Editor’s Note: This content was originally created by our team for the City of Vista.
This past year’s pandemic has forced scores of employees worldwide to become remote, which has driven the need to further improve the workplace experience.
As the pandemic resets major work trends, experts say it’s critical for business leaders to understand that large-scale shifts are changing how people work and how business is conducted.
In fact, a Gartner poll shows that 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 versus 30% before the pandemic. As this trend continues, businesses will need to explore the critical competencies employees will need to collaborate digitally, as well as be prepared to adjust employee experience strategies.
After all, it’s all about creating experiences that make work easier, help people get back to work faster, and improve processes for managers and decision makers. One such company that is helping to boost the employee experience is Vista-based NewRocket, which designs innovative service portal software solutions. NewRocket, a software and services company, focuses on the design and delivery of enterprise employee service portals utilizing the ServiceNow cloud computing platform. The company is “composed of strategists, creatives, and developers, with a common goal of improving the employee digital experience in the workplace.”
Below we take a deeper dive with NewRocket’s Co-Founder and CEO Nathan Firth about how a growing virtual workforce will impact businesses, as well as the future of his own company’s growth plans in Vista.
Backstory: The creation of NewRocket stemmed from Firth’s time working for the $52B software giant ServiceNow in San Diego. While there, he discovered many customers were struggling to create user-friendly employee experiences.
“In the consumer space, we all have become accustomed to great user experiences, with service delivery being just a tap or a click away, from companies like Uber or Amazon,” said Firth, who founded NewRocket with fellow ServiceNow alumnus Todd Bashor in 2016. “In the enterprise workplace, this is unfortunately not usually the case. NewRocket aims to bridge that gap by providing consumer grade web and mobile apps that simplify and improve the digital workplace experience.”
Tech Talk: Firth said NewRocket takes a pretty unique approach to delivering employee experiences – such as custom portals and dashboards.
“Companies who previously required dozens of different portals and bespoke systems are now able to consolidate everything into a single branded employee application designed and developed by NewRocket, and powered behind the scenes by the ServiceNow platform,” said Firth, a recognized expert in employee portals with over 20 years of experience in web development and user experience design.
Firth said NewRocket’s founding team has a long history of working in the corporate world, experiencing first hand the frustrations of logging in to dozens of different employee portals for different departments and struggling with what should have been a simple process.
“NewRocket partners with ServiceNow to manage the back-end lifecycle of all tickets, requests, and incidents so that we can focus on the design and delivery of an intuitive and user-friendly employee portal,” he said.
Clients: NewRocket has worked directly with over 100 large enterprise organizations around the globe, many of which are recognized as Fortune 500 companies. These clients represent a range of industries, from pharmaceuticals to higher education, entertainment, retail, healthcare, and finance.
“The diversity of our client industries contributes to the health of NewRocket, as we are not dependent on one segment of the economy,” Firth said.
Growth Spurt: When NewRocket first launched, the startup initially delivered department-specific employee experiences, such as for IT and HR. As the company has grown, it has expanded to offer much larger multi-department portals, corporate intranets, as well as native mobile solutions.
“With every project we also continue to research and expand our understanding of what creates a great and intuitive user experience,” Firth said. “Our company has also exponentially grown, starting with our three-man team in 2016 to doubling the number of personnel every year since then.”
Currently, NewRocket has 28 employees in Vista, 23 of whom are local residents.
Vista Attraction: Speaking of Vista, Firth said the city is the ideal locale for a high-growth startup like NewRocket. In fact, the company moved from its former Vista location when it purchased a 6,000 square-foot building in a business park off of La Mirada Court last Spring just as the pandemic was taking hold of the US.
“I chose Vista because I like the idea of building NewRocket in my backyard – it’s an area with incredible weather and is centrally located between the I-15 and I-5 freeways which helps with our recruitment effort. Being close to a copious amount of breweries is pretty nice too,” said Firth, a North County resident.
“San Diego itself has been becoming a thriving tech and software hotbed, and I like the fact that it is spreading into North County as well,” he added. “North County is full of talent – not only of people who want to start businesses, but a talent pool of incredible employees.”
NewRocket is one of many companies that make up Vista’s burgeoning software industry. These companies are part of the City’s information technology and analytics instruments cluster, which employs nearly 2,674 workers. Vista is also a growing hotbed of emerging startups.
North County San Diego as a whole is home to 37.5% of all software cluster jobs in the region, according to the San Diego North Economic Development Council. There are about 12,485 jobs in this industry in North County, which is about 9% above the national average. These workers earn an average of $130,000 a year.
“Emerging clusters and fast growing industries such as software are key to growing a vibrant regional economy,” said Vista Mayor Judy Ritter. “We are excited to see the growth of local tech companies like NewRocket, which drive job creation and quality of life for our citizens. The City will continue its strategy to further grow and attract similar companies.”
Firth said the City of Vista has rolled out the welcome mat to NewRocket.
“The City of Vista has welcomed us into their community of businessmen/women warmly,” he said. “NewRocket has also received great support from the Innovate78 program, and the up-and-coming tech community. We could not be more pleased to establish ourselves in Vista.”
Future: What should we expect from NewRocket over the next five years? According to Firth, “We’re looking to continue our pattern of exponential growth. In order to keep up with demand, we will have to at least double the size of our development team this year. One of our longer term goals is to transition towards being more of a product company, and minimize the amount of revenue driven by professional services.”
Lessons Learned: As a serial entrepreneur, Firth has learned a thing or two about running a successful business.
“You have to learn to trust your team. I have a natural tendency to want to be involved in everything, but as the organization grows, if you can’t learn to let go and delegate responsibilities, you will quickly become a bottleneck,” he said. “Also, there are an infinite number of solutions to most problems. The conventional business wisdom is not always the right answer. Learn to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to grow your business. More is not always better; it is better to do one thing really really well than to do everything only okay.”