,” he says of the company’s enviable automation portfolio, which spans both enterprise job scheduling and robotic process automation.
Jon and his team have worked closely with customers to evaluate automation options as their business and technology needs change. “Having a centralized platform to run automation from, even if it’s automation related to another Fortra product, puts us in a really strong position compared to our competitors.”
Jon’s Career Journey
Jon joined MVP in May 2011 as an account rep and quickly moved into sales leadership, where he stayed after the acquisition. “When we were acquired, I was happy with the position I was in,” he recalls. “I was leading a small team of JAMS reps while overachieving for my target in my territory in 2019 and 2020.”
The rapid growth of the Fortra business led to the opportunity for Jon to focus solely on sales leadership, and he was promoted to manage both the JAMS and Automate sales teams. “Fortra invested in me,” he says. “I started focusing on learning leadership skills, and the Fortra tuition reimbursement program covered the costs of situational leadership training, which was very helpful.”
Defined Career Paths and Ongoing Growth
“Our business continues to grow,” he says. “There have been more promotions than I can keep up with. We’ve had folks from support join the services team or be promoted to lead it. We’ve had employees move into development roles. My sales team continues to hit milestones, and there’s room for growth and promotion within that team. I think the future is wide open for anyone who wants to progress in their career here.”
In fact, Jon is thrilled with the focus Fortra puts on employee wellbeing and development. He believes employees have a clear understanding of their options and the steps and goals they need to achieve in order to advance. “The leadership team does a great job helping employees understand their potential career paths,” he says. “We have a culture that rewards employees who really give their all. There’s plenty of room for advancement in this business, and I feel like Fortra employees know and appreciate that.”
The Future of JAMS
Jon describes the future of JAMS within Fortra as “up and to the right!” He says, “This business has been growing considerably and gracefully since I joined in 2018. I expect Fortra to continue its focus on providing the best customer experience possible, and I’m pleased to be a part of that.”