Bluenet's leadership team has evolved over the years, but the core has been unchanged from the start. No matter the supporting cast, the consistency and loyalty at the top provides a sense of continuity to the rest of the team.
Hilmi Ozturk, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Bluenet, brings over 20 years of IT experience in Business Analytics (BA) and Data Warehousing across a wide range of industries. Ozturk played a significant role in establishing Bluenet’s “Managed Services and Business Analytics (BA)” service line and overseeing the firm’s strategic partnership with IBM. In his current role, he continues to lead Bluenet in its progression into new emerging technologies such as Open BA, Cloud-Based BA, and Big Data solutions.
Ozturk is keen on “service quality” and believes in long-term partnerships with customers, the two cornerstones of the Bluenet Service Delivery Team.
Before Bluenet, Ozturk worked for Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and Apple, managing large global IT implementation projects. He has earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Science from Anadolu University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas.
Q: As the Co-Founder of Bluenet, how did it all start?
A: It all started back in December 2004 when each of the founding partners of Bluenet were working as “independent” consultants. Each founding partner was already operating as a one-man shop consulting entity. In 2004, we decided to unite our forces, our complimentary technology experiences along with our client portfolio to establish Bluenet. Prior to Bluenet, each founding partner had experiences in working for large consulting companies like Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, etc. By leveraging our experiences gained from these large consulting companies, the culture we wanted to establish and offer to our client was the agility of a smaller consulting firm while retaining the stability of a larger firm.
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment here at Bluenet?
A: The proudest accomplishment of Bluenet is its client retention ratio over the years. We have clients in our portfolio where we have been rendering services since our establishment back in 2004. It is an unheard of story in the consulting world that a single service provider continuously engages with its client over 17 years. We accomplish these long-term partnerships with our clients by maintaining our service quality and also focusing on bottom line improvements. Interestingly, Bluenet’s existing clients are also the number one source of Bluenet’s new client referral. More than half of our new clients are direct referrals to Bluenet from our existing client portfolio.
Q: What makes Bluenet unique?
A: Bluenet truly distinguishes itself in the marketplace via its unique Service Delivery mechanism. We are not one of those traditional consulting companies where client relationships are mandated with the duration of any given project. Our service delivery has 3 pillars: Quality of Services, Repeatability of Services, and Ensuring that our Services produce “measurable” bottom line improvements for our client.
Bundling these 3 aspects in our service delivery model truly distinguishes us from our competition. We position ourselves as a natural extension to our client’s IT organization so that they can focus on their core business rather than worrying about the technological aspects of their data analytics platforms. We enable required data and analytics infrastructure for our clients and they simply leverage that infrastructure to conduct their core business in a more efficient and effective way. That is our secret sauce.
Q: What do you think is going to be the “next big thing” in data analytics?
A: Obviously migrating from on-prem data analytics and cloud-based data analytics is already happening in our market. We strongly believe that this will further open the door for more advanced analytics capabilities such as Artificial Intelligence (A/I), Machine Learning (ML), Big Data Analytics and Search Based Analytics. That will be the trend and next big thing in Data Analytics.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work to destress?
A: I like watching the European Soccer League and playing golf.
Q: What did you want to be as a child?
A: Civil Engineer, I wanted to build large dams and bridges. In fact, I have my bachelors degree in Civil Engineering but never had a chance (not yet) to practice. My technical background and dot.com boom taking place in the mid-90s brought me into the IT world..
Based in Tampa, FL, Şükrü Tutak is one of the co-founders and managing directors at Bluenet. Şükrü brings over 20 years of experience in data and business analytics solutions, including enterprise performance management, enterprise data architecture, operational reporting, advanced analytics, and visualizations. He also frontiers the company's efforts to develop and grow Bluenet's expertise in new technologies and solutions, including cloud strategies and data science fields. Şükrü's previous work has been recognized in various case studies and success stories which continuously focused on positive customer relationships. Prior to founding Bluenet, Şükrü worked as a consultant in the areas of Business Intelligence, Management Information Systems, and Business Development.
Q: Tell us more about your journey at Bluenet…
A: Prior to Bluenet, I had only a couple of years of working experience. Therefore, I can safely say Bluenet has been my entire professional career. At a very young age, I took the risk with Hilmi to start Bluenet, giving up my corporate America career. As a result, I grew as Bluenet grew. I learned as Bluenet learned. Bluenet’s growing pains were my pains and my success was Bluenet’s success. Today, we are a much bigger family, and I am very proud to see how Bluenet is still growing and becoming a better company for all our employees, partners and customers.
Q: What is your vision for Bluenet?
A: My vision for Bluenet is to be a company where other professionals will have the compassion to join us and have the opportunity take it to the next steps. I want to see Bluenet’s name become a legacy in the IT Services industry, synonymous with the quality of its people.
Q: When it comes to your work, what or who inspires you?
A: People making real-life positive impacts for other people really inspire me. Two of these people are Dr. Ozlem Tureci and Prof. Ugur Sahin, co-founders of BioNTech, the company which came up with a great vaccine against COVID19. With their mRNA vaccine, millions of people’s lives were saved all around the world. They are both coming from immigrant families in Germany. Against all the odds they’ve achieved this tremendous success in their lives. In addition to that they also provided millions of free doses of vaccine to underdeveloped countries. This kind of success and giving back to people really inspires me at work every single day.
Q: What advice would you give to organizations looking for data and business analytics solutions?
A: Data and Analytics projects are usually considered as complex projects, as there are many stakeholders involved. My biggest advice would be that they should think simple and take one step at a time. In a project of this scale, it is impossible to plan everything from the beginning. So, rather than planning small details at the beginning, I would suggest they think simple, act quickly and expand as you deliver value.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A: I am excited to meet with new clients, be part of new projects, and work on things that will make Bluenet a better company where our employees will be proud to work at.
Q: What Bluenet value do you identify with the most?
A: It is not a value per se but being agile is what I see in myself and in the company as a commonality. As a value, I would say being respectful to our employees and customers is the Bluenet value that I identify myself with the most.
Nergis Sarsilmaz is Bluenet's acting VP of Resource Management, bringing over 20 years of experience in Sales, Customer Service, Banking, Business Development, and Resource Management to the team. She leads Bluenet's Resource Management Division, helping deliver IT staffing solutions to our clients. Her work was integral to the Wachovia – Wells Fargo merger, and for years, she served as a member of the Wells Fargo leadership council in Tampa Bay. In her previous role with Pinpoint IT Services, she worked as a Business Development Manager, growing client and consultant portfolios, improving customer satisfaction, and collaborating with recruiters to provide IT staffing and project solutions.
Sarsilmaz graduated from Anadolu University with a BS in Biology. Alongside her other experiences, she is a certified Scrum Master and is pursuing a master’s degree in Management and Systems at NYU.
Q: What attracted you to Bluenet?
A: There are a variety of different elements that attracted me to this role. One of the key elements that appealed to me is that I had been watching two of my good friends, visionary leaders, build a successful company over the years. I was thrilled to join when offered the opportunity. I knew I would be a great fit within the company culture since I would have the chance to work with such a progressive and collaborative team. I knew for a fact that this role would also allow me to progress in my career and develop my skills in various areas.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of working at Bluenet?
A: The variability and the changing dynamics of the work environment of my job are what get me up in the morning. It is constantly evolving, and I get a front-row seat watching the process of our success in helping our clients every day. Every day is unique, and it is a constant adventure. I have a great degree of control and freedom within my job. I work full-time on a flexible schedule, and Hilmi and Sukru trust me to produce high-quality work and results. I work hard to maintain that level of trust, which keeps me engaged and excited.
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: I stopped trying to figure out what kind of leader I should be and focused on what kind of leader people need once I learned that "one size does not fit all." Applying one leadership style to every person and expecting positive results does not work; I learned that the hard way. I firmly believe that all leadership styles can be great — in the right situation. Contrary to popular belief, I would argue that there isn't a leadership style that guarantees success. Therefore, I quickly learned that trying to label yourself within a single leadership style is not the way. Leadership is much more complicated than that. I like to be fluid in my approach and adapt my leadership style to the situation. My goal is to become the person our team needs me to be at that moment. I suggest you don’t ask our team about my leadership though. :)
Q: How do you know the “right” candidate?
A: Over the years, I learned to follow my instincts and use the interview time effectively to get to know the person on a holistic scale. I purposefully choose not to have much structure since it does not allow for a personal connection. My interviews are conversational, and I love to enable the conversation to unfold organically. Most crucially, I advocate for a good mix of technical and soft skills in every employee. I believe a good combination of both skills arms them with the right tools to succeed in their roles. That is why I tend to overwhelmingly value soft skills at the same level as — if not more than — technical skills.
Q: What is one rule you live by?
A: Have a positive mindset! Setting a fun-positive example and granting that privilege to others creates a more productive environment.
Q: What do you love about what you do?
A: I have an extensive list to answer this question.
· Collaborating with my best friends every day
· Challenges that I encounter every day, and they all require different solutions
· Helping our clients in distinct aspects of their requests
· The diversity of the work and our team
· The autonomy that I have been granted
· Love the fact that I can laugh and have fun (this might be the most significant point)
I can confidently say that I never work a day in my life as I love what I do!