#39 – Fundamentals of innovation for partners to transform – Eduardo Kassener, Microsoft WW OCP.

I was delighted to have Eduardo Kassner, the leader of the WW One Commercial Partner (OCP) Strategy and Innovation Team, join the podcast for a lively discussion. In this episode, we discuss the fundamentals of innovation for partners to transform and how he and his team address the key areas where partners need the most support, guidance, and enablement.

Eduardo brings a rich set of business, technical and leadership experiences to this role. His deep background as a cloud business leader lends itself to a  deep discussion on the fundamentals for success.

It’s a rich business and technical discussion and points to the work he and Microsoft are doing to enable the partner ecosystem to accelerate and push through the change. Eduardo brings a wealth of resources, highlighting links available to help partners innovate and transform.

In this interview, we address four fundamental focus areas for partners to transform:

  1. The Skills Gap – helping partners understand and address the skills gap, including how to locate, identify, attract, hire, onboard and retain talent. Change is happening so fast, how do you stay current? Check out Eduardo’s Blog Post on the topic HERE.
  2. Practice Development – how partners can develop the right practices to grow and optimize their businesses. We share a link HERE to the Practice Development Playbooks with more details.
  3. Marketing / Selling – how partners can build a reputation and differentiate themselves in the market, find the next area of opportunity, build on it, and co-sell with Microsoft. Read more HERE.
  4. Profitability – how partners can achieve and maintain profitable in this new digital age. Read more HERE.

In addition, Eduardo and I discuss how his team is working to evolve Microsoft Competencies to make them more relevant, measurable and deliverable to joint customer satisfaction. Its a continuation of a discussion from Episode #33 with Toby Richards. In addition, we discuss his book “Enterprise Cloud Strategy” with former Microsoft CTO Barry Briggs, which explores the why what and how of an “enterprise-class” IT environment. Eduardo also shares his career journey and how it prepared him for this unique role.

Listeners and readers will find the following links from Eduardo valuable:

You can listen to the podcast here or on iTunes, SoundCloudStitcher, Google PlayPlayer FM, other Android podcast players.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione

#38 – Unlock the future, one life at a time, with Margo Day.

I was thrilled to welcome to the podcast Margo Day, Microsoft’s Vice President of US Education since 2012 and no stranger to the channel. Margo leads Microsoft’s largest business focused on this segment and was Microsoft’s US Channel Chief for 5 years from 2001 to 2006.

In this episode, Margo shares with our listeners the US Education business, Microsoft’s focus on outcomes, how she thinks about partners in her business and her career journey.

Margo’s enthusiasm and passion for education and empowerment are contagious and come through in this interview. Her business role and her life work are both closely aligned with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Toward the very end of our interview, Margo shares her personal story of the incredible and selfless work she does in collaboration with World Vision to make a difference in the lives of girls in Kenya. That work has been game-changing and has created new opportunities for thousands of girls whose only other path was Female Genital Mutilation and early marriage. Here’s a link to Margo’s personal blog about this work*.

In addition, in this interview you will learn:

  1. Skills and competencies critical to success in preparing for the jobs of tomorrow – excellent communications skills, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and traits such as character and citizenship.
  2. What Microsoft is doing to help students use the tools of tomorrow in the learning of today.
  3.  How Minecraft with Code Builder is being used in Education to develop computer coding skills and understand big data.
  4. Hacking Stem and how it is making learning experiential – data, coding, engineering students can see and visualize data examples in lessons plans to help democratize STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).
  5. How Microsoft tools in the classroom like One Note, Microsoft Learning tools, and Translator are helping students acquire skills to compete.
  6. How institutions are thinking about cost and optimizing operations by shifting their data centers to the cloud and how cloud tools can improve operations and create new scenarios by leveraging predictive analytics.
  7. Managing the campus – how ISV applications can greatly improve business operations leveraging IP that’s been developed for other customers outside of Education.
  8. Security and developing an Identity Based Security Model
  9. What’s she is seeing in the transformation that she didn’t expect to see a year ago.
  10. The work in research and how Research Institutions are using big data to do breathtaking work.
  11. Where should Microsoft partners invest in 2018?
  12. What characteristics make a great partner?
  13. Top challenges organizations in technology face today?
  14. How Margo got started in technology.
  15. How to reach Margo Day –

*If you or someone you know is interested in making a donation, please visit

You can listen to the podcast here or on iTunes, SoundCloudStitcher, Google PlayPlayer FM, other Android podcast players.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the rating link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione


#37 – Skate to where the puck is going in 2018, with Tony Safoian CEO of SADA Systems.

The year 2017 was a most significant year in the technology industry. The digital transformation we’ve all been discussing is happening fast. Many experts in the industry have told me this year that change and transformation are happening even faster than they had expected. With the start of a new year, many technology companies are looking for guidance on where to place their bets for continued success and learn to skate to where the puck is going in 2018.

To help inform the discussion, I turned to a good friend and encore interview guest Tony Safoian the CEO of SADA Systems. I invited Tony to join me for an interview in front of a live audience at The Channel Company’s NexGen Conference in Los Angeles, California on December 12, 2017. Thank you, Robert DeMarzo for making it all possible.

SADA Systems is a family owned company that has grown from a “small IT shop” to $100M in annual revenue and premier partner status with Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

Tony was an early guest, Episode 3 of Ultimate Guide to Partnering and my most downloaded episode in Season 1. SADA has a strong track record of incredible growth and Tony joined me onstage to discuss where SADA is investing for continued success, how he’s recruiting and hiring top talent and where he sees the continued transformation in 2018.

In our onstage interview we discuss:

  1. His company’s story.
  2. His secrets to how he has attained and maintains premier status with three of the top five technology giants*.
  3. Challenges he has faced balancing field relationships with these technology leaders and how he continually builds trust.
  4. How he looks at micro – incubations or micro investments to drive future innovations.
  5. Where he sees the growth and where he is investing in the future.
  6. What he’s seeing happening faster today than he expected with the transformation.
  7. What customers expect today in terms of rearchitecting their services
  8. SADA’s culture and how grit and determination instilled in his family has influenced it.
  9. Attracting and maintaining top talent today and particularly women in technology.
  10. Where is the technology sector headed in 2018?
  11. Decisions he made to take the organization from a small IT shop to $100M company.

*As of this writing, the top five technology companies in terms of valuation are Amazon, Apple, Alphabet (Google), Facebook and Microsoft.

You can listen to the podcast here or on iTunesStitcher, Google PlayPlayer FM, other Android podcast players.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione


Season 1 – Greatest advice shared from a remarkable year…

As I approach the holidays and reflect on hosting a podcast and starting a consulting business, I pause here to reflect on the amazing experiences and share with you a body of work from a remarkable year.

As a background, I began listening to podcasts over a year ago when I ditched my Windows Phone and joined the 99.6% of the population using iOS or Android for mobile. I discovered the podcast app and it became my gateway to a new world of information. I could listen to great content on virtually any topic, where I wanted and when I wanted.

I started my podcast to share my experiences building partnerships and channels that ultimately transformed businesses. Rather than write a book that would have been outdated by the time is was completed, the podcast created an opportunity to interview leaders and document rapidly evolving and transforming technology trends.

During my pause, I recently scanned my 36 episodes. I don’t yet profess to be an expert at podcasting, but my interview guests did an outstanding job sharing transformational strategies, technology trends, leadership advice and lessons on the art and science of partnering. It’s a pretty decent compilation for technology professionals looking to stay current on the market forces, industry advances and partner strategies of companies like Microsoft with a little Google, Amazon, VMWare and Salesforce thrown in for good measure.

If you are interested in advancing your own knowledge base over the holidays, I’ve taken the time to catalogue by category the episodes to help you find the content that might be of interest to you.

The hyperlinks below take you to the episode and the show notes. I’ve also included is a link to that guest’s profile.

Ultimate Guide – the art and science of partnering…

  1. How Microsoft thinks about its top partners, Eric Loper.
  2. “Cloud -First” strategy, Microsoft’s CSP Program, William Lewallen.
  3. Microsoft P-Seller, Stephanie Martin.
  4. New Microsoft OCP Decoded, Bill Hawkins.
  5. Season of Change, Eric Loper.
  6. Channel Incentives, Scott Peltier.
  7. CSP Update, William Lewallen.
  8. Licensing Partners, Scott Buth.

Partners that get it right – lessons from premier technology partners… 

  1. Journey to premier status with Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Tony Safoian.
  2. 10th Magnitude – Anatomy of a born in the cloud partner, Jason Rook.
  3. Avepoint leverages social, Dux Raymond Sy. –
  4. Adventos Transformation to ISV, Mariano Delle Donne.
  5. Tribridge – Dynamics Partner of the Year, Tony DiBenedetto.
  6. Champion Solutions, Chris Pyle.
  7. Armor Security, Dan Mannion.
  8. Brand, Employees and Customers with 10th Magnitude, Jason Rook.
  9. Kudzoo, Logan Cohen.

It’s happening so fast – trends in transformation…

  1. Microsoft Partners advancing 21st century policy, Jonathan Friebert.
  2. Inspiring Partners, Kati Quigley. –
  3. Introducing Cloud Wave Partners.
  4. Grit and Determination –
  5. Partner Transformation, Toby Richards.
  6. What’s Next, Tiffani Bova.
  7. On Leadership and Teams, Don Yaeger. and

What would Google say, how other Technology Giants think…

  1. Google Cloud Platform, Eric Rosenkrantz.
  2. VMWare with Shawn Toldo.
  3. Intermedia with Eric Martorano.
  4. Sales Force in Government, Casey Coleman.

Industry-focus – partner led…

  1. Government Cloud, Mike Batt.
  2. Transforming Healthcare, Bill Hawkins.
  3. Education Channel, Tom O’Neil.
  4. Promise of Digital Health, Andrea McGonigle.
  5. Public Safety, Rick Zak.

You can read or listen directly to my website, “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“ or if you prefer, you can listen to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, Google PlayPlayer FM, or other Android podcast players.

I have many of great episodes planned for 2018, so I hope you stay tuned. Thank you for your support in 2017 !

Vince Menzione

#36 – Leadership Lessons – Don Yaeger

Don Yaeger – 11 Time New York Time Best Selling Author, Speaker and Coach.

As we approach year’s end, I asked my good friend and New York Times BestSelling author, Don Yaeger to join me for a special encore episode to discuss his latest book along with leadership lessons and principles that he has applied to a successful career and personal life.

This episode is a little different than our typical episodes, but there are some great nuggets and leadership lessons that Don shares from a rich career and engagement with leaders in all aspects of business.

For this 36th Episode Don Yaeger shares:

  • Leadership lessons from his latest New York Times Best Selling book  – Andrew Jackson & the Miracle of New Orleans.
  • A leadership principle that has kept him focused on his business.
  • How he has learned to stay focused on one thing at a time.
  • How he writes books – his best creation time and why he doesn’t suffer from “writer’s block” when facing a deadline.
  • The best piece of advice he received when he planned to leave the corporate world and venture into his own business writing books and speaking.
  • His morning rituals – a typical Don Yaeger morning and how he balances a hectic life.
  • How he dealt with a really rough situation in his business.
  • Core operating principles he follows and instills in his company.
  • “The 16 Characteristics of What Makes a Great Teammate” from his NYT Best Selling Book “Teammate”and how that translates to what makes great partnerships. Including the best trait to follow for an organization going through a significant transformation
    1. Humble – Make a point to praise others, especially when you are being praised.
    2. Fully Engaged – Be present at all times. Notice all that is happening.
    3. Encouraging – Identify those co-workers who are struggling and find ways to inspire them.
    4. Respected – Allow your voice to be heard in a manner that holds people accountable.
    5. Reliable – Be consistent in your roles so your team knows what to expect of you everyday.
    6. Problem Solver – When a mistake is made, lead the team to a solution instead of placing blame.
    7. Resourceful – share your expertise with these co workers in your circle.
    8. Willing to Sacrifice – Assume whatever role necessary – never say no it’s not my job.
    9. Positive – When things go wrong, highlight the upside.
    10. Communicators – If you have something constructive to add, speak-up.
    11. Relationship Builders – Beyond your department, build bridges.
    12. Honest – Transparent and well-intended for the betterment of the team.
    13. Hard Workers – Arrive early and exceed expectations.
    14. Always Ready – Volunteer for assignments no one else wants.
    15. Competitors – remind others that winning matters to you.
    16. Fun – remain approachable, reliable and friendly.

Don has written 27 books and 11 are New York Times Bestsellers and his books make great holiday gifts. You can search site here or contact Don directly and mention that you heard this podcast

You can listen to the podcast here or on iTunesStitcher, Google PlayPlayer FM, other Android podcast players.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione


#35 – Cloud Promises to Drive Significant Transformation in Public Safety with Rick Zak.

One area where transformation has the potential for high impact that improves lives is Public Safety. A few short years ago, data security and data sharing was a huge impediment to the use of the cloud in this market. That’s when one of the tech giants invested in CJIS – Criminal Justice and Information Systems certifications to allay governmental agency concerns. Today with these certifications as an enabler, the cloud promises to drive significant transformation in public safety and opens up opportunities for partners.

For my 35th episode of the Ultimate Guide to Partnering, I welcome Rick Zak the Justice and Public Safety Solutions Director at Microsoft. In his role, Rick provides guidance on strategy, technology, and policy for law enforcement, situational awareness, collaboration and video, emergency management and corrections systems. On this podcast we discuss how  transformative technologies are impacting this sector and how the cloud promises to drive significant transformation in public safety and law enforcement markets.

Our conversation explores how government has the unique opportunity to improve lives and protect citizens through technology as part of their “smart cities” initiatives. Microsoft has it’s own smart city program known as City Next. It’s a really great conversation for partners looking to learn more about this market, how the perception of Cloud has changed, and how Microsoft Gov Cloud drives transformation in this market.

In this episode we explore:

  1. How Microsoft serves the law enforcement and public safety community.
  2. How this evolved from core infrastructure to supporting the transformative capabilities of the cloud.
  3. How Rick ended up focused on this specific vertical.
  4. Three areas where the cloud opens up transformation.
  5. How the perception of “cloud” has changed in the Law Enforcement market.
  6. Solutions he is seeing in this market from ISV’s – Independent Solution Vendors.
  7. The opportunity for partners to take their core competencies from other sectors and markets into public sector.
  8. How IoT – Internet of Things – devices and sensors are changing the conversation.
  9. Characteristics of a great partner, advice for partners that struggle and the work he does to help partners along their transformational journey to the cloud.
  10. Books he’s gifted – Lincoln by Gore Vidal and Connections by James Burke.
  11. How you can reach Rick to engage

You can listen to the podcast here or on iTunesStitcher, Google PlayPlayer FM, other Android podcast players.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione

#34 – Brand, Employees, Customers as the New Currency, an encore interview with Jason Rook.

Jason Rook, Vice President Market Development 10th Magnitude

The pace of change and transformation is happening fast, customers are moving to public cloud infrastructures at a rate not seen before, open source technologies and tools are enabling it and partners need to be adaptable.

These are messages that resonated when I recently met with  Jason Rook,  for a special encore interview and update on the state of the transformation from his vantage point.

Jason is the Vice President of Market Development for 10th Magnitude, an early “Born in the Cloud” partner. Microsoft chose 10th as its 2017 Partner of the Year for Infrastructure and Hybrid Cloud.

On Episode 13 of my podcast, Jason and I discussed the company’s evolution and growth and in this interview episode he shares what he is observing today from his vantage point.

In this interview we discuss the rate of change and growth, emerging technology trends and why brand, employees and customers are the new currency. By listening to this episode of the podcast, you’ll learn:

1. The rapid sun-setting of on-premise data centers and the shift of customers to embracing public cloud. His company has migrated 166 data centers to the public cloud in 2017.
2. Containerization and how this technology is giving customers flexibility and scale.
3. The trend toward Open Source.
4. Why he believes customers choose Microsoft as their Public Cloud.
5. How he is viewing Microsoft’s internal change and transformation as a partner.
6. Why “ focus” as a partner is critical to branding.
7. Brand, employees and customers as the new currency.
8. How his company now views the Managed Service Provider model.
9. How he continues to recruit great talent.
10. Two books by Verne Harnish he recommends to partners looking to grow and transforming their businesses –Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up.

You can listen to the podcast here or on iTunesStitcher, Google PlayPlayer FM, other Android podcast players.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione

#33 – Worldwide Partner Transformation with Toby Richards.

Toby Richards, General Manager Worldwide Partner Programs

In this episode we peel back on the Worldwide Partner Transformation going on at Microsoft and the One Commercial Partner or OCP organization that is driving much of it with Toby Richards, the General Manager of Partner Programs at Microsoft.

Toby and his team are responsible for partner programs worldwide at Microsoft including the Microsoft Partner Network program, the CSP – Cloud Solution Provider partner experience, community engagement and the Microsoft Inspire partner conference. In our discussion we focus on how his team is supporting and leading this worldwide partner transformation, what programs are getting the most attention and what has changed.

Toby has spent over 25 years in the technology industry, holding several leadership roles within Microsoft including Customer & Partner Experience, and most recently, Partner Support within the company’s WW Services organization. In our discussion we also discuss his career journey.

In this episode you will learn:

  1. What programs are getting the most of his attention during the worldwide partner transformation.
  2. How he is thinking about the startup community and early stage partners with IP.
  3. The new Microsoft Partner Community Portal and plans to expand the content to drive greater collaboration.
  4. His experience in the Customer and Partner Experience Organization and how he has applied his perspective on the change and transformation with an emphasis on customer success.
  5. The Modern Partner Series and its four attributes: 1. Differentiate to Stand Out, 2. Optimize your Operations, 3. Modernizing Sales and Marketing and 4. Focus on Customer Lifetime Value.
  6. The greatest challenges he sees with partners transforming and making the shift to the new model.
  7. Why it’s important to follow the incentives.
  8. What he believes makes a great partner
  9. The IDC Study on Partner Profitability.
  10. His professional journey and why the voice of customer always wins.


You can listen to the podcast here. As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione

#32 – “What’s Next” in technology transformation, insights from Tiffani Bova.

I’m delighted to welcome a thought leader, sales strategist, growth adviser and change agent to Ultimate Guide to Partnering, Tiffani Bova.

Tiffani is the Global, Customer Growth, Sales and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. Her focus is to help drive customer success within their vast customer and partner ecosystem, helping companies re-imagine how they can not only grow bigger but grow better with innovative business models and technology.

Bova has earned accolades from the best leaders in the technology world like HP, IBM, Amazon, Oracle, SAP, Oracle, Cisco, and Microsoft. They praise her for cutting-edge analysis and her skill at inventing bold strategies for growth. “Tiffani is one of the most knowledgeable analysts in the industry when it comes to understanding channel, customer and tech trends.” “She’s the only one who speaks to the real world we all live in – recognizing our need to preserve the existing revenue stream while simultaneously developing a whole new approach.” “Her ability to see clearly several steps ahead and uncover practical solutions to shortcomings and challenges is a true asset.”

Prior to working with Salesforce she was a VP, Distinguished Analyst and Research Fellow at Gartner. Bova has also lived in the fast lane of high tech, leading sales organizations, driving growth and creating durable competitive advantages at Sprint, Inacom, Interland ( and Gateway Computers. She learned how to lead sales and marketing teams in hotly competitive markets. She created some of the first cloud based channel programs and completely reinvented “go-to-market” tactics in several hardware and services businesses. And she developed her unique ability to connect with executives and employees at every level.

Tiffany and I have an extensive and rich conversation. In this episode you will learn:

  • Why she decided to host her own podcast “What’s Next” to share the conversations with thought leaders on business transformation. Listen here:
  • Partner transformation and the pace of change that she has observed over a span of several years. And that speed of business is the new currency.
  • Disruption of existing models and why monetization is really tough for smaller organizations.
  • Why it’s hard for both the vendor and partner to shift.
  • What is the right pace of change for IT channel partners.
  • Trends she sees in the marketplace.
  • Advice she gives organizations looking to transformation.
  • Why “Customer Experience is the new battleground”.
  • When a business coach or advisor can help your small business through transformation.
  • Her mentors, career advice, lessons learned and other nuggets from her career journey.

You can listen to the podcast and read the transcript of this episode below.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione


I’m really excited to have you as a guest on The Ultimate Guide to partnering you and I had the opportunity to interact when you were a gardener and supporting Microsoft at a pivotal time in the business. And I’m a big fan of yours and excited to have you here today so welcome.

Tiffani Bova:                    01:23                  Oh I’m so glad to be here Vantz and I’m so glad to have conversation about you know something I’m passionate about which is channels and partnering.

Vince Menzione:             01:30                  So terrific to have you as well. And ad sales force you have a very interesting title now customer growth and innovation evangelists. I think that’s a really cool title by the way. Can you tell our listeners a little bit more about how you see your mission now with sales force and in the industry.

Tiffani Bova:                    01:48                  Yeah I’d say this I’d say I’m not sure it’s shifted very much right time. I’m still get the wonderful pleasure to spend a lot of time a majority of my time with customers trying to help them pivot their business and be more oriented around some of the things technology can do for us with things like customer experience customer success really improving performance using all the digital tools and how to grow their businesses so you know while I think everyone has known me in this particular you know probably listener base around my work on channels and programs and sort of go to market through with partners I’d say I still do that but now I’m looking at kind of growth in sales all up. You know any way that a company is really trying to reach and engage with customers and so that’s why the title is sort of growth and for wind. Because I think growth comes in multiple ways. And then innovation is really all of these disruptive technologies and business models of mental models that are out in the market today are really inspiring people to re-imagine the way that they have gone to market

Vince Menzione:             02:55                  and you now host the podcast yourself.  What’s next. And you’ve had some amazing guests on the podcast.  I thought we might take our listeners through why you decided to take this on in addition to your work that sales work.

Tiffani Bova:                    03:09                  I’m just going to laugh because it’s just like I just didn’t have anything else to do so I do a podcast which you know is not really the truth.  I really have been blessed and fortunate over the last 10 or 15 years to have an opportunity to make really inspiring and interesting people that are driving change in all kinds of industries.

Tiffani Bova:                    03:32                  And I and I get these moments in time where I have a chance to have a conversation with them whether it’s you know we’re both getting on and off stage we’re sitting in a green room I’m on an airplane you know wherever it might be. And selfishly as I’m having this I’m like hot it would have been great if so-and-so could have heard this conversation I was just having a discussion like this with somebody the other day and I how can I have you know transported this conversation there and I said the best way for me to do that is a podcast. So I reached out to my network of people that I’ve met over time and I was really fortunate that everybody said yes. And so it’s it’s really been this opportunity for me to have a conversation with a friend other over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and have my other friends listen in.

Vince Menzione:             04:20                  Now it’s really terrific. Like I said you’ve had some amazing guests. I’m a very avid listener myself.  So take me a little bit through you know you and I both focus in on transformation right. We come at it from maybe different angles a little bit but I’ve been focused on the podcast on business transformation as it impacts the partner techno and technology giants and how they engage in their ecosystem so I’m eager to have more of a discussion today with you about transformation. So I recall a conversation that you had with our partner organization about the need to transform the business and for partners to break out of their existing business models and monetization models. That was a few years ago and fast forward now and I’m seeing this transformation happening more quickly this year than in past years. Are you seeing the same pace of change.

Tiffani Bova:                    05:10                  Yeah I think that when you peel those statements back that I made many years ago because of where I was working at the time obviously I was at Gartner I had this you know another thousand analysts behind me that were watching you know these big macro trends that were happening. So I spent a lot of time consuming that content and then saying OK I’m going to sort of transcribe it back out and say what would the impact be to somebody who was a you know small value added reseller assistance integrator or a developer you know or an Esai you know or just a consulting partner. And what would be the impact to them if any of this in any degree came true or whether it was the shift to cloud. I remember having many conversations with people going you know there’s just no way.

Tiffani Bova:                    06:00                  And and when I say cloud and having those conversations I started having managed hosting conversations. In 1999 I was already working for a web hosting company. Back then all the way to 2002 I was the head of sales and marketing and customer service for the largest Microsoft web hoster in the world and the first shared web hosting company that helped Microsoft put together their entire hosting program because we were breaking up laws against licensing and all kinds of things happinesses 2001 into it. So I’ve been having this conversation for some time. And when I got to see as things were moving people would say I don’t think it’s going to happen at that pace and I would say back when we can agree it’s not negative growth in cloud and we can agree it’s not zero. So whatever number makes you feel comfortable if 5 percent 10 percent whatever percent of your business you think customers are now going to shift to these other delivery models.

Tiffani Bova:                    06:58                  What are you going to do in response. And so it was more of just sharing that this was coming down the pike and this is what customers were actually asking for and what CEOs were saying they needed in the business which meant for many mid-market and small businesses they rely on partners they had to come along for the ride. Now as you mentioned this kind of speed and acceleration is no joke. I mean you know the other day I was reading something that that Diane Green was mentioning you know how quickly you know adoption and the pace of innovation is is coming out of her organization. And then you have simultaneously Amazon announced that they’re going to start charging per second per second.

Vince Menzione:             07:45                  I know it’s amazing. It’s amazing right so when you say speed it’s like how do you even keep pace right. These

Tiffani Bova:                    07:51                  partners are having to learn new technology learn new billing models learn new you know coding and all kinds of things are coming at them and it’s really difficult to navigate. And so I think that the speed of business is the new currency and for partners to be able to help their customers keep pace. I believe actually means that partners working with partners. Finally that conversation of P2P collaboration may actually show itself as being a way for our partners to deliver value going forward.

Vince Menzione:             08:25                  In the monetisation models it seems to be the area where they most struggle right. I mean I’m having conversations with partners and in interviews that I have and just the conversations in general and some of them are still struggling with that monetization model what do you think there?

Tiffani Bova:                    08:41                  This goes back to really thinking about so if you think about the technology disruption that’s happened and you have a business model disruption and then third if you know if you’re listening to my podcast mark on check brought up the whole sort of mental model disruption. That’s a lot of movement. And for some of these partners you know the average partner has a couple of million dollars a year. True globally. You know there are five hundred clips about let’s just call it 18 million 16 million.

Speaker 6:                        09:09                  That means now some hundred thousand partners if not more in the U.S. are smaller than that and the average being in a couple of a million. So how do I transform myself in all three of those veins. And if you pick monetisation the most difficult part of that is that it’s the financial model that pays the bills for them to keep doing what they’re doing and make investments in some of these new things.

Tiffani Bova:                    09:30                  So if you can’t get access to cash in it which is really hard for small businesses just not even in tech you know and you have issues with small businesses paying you on time. As a small business you don’t have that cash flow guarantee. And then in cloud in many ways distribution isn’t in the middle of that to help you get credit and financing. It’s really tough.

Vince Menzione:             09:52                  That’s true. And then think about the distribution model and how they they fund those partnerships. So

Tiffani Bova:                    09:56                  I mean a huge part of it. Right. And so it’s hard for them to say like how am I going to get access to cash or capital to make investments in hiring a new kind of engineer or a software developer or Unix developer or code or how am I going to get you know the the funds to pay for reference architects and dev ops and how am I going to get in a sort of business consultants.

Tiffani Bova:                    10:19                  Those are big expensive ticket items that if you listen to anybody’s research they’re all saying that the skills gap is holding people back from innovation and the channel is trying to fill that in if they don’t have the working capital to get that done.

Vince Menzione:             10:33                  And so do you think the partners are changing fast enough.

Tiffani Bova:                    10:37                  Listen. That’s a that’s a tricky question I would answer it this way. I want the partners to be able to stay slightly ahead of whoever their customers are because you may have in some sectors and industries where change is not happening as fast for regulations or region or or just whatever category it’s in.

Tiffani Bova:                    10:55                  And so you know if you’re selling Cisco routers you’re still selling Cisco routers you’re implementing and deploying and doing break fix and during remote monitoring and management etc.. Right. I mean and if you’re selling printers same thing and I mean so there are points of time where yes it that that particular the infrastructure layer is evolving around software and pushing some to cloud of course obviously but you still have a business. And so I only want partners to be much more focused and kind of pick what they are going to double down on from a business perspective. And then secondarily say who are my customers and what are they looking for for me and I just need to stay slightly ahead of what they are asking. I dont need to get you know way out in front ears out and need to anticipate where theyre going to go and thats different per partner so to ask and I know you’re just making it the general question right but to blanket say do I think they’re moving fast enough I’d say in some categories.

Tiffani Bova:                    11:52                  Absolutely not. In some categories I think they’re working at the right pace. In other categories I think that there’s lots of room for improvement. And so it really just depends. And then that answers you know by region depending on on you know who’s listening by region that matters as well. And then by size company and industry and vertical.

Vince Menzione:             12:11                  So is there a category of partners that you think are laggard at this point I think. Question

Tiffani Bova:                    12:17                  . Yeah I do I think that those that are you know listen when when the conversation started coming up a couple of years ago that listen it’s all about recurring revenue right. Partners need to build some predictive build predictability into their business. I would always sort of come back and say will correct me if I’m wrong but the break fix business has been around for ever and it’s always been recurring so recurring is nothing new it’s now it’s recurring on you know cloud based services or as a service services infrastructure as a service spot for his service software as a service etc. but recurring revenue has always been in place and so partners have been pivoting towards the managed services model long before they started to embrace cloud. So the percentage of business they have that’s project based versus at the first of the year every year they don’t start from zero again and have to rebuild a three four five 10 million dollar business right that some portion of that revenue is going to guarantee come in based on contracts the amount of or the percentage of that should consistently be going up because it drives a lot more predictability in the business number one as Ive said. But number two it gives you a much drugger cash flow and three you know if youve got a strong cash flow like that you have a much better shot at going out and getting capital to invest further and doubling down on the business.

Tiffani Bova:                    13:36                  So theres a lot of health so I’d say those that haven’t moved. It’s when the split of project based work and predictable recurring revenue sort of cash coming in has to keep pace.

Tiffani Bova:                    13:52                  Right so if you’re 30 percent or 40 percent in recurring revenue and 60 in project and you continue to get bigger you always should try to maintain that 60:40 if that’s what you want or you’re making a full push to say I want to be 17:30 70 percent is recurring and much more predictable and 30 is a very specific project work that feeds that recurring revenue business.

Vince Menzione:             14:12                  That’s a good insight.  What about trends what are you seeing now. We weren’t seeing in the past. Are you seeing from emerging technology trends.

Tiffani Bova:                    14:23                  Yeah I would say that software development app development kind of the aggregation of multiple services has been something that I’ve been talking about for some time but I think finally people are realizing why I started talking about it as early as I did was because it’s rarely a single provider solution which means from a channel perspective you either need to partner with other partners to bring in all those capabilities or you need to have it in-house which tends to be reserved for the fairly large partners.

Tiffani Bova:                    15:01                  But streaming that kind of all those pearls together in a beautiful Nachlass is difficult. And so that software development side and the software side I think is a real opportunity for partners. But more importantly it tends to be much more about how can they find ways to do it without potentially having to hire the staff themselves.

Vince Menzione:             15:27                  It’s interesting and you know the whole partner to partner piece is very interesting during this transformation as far as what I’m saying too. It’s also a scale issue.

Vince Menzione:             15:35                  There’s a lot of point solutions that I’m seeing that are very small but nimble companies but they don’t have the scale of a channel and they’re looking for other organizations that help them they’re using that as well.

Tiffani Bova:                    15:47                  Yeah I am. And I think even when you look into the sales force ecosystem of partners the app exchange probably being one of the best in the industry and has been just because it’s had such a big head start. And if you were listening to Marc Benioff mastermind at at Gartner Symposium you would hear sort of you know the conversations between Mark and Steve Jobs about the power of this app Exchange and the whole ecosystem and partners and where it was sort of going and so we were a little early but I would say that when you look into that ecosystem overall you see a lot of partnering going on amongst the partners because they kind of play like we are going to be the partner in this particular industry for this particular need of a business. And we don’t have the capability on the other side.

Tiffani Bova:                    16:38                  So who is the partner that I need to go get to. And how do I create API to make sure our service integrates really seamlessly with that service because our customers want that integrated solution to be easy. So they’re thinking in advance of what that expectation is going to need. And so the partners that I see growing exponentially and quickly are ones that embrace collaboration and even some slight competition. You can argue in the app exchange there’s partners that do similar things to what sales force does in our own portfolio. But they’re like look you want to make sure I integrate with sales force right at the end of the day it’s customer choice. But I’m not going to take myself out of the game because I feel like I compete with sales force in that way because you know it’s a 10 billion dollar conversation versus a million dollar conversation.

Vince Menzione:             17:33                  I’m speaking at a conference on eyeteeth to try to professionals in a couple of weeks.  And I’ve been thinking about this presentation because a lot of the folks that I’ll be presenting to are sort of had that deer in the headlights look in terms of facing the transformation of what to do with their agencies their government agencies.  Do you have any advice to share with this audience who could be there with me who you know.

Tiffani Bova:                    17:59                  Well so you have a couple of choices right you could go in there and put the fear of everything into them right and and try to use fear as the as the light to get them to move forward. It can be one that’s an inspiration right. The story can be inspiring like almost like Braille when I just gave there so many of those that are just like that you know. You know and so do you inspire them to think differently or do you you know lean into a story of somebody who is just like them facing similar issues and similar regulations and what they did in order to overcome the you know the inertia that gets stuck into businesses that been around for so long that they get trapped in their own way of thinking.

Tiffani Bova:                    18:38                  You know there’s no diversity of ideas and they just keep coming up with the same stuff on a different day. It all depends sort of what what you know what story arc you want to give given what you want them to get out of it. But you know I think scaring people into you know what I fall into quite as effective maybe as easy because there’s just so much information out there where they can consume that.

Tiffani Bova:                    19:03                  Now how do you sort of cut through the noise and give them some some really actionable ideas that can walk out and do something different on Monday morning.

Vince Menzione:             19:11                  Yeah it’s just a matter of how you get them to mobilize and get them to move. Right. You  said there’s ways to motivate them I guess is what I’m hearing and I think back to some of the conversations you had with the partner ecosystem at that early stage in transformation right in trying to get them excited about the change and how they needed to mobilize their businesses.

Tiffani Bova:                    19:29                  Yeah I focused on the customer. I always focused on the customer. Look I can stand up here and tell you what I’m going to tell you but I’d rather tell you from from the mouth of a customer. Here’s what they’re looking for right. They’re looking for ways in which they can engage with their customers better. I’m just going to pick that one right. You know the customers saying look I want to be able to be in multiple channels and deliver a similar result in a similar experience if you will. Regardless of whether they want to connect with me via ass Facebook Messenger or chat e-mail or telephone. That’s what I’m trying to do because I’ve noticed now that my call times it’s not just about 24/7 over the phone it’s about all these other things. That’s what they’re saying. And so the partner has to turn around and go.

Tiffani Bova:                    20:12                  How do I deliver this. Instead of me standing up there and going. The trends are that omnichannel is going to overpower. Right. And I I come from the customer side and say Sixty five percent of customers are saying that if they’re in five or more channels and then the person in the audience because of my God rurally into you know and then they may come back and go Well I’m we’re unique which is the normal right we’re unique we’re in an industry that and I’m like I’m sure you are. Everybody thinks they’re unique in some industries you will be. But let’s just say OK let’s just say it’s not five. Let’s say it’s three or only in two. So what are you going to do to get to that third. Right. So I don’t need you to go all the way to five but I do need to tell you that too.

Tiffani Bova:                    20:55                  Like phone and e-mail. Not enough. And I don’t even care if you’re a government agency. Like it’s just not enough. Especially as you know the millennials and more and people who are are getting more and more comfortable with technology want to engage with brands in multiple channels.

Vince Menzione:             21:13                  Those ones who say that they’re unique those are the ones who get disrupted. Right. I mean that’s the ones that you know disrupt or be disrupted. And that’s it reminds me of now.

Tiffani Bova:                    21:22                  Absolutely. And or they’re just so late that they have to catch up. And unless you know 52 percent of S&P 500 companies have have disappeared in the last like 60 years and the lifespan has gone down from you know 60 year lifespan to 17 years and that they know and that happens because people are complacent and don’t think that they’re going to get disrupted and then they if they do get start to get disrupted they actually focus in on the wrong things. They try to fight it without actually saying OK wait a minute why is this happening. Like if I pick you know the black cabs and uber in London it’s you know let me fight them with regulations versus saying hold on a second. Why are people choosing uber over blackcaps Yeah because maybe they don’t know how to get around the city as well as we do so that’s not important to them like what is it.

Vince Menzione:             22:21                  And ultimately comes down to things like cost convenience right.

Tiffani Bova:                    22:26                  That really. Yeah. It comes down to experience you know more often than not now the experience is actually the product and that makes people who are very comfortable with product very uncomfortable.

Vince Menzione:             22:37                  So what excites you most about the future and what keeps you up at night.

Tiffani Bova:                    22:42                  Yeah I’d say I’m really passionate about this whole talk track of customer experience being the new battleground and experience being the new product it has so many legs to it around. You know CRM systems and you know digital marketing and social listening and journey mapping and then from a strategic standpoint making sure that companies are pivoting towards the customer and not a product let the customer lead you know and really changing maybe even an entire culture and DNA of a company is super difficult.

Tiffani Bova:                    23:19                  But that’s what is super exciting to me is where you see people really uncomfortable with the conversation. You know that you’re getting through to them in a way that they don’t feel comfortable and confident about what to do next. And so then they get much more open to saying I don’t know how to navigate it. And then you start to have these really rich super fascinating conversations about the options and the ways in which they could potentially navigate this disruption and it’s really inspiring number one but number two for me it’s like every day I learn something new and I hear someone try something different that I maybe hadn’t heard before. And I get to follow up on how it worked or didn’t work. And more importantly how the technology underlying it. Obviously more times than not it’s sales force you know how we’re powering those transformations is just super exciting. So

Vince Menzione:             24:18                  I know you’ve described yourself as a recovering seller and I’m going to ask you a little bit about your career journey and a little in a while here but you also have a lot of experience with the channels and teams and what you believe makes her what characteristics do you believe make a great partner. Yeah

Tiffani Bova:                    24:35                  I call myself a recovering suller because I always pivot back to companies make stuff companies sell stuff.

Tiffani Bova:                    24:46                  And you can make the best stuff but if you can’t sell it it’s really difficult and in many ways it almost doesn’t matter. So I think everybody has a role to use Dan Pink’s term right to sell is human. Everybody has a role in the company to quote unquote sell. You may not have a sales person on your business card but every decision you make has an impact in the way the company transacts with its customers so that’s why I think sales is is at the center and I don’t mean always has to be and runs the I don’t mean that I mean but if you’re in a you know profit oriented business you have to sell stuff. For partners that are a little bit more product led. I think this is where they’ve had a real challenge in making this switch because they were always like OK what’s the product I can sell to solve the problem.

Tiffani Bova:                    25:37                  And in the last you know 18 or 20 months that I’ve been here I’ve really realized for me the truth lies that this is not necessarily a technology problem it’s a people process problem and that’s much more difficult to change salespeople today if your selling technology in any way I believe you’re not selling technology you’re selling change and change is hard. It’s hard in our personal lives and it’s really hard if you’re selling it into a business that has you know multiple agendas and different personalities and different silo groups and minds business and all kinds of things going on. It’s really hard to sell change. So I think for partners if they can start to realize that they have to think about technology as the vehicle by which they’re delivering sometimes massive change into an organization and change management becomes even more critical.

Vince Menzione:             26:36                  Yeah I believe that’s true as well. I think if you think about some of the great partnerships that I think of it’s it’s always about aligning to a set of principles and sort of a shared vision that you’re selling to the customer. It might be in partnership with that technology giant that you’re working with right.

Tiffani Bova:                    26:53                  Yes absolutely. Absolutely. But even if you think about a manufacturer vendor trying to go into a large ecosystem that has predominantly sold on premise in a resale model and then turns around and says Oh no no it’s not going to be hardware anymore Zacari product anymore it’s going to be a cloud based service and it’s going to be recurring revenue. So you’re not going to be selling millions of dollars in maybe selling tens of thousands of dollars in it. You know the industry is littered with with vendors that have been working for years in trying to get their ecosystem to pivot and that was all about change. The technology was there. Right now it’s a search for services there and platform as a service is their software as a services there. So if you have an established ecosystem that was not used to that it’s been it’s been a good five six seven years of Cushing.

Tiffani Bova:                    27:43                  I’m trying to get you guys to change different for a company like sales force that started in the cloud and the ecosystem isn’t changing it’s it’s the ecosystem has to keep pace with all the things we doing with our multiple clouds now not just sales cloud. And so that’s about investing in more things than just you know the CRM side of it and that change is still change. And so you know going in and messaging and what’s the power the value of now selling marketing cloud are now selling service cloud are now selling community cloud whatever it might be like why do you want to do that. Like trying to get you to embrace the fact that we have more things for you to do. So changes change. But I think vendors if they’re using partners third parties to either resell impalement train you know do distribution whatever it might be in the supply chain.

Tiffani Bova:                    28:35                  It’s still having to convince them to want to come on this journey with them and make the investments to not only change technically but change they’re going back to your question right. The business model the monetization model the revenue model all of that has to change and it’s it’s tough so asking the question.

Vince Menzione:             28:55                  Conversely the partnerships that failed Are those the ones that don’t buy into being a change agent to being a transformer if you will of the business?

Tiffani Bova:                    29:06                  You can fail for a lot of reasons, but that’s one for sure. I mean I think that at the end of the day you know S.R. and it magazine did some great work around it. You’ve got kind of those lifestyle partners that are really happy with the business that they’ve built and they’re like look I’m I’m very content and I’m not I just don’t have enough. You know gas in my tank to go down. I’m going to transform it completely redo my company and come out the other side looking totally different. Then you have some there are like you know I’m I’m willing to transform but I’m going to transform very specific and very strategically. And then you have others that are like yes I am all in and I’m going to flip the model and go totally to manage services and resell nothing and go totally to a cloud. Maybe I’ll start it in a completely different division so that I can slowly you know pull back on the on the resale side of the business and pivot more towards consulting I mean so it all depends on how a company wants to grow and if they’ve said I’m now going to pick one of those and that’s how I’m going to get it grow and it doesn’t work out and they fail.

Tiffani Bova:                    30:13                  You know it could be all kinds of reasons but I feel like some of the failure happens because they don’t make any decision. They just sit on the sidelines and go. I think I can continue doing what I’m doing and then slowly over time it gets more difficult and more difficult more difficult to put you know. Revenue on the top line and hanging on to customers on the bottom line.

Vince Menzione:             30:36                  So they’re hanging onto the past basically ?

Tiffani Bova:                    30:40                  Hanging onto the past and some have you know some are able to continue to do it and why I go back to my earlier comment because their customers are comfortable in the existing model as well. Right. If the existing customers are like I just wanted on premise and I don’t want anything in the cloud and I want business to stay exactly as it is and you’re a partner who’s very happy staying and doing exactly what you’re doing.  Right on.

Tiffani Bova:                    31:02                  It’s only if you’re like I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and your customers are saying I want to change and you’re trying to get your customers not to change. They’re either going to change with someone else or they’re going to you know force you to make that that shift.

Vince Menzione:             31:17                  Right and if you’re not the company that they perceive as being capable of helping them make that shift they’re going to go someplace else. Yes.

Vince Menzione:             31:24                  They will go someplace else. So what about common myths. You know you’ve worked with many organizations who are many big companies out there.  Are there common myths that you see that organizations have about the whole concept of partnering

Tiffani Bova:                    31:38                  I’d say the biggest challenge is you know if you’ve got a vendor who as historically motivated and rewarded their ecosystem for resale it’s difficult to get them to shift away from that spigot of MTF and co-op dollars and the distribution and all that kind of programmatic value if you will and get them to make investments that may have no component of resale in it. So the dynamic between the relationship actually changes you know now it’s not about that margin in a product it’s about revenue on the professional services side that maybe the vendor has no skin in the game right. It’s just opening opportunity for a partner to come in and add value on top of the transformation that the customer is doing using the technology that may be made from them from the from the vendor that that otherwise wouldn’t be deployed.

Tiffani Bova:                    32:36                  So I mean you can use sales force as an example. Your partners are not reselling the technology but they’re coming in and around it and consulting on what does the change management. What is it going to look like. You know how do we integrate it into the environment. What API needs to be done. You know let’s architect what a sales transformation actually looks like and the technology underneath that is powering it. They may do some things to the technology itself but the professional services revenue and their own services is where they’re making the money.

Vince Menzione:             33:04                  And some of that’s a discovery process for these partners right. Like all of a sudden the the transactional revenue has gone away and now I need to find another place to recoup the revenue.

Tiffani Bova:                    33:15                  Exactly. Exactly. And  and it gets difficult for them to wean themselves from the resale spigot. You know while at the same time they’re going after the new revenue because they’re not comfortable or confident in the fact that the they’ll be able to ramp the new revenue as fast as they need to as the old revenue is declining. So you have to make a conscious effort. And I had this conversation with a partner a number of years ago and he was an agent for a large telco and making up the numbers. But let’s say he was I think he was around 40 million in revenue. So a nice sized partner and he had heard me speak a couple of years before and then it been like three or four years. And so we ended up sitting next to each other for lunch he said I’m so glad I got to sit next to you because I wanted to tell you the story that you know we heard what you said and we really started to pivot ourselves away from the old revenue model that we had been so wedded to for so long we started to pivot more towards recurring revenue and managed services and we developed our own tools and applications that made a stickier with our customer etc. and we actually let our They were not publicly traded.

Tiffani Bova:                    34:27                  By the way. And we let our revenue decline our top line declined almost in half while we ramped up the other side of the business and now we’re probably a little larger than half the size that we used to be. But we’re like 3x on the profitability right. We have a much richer and tighter in relationships with our customers. And it’s interesting how few partners I’ve met along my way is right along my journeys that I’ve been willing to do what I just described and I’m talking about private.

Tiffani Bova:                    34:59                  Right. So it’s not the street saying oh no way you can’t cut your revenue in half. This is their own. I need to be a$40 billion company or I need to be a 20 or$5 billion company because I need to maintain my level and the Channel program or whatever it might be. But holding on to how large you are from a top line perspective may actually be holding you back from that profitability lever that you’re unable to pull.

Vince Menzione:             35:23                  That’s really interesting because I think about that only with public companies right now I can think of some public companies that we know that have gone private and are able to do some things and maneuver differently because they’re privately held but that’s interesting you mentioned that about private companies.

Tiffani Bova:                    35:36                  Yeah. Or you look at you know a very public one in IBM that’s in the middle of a transformation and public and you know 21 quarters of declining revenue. Right. But it’s a huge shift. I mean what sell off you know$20 billion worth of our asset. I mean and I mean it’s bad it looks nothing like it looked 20 quarters ago. And but you had to kind of be that size and or you go the Dell model and you pull it private. But you know at the end of the day I think that it all comes down to you know some people start a business and in our industry in our world trade and they’re very they love technology they’re technologists at heart and they want to go do cool stuff with technology. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are able to then navigate the business through some of this stuff.

Tiffani Bova:                    36:26                  So you know I would say if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re saying Yep I hear it and I don’t know what to do is to get a business coach or to get an advisor to come in and focuses on small businesses and really helps you understand what are the things that you could do to move yourself along this journey but you need to be able to communicate to them where you’re trying to get to and and really understanding what’s happening in your business today so that you can share it because no one knows your business better than you do. But that’s a that’s a blessing and a curse because you’re so close to it that you may not be able to see the forest through the trees so bring somebody in who’s got the ability to have an open mind in the ways in which you could approach transforming yourself and your business and it might mean bringing somebody in to run the operations side of it.

Tiffani Bova:                    37:16                  So to help guide you through this this transformation yourself will you continue to focus on the technology side.

Vince Menzione:             37:22                  Some really great advice for partners.  So hire a business consultant to come in and help them through the transformation

Tiffani Bova:                    37:29                  Or even just a business coach like a personal business coach.  I don’t mean that it has to be you bring in a McKenzie Raider Ayn or a gardener or you know just somebody who can help you dissect parts of the business that you’ve grown up learning on the job and they’ve got experience that you don’t have. And what can they help you navigate. And it’s all about you know you don’t know what you don’t know. And I think business coaches are a great way to have people expand their horizons and maybe get a different point of view.

Tiffani Bova:                    38:03                  And also in one of my podcast Naomi Simpson she’s a shark tank shark down in Australia and she has a very successful small business obviously because she’s the shark. She’s like look I’m a great leader and I’m not a great manager so I can set the vision and figure out where I want to take the business and what I’m really trying to accomplish.  But sort of the day to day I needed to bring somebody in to run the business because it’s not what I’m strong at. And you know I think that that is a great lesson to learn for knowing what your strengths weaknesses are and if well she doesn’t call them weaknesses. She calls them non strengths. So what are your strengths her strengths are and then doubled down where you’re strong and bring people on board to help you in those strengths you know and also to separate some of the emotion right that some of these entrepreneurs have about their business and their ownership of their vision and strategy.

Tiffani Bova:                    39:00                  It’s that and it’s the end it’s the emotion tied to how big the company is from a top line revenue perspective. As you share another one yeah.

Vince Menzione:             39:08                  Yeah.  So any closing advice for partners before we shift gears here on the rapid age of change and what they need to do to embrace the change.

Tiffani Bova:                    39:20                  I think it’s a moment of reflection. I think that we have Ben as you mentioned a little bit ago this pace of change is not slowing down. You know we’re now talking about Amazon building by the second. And I think Google is doing the same and it’s not going to get any slower.

Tiffani Bova:                    39:36                  So if you don’t take time for sort of quiet reflection on being really mindful of of where you want to take your business and more importantly you know where you want to take your employees is if you are an owner of a of a channel company or an owner of a small business. You not only have responsibility to the company all up but to each individual employee. Right. You write their paycheck you know you are the leader. You  know you’re the captain of the ship and so don’t just let the boats leak knowing that you can’t fill the holes fast enough. And so if you can inspire and motivate the vision of where you’re trying to take the company communicate on a really regular basis bring in people to help you in those non strengths categories you have to make sure that your employees understand their role in the change where you’re trying to take it because if your employees are happy your customers are happy and if your customers are happy they’re going to buy more for you. They’re going to talk about how great you are to them. All of those things if you just focus on what it is you’re selling from just pure technology you’re not connecting with your employees or York. Ultimately your customers in a way that is as meaningful as it might have been just a few short years ago. So I think it really is taking the time you know every day to just pause and reflect on what’s working and what’s not working and how can you start to rally people around your ideas in your vision and then really trying to find that business coach

Vince Menzione:             41:16                  Some really great nuggets for our listeners thank you.

Vince Menzione:             41:18                  And you know I focus on how people got to this spot in life and I wanted to focus on your personal and professional journey for her listeners. Tiffany, you’ve had an amazing career and I have many of my listeners are early career professionals looking to learn from someone like yourself. Can you take her listeners through your journey?

Tiffani Bova:                    41:39                  Well I would say this I would say that my 20s were just whatever I can do. You know like I knew I was kind of good at sales and I sort of you know sold all kinds of things.  And then in my 30s I had a little more serious sort of found my way to selling technology and I found something I was good at. And I started selling technology early around some of the big macro trends accidentally. By the way right it was just out. No no master plan. And through my thirties I change jobs about every 18 months which was really frowned upon at the time. But I did it because I wanted to challenge myself more and I wanted more responsibility and I wanted to try new things. And I always went back to my employer and sort of offered the opportunity to say hey I’m looking for something different. I’d like to stay here and if they weren’t able to sort of find a place for me I would I would move on and that and then sort of right up my 40s I said I needed to take a break on the merry go round.  I was on it. Changing jobs as frequently as it was carrying a quota. It had become a fairly big quota at the time I was running. One of the divisions of Gateway computers when it was still around and so it was it was a good sized quota and I needed a little break from that and so I landed a partner through my 40s and then I got the opportunity. Although I’m only 36 I got the opportunity in my 50s to work at it to work in sales force and I’ve been here you know 18 months or two years.  But but I would tell you that for me there is no greater joy now for me than being able to look back and know along the way that I never did it alone and I had a strong network around me of both men and women that would guide me. You know especially on the channel chief’s side you know during that time it was Alison Watson at Microsoft was one of my early mentors Frank particularly from IBM at the time that’s where he was. Allison Salinger was at Symantec and Julie Parrish was at Vera.  You know Ross Brown was at V.M. where I think at the time. I mean you know so I had this really strong network. Even Chuck Robbins was running U.S. channels for Cisco and obviously now he’s the CEO and so I was really fortunate to have a strong group of channel chiefs around me that gave me great advice and then I started sort of building that network even beyond the channel chiefs if you will. And they were very pivotal times in my career where I leaned on those those mentors. But I didn’t have it in such a formal mentorship. I mean there’s probably a handful you know Kevin Gilroy from HP at the time and then you know went on to enforce and then went on aero and then went on to SFP and and went on to Samsung and now I think he’s living the luxury of retirement.  But you know at the end of the day it was really about having a strong network of those that were willing to just have conversations with me and lead me down some paths. And so I’d say from an advice perspective is your network is your networth and for career advice for making moves for references for learning new things. It is you know the fabric of what makes you up and your professional life and your personal life. But from a professional standpoint you know I am the I am the result of this fabric of all these great amazing relationships that I’ve made along the way the conversations I’ve had the people I’ve met because I would say there were so many times where people believed in me more than I believed in myself and they gave me the opportunity to try something that was definitely a stretch for me and I trusted that they wouldn’t just leave me out there to hang and dry right. I knew that they would give me support through that that learning curve and it made all the difference. So for me I always take the time to thank the people that helped me along the way as I just mentioned a slew of them and that you know and also to give back. You know I think now in my career it’s doing podcasts like this and speaking at events of trying to share and impart some some wisdom of you know battle scars I have and things I’ve learned and obviously there’s still a lot to learn for me.

Tiffani Bova:                    46:01                  But I feel like I’m at this great point in time where I’ve got a good balance of learning and giving back.

Vince Menzione:             46:07                  So is there is a piece of advice that you remember recall at a pivotal time in your career that maybe you could share with our listeners?

Tiffani Bova:                    46:15                  So I haven’t you know I give quite a bit of keynotes. I probably do 50 or so a year or somewhere around the world. And this one I use this all the time because people just can’t believe this is what he said. But I was getting onstage and he was getting offstage and it was Guy Kawasaki was getting offstage. And I was getting on stage and we have spoken together a number of times and we went to rival high schools we’re both from Hawaii and so we’ve known each other for some time. So he’s getting off I’m getting on he looks over at me and he goes hey Bova don’t suck.  And I go. Thanks man. Appreciate that. So I every time now I’m like it’s so funny whenever I’m getting like offstage or onstage and so I was just like you know you know go for have a really great time I go. All I’m trying to do is not suck. Right. And so I hear a guy in the back of my head you know saying that to me so you know I made you laugh right. It was just classic sort of classic guy. And he said it with a smile he wasn’t being like you know mean about it. He was definitely being funny. So that’s one. So you know I always aspire not to suck when I’m getting on stage. And then another one would be that there are things that I am I am better at than than others. And I was trying at one point in my career to try to do lots of things while and it just wasn’t working.  And I say that piece of advice that was given to me at that moment is once you identify your strengths that that’s what you need to double down on and it’s not that you don’t need to understand the things that you maybe are not strong on and that’s that sort of you know bring someone in for help or you know surround yourself with people that are smarter than you in other parts of the business. And when I made got that piece of advice and started to make different decisions and who I hired and how I organized my time and how I collaborated and partnered with my own companies that I was working at a my career really took off. It was when I was trying to do everything that I was actually holding myself back. So I would say that those are probably the two pieces of advice guys was much better probably than the second one. But but that’s what I would say.

Vince Menzione:             48:34                  So was there one thing you held on and one thing you let go of in terms of those skills. ?

Tiffani Bova:                    48:41                  I let go of trying to be strong in finance. She was never my strong suit. So you know I took some classes continuing education classes and just learning how to walk my way around a PNL. But I didn’t need to run it. I need you to understand what questions were being asked and how and how to find information and how to look at numbers and understand what they were telling me. But I didn’t need to run it myself. So that was one that that I let go of and I should have probably let go of much sooner than I did. So that was probably one of the double down is I am a great storyteller and in my ability to get teams to pull together and sort of all in march towards a vision and getting you know at one point I was running sales and marketing and customer service which back 15 years ago in tech was very very siloed organizations and how do I pull them together.  I think it had a lot to do with being an athlete my whole life and working and you know playing on teams and being coached and understanding the roles that we all play and how to get teams to work together that maybe were you know not normally teams. I think that that’s really what what allowed me to gain more responsibility along the way. And then from a Gartner perspective I’d say my ability to look at all the stars in the sky and see the Big Dipper and really visualize the patterns in what information and data was coming out. And what’s the story that it’s really trying to tell and how can I communicate that to thousands tens of thousands hundreds of thousands of people over the course of you know a decade would probably be where I double down there.

Vince Menzione:             50:28                  So when you’re facing a difficult challenge is there a greatest hurdle that you face that you overcame that you reach back and you recall. Is there anything there that you that you’d like to pull back on that helps you through through an obstacle.

Tiffani Bova:                    50:42                  So my grandfather used to say to me when I was really young that patience is a virtue I have none. So it is it is what I continue to struggle with that I just kind of want it all done like yesterday. And so how can I always lean into being more patient both with customers and people I meet and things I’m trying to do. And you know timelines and all kinds of things right. I think patience is one that I continue to struggle with and I always think it goes back to the comment I was making a little bit ago as I’ve been working on taking time to reflect on OK what is it I need to do and what are those obstacles and what’s the best way for me to overcome them. And also if I’ve always done it a certain way it like.  How about try it a different way. You know just communicate a little bit differently or don’t send an email pick up the phone or you know maybe approach it in a different way and ask for help and sort of just telling them how to fix something or you know it’s so it really is that I I I try to be a student of what I do every day and learn. And you know sometimes some days I’m better than others but I think that you know the cross I still need to bear is my lack of patience.

Vince Menzione:             52:02                  I think that’s a great one. I’m thinking a little bit more about that one and saying Is there any any specific skills or approaches you take in terms of doing that.

Vince Menzione:             52:11                  But I think you’ve covered some of that.

Tiffani Bova:                    52:13                  Yeah I would say this that normally I will answer a question pretty quickly. My my brain has always sort of on and even when someone is talking I’ve really had to work at not thinking about what I’m going to say but actually listening to what they’re saying so I could process it so I could say something a little bit differently.  And so just taking a pause on the response and pondering what that response would be difficult in a podcast like this because you know I was very upset. Window of time but if we were sitting face to face to be a little bit more thoughtful on the response to it so that you actually reflect on what’s being asked and what’s the best way to do it. I think just even taking a beat really helps on connecting with the people you’re communicating with and also working on that patient’s side of things.

Vince Menzione:             53:01                  You know I think I heard that referred to as golden silence and it was Stephen Covey or maybe another author in one of their books about.

Tiffani Bova:                    53:09                  Yeah it’s just a beat You know just to be you know and if you’re talking to somebody like if I were talking to myself I’d be like c’mon c’mon c’mon Answer me answer me answer me right. Because you have patience. So it’s also in the return that if someone is being reflective and taking that moment of golden silence that you let them do it.

Vince Menzione:             53:30                  So any advice you’d give to your 25 year old self?

Tiffani Bova:                    53:34                  Oh yeah. So I wrote a blog on linked in with this very question like What would I do what if I could go back. It would be Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Speaker 20:                      53:42                  That would definitely you know the things that got me all wrapped around the axle from a career perspective in my 20s and even my 30s seems so insignificant today.

Tiffani Bova:                    53:52                  So you know it would definitely be that.

Tiffani Bova:                    53:55                  The other thing would be that although I did a good job at it I don’t know what I would have changed differently but I didn’t have my master plan in front of me that the decisions I made to change jobs and work at Cartner and now work here I’m start a podcast. I’m writing a book review all the decisions that I’ve made without a master plan kind of worked out OK and so that’s why that I’m not really having a plan has worked for me but I think ultimately I had some idea of where I was trying to end up just didn’t know what that looked like or how I was going to get there. And and and I’d say that so you know don’t sweat the small stuff. And the second would be trust the process trust the process.

Vince Menzione:             54:38                  So visualize for our audience where you’ll be in five years what does that scene look like.

Tiffani Bova:                    54:46                  Oh boy –  more it was more patient. You know I still am hitting on Guy Kawasaki’s advice and I’m doing all right onstage don’t suck it don’t suck my Bookal be out. So I’m hoping that that is a success. And I’d say you’re just doing more of what I’m doing today I just I’m really really fortunate. I love what I get to do every day. I’m I’m excited and inspired by it. The amount of time that working at sales force allows me to do and giving back. I recently spoke at the U.N. I do a lot around girls in tech. I mean those things are just really rewarding on so many levels. And so I hope it’s just more of the same. I hope it’s more of the same.

Vince Menzione:             55:28                  That’s great. And one more question. Is there a one book and I know this is going to be a tough one but is there one book that you have read or are gifted often that you’d recommend to our listeners.

Tiffani Bova:                    55:40                  Ho well early in my career Purple Cow by Seth Godin is just one of my all time favorites. I mean it’s just really one of those books that stands the test of time and you know. And plus I just I love me some Seth. He’s just he’s just an all around great human being. And he was really instrumental actually in my in my too to deciding to make the move away from Gardner and Seth was really really there for me and in so many ways I just love him personally.

Tiffani Bova:                    56:08                  So I love I love purple cow. I’m looking at my bookshelf right now. I mean it’s a it’s a menagerie. I just got principles but I haven’t gotten through it yet. I mean even if I just look at my book it’s mapping innovation it’s the leadership’s mind that’s what great sales people do. It’s dealing with Darwood zone to win. I mean it’s quite a true place. I mean it’s all over. I mean I counted a few. Yeah. I mean I have I have.

Tiffani Bova:                    56:32                  It’s so funny. People are like I sent you the book. Did you read it like like what got I have a stack of like 75 books. And you know I I I want to read them all. I just I just don’t have enough time. But you know there there are ones that I think have it depends where you are in your career or what you’re trying to do. You know I think early in careers if you’re woman and attack a woman in business there are great folks around or even Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. Arianna Huffington stuff on thrive in those are all really great books and also great for guys too. If it’s if it’s really business and dealing with it you know inside the tornado Innovator’s Dilemma good tick rates are those staple books in search of excellence by Tom Peters.

Tiffani Bova:                    57:17                  If it’s selling books it just depends. You know are you a wrap and you’re an individual contributor and you’re trying to be better. There’s all kinds of things out. How to be better at social selling or how to be a better storyteller if you’re an executive and you’re trying to motivate your company. Nancy do arty stuff around better storytelling and illuminate is really spectacular and creating movements within your own company and how to arrange people in a way that you get them to come along for this ride is spectacular. You know the stuff on on customer experience for Zappos is great. Mean there’s just so many it just really depends. You know what you want what you want.

Vince Menzione:             57:57                  Tiffany I couldn’t ask for a better answer. I really couldn’t. And what a great guest. I want to thank you so much for taking the time today and being here with our listeners on Ultimate Guide to Partnering.

Tiffani Bova:                    58:07                  Well there’s no place I would rather be. It’s great to get. Hopefully the people listening you know I didn’t know that I miss you dearly and I you know I see some of you at their events and it’s not the same as it as it was you know over the last decade. But I’m always out there cheering for you and for you and believe that you know that the business you know business is better for the partners that are out there supporting it.

Vince Menzione:             58:30                  And for our listeners who want to reach out I know you’re very active on social your Twitter handle.

Tiffani Bova:                    58:36                  Tiffany TFF and I underscore Bova is my Twitter. And then the what’s next with Tiffany Bova is the new podcast right now and we’ll have links to all of this and the show notes.

Vince Menzione:             58:47                  So I want to thank you so much for joining us today.

Vince Menzione:             58:49                  So grateful that you took the time and I know how compressed your schedule is. So thank you for joining.

Tiffani Bova :             58:49                  Of course.




#31- Salesforce in Government, my interview with Casey Coleman.


Welcome to the 31st episode of The Ultimate Guide to Partnering. My guest for this episode of the podcast is Casey Coleman, Senior Vice-President of Global Government Solutions at Salesforce. She is responsible for enterprise positioning and solution strategies for government customers worldwide.

Salesforce was at the forefront of business transformation as one of the first pure cloud companies back in 1999. Casey’s career has been at the intersection of both government and industry, having led GSA’s transformation as its CIO during the Obama administration. At GSA, Casey chaired the Federal CIO Council’s Cloud First committee that developed the FedRAMP standard for cloud cybersecurity.

Casey holds several honors and awards from various organizations, including the Computerworld Premier 100 Award and the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium Award for Leadership in Innovation. She is a three-time winner of the Federal Computer Week Federal 100 Award.

In this episode, we peel back on Casey’s role at Salesforce, Salesforce solutions focused in on the government sector, Salesforce as a company, and the amazing DreamForce event taking place in San Francisco in the coming week.

In this episode you’ll learn more about:

  • Casey’s role leading Government Solutions for Salesforce, one of seven industry markets for the company.
  • What she loves about working for Salesforce and the company’s four core values – Growth, Innovation, Quality and Trust.
  • Why customers choose Salesforce as a platform and vendor.
  • What makes a good partner and what challenges she experienced driving change with vendors when at GSA.
  • What she thinks are the greatest opportunities for growth in government.
  • How she is thinking about her first DreamForce event and keynote.
  • A link to Casey’s session at the event here:
  • Her career journey, advice she received getting started and mentors.

You can listen to the podcast and read the transcript of this episode below.

As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on Linked In or on email at You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings link. This helps others find the podcast.

Thank you for following and listening.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Vince Menzione


Vince Menzione:             00:38                  Welcome to the third episode of The Ultimate Guide to partnering my guest for this episode of The podcast is K.C. Coleman senior vice president of global government solutions at sales force sales force has been a pioneer and at the forefront of business transformation and Casey has been at the intersection of both government and industry. Having served as the CIO of GSA during the federal government’s push to a cloud first strategy during the Obama administration in this episode we peel back on Casey’s role at sales force some of sales forces solutions focused in on the government sector sales force as a company and the amazing Dreamforce event taking place in San Francisco in just a few days. As with each of my episodes I appreciate your feedback. You can reach me on linked in or email at Vince m at cloud wave partners dot net. And now with the latest version of iOS it’s easier than ever to rate and review this podcast. Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy this episode.

Vince Menzione:             01:44                  KC Welcome to the podcast Sansome glad to be here.  I am excited to have you today to share with our listeners your role at sales force the company’s amazing value proposition what you look for in successful partnerships your career journey and your personal story so welcome to you.

Vince Menzione:             02:02                  KC I’m fascinated by how people got to this particular spot in life and you’ve been the recipient of several awards and honors top 50 women in technology. Fred scoup excellence in government federal executive of the year. Really a long list of accomplishments. I would love if you would share with our listeners how you got started how you eventually wound up in government service and now in industry. Could you take our listeners through it.

Casey Coleman:              02:27                  Yeah you bet owl. I’ll give you the short version. I’ve had quite a lot of changes in my career I think the common theme at all has been. I’ve always enjoyed working at the intersection of technology and business and being on the boundary between those two worlds and trying to be effective communicator to both audiences because they don’t always speak the same language. I started off with my education in that very same vein. I got a undergraduate degree in science and an MBA in finance so I was trying.  We’re very beginning to stand those two worlds. I entered government a couple of different points I served on the hill in the House of Representatives on committee staff one year as a legislative fellow through an engineering fellowship such a complete absence from where I’ve moved from Dallas to Washington and was here in D.C. for a year and then move back it was just a one year assignment. And then after 9/11 I was really motivated to return to Washington. It was you may remember the national sentiment was really one of trying to bring the country together and wanting to do something to recover and move forward and to help in a more significant way. And that really motivated me personally to reconnect with the people I’d worked with in D.C. and find a way to return. This time the executive branch at GSA I spent 12 years there the last seven years as the CIO of the agency and that’s when you and I met.

Vince Menzione:             03:58                  In fact we met at a government conference and it was a offshoot of the Computer Electronics Show. There was a government breakout session and at that time you were leading the organization through transformation and were one of the first to drive a cloud first strategy through GSA and I thought maybe you could spend a few moments there talking about that experience of change at GSA. What hurdles you had to overcome and issues that you faced.

Casey Coleman:              04:23                  Yes.  That project was a really interesting one because the Obama administration came into office with a really forward leaning technology agenda. And one of their policies that was that was pretty quick pretty early on in the first Obama term was the cloud first policy. And so it became clear that agencies needed to align to move to cloud solutions. And I was on the CIO Council one of the CEOs who meet regularly on these kind of policy topics and so I volunteered to lead the cloud group the cloud committee and so through that multi-agency forum we put together that cloud security policy that McCain said ran and we put together sort of how you know what the roadmap Whats the journey to move to the cloud. We had to figure out for the first time really what are the what are the security issues what are the purchasing and procurement issues and the data management mobility and legal issues are just a lot of its just a different business model that required a new approach. And if it so happened that GSA had an opportunity for us to take advantage of that all see and move from a legacy e-mail and collaboration system to a cloud based approach. In doing so we took the whole agency through that journey and learned a lot along the way. I’m fortunate to have really strong support from the top down. It is a very successful initiative.

Vince Menzione:             05:49                  Can you peel back on that a little bit. What were the earnings that you found.

Casey Coleman:              05:53                  Well one of them is that I think you should always look at what’s what what motivates people and give them a stake in the success of the initiative that is the natural inclination I think of a federal workers is be conservative and that comes from you know very important work that they do like in health and safety issues and really important national security issues. So there’s a natural conservatism that sort of hinders change both for good and for bad. You don’t want them to be you know veering off in directions that ultimately were fruitful. But there’s a time for change. And so at GSA one of the one of the cultural touchstones and GSA is that they are preparing an organization for the rest of the federal government. And so it falls on them to be knowledgeable about new technologies and new business approaches.  And so by going through these things first they learn and understand it can offer perspective to other agencies. So we’ve really tapped into that that cultural and mission oriented theme for this change. And we we tried everything back to you. This is our drive to the cloud. We’re going to go first and by doing so we’re going to be able to help our customers in that same journey so that the change management piece of it was really founded upon giving people a stake in the success and making it part of the mission that everyone feels so strongly about.

Vince Menzione:             07:23                  You know I saw a lot of organizations struggle at that point and it seems like the transformation is happening faster and faster now are you observing the same thing in government.

Casey Coleman:              07:32                  Absolutely. There’s a just any. Enormous amount of change it’s not just that changes in technology it’s also technology spreading into new markets so we’re now in what some are calling the fourth industrial revolution. Think about earlier and Schiff’s industrial revolution. You know the first was maybe the introduction of steam power and then mass production and then the Internet. And you know I I.T. technologies that now we’re in a place where technology has spread into the physical world. So things like drones autonomous vehicles 3D printers international themes advanced analytics from you know networks of sensors and big data. All of this means that there there’s just so many more technologies that are having an impact on our economy and on our own the government as well. So there’s a real challenge to who can choose the right ones that makes sense for agencies to look at and implement to affect their mission. So it’s quite a challenge. Do

Vince Menzione:             08:38                  you still see agencies that struggle with the transformation and in adopting these new technologies and what would you tell them now if you could.

Casey Coleman:              08:44                  Yeah I do and I still think there’s actually quite a challenge if you were to look at a bell curve of adoption.  I think we’re probably still in the first third of that way either for something like cloud computing which is now probably in its seventh or eighth year of maturing maybe even longer. What I what I say to our customers and to other agencies and to colleagues in this market is some of the things that were relevant to me as a CIO I think are still relevant for one that the tendency is to think out of cloud computing as this very different thing.

Casey Coleman:              09:19                  It’s really just a different business model. It’s not really different technology. It’s the same technologies. You might have on premise that you’re buying it through a cloud service provider who is always keeping an updated always keeping it secure. And so you no longer have to budget for plan for those three to five year upgrades that are so stressful to the organization.  So it takes complexity out of the equation and I really think complexity is an under appreciated environment in government technology world because the more complexity you have more difficulty you have securing it managing it and implementing it and delivering for your stakeholders.

Vince Menzione:             10:03                  You know I agree with you and I found that on the government side they were always more laten to transform to the next revision of the technology. Right. So

Casey Coleman:              10:13                  we saw that quite a bit earlier behind you know putting up technical data. And then you reach a point where it’s almost impossible to get to the new version because you’ve got two or three or more revisions to go through to get there.  It becomes patented possible.

Vince Menzione:             10:29                  So now you leave government solutions globally for sales force. Would you mind sharing for our listeners a little bit about your role and the mission of your organization.

Casey Coleman:              10:37                  Yeah. I joined sales force earlier this year and we implemented sales force I was previously a customer when I was in the government so I was familiar with the company and with their culture of what they do. I really love sales force because not just do we have great products you have great people and a great culture it’s very it’s a very open place where you can have an impact very quickly. You don’t have to be here for a long time you worked your way up through the ranks and they really make a point of listening to and paying not just lip service but actual diligence to all the voices here. Equality is one of our core values. So ad sales force I need our global government industry team. We have organized around seven different industry verticals to really be able to better understand our customers in those markets. Government is one of them. And so my responsibility is to connect our account teams and our customers globally make sure that we really understand the government market how they buy what what solutions are relevant to them. What are the constraints in the compliance and legal frameworks that they have to operate within and making sure that we are relevant to them in their markets in missions they’re serving so are you a go between between the product group or the engineering side of the business and the sales business is that how you see your role. Yeah we really are a go. Julie That’s exactly right. But also our customers our two partners just a minute graters and independent software vendors making sure that they are part of this ecosystem and being able to operate effectively. So we really are sort of the web the fabric that connects all of the different pieces of the system in the government market.

Vince Menzione:             12:22                  So you touched on this a little bit. But you know I wonder if peel back on sales force as a company because a the first major player in the SAS space right. I mean the first true cloud computing company back in 99 early 2000s. Can you share with our listeners what it’s like to work for sales force and how it is fundamentally different than other organizations you worked with or were for yeah I am.

Casey Coleman:              12:48                  Evan just maybe start with the fact that sales force was founded from as you said from the very beginning in the cloud which was different from anyone else.  And so we don’t have we don’t have a legacy business of on premise solutions that our customers are trying to manage as they’re moving to the cloud. So we are all in on cloud from the beginning. We’re also founded in Contini a company organized around a very explicit culture and core values and I mentioned it already we have four core values. Growth innovation equality and trust and trust is our number one value. We just make that really explicit because our customers trust us and that trust is a really important element of our support for them. So you know there’s this saying that culture trumps strategy and that you know the meaning of that is that whatever the culture be it intentional or not is going to end up having way more influence in a company than strategy because the culture is the you know the environment we all live in.

Casey Coleman:              13:53                  So I really love that about sales force. They’ve been very intentional about building a culture that is the customers and the customer success at the center of all we do. We’re also a company that really is very philanthropic and really committed to giving back. We pioneered a model that we call 1 1 1. We give 1 percent of our equity 1 percent of our product in 1 percent of our employees time through paid time off to volunteer causes. And so we have a foundation that enables this 1 1 1 model and do a ton of great work in the communities that we’re part of a world that’s amazing.

Vince Menzione:             14:37                  Yeah talk to me a little bit more about customer obsession customer opportunity. How do you and sales force think differently about the government market and the customer opportunity and partner community in government.

Casey Coleman:              14:50                  Well as I said earlier we were very explicit about the fact that our customers and their success comes first and you would never find a company that disagreed with that statement but I don’t think you’d find the same level of intentional focus and really you know carrying through not just with the statement of support but organizing everything we do around that. So I felt that as a customer I really felt that sales force was a partner and not just a vendor in the sense that I felt like you know there they’re always going to have. Our best interests in the end. You see that thing with this cloud model it’s it’s no longer do you have to go through these these upgrades and you have to manage the environment yourself. Really it takes a lot of that burden off the CEOs they have sort of a future cruise solution and they can focus not on the nuts and bolts of maintaining the system that are really delivering the applications and the value and the innovation that even governments are looking for.

Casey Coleman:              15:59                  You know government organizations have to move at a pace that you know has been would’ve been familiar in previous years and we helped them do that.

Vince Menzione:             16:07                  So can you talk about some key customer opportunities or key customers that you have. And why did they choose sales force over other vendors. Sure

Casey Coleman:              16:16                  . You know as I said earlier on my scope is international so we start with a couple of international customers in Australia the state of New South Wales which is the state for Sydney is located has standardized on sales force for all of their transportation. So there’s a lot of water around Sydney and then in the course the province there and so everyone has about a taxi a water taxi and ferries is a very common way to get around. There’s also a rail in bus and then there’s horse roads and two metres so there’s a variety of transport nodes and and New South Wales has organized all of these different modalities of transportation in sales force so that you can plan your journey. You can see where you train may be running late or Ferries has you know been interrupted by whatever else may be going on so you can you can plan you can see what’s going on in the broader environment and you can connect different modes of travel into a single journey.

Casey Coleman:              17:21                  You can buy your passes online you can maintain your account you can get proactive notices and then that the State can see what’s going on in terms of transportation where they need to focus resources. So that’s been a real success story.

Vince Menzione:             17:37                  You know it reminds me of some of the conversations I’ve been having with organizations around smart cities initiatives and assess an application. That’s right. And there I’ve even heard of other and maybe this is the case in New South Wales so that agencies can use or you could actually time things like an Uber driver you know connecting it at a station or when your ferry gets on the other side is that it. Is that the case here. And you know you can arrange for a pick up and this is more the case for.

Casey Coleman:              18:05                  People who are mobility limited and need specific bus or you know a door side pick up you can organize that through this application uses. There’s certainly no limitation to the different channels you could incorporate So that’s all within not just the art of the possible but easily doable.

Vince Menzione:             18:25                  How about in the United States government. Any examples you have there.

Casey Coleman:              18:29                  Yeah. You mentioned connected cities in in smart cities. Adelbert but the city and county of Denver has standardized on sales force for 3 1 1 services and you know three one one is non-emergency services so it’s things like information like library hours. And whereas my polling place from voting it also includes things like reporting the need for city services like potholes or street lights that are out or you can you know graffiti or abandoned buildings so anything the city does you can report and track through the mobile application and social media channels that are supported by sales force and then you can the city can dispatch the services they can track where the resources are going and they start to get in front of it so they can see where you know they may be at a certain hotspot and they can drill down that find out what’s what’s happening there start to apply resources proactively a number of other cities you have that same approach.

Casey Coleman:              19:28                  So that’s a very you know a lot of success in that area. And then on the on the federal level the U.S. Department of Agriculture uses sales force for managing loans to farmers and ranchers. So there’s over twenty two hundred Field Service offices in the Farm Service Agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and they are now I will have the same information. They can communicate with producers farmers and ranchers to mobile devices so they don’t have to come into the office bring their paperwork stand in line wait their turn. They can do it you know while they’re while they’re sitting on the tractor or out in the field working as if the work doesn’t stop. Just so you can go into the office and wait for government to help you know help me help you with your situation.

Vince Menzione:             20:19                  Nice. And what do you believe that these organizations chose sales force over other vendors.

Casey Coleman:              20:25                  Well there’s a lot of reasons. I think that customers choose sales force or what I hear from them is that first of all it’s about sales force as a partner. So

Casey Coleman:              20:36                  there’s the issue as I mentioned earlier about trust and about customers first. There’s also our platform which is the the world’s number one CRM. It is the top top player in this market. And so going with number one is always a good strategy as we’ve always been innovating we receive. The Innovator of the decade award from Forbes magazine. So we are known as the company and the partner that’s going to be out in front and to deliver new capabilities even before our customers realize they were a useful for them. They  also appreciate the fact that it’s really easy to use it’s really easy to develop and it’s you add in it and it’s in the platform.

Casey Coleman:              21:20                  But one of the big philosophies and priorities at sales force is to really democratize innovation. We don’t believe that it’s you know technology should be the province of just you know the few who are able to master the narrow skill sets that to really make it very easy to become a sales force administrator and developer that can put all of our training online for free at trailheads that sells for com so that people can go there and get certified and participate in this economy. True.

Vince Menzione:             21:53                  Through the forms we provide and what do you believe are the greatest opportunities for continued growth in government. Where do you see the curve going.

Casey Coleman:              22:03                  Well there’s still so much growth left in the CRM market it is across the board across all industries CRM is the fastest enterprise market in terms of growth. So there’s there’s still enormous uptake yet to come in. In our core market. But I would point to artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things as two exceptionally fast growing areas for us. Internet of Things is really as you know it’s really applying sensors and technology in the physical environment to manage it and our particular approach to the Internet of Things is to be the management platform for IMT that we’re not providing the sensor or the network we’re providing to manage the platform to track and make use of that data and then share that with the Internet of Things with advanced analytics capabilities. Einstein said brainy Einstein is poised to make sense of the data and bringing in other data sources both internal and external to not not only understand what’s going on that they are able to infer them to predict and be able to make decisions about you know the way that you need to manage it going forward.

Vince Menzione:             23:17                  So with the Internet of Things the sensors out and the environment collecting the data maybe we’re talking about those ferries or trains that are running in Australia now and then the the collection comes in through sales force and then Einstein maybe takes a look at the ferry schedule and says maybe we need to change that accordingly to support maybe a influx of people or a capacity issue.

Casey Coleman:              23:38                  Yes that’s a good example.

Vince Menzione:             23:41                  So we’re recording this in the weeks leading up to the amazing Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. We already talked about the culture of sales force but I’ve heard many great things about the Dreamforce event that it’s really an amazing happening. I hear a hundred thousand people congregating in San Francisco for a week or more and this is the week of November 6 that it’s taking place. Can you tell our listeners a bit about how you’re thinking about your first Dreamforce event and your role day event.

Casey Coleman:              24:07                  Yeah I am really looking forward to Dreamforce you’re right it is the world’s largest software conference. It is a hundred thousand plus AMS So it is and not just a conference but an event a happening and it’s really all about helping our customers innovate in helping them to make better use of our platform and be able to not just from a technology perspective but also a strategy perspective. So there’s a lot of very senior leaders CXO those who are gathering there a lot of very senior government officials. Well one of my one of the highlights that I’ll have an opportunity to just say in is a keynote session where I’m bringing some customers on to the stage to talk about the government market and how we really crack open the innovation capabilities and help them to create the government the future. So it’s all about the opportunity as I said a minute ago get out of line and get online and be able to serve your customers in a way that suits their needs where they are.

Vince Menzione:             25:12                  And so for our listeners who are coming to it that I’ll be asking you for a link to the schedule for the event if that’s OK with you so we can make sure that our government listeners and government partners that are attending will attend that session. So I’m going to shift gears a little bit and talk about partners since this is the ultimate guide to partnering and we focus on that specific area of technology.

Vince Menzione:             25:34                  You have quite a bit of experience working with vendors and in your most recent role with partners as well what do you believe makes or what characteristics you believe makes a great partner.

Casey Coleman:              25:45                  Well they’re a great partner is from a you know just a general point of view is and I think there’s got to be an empathy involved in the ability to understand holistically that interest in the needs of all the different participants because there is a relationship between sales force and the vendors between sales force and the customers that government users and the partners you know.

Casey Coleman:              26:12                  And then there’s the ultimate customer or citizen or a member of the public who’s benefiting from government services or using government services. So being able to understand the second and third order or degree of impact and being able to plan and move quickly and do so in a way that’s very thoughtful about the ultimate mission that we’re trying to fulfill. I think that’s an important first characteristic.

Vince Menzione:             26:42                  Have you seen situations where partners have failed working with your organization and this isn’t just with sales force but just in general and your years of experience and technology in the industry.

Casey Coleman:              26:53                  Yeah I was I haven’t you haven’t seen it ad sales force have certainly observed and we’ve all read about situations where in the community and government I.T. community they’ve been challenges and I think if you look at the root cause for those kinds of situations it often goes to a divergence of interests where you know government had a mission and the supporting partner had a different perspective and they weren’t aligned.

Casey Coleman:              27:21                  You can go back and look at it more root cause I think there’s ever one party to blame. Certainly it’s same situation when I was in the government where I felt like we could have done a better job communicating what we needed not because we didn’t communicate that we were learning as we were going. And I think that points to the challenges of where technology has been and a reason for optimism about where we’re going. Because if you think about I’ll call them the bad old days it used to take years and millions of dollars to deploy a new initiative. And so it’s no wonder we didn’t get it right all the time because things change at that time and you can’t have perfect knowledge about what’s needed. But now with modern technologies including cloud mobile and agile and scaled agile type of development approaches and dev ops you can move very quickly.

Casey Coleman:              28:14                  You can iterate fast you can change things that can be you know be quickly fielded. And so you don’t have to wait years and put in tens of millions of dollars before we see a change. We also have the ability now to separate out back office systems and front office or front and front facing systems of engagement so that we can rapidly change the user interface and the customer experience and we can be a lot more cheerful and thoughtful deliberate about changes to things like master data records and business processes.

Casey Coleman:              28:47                  So you know I’ve kind of wandered away from the original question but I think I think farmers generally always try to do the right thing by their customers always and I mean that’s saying that fundamentals that intense in every case that you need patience and the ability of technology move quickly and then to jointly make the right decisions for the outcomes is something I think is a far better state today.

Vince Menzione:             29:12                  You know you raise some really good points and it really points to the transformation how the cloud has enabled that point really the rapid development the agile I.T. and how it’s a much different environment than years ago when it took five years and$100 million. So  when you got it completed it didn’t meet the requirements any longer. Right.

Casey Coleman:              29:29                  We really don’t hear about situations like that very often anymore.

Vince Menzione:             29:32                  No we we heard about it many times in the past though.

Vince Menzione:             29:36                  So talk to me about partners wishing to work with you and your organization is there any advice you have are ways that they should reach out to you and the team.

Casey Coleman:              29:45                  Yeah there’s that we love our partners and are always interested to talk to partners and and prospective partners about working together.

Casey Coleman:              29:55                  I think it’s always helpful to bring something to that conversation so that it’s not just about how we want to work with you but we have relationships here are we have a particular point of view that we think compliments what sales force is doing so that there is you know sort of a marriage of equals in terms of the contributions and the point of view and the thought leadership of all just that sense.

Vince Menzione:             30:20                  So I’d like to come back to your personal and professional story for a little bit here and spend a little time here because there’s a great opportunity I believe with this podcast to share for early career professionals.  And so I’d like to ask you a couple of questions there.

Casey Coleman:              30:34                  The first of which is was there any great advice you got when you first got started that you keep with you and kind of continue with absolutely that the one thing that has really stuck with me from the very earliest days of my professional career is take a chance and I heard this from my dad. I also heard this from my first manager who encouraged me to take that engineering fellowship with Washington for that opportunity on Capitol Hill. And the nugget there is that you you won’t know what could happen unless you try. And so you shouldn’t be I mean you should make smart choices that we can’t make perfect choices so if you if you take a chance if you try something new if you make a move and it doesn’t work out you’ll at least learn something and you will meet new people and you’ll position yourself in a way that will be helpful going forward. So I think there’s not much downside in a lot of potential upside to just taking a chance and trying something a little outside your comfort zone.

Vince Menzione:             31:37                  Did you take a chance at any point and have a hurdle that was difficult to overcome.

Casey Coleman:              31:42                  Yes many times.  What for example just that that moved to D.C. I didn’t know anyone I remember as you know head to a new city that had to make connections and figure out how to you know function here in even more recently leaving the government and moving back into industry was was a challenge it was again a little outside my comfort zone because I reached a place where I felt like I sort of understood what was expected of me and how to deliver effectively in the previous role and so I wanted to continue challenging myself continued learning so I’d took a new role that was with you know in industry. So I’ve done it many times and I always feel like if I’m if I’m well within my comfort zone then it’s time to do something different. Shake

Vince Menzione:             32:28                  that up you’ve been a role model to others and women in technology and just across government and industry. But was there any one role model that you had either directly or indirectly that you look to. And what advice or what attributes did you learn from them.

Casey Coleman:              32:43                  You’ve had a lot of mentors and probably not necessarily famous people but people who took an interest in me and gave me candid and helpful feedback. I mention my dad image and my first manager a lot of people when I was at GSA gave me a lot of wisdom. I remember hearing from one that you should always be careful of everything you say because someone is going to take it out of context and put it in print and then you will not be able to correct yourself. So that caused me to be very thoughtful and careful about what I said. You know in a way that you know when I wasn’t on a similar kind of stage I might not have been quite so so careful. So a lot of mentors and I always say when when people ask me about mentor you know no one is ever insulted to be asked to be a mentor.

Casey Coleman:              33:39                  People are always happy to see developing employees and more junior professionals take an interest in it. You know doing better and being more effective and learning from those around so I don’t think you should ever hesitate to ask for perspectives or or even mentoring advice from others. But she should also be the kind of person who is known for their reputation for doing good work so that people are happy to be associated with and help you in that journey.

Vince Menzione:             34:09                  So what advice would you give to your 25 year old self.

Casey Coleman:              34:14                  I think I would say don’t be self-critical to myself. Probably like a lot of people is always you know re-examining an self criticizing trying to figure out what I could do better. And you know these things have worked out as they have been and it’s all been fine. So well we could’ve chilled a little bit.

Vince Menzione:             34:37                  What was that at a time after you got your Master’s Degree or while you were in the process and probably threw out.

Casey Coleman:              34:45                  I was working when I was going to grad school and so I was staying up late doing class work and trying to get it all in. So that was kind of a stressful period but ultimately it was well worth it.

Vince Menzione:             34:58                  So what pursuits or obsession is this Casey enjoy when she’s not working or explore when you’re not working.

Casey Coleman:              35:05                  Well I love anything outdoors. I love biking. I love running.

Casey Coleman:              35:12                  I’ve recently gotten into doing crossfit which I think is really fun because there’s sort of a really enthusiastic Shinichi that just takes in CrossFit classes and so you feel like you’re you’re part of the a little crowd of people who share your interest in being healthy and trying to get stronger and in being able to take you know take that energy that it gives you for working out and do the job.

Casey Coleman:              35:35                  So I really love that my husband and I both love dogs. And so what we have we have four dogs which is a little crazy and we do a lot of dog rescue and dog training especially German Shepherds. So  we we spend a lot of time in doing dog things.

Vince Menzione:             35:54                  Nice. I was going to ask you big dogs are small dogs but you answer that for me.

Casey Coleman:              35:58                  Well since we have four we have two of each. That is every one of the other dogs that do that the two German shepherds and then we have two. They’re rescues and they’re both terrier mixes.

Vince Menzione:             36:09                  And believe me the littles are a lot more high maintenance than the big I have a little dog I can and I could agree with that one. So was there a quote you live your life by or you think of often yeah.

Casey Coleman:              36:22                  It’s funny I was just thinking about this today I was talking with some members of my team. One of my favorite quotes is from Teddy Roosevelt. And there’s a couple of different variations of it but it’s that the gist of it is it’s the man in the rain. It’s the fire in the rain. Who’s making the difference. It’s not that people standing around on the outside cheering or or doing you know that’s always going to be second guessers you are standing on the sidelines that it’s the person who rolls up their sleeves and gets in the ring and takes on the challenges to do really is to be admired in so others will you know wish that they had committed themselves to something like that when they see the effort and the success that comes from that kind of commitment.

Vince Menzione:             37:09                  That’s a favorite quote of mine as well and he was talking to the critics of that. I believe at the time the people that were criticizing his work and in government there’s a lot of that. So if you had a personal billboard and this is a metaphor for a message you’d like to send out to the world what would you share on it.

Casey Coleman:              37:30                  What certainly go back to that statement take a chance. And then the other thing that I am always reminding myself of is assume good intent.  You know it’s so easy especially in the world we live in today where things move so quickly. Social media makes it possible to communicate instantly to a lot of people we don’t know.  Easy to assume that you know the people we disagree with have some ill intent but I’ve always found when I’ve sat down and talked with people and disagreed with that we all know why and comment a lot more in common than things we disagreed about. And you know people are coming to their point of view from some reasons First perspective.  So you might not ultimately agree but if you assume good intent then you can start off a conversation with a lot more possibility of finding a way forward together than if you start off assuming that there is ill intent. I

Vince Menzione:             38:31                  agree. Assume good intent. I like that quite a bit early. You know that’s that’s a great one and it’s timely for this time and our our in our world. Is there one. Is there one book that you have read or bestowed often that you would recommend to our listeners.

Casey Coleman:              38:48                  You know there’s a bunch of good ones. I like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean in I think it’s not just for women but it’s about you know really professionals and people who are trying to make a difference in their career and stepping up and being heard and not waiting for someone to point you out and in in call on you. But being proactive and you know managing your own career and trying to be part of the solution and be part of the the good that’s happening. So that’s that’s one I like a lot.

Vince Menzione:             39:21                  And where do you want to be in three to five years or where do you see yourself being in three to five years. Casey

Casey Coleman:              39:29                  Well I haven’t been good at predicting that so far so that’s the a low probability I’ll be able to predict that accurately today but I was you know early in my journey here as sales force I hope that I continue to contribute make a difference here.  Be able to expand my capabilities with the customers and the partners and all the folks I’m working with here. I just think there’s so much good happening here I’m enjoying it professionally

Vince Menzione:             39:57                  and for our listeners who’d like to reach out to you.  What’s the best way for them to do so.

Casey Coleman:              40:02                  Well you can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on Twitter. It’s at. Casey Coleman was lucky enough to get that from my Twitter handle. So I’m pretty easy to reach and check but was pretty regularly great.

Vince Menzione:             40:14                  And Casey I want to thank you so much for joining the ultimate guide to partnering today. It’s been a great honor to have you and I appreciate your time given your compressed schedule. So thank you so much.

Casey Coleman:              40:24                  My pleasure.