In the complex world of digital infrastructure software where the interplay of code meets concrete, there lies a dynamic individual bridging the gap between technology and real-world engineering solutions: Zeljka Devedzic. As Teamlead for Sales Enablement & Consulting Infrastructure at ALLPLAN, Zeljka’s role might appear, at first glance, to be squarely rooted in sales. However, delve a little deeper, and the story unravels quite differently.
Building Bridges, Literally and Figuratively
“As a teamlead for infrastructure sales enablement, it’s not quite direct sales, but everything we do revolves around it,” Zeljka clarifies. To her, the role is more than just selling a product; it’s about connecting ALLPLAN’s solutions to the customers’ needs. “It’s the bond between salespeople, developers, and our customers,” she explains. This pivotal role places her in a unique position, making her the central mediator that listens to what the customer desires, interprets it for the PM and development team, and subsequently equips the sales force with the knowledge to promote the newest innovations.
Zeljka paints a picture of dedicated collaboration, where feedback from customers is meticulously gathered, analyzed, and potentially integrated into new software versions. “It’s not always a linear path,” she admits. “But every version needs to be an improvement, filling in the gaps our customers pinpoint.” And it’s not just about the technicalities; it’s about communication, about translating complex technicalities into digestible information for sales teams and clients. “You need to always identify with customers, new or existing, to determine where they wish to enhance their workflow,” she says.
But how did Zeljka find herself at this nexus of infrastructure and IT? A graduate in Civil Engineering from the University of Belgrade, her focus was on bridge engineering. Beginning her journey with working in practice on several bridge projects using CAD and other solutions for bridge detailing and analysis, she transitioned to infrastructure engineering products, and it was there that her journey with IT deepened. After several transformative years – where she wore many hats, from consulting, support, and training, to product documentation and translations – Zeljka and some of her colleagues found themselves at a crossroads.
Instead of dispersing and charting individual paths, their shared passion for bridge technology and an unwavering belief in their collective expertise drove them to make a bold move: they chose to stay united and launch their own consulting venture rooted in bridge knowledge. This wasn’t just a business decision; it was a testament to the familial culture they’d developed. Their relentless focus and commitment eventually caught the attention of ALLPLAN. Recognizing the unique value and depth of understanding the team brought to the table, ALLPLAN welcomed them aboard. For Zeljka and her coworkers, finding a home in ALLPLAN wasn’t just a professional achievement; it was a personal victory, affirming their decision to stick together in pursuit of excellence.
Fostering Connections and Making a Difference
At ALLPLAN, Zeljka’s trajectory wasn’t one meticulously mapped from the start. It evolved from a need she saw as crucial: communication. When she and her team began working with different companies and departments, they faced the imperative to bridge gaps, ensuring every cog in the complex machinery of software development and customer service spoke the same language. Thus, Zeljka gradually metamorphosed into this crucial communicator, serving as the linchpin between departments such as sales, marketing, and product management. “I was not that person from the beginning – that happened during my time with ALLPLAN. It’s been quite a journey, and hopefully, will evolve into an even more interesting experience,” she says, modestly.
Central to Zeljka’s role and what she cherishes most is collaboration. She revels in connecting people across diverse departments, problem-solving, and adjusting her approach to accommodate various cultural nuances. But her role extends beyond the confines of the office. She travels globally, meeting users, partners, and colleagues while learning about different countries and traditions. These personal meetings and spontaneous discussions prove invaluable and often lead to significant business development opportunities.
“Many of the conferences and events around the world that I visit – even in far off places – contribute to the global presence and visibility of ALLPLAN,” she adds. Her worldwide travels and interactions aren’t just about broadening ALLPLAN’s reach; they’re also about deepening its impact. This sense of global influence is palpable when she mentions her interactions with customers. It’s not just about understanding their problems; it’s about delving deep, understanding their perspectives, their unique cultural contexts, and ensuring that ALLPLAN’s software doesn’t just work but works in a way tailored to them.
From Humble Beginnings to Global Grandeur
The relationship Zeljka cultivates with her customers is both responsive and proactive. While she might not always be the first point of contact, she’s positioned herself as a knowledgeable touchstone. This means being available, being informed, and being someone, customers trust enough to seek out. Evidence of this strategy’s efficacy can be seen in the evolution of ALLPLAN’s Digital Infrastructure Conference.
What started as a modest initiative to showcase a few customer projects has grown into an event of international repute, aptly originally named “Bridge Day” back in May 2021. Yet this wasn’t just a platform for ALLPLAN to flaunt its prowess; it was an opportunity for customers to spotlight their successes achieved with the help of Allplan Bridge software. The intent was symbiotic marketing, where customers could showcase their expertise using ALLPLAN’s software, creating a win-win scenario.
Building on its success, the conference has now expanded its repertoire, encompassing not just bridges but roads, tunnels, retaining walls, and other infrastructural marvels. The increasing popularity of this event has even led to a German iteration this year, reflecting its global appeal.
But how does one spark such a meteoric rise from scratch? Zeljka’s recipe is simple: start small and leverage genuine relationships. The initial participants were their most devoted users. The authenticity of these early sessions, despite their modesty, sowed the seeds for what the conference has grown into today, a testament to Zeljka’s vision and her unwavering commitment to her customers.
Finding Balance Outside the Digital Realm
Outside of her professional journey, Zeljka finds her sanctuary in nature. Although she enjoys swimming, it’s the rhythm of her feet against the earth that truly resonates for her. Walking and hiking, particularly along the quaint river in Graz or in the Austrian mountains, is not just a physical activity; it’s a meditative ritual that also enables her to seamlessly incorporate her love of photography. Covering longer distances, these walks are her way of grounding herself, of clearing her mind, and prepping it for the challenges of the next day. This love of nature and penchant for exploration offers a refreshing counterpoint to her high-paced professional life.
Zeljka’s journey from a structural engineer in Belgrade to a key player in ALLPLAN’s infrastructure solutions is not just a testament to her adaptability and passion but also a reflection of her innate ability to solve problems and connect dots - a quality that remains invaluable in the ever-evolving world of infrastructure technology. From the bustling corridors of software design to tranquil riverside walks, it’s clear that Zeljka is a woman who expertly navigates both realms with unmatched grace, passion, and determination.