Behind every successful leader, especially a woman leader, is an inspiring story. Esther Riveroll, Founder and CEO of Alldatum Business, too, has such a story to tell. She has created her own brand by overcoming fear of failure and a string of challenges. And she now takes immense pride in what she has achieved by herself.
“It makes me proud that I created Alldatum 6 years ago all by myself, with my two millennian children as my shareholders, and that we are now collaborating with customers outside Mexico City, including in Peru, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, United States, and there more countries to come,” Esther says. “It also makes me proud to know that our clients trust Alldatum and recommend us because of our work.”
Foundation of Alldatum Business
One of the Technologies companies where Esther was working as CEO at its Mexico office was acquired by two investment funds in 2015, and they closed thirty direct offices worldwide, including the office in Mexico. Esther found herself among those who were going to be unemployed, but then, fortunately, an opportunity arose: to continue selling their solutions in Mexico as a business partner. “That is how I jumped in to create Alldatum,” says Esther.
After founding the company, she began looking for the best alliances, those whose principles and values matched hers and who could make them and their partner successful. She also began to look for the best solutions that could help them support their customers to be successful in their businesses and technological strategies.
At the beginning of 2018, Esther searched the market for that solution by taking the help of Gartner Magic Quadrant. She found the right company, sent a LinkedIn message to the Founder and CEO of Orchestra Networks and traveled to New York to meet them. France-based Orchestra Networks had developed a platform that gave a lot of value to data management strategy and not just MDM. “I liked the solution very much,” Esther says. “And, as I also liked the vision of the company and their executives, I became their partner and opened the market for them in México City and Central America.”
Esther introduced Orchestra EBX in México and Central América in 2018, and in 2019, Tibco acquired Orchestra Networks. Alldatum now has a partner relationship with Tibco.
Alldatum Business and Its Services
Alldatum Business helps customers derive value from their information, and it collaborates with them to refine and improve their data strategy. As a business partner, the company accompanies its customers on their path toward a successful digital transformation by helping them extract value from their data, as well as respond to the challenges presented by the digital economy and data management initiatives.
Esther explains that they help companies obtain the best information from their systems and create a vision of the data they do not have today but need for future growth. In addition, they also create value with this data and share this data with the lines of business and the analytical area to make better decisions. “We transform the data into wisdom for the companies,” adds Esther.
Data integration solutions, Data Quality solutions, Data Management Consultancy, Data Governance, Catalog, Metadata and Lineage, Big Data Strategies, Cybersecurity, and Analytics are some of the services offered by Alldatum.
Data projects are not only technological projects. Esther points out that many customers need help in understanding data and identifying the best strategy to get value from it. Sometimes their first pain is about the silos and integration of their information; sometimes they do not have the data they need; sometimes they are experiencing internal political situations that are difficult to manage; owners may also not want to share the data; sometimes data is of poor quality. Hence, Esther sees data projects as business projects.
Such projects are not limited to buying a platform. They involve collaborating with customers and understanding where they are on their Data management components strategy, and create a plan with them to gain quick wins and value and move forward to become a “Data-Driven Company.”
Data projects entail people, analyzing current and future roles, understanding what is not working as a best practice and what is working, and communicating very well the aspirations. Along with all these, Esther says that it should be part of the company’s conscience that to have the right data is not the responsibility of IT but the whole company — all are part of it. “And we help our customers in their data strategy,” she adds.
Esther believes that if the customers derive value from their data, they can improve their processes, sell more, reduce operating costs, and be more successful. It will also lead to their need to grow. “We can then participate backstage on the opportunity to create new job opportunities for my Mexicans or in other countries where we work,” Esther says.
She runs the company in collaboration with her son, COO of Alldatum, and daughter, who is in charge of their digital marketing and social media. Alldatum is her legacy for her two children, and she is committed to creating with them the best company.
Life Before Alldatum
At 18, Esther started working as an administrative assistant in the Collective Transport System (Metro). When she was doing this job, she realized that she wanted more than it offered. “I wanted to lead and impact the world,” says Esther.
At that time, she also worked as an aerobics instructor to help her family. For three hours daily, Esther would teach using innovative routines and different music and motivate her class full of men and women. She was passionate about this job, and she tried to make her lessons enjoyable for her clients. “I learned that when you are happy and passionate about what you are doing, no one can stop you,” says Esther, who, at the time, dreamed of opening a gym.
Esther had to stop her aerobics classes following a car accident. It made her realize that she should focus more on her studies, mathematics, and computer science career. She says that sometimes life happens, so one can take the path where their mission is.
When she was in the last semester, Esther began to ask around, “which is the most important tech company?” The answer was IBM. A friend’s sister helped her submit her application form to the company, which led to her joining a program (scholarship) at IBM.
Esther describes IBM as a “very paternalistic company,” where she did not face any discrimination. She learned a lot while working for this tech giant. Along with gaining tech expertise, she also equipped herself with soft skills such as management, negotiation, sales, coaching, and culture. One day at IBM, Esther asked her manager, “What do I have to do to become a manager?” She accomplished the objectives assigned and soon became a manager.
“Everything I experienced before Alldatum was what prepared me to run Alldatum and to be where we are now,” Esther says. “I’m grateful to each of the people who were a part of my career, even those who made it difficult for me.”
She learned that the important thing during one’s professional career was to create their own brand — how they want customers, peers, managers, and employees, to see them. Esther also imbibed that it was very important to be always honest, trustable, and live by one’s values.
Plan A and Plan B
Esther did not plunge into entrepreneurship without a backup plan. She had a Plan A and Plan B. Plan A, obviously, was setting up her own company, while Plan B was keeping the option open for an executive position.
As she was scared of failing, Esther had told her headhunter friends not to delete her from their candidate database, and if an opportunity opened up, they should call her just to check out how she was doing. Twice they called her, but she was moving forward and beginning to understand that Alldatum needed time and that she was a fortunate person.
“I started with the right foot, signing a contract with a client who trusted me and who was our godfather, we had a project to work with and begin the journey to grow,” Esther says. She soon realized that plan B was not a good strategy, as she had employees, a customer, and all the experience and capacity to grow with Alldatum.
“I understood that you can always be afraid, but if you overcome it, the rewards can be extraordinary. And if my performance was always excellent, I always achieved my quota, and was a reliable professional in my previous jobs, why couldn´t I do it in my own company,” adds Esther.
She also points out that the first two years were very difficult. They had to take fast and smart decisions, avoid situations, alliances, and persons that were stopping them from growing, and always look for collaboration with the right people and alliances. “I learned that when you are an honest professional who has generated trust and has a positive reputation, people give you the opportunity,” Esther says. “Things are not easy, but when you overcome all the obstacles you grow stronger and stronger.”
She also learned that it was important to be clear about how far one really wants to go and create the best plan. Esther says that one needs to be always open to learning and modifying anything if needed, based on that learning and be humble to receive feedback, and be prepared to adapt and change. “Technology Industry is moving very fast, you need to be as fast as that to adapt your company to the challenges that raises day by day,” she adds.
Definition of a Successful Person
Esther is counted among one of the successful women leaders. She, however, does not define success in terms of persons on top leadership positions or based on millionaire status. Her definition of success goes beyond that. Esther defines a successful person as someone who has a clear objective, the ability to meticulously execute plans to achieve it, and no matter how difficult things are, they never give up, and they accept feedback, learn and improve their process, surpassing themselves step by step to succeed. Such a person can be differentiated from others because excellence is at the core of everything they do.
Often, society measures success by rank. Esther, on the other hand, believes that “small successes are what strengthen your character and push you to move to the next level and improve yourself more and more.”
Like most successful leaders, Esther is an early riser. She wakes up at 5 a.m. and goes for her morning walk, as she believes that it is very important for leaders to meditate and do exercise because that will make them healthy and more productive. After she returns home, she cooks breakfast for her children and then prepares for her workday.
“I do mostly what a CEO does, but as it is my company, I am hands-on about all details, making sure we are on the right path,” Esther says. “I have calls with customers. Now that the pandemic permits us, I visit some customers, travel to other countries to visit customers and events, coach my team, and review the strategy and status of the projects. I review also all matters of operations: processes, finance, HR, etc.”
Additionally, Esther loves to be in action and to lead and share her experiences, coach her team, and help them achieve their goals. She has a packed schedule. So, how does she maintain a work-life balance? Esther recalls that when she worked for IBM, her mom took care of her children. “Sometimes I was so enthusiastic about what I was doing that I would forget about the time, and my mother would always make me return to reality by telling me, I was working too much,” she adds. “From then onwards, now that she is not here, I have my own thermometer and I know when I need to slow down.”
For Esther, balance is “super important.” She points out that sometimes one forgets to enjoy life by dedicating time without limit to the profession. “You must have a thermometer to know when that is happening,” she says. “The thing is that as I enjoy so much working on Alldatum, I enjoy life doing it.” Esther also follows a set of rules.
For example, she is always there to celebrate the birthdays of the important people in her life. She never puts her job first if a personal situation needs her attention. She says that one can delegate or organize to be in that personal situation.
“No matter how much work I have, I do not stop exercising which keeps me alert and happy because I like it,” Esther adds. “I organize my agenda so that I can keep my personal and professional life balanced.” She also tries to always have lunch with her children, and on weekends, she looks forward to spending time with her family and friends, and most importantly, she always seeks to align her priorities correctly.
“My day is busy, but I always have time to enjoy, have fun, and do other things that make me happy and most of all to take time for the important people (my children), family, and friends and align very well with my priorities,” says Esther.
What Is Next?
Esther intends to continue delivering the best solutions and services. She believes that companies that do not innovate will lose momentum, and their competitors will beat them. So, in the future as well, Alldatum will innovate, change as per new realities, and be always updated with new and future technologies and methodologies. Alldatum also plans to conquer markets outside Mexico.
Another priority area for Esther is social work. She notes that technology has left some marginalized people behind, as they do not get the opportunity to understand the digital transformation that is taking place, such as cybersecurity, banking applications on phones; and in Mexico, some people do not have access to computers. “We want to find a way to help all these people and do more social work as well,” Esther adds. “There comes a point when you have the privilege of receiving, you have the responsibility to go back a little and give.”
Esther is also creating a digital connecting woman strategy. They are collaborating with some of their friends on a project to help women gain confidence and help them through their professional careers.
Additionally, Esther and her team plan to continue generating talent and giving opportunities to young people who leave school through their Alldatum Academy. They have a training roadmap for technology as well as for English. Mexico has excellent professionals, but they are not proficient in English, Esther points out, adding that many valuable books on technology is in English. So, they want professionals to improve their English language skills. “English is very important to grow your career,” she adds.
“We are just starting and there is still a lot to do and not only in Mexico, which is my country and I love, but we want to also be able to take our experience to other parts,” Esther says. “The world is our limit.”