Quote 2 Cast 2017 Curtain Call
W ell, ATG’s inaugural Quote 2 Cast Summit is in the books, but I am pleased to say that the ripples from this deep dive into the pond are continuing to flow! Since opening the doors of the Missoula Solution Center in 2011, ATG has always been proud to be a key contributor to the local community.
What an amazing couple of days – watching customers, prospects, educators, analysts, partners, and colleagues interact with one another with meaningful conversations about life, career, projects, family, and passion. From the shores of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers, to the heights of Snowbowl, to the confines of the historic Wilma Theatre, even to late night festivities at Red’s Bar – pods of two, or four, or 10, or even 20, were forming and reforming throughout the week, engaging in genuine dialogue on the key topics of our industry.
Here is what I am taking away from this year’s Quote 2 Cast conference:
Customers like to talk to other customers. What is working, what is not. How do you inspire a project team? How do you handle escalations? It was great to pair up Customers from similar industries, or similar geographies, to expand their professional networks.
Customers like to talk to their Vendor leadership, especially in a relaxed setting. RFPs, contract negotiations, project kickoffs, escalations, etc., are all important steps in maintaining a healthy Quote to Cash operating environment. But sitting down having a beer, mountain biking down a Rocky Mountain ski hill, or sitting in a boat on a blue-ribbon trout stream each create a unique environment to really build some common ground and trust into the relationship.
Emerging trends in Women in Technology Leadership presents an incredible opportunity for the entire ecosystem to supercharge our workforce. As the women on our panel clearly articulated – it is incumbent on all of us, women and men, to create an environment where every employee can ‘bring their whole selves to work.’
All of us can do a better job working with our local universities to better enable the next-generation workforce. It was opined that the current generation entering the workforce are excellent consumers of technology, but not necessarily prepared to ‘create’ technology. Innovative programs that pair private industry with public and private education are an excellent opportunity to invigorate college curriculum, while inspiring students and employees alike. Salesforce University is in a unique position to broadcast good work being done in one locale, across the global Salesforce footprint.
Cloud Billing is constantly evolving, with a market expected to approach $150 billion by 2020. This is a staggering number, and the bulk of that number will be enabled by the incredible Cloud Billing Panelists that took the stage on Thursday. Aria, goTransverse, Salesforce, SAP, and Zuora each provided a very good overview of their view of the market, and the industries and use cases they are targeting. We are grateful to each of them for being great sports and sharing the stage for such an important dialogue. Thanks also to Andrew Dailey from MGI for providing an excellent financial overview of the software market and where valuations are headed.
Enterprise Transformation, IOT, and Global Tax Compliance are challenging hills to climb. But we heard from the Sherpas that have been to the top, and know how to help. The spirit of engagement, information sharing, and collaboration was incredibly inspiring. John McGregor of Kronos, Jesse Mar Chun of Concur, and Dan Morris from Rentpath each provided invaluable learnings from their journeys to Quote to Cash excellence.
I learned that while society likes to put labels on us – Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers, yada, yada – we need to break through those prescribed walls, or boundaries, and build teams that can work together seamlessly, allowing each employee to thrive for the betterment of the team. The words genuine and authentic came up time and again. These are cornerstones for building a healthy culture for employees of all ages.
I learned that you can zip-line, upside down, hanging by your ankles. -Safely. Thank you, Heather Pertel, for damn near giving me a heart attack. First rule of events: don't kill your attendees.
Godard Abel has an amazing and inspiring story. Who wants to climb the mountain with Godard? I think we all do – just maybe not at the same pace, since he ran the infamous “M” Trail in nine minutes the morning of his presentation!
Finally, Peter Coffee is a smart, smart man. Salesforce, the Summit attendees, and the entire technology ecosystem are lucky to have someone so engaging, so forward-thinking, and so willing to build relationships.
Tom Stergios is ATG's SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development, and the General Manager of the Missoula Solution Center.
Tom was born and raised in Missoula and returned in the midst of a very successful technology consulting career to raise his family with his wife Mary Lou.