With offices in seven countries, including Thailand, FutureLog specializes in cloud-based procure-to-pay platforms for the hospitality industry. FutureLog’s VP of Operations for Asia Pacific, Franz Lingl, recently sat down with Baan Thai to share his thoughts on attaining success in the Asia-Pacific region, including some of FutureLog’s main challenges, accomplishments, and hopes for the future of the company.
Having established a close relationship with Franz and FutureLog while assisting them with immigration and Board of Investment-related legal matters, we wanted to dive deeper into what this growing business attributes its success to and hear from one of the main players in the field.
Can you tell us a bit about your business and your role as VP of Operations in Asia Pacific?
I work on the technology side of the hospitality industry, with FutureLog providing cloud-based procure-to-pay software to hotels, restaurants, and venues around the globe. I’m responsible for overseeing FutureLog’s operations in Asia, covering two offices currently: our Bangkok office, where I am primarily based, and also our newly opened Singapore office. Having a role in operations means that I’m involved in all aspects of our business — from sales and supporting our customers to budgeting and strategy. HR activities, such as recruitment of new team members, performance reviews, and team development also form part of my role.
Considering all of those responsibilities, you must be under a lot of pressure. How do you cope with this and what motivates you to get up and face new challenges every morning?
I have to say that even though I’ve worked with FutureLog for over 10 years now, each day still brings something different to the table, and I find this incredibly motivating. Whether it’s pitching to a new client for the first time or delivering a new solution to a current customer, there is always something new to learn and experience. Apart from that, I also really admire and enjoy the great team spirit we have in our office, which is always a good force for motivation in any organization.
Despite the recent challenges faced by the hospitality industry following the global pandemic, FutureLog is, in fact, growing. What would you attribute this success to?
Although the pandemic forced many of our customers in the hospitality industry to temporarily close their doors, during this challenging time, we decided that it could also be a catalyst for change. In anticipation of hospitality’s recovery and foreseeing a renewed eagerness across the industry to adopt digital solutions that boost operational efficiency, we used this time to work toward accelerating our growth. One aspect of this involved reimagining our development roadmap and focusing on creating tools that would help our customers streamline and automate their procure-to-pay processes.
Another aspect was the expansion of our global footprint. To support and onboard our new and existing customers as they resumed business post-pandemic, we opened offices in four new locations (Böblingen, Germany in January 2021, Sydney, Australia in September 2021, Paris, France in February 2022, and Singapore in October 2022). In addition, our Customer Success and Supplier Relationship teams grew significantly across the organization, also contributing to our overall success.
Looking back on your time at FutureLog up until now, what has been your proudest accomplishment?
Without a doubt, the honor of opening our legal entity in Thailand is the accomplishment I am most proud of. We’ve since expanded our office space on three occasions and opened a new hub in Singapore; we now have a wonderful team of 40 fantastic colleagues in Asia and hopefully many more proud moments to look forward to.
It seems like team dynamics play a significant part in your success. What are some of the things you love most about the FutureLog team?
For me, it’s the spirit of sharing ideas, knowledge, and experiences, but also sharing our common challenges and finding ways to overcome them together. That’s something that our team does extremely well, and it has a big impact on our company culture as a whole.
Speaking of company culture, what are the key factors you consider when hiring new employees?
Personality, mindset, and attitude. I believe that people can be trained on everything they need to be successful in their role, but having the right personality, mindset, and attitude that aligns with our company values is essential. Apart from this, we are always looking for people who are dedicated, ambitious, customer-focused, respectful, and results-driven.
What is your leadership style at FutureLog?
Although hierarchical structures are the norm in many Thai companies, I prefer a more democratic way of working with our team. A big part of this involves hiring talent that will be proactive and agile in their approach to work, as we encourage a collaborative environment where everyone is comfortable to ask questions and share ideas among their teams, across different departments, and between our other offices.
As someone with international business experience, what are some of the challenges you have faced as a business leader operating in Thailand?
The paperwork and the administrative side of the business has often been challenging. Regardless of whether it’s a work permit, company incorporation paperwork, or even general immigration-related matters, these types of administrative tasks can be very tedious and time-consuming. In our team, ten of us are foreign nationals, which leads to a lot of paperwork that needs to be done — and to add another layer of complexity to this, many documents must be completed in Thai. In that sense, the support I receive from Baan Thai Immigration Solutions has been invaluable.
Being based in Thailand must have quite a few positives as well though? Do you have any favorite beaches or vacation spots, and what are some of your preferred ways to decompress?
Since I’m always in front of a laptop or on the phone, I really enjoy quiet places in nature where I can relax and unwind — even better if there’s a bad internet connection! One of my all-time favorite places in Thailand is the Srinakarin Dam in Kanchanaburi — it’s well worth a visit.
Where do you see the company in five years?
The future looks very bright for us at FutureLog and we have ambitious plans for the next five years. We’ll continue our investment in cutting-edge procure-to-pay solutions that differentiate us as an innovative market leader, and we’ll also be exploring some new markets as well.
Where can people find you and your business?
Website (Business): https://futurelog.com/
LinkedIn (Business): https://www.linkedin.com/company/futurelog-ag
LinkedIn (Personal): https://www.linkedin.com/in/frli/