On the 27th floor of Active Network’s downtown Dallas office, CEO Darko Dejanovic sits with his back to the arc of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the Trinity River floodplains. He faces a flat-screen TV populated with names and figures—the same screen he can see from his place at the head of a table in an adjacent conference room. Dejanovic, who has a background in computer information systems and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, watches Active Network’s sales pipelines, the number of calls his employees make, and conversion rates; he sees salespeople who rise to the top—and those who sink—in real time. It’s all part of an ongoing evolution for the company, which provides management software that processes registrations for everything from marathons and Little League to camps and churches, into a conclusive data aggregator that can then share results with its clients.
“If you’re going to sell it, it’s got to be in the middle of how you operate,” Dejanovic says.
The CEO is intensely attentive to internal data that drives customer satisfaction and the bottom line. But he has also outfitted his company’s new global headquarters with features that encourage employees to take time away from computer and TV screens and be active.
The office, which opened last December, spans 125,000 square feet. Five custom floors are connected by a winding staircase. Almost all the walls are writeable, the IT department resembles Apple’s Genius Bar, and cheers from the sizeable sales force can be heard echoing between floors. There is a palpable sense of expectation; TV monitors like the ones in Dejanovic’s office are also installed on the sprawling sales floor. A local graffiti artist decorated the company’s “park,” where all-staff meetings are held and employees can (and do) play Ping-Pong.
A native of Croatia, Dejanovic was head of product and CIO for Monster Worldwide before joining Active Network in 2011 as chief technology, product, and innovation officer. The company was still headquartered in San Diego then, with some 30 offices all over the world. Dejanovic was named president in 2012 and CEO in late 2013, when one of the first orders of business was a corporate relocation. Dejanovic wanted a business-friendly state with a robust labor pool, where proximity to Silicon Valley wouldn’t continue to complicate recruiting. He also wanted plenty of space so that the company could consolidate the many offices it had opened through acquisitions over the years.
Dallas won out. Dejanovic says the company was able to transition to North Texas without slowing down—moving the headquarters and consolidating offices while opening two others in China—which increased profitability and accelerated growth in the first month of 2015. (Active Network has 47,000 global customers with 87 million transactions a year.) There are 650 employees in Dallas, and Dejanovic plans to grow that number to 1,000. Active Network also recently announced the acquisition of Ipico, a leading sports timing system that collected 13 million individual results in 50 countries last year.
“We’re really good at making [our customers] efficient in what they do today—taking their transactions, processing them, and doing it at the lowest possible cost. We excel at that,” Dejanovic says. “Data is what takes them to the next level.”