Another Cloud Podcast

A podcast designed to bring you stories from the smartest minds in IT, operations and business, and learn how they're using Cloud Technology to improve business and the customer experience.

Sangria and SaaS with Henry Svendblad

with Alex McBratney and Aarde Cosseboom

Don't have time to listen? Read the full transcription.

Alex McBratney  00:01

Hello, and welcome to Another Cloud Podcast, a podcast designed to bring you stories from the smartest minds in IT, operations and business and learn how they're using cloud technology to improve business and customer experience.

Aarde Cosseboom  00:18

Welcome, everyone to another episode of our podcast. Today we're joined by Henry from Company Nurse. So Henry, welcome to the podcast.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  00:28

Thank you already. Thank you for having me on.

Aarde Cosseboom  00:31

Yeah, absolutely. And Alex is my co host, as always. So Alex, nice to see you again.

Alex McBratney  00:37

Absolutely. Absolutely. Hey, I love and I were talking about this a second ago, but I love how everyone has their passions on the wall behind them. And Aarde, you clearly are the beer drinker of the group. But I love the outdoors stuff. I love Henry having his bike in the back but great to be on the show. Henry great to have you, nice. Nice to finally meet you.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  00:57

Thank you, thank you I probably already spirit I should probably have a wine, my wine fridge behind me too, so that I could talk about wines. I'm pretty passionate about mountain biking and, and wine, and of course customer experience. But yeah, let's again.

Aarde Cosseboom  01:11

Yeah, absolutely. Let's talk a little bit about the wine first. And it'll Henry and I have been on a lot of different podcasts, a lot of different webinars. And one of them was a happy hour with a product tool that you guys use. And we use that textile as well called Genesys. And you made a homemade sangria. So tell us a little bit about you know, what is that homemade, homemade sangria? What are the key ingredients to making the perfect sangria and what's the wine you should use should be a white or red rose a what do you do well.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  01:42

Wow, now you really put me on the spot. So I going to I going to go find that sangria recipe. So you know, saying my, a little bit about my background just to kind of get into that. I was born in South America and Bogota, Colombia. My family comes from Spain, and Sweden. So my father is Swedish, hence the last name Svendblad and so I grew up with a lot of Spanish influence in our culture, even though we're in Colombia, and sangria is a very traditional kind of Sunday brunch or really any day type of drink, which is a mix of either white wine or red wine. So you have white sangria is red sangria typically has some slices of fruit in it. We'll have some brandy will have and you just kind of let it sit there with ice and it's you know, it's slightly lower alcohol content, obviously, because you're mixing in some of the other things, but it still has a nice kick. So yeah, love loves sangria. Don't drink it quite as much because it is you know, with all that fruit, it's got a lot of sugar in it, but it's fun for parties.

Aarde Cosseboom  02:49

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I love sangria or nice, cold, light beer when you're doing yard work on a hot summer's day. And we were talking about this earlier, Henry says, told us that he's living in Scottsdale, so you got some pretty hot days, and we know that you love bikes. Tell us a little bit about your biking hobby, and a little bit of a background of what got you into biking.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  03:14

Yeah, so it was actually came about because I've always been a competitive athlete. So I was a competitive swimmer in school. And so I had the swimming down. And as I was getting into about to turn 40 a little bit over 10 years ago, I was kind of in bad shape. Not bad but I'd let myself slip a little bit, you know, gain a few pounds too much work. And I made a commitment to myself to kind of get in the best shape of my life. So I did. I started with, you know, cross training running, I got to a point where I was running pretty fast still swimming, started taking spinning classes. And I decided I was going to get into triathlon. So I did a couple of triathlons and did very you know did pretty well came in the top three but my cycling was just off the charts in terms of compared to everybody else I would you know get passed by 100 swimmers and then I would pass 100 Riders on the bike and then you know, maybe get caught by one or two people on the run. And so I decided to devote my time really to cycling I hired a  cycling coach. I told him that I wanted to become a professional mountain biker, which was quite a challenge. I think the you know, the important thing there is we in our business we use a business coach. And I think it's a great a great thing for any executive team or company to have someone that's kind of on the outside looking in keeping you honest and help you to develop that plan based on what they see is worked for other athletes. So I worked my tail off for about four years, and I earned my pro card through just you know, winning A bunch of races competing and some big races and I was able to travel overseas, join a couple of international races where I was really, it was interesting to see the difference between being sort of the star in Arizona or competing on a national level here to some extent, and then going overseas and being middle of the pack back of the pack compared to everybody else when you're competing with folks that are World Cup athletes and Olympians.

Alex McBratney  05:28

That's a great story. My kids have recently gotten into Fabio Limber. He's the red bull athlete and doing runs down snow, ski slopes and crazy stuff through Paris and Leone's but absolutely awesome sport, though and exciting sport, right? Because it's downhill and it's fast.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  05:47

It is but what's interesting is what the vision that most people have of mountain biking is some someone like Fabio, right, that's doing crazy stuff jumping off, you know, these big gap jumps. And of course, you know, I hit my fair share of jumps that I'm usually trying to figure out how to get through the jump as quickly as possible and not get, you know, 20 feet of air in sideways. Because that usually ends up with with broken bones for me. Yeah.

Aarde Cosseboom  06:12

That's a good pivot. So tell us a little bit about the company, you work for Company Nurse. And you talked a little bit earlier about awards that you won, on the slopes and mountain biking. Tell us a little bit about what you guys do a Company Nurse and maybe some of the awards that you've won recently? what some of the tools that you use.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  06:34

Yeah, thanks for that segway, Aarde. So very excited about the organization that I'm with right now. It's a company called Company Nurse. And we lessen the pain of workers compensation with, which I know sounds thrilling, just as thrilling as jumping down a mountain. But it's actually it's pretty exciting. It's a very niche market, we have some pretty big competitors in terms of billion dollar companies that give away the service that we charge for it. So we have to work that much harder on our customer experience and our results. And what we do, we have a call center here in Scottsdale, most of our agents are remote, they were remote prior to COVID. They're certainly remote. Now we have some in spread throughout the US. And then we've got some international intake teams in Central America and in the Philippines. But basically, and prior to COVID, we were handling about 500 workplace injuries a day, what we do is somebody gets hurt at work, they call us or they use our mobile service to reach us. And then through some of the integrations that we've built with our Genesys contact center, we're able to get a nurse on the phone with that individual very quickly. And then our goal is to return that person to work as quickly as possible. Whether that means referring them to the appropriate point of care, or maybe sending them back to work with some self care instructions. We've focused, as I mentioned, on customer experience, so we do some things that our competitors don't, for example, our nurses are able to immediately book a lift or an Uber ride for that worker, get to get them to their appointment, get them back to work, we're able to very quickly through geolocation and some of the work that we do on our provider databases, find the most appropriate location that has the services that they need. That's also something that's kind of a differentiator, you wouldn't think so. And then really what what's different about this versus maybe a telemedicine or a general health consultation or triage is that we also have to then distribute the information about what happened in that injury to lots of different stakeholders in the chain. And that's where security and kind of our contact center technology and the technology that we've built comes in where we have very complex and robust workflow engine that distributes. You know, everything from a text message goes to the employee saying, Hey, here's your incident number. And by the way, here are your self care instructions, and how and what you need to do. We send the employee a state required injury report that needs to be filed. And there's some time there's some penalties and some timing and in terms of how quickly that needs to be filed. So it really relieves the administrative burden from those managers. And then we're also passing the information to others along the chain, third party administrators, administrators that manage the claim, the insurance carriers that adjudicate and payout the claim, and so on. So that's kind of a quick summary of our traditional business that we've been doing for 20 plus years, as a result of COVID. We had to pivot. We work with a lot of schools, and, and we're usage based business so schools not being in service obviously was a big, a big impact had a big impact on us in terms of our call volumes. We went from 500 plus incidents a day, which meant usually 607 call 700 calls some days, down to maybe 100 Cause a day, we work with a lot of fire and first responders. So we obviously saw an increase in some areas and certainly in our healthcare clients that didn't, that didn't really account for all the schools that were no longer calling. So as a result of that, we had to pivot to a new solution. I'll stop there, because I'm sure you want to drill down on that. 

Alex McBratney  10:21

Yeah, I think it's really interesting. You know, being a Chief Technology Officer, most of the people that we've talked to on the podcast have been on the customer experience Customer Success side. So it's interesting to see your take on how you've, you'll progress the technology over at Company Nurse, describe a little bit about because you've been there about three years, almost four years, was it what was in place before? Did you start Genesys after you got there and then how is that foundation built? Because it just doesn't happen all at once. Where did you start to get to where you're at today with all that technology advancements?

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  10:54

That's a great question. I've actually been there a little bit longer, because I actually started as a consultant. So I through a mutual friend, I met the CEO of a company nurse, Paul Benfold. And actually, we, we sort of worked in the same building 20 years ago, because it's a it's a small world, right? We've all got those, those connections, small degrees of separation. But initially, I started as a security and technology consultant, helping them look assess their systems and sort of figure out how do they go from being a on premise, installed solution type of organization where everything was being done in house, to where we are today, you know, fast forward four plus years, where I kind of sold them on the philosophy of SAS first cloud first, which I know you guys if you guys are big into CCaaS types of solutions. So the first thing was looking at their contacts in our platform, it was a again, no knock on my tail, I've advised and worked with Mitel systems in the past and obviously short tail and that acquisition. But the system like most installed systems was at a point where most of the servers were out of date out of spec, the software was not going to scale very easily, there were some real limits to what we can do from a quality management workforce optimization perspective. And so we started by agreeing that CCaaS was the first sort of step into this, this new SAS first cloud first model. So we looked at Gartner's Magic Quadrant, and at the time, it was five, nine, NICE inContact in Genesys. And so through a selection process and evaluation process, I lead which I lead, the leadership team decided that Genesys was the right fit, obviously, I had some input in that, and a lot of that had to do with their vision and architecture and where we wanted to go as a company. But a lot of it was also and I think you guys can appreciate this, we want it, we want it to keep it simple. One of my key rules from a security as a CTO perspective is complexity is the enemy of security, right. And so having multiple vendor relationships to manage in a five nines scenario, was really not something that we wanted to get into. And we knew that there's some better workforce management tools out there that large organizations have. But for a company of our size, having everything in one place through one vendor really made sense. And so that's how we ended up with Genesys.

Aarde Cosseboom  13:28

Yeah, the follow up on that a little bit, because some of the people who are listening may not have the decision making power of a CTO, and have the decision making power around kind of customer experience. Sometimes it's separated into two roles, three roles or even teams. So talk to us a little bit about how you guys internally sold that this was the right move, obviously, we know that the benefits of going to a SAS base product in the cloud. And if you are the decision maker, and there's only one sole decision maker, it's a lot easier. But if you have to convince a group of four or five people that may have different hats, and they focus on just the technology side, just the IT security and some other people just focus on the customer experience. How did you guys bridge that gap internally? And then what would you recommend for people who are trying to go through that process today?

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  14:21

That's a great question, Aarde. I think it really depends on the you hit it initially, when you said, you know, some organizations, it's one person, certainly I wasn't the only one making this decision. And sometimes smaller organizations really, you know, for them, the cost is a little bit more significant. So sometimes that could be a challenge at smaller organizations. I've worked at some fortune 50 companies in my past, and I think the challenge that a lot of these organizations have is that in order for them to move to a cloud contact center system like Genesys, you're basically talking about changing dozens, maybe hundreds of people's lives right you have a telecom team, you've got a network team. Sometimes those two teams don't always work together or agree on what the best path forward right, the networking team typically has a Cisco head on. And they think Cisco is the end all be all of every, you know everything that they do. And the telecom team probably has an old Avaya or Nortel platform. And sometimes, you know, there's a compromise where you end up with organizations like some of the some of the customers we work with that they can't get out of their own way from an IT perspective, because of some of those old install teams. So from my perspective, what I, what I like to do as a consultant when I was a consultant was to work with organizations that, quote, get it right, they understand that in order for them to be agile, and to deliver the best customer experience, they need to focus on their core competencies. And so the first thing I would do if I had to convince somebody that was that was stuck on living in the past, or having that sort of siloed mentality in their teams, is really have a discussion about what do we want to be Who are we? are we are we a telecom company? Are we a networking company? Do we want to be a data center company, a company that runs data centers, and I've been with large organizations that think they can do a better job than AWS or Microsoft, and I'm sorry to break it to them and to you guys, but I just don't see that that's the case. In fact, I had that discussion with five nine at the time five, nine was trying to sell us their contact center platform, they claimed or, or argued that they could run a data center better than Microsoft or AWS and fast forward a few years in the market has forced them to break embrace the public cloud. So I think, first it starts with the attitude and the and the approach that companies take. Some companies are I think, you know, you're seeing what happened to the JC Penney's and Sears of the world that thought, you know, they weren't going to be replaced, and here comes Amazon with a better customer experience. And, and suddenly, people don't necessarily have to try on those shorts to buy them. Right. And I know already you, you know all about this. 

Aarde Cosseboom  17:06

yeah, I definitely know all about it and Alex is definitely on the same board here. Alex, do you when you're consulting with people when you're having phone calls and they're stuck in the mentality of well, you know, I never got fired for keeping Cisco or, you know, it's not, it hasn't really fallen apart, it's broken a bunch of times, it hasn't really like, you know, falling apart might short, tell whatever it is, how do you get them out of that mindset and say, you know, you got to look towards the future, you got to look towards cloud based SaaS product, you have to migrate from all the different reasons. How do you get them to cross that chasm?

Alex McBratney  17:46

It's a hard chasm to get someone to convince someone of something that they're trying to stay with, right? It's like cognitive dissidence, where it's like, well, they love Cisco, they're, they're going to hold on to that Mitel Avaya for as long as they can. But eventually, something happens internally, where it's nothing that I could have done to convince them, it's it came from somebody else, the system broke, or there's a merger, and they're bringing another company into the emerging market like, like the Genesys customer that we worked on over the summer already, where I was like, they have one person on Vonage, one person in the company on short tail, and it's like what we need to do something. And then the obvious choice when you're moving to a new system is going to the cloud first, because they start looking at the Gartner quadrant and seeing what's out there. But it's very hard to convince, we can guide and advise. But unless their mindsets already forward thinking to the cloud, it's cold, it's a culture, it's very hard to convince someone.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  18:40

I agree and what I'm seeing and I won't name any names. I don't want to get anybody in trouble. But I've run across some companies that are very, very have embraced the cloud and are very technology focused. But they also, in some cases, take the approach that Well, we're never going to give our customers access to us via telephone, everything is in our mobile app. And I think that's almost going the other way. Right? I think if you're you know, if you're a technology, let's say you're a financial technology company, and you have millions of customers, and some of them have 10s of 1000s or millions of dollars, with your organization, you're probably going to want to give him a chance to talk to someone if something goes wrong. And so, you know, some of it is kind of educating the leadership team of these organizations. So understand, what's the possible, right, what, what because it's, it's easy to get stuck in the well, I've never got fired from using Cisco, but what are my competitors doing or what are some of the stalwarts in the industry doing? And why is it that I that I don't have that same capability? Why can't I deliver the same customer experience? Why can't I deliver the same speed to market with the solutions that I'm deploying? You know, why? Why do I have all these disjointed systems? Why is my turnover 30% and so when you start looking at how the business is performing or not performing, I think it's easy to then turn to Okay, let's focus on what our core competencies are. And let's look at companies like Genesys. And again, Genesys isn't the silver bullet. There are lots of great solutions out there, as you guys know. But when you look at companies like Apple and Microsoft, and Uber and Starbucks and Bank of America that are all using Genesys technology, you have to wonder to yourself, what are they? What did they get? Right? Microsoft? You know, they sell phone systems, right? They sell teams? You can you can do teams telephony and use that as your, you can probably even use it as an ACD. Not that I would recommend it. But why did they choose to use Genesys, there's got to be something else there that you can that you can do. And so that that I think was, for me, that was one of one of the ways that I was able to, and I didn't take very long and this was a very forward thinking leadership team. But I think once they understood what the art of the possible was, with this new platform, they were able to see that and then once we started executing on that, and started seeing the results, in our quality scores going up, and our average handle time going down, and our agents being more satisfied with their jobs, it just, you know, then then you start building this what I call it kind of a flywheel, right, you have all these different things that make your organization move. And when you get that flywheel spinning and moving forward, then it just that momentum starts to build and good things happen.

Alex McBratney  21:27

Yeah, I think a big piece is culture, right? Now, let's say your CEO had the foresight to bring you in first as a consultant, to look at all the systems look at how the technology is being utilized. And then having the openness to say, Okay, let's you bring in the core competencies, let's see where we can go from here. Because if you're not growing, you're dying. If you're not, you know, keeping track of what your competitors are doing, you're going to be gone like the JC Penney's, and, you know, blockbusters of the world, because there's companies, you know, especially in Silicon Valley, and tech companies are coming in saying, How can we disrupt How can we disrupt, and you'll be the next disrupted company, if you're not now on top of it.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  22:06

That's Alex, that's actually a great point and I don't know if you if you've, I think the book is called disrupt yourself. But it was actually something. And I'd love to talk about this some more and how we work with our business coach, but it was something that I recommended to the leadership team that we all read, and that we really think about how and I think every business should ask themselves, how do I disrupt myself? Right? How do I what do I because if you don't disrupt yourself, somebody is going to disrupt your industry? No question. And we're trying to do that in this in this small work comp space and in healthcare, you know, General healthcare is there lots of companies are looking to disrupt with what I love about this industry is that we are a little bit further behind. So to me, it's a kind of a land of opportunity in terms of what you can do to disrupt the way things are being done today.

Aarde Cosseboom  23:00

I love how you highlighted that the Microsoft support team, the call center that is at Microsoft uses Genesys, which is it's kind of kind of funny, because oftentimes Alex and I will we'll be talking to a customer or someone who's interested in making this migration. And the first question they have is, what what's the best CCaaS tool that integrates with MS Teams? Because we've got MS Teams, it's already there. Everyone's using it, you know, alongside maybe zoom, but they're really supposed to be using teams, what they use teams, what is the best? And I usually don't answer directly. And I usually say, Well, if the Microsoft support team, their contact center is using Genesys, and obviously, they're going to be using MS Teams integrated directly into that, that's probably where I'd recommend you go. At least, they're going to be in the beta for all new releases, they're going to be in the No, because their internal team, it's drinking your own champagne or eating your own dog food. They need to develop that first with Genesys so that their Microsoft support teams can kind of progress and move forward. So definitely a great call out. Um, and you talked about that kind of pivots us to the next question that I had, you talked about speed to market. And I love that that's a good, that's an amazing phrase. And that's something that most people don't think about when they're transitioning from an on prem to in the cloud environment. They don't think three, four, or even maybe one year beyond their implementation and say, What are the benefits that I meant? What is what's the hidden ROI that I'm going to get? And I think speed to market is a great thing to call out. So the question is really around and you could drill into this a little bit more, because he alluded to it earlier. You guys had to pivot to a new potential solution or product for your customers. And of course, being in the cloud with not only Genesys, but other tool sets have enabled you to you know, go to market faster. So what is this new toolset and you know, how has the technology that you have today enabled you to get to where you are, you know, versus if you're on premise and not having the ability to develop that.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  25:13

Yeah, there's a lot packed into that already. But let me let me try to hit all the points. And please keep me honest if I miss something. So first, a little bit about the solution that we developed. And I know the term pivot is overused. But we did shift our attention to a COVID screening solution. And I'll back up a little bit. So we, we developed a mobile app for our, for our service. And more than anything, because we were responding to an RFP, you know, and our competitors had a mobile app. So we said, we better build a mobile app, right? We don't know why. But everybody's got one, let's go ahead and build a mobile app. And so we built the mobile app that provides easy access to our contact center. It's got the Genesys chat capabilities built in. And we published it on the apple on the Google Play stores. And we were able to, you know, we were able to do it pretty quickly, we leveraged some cloud based services to get there pretty fast. But what we found was that the user experience for an injured worker is one where nobody knows that they're going to get hurt at work, nobody predicts so they're not going to go and go to Google and Apple and download a mobile app, just in case I get hurt at work today, right? That that's just not a I don't think that's realistic. Maybe managers or supervisors that manage you know, dozens or many employees would maybe have the app and download it. But we've seen less than 1000 downloads on those apps. So we had plans to launch a new mobile service that was going to be based on something called progressive web application technology, which basically just is a fancy way of saying, it looks like an app, it feels like an app. But it's not really an app, it's just a it's just a responsive web page. That's, that's easy to access and enabled with some QR codes and, and text messaging to kind of complete the circle. So we had this plan to build this new mobile app based on this technology, and then COVID hit. And so we turn to our development partner, and we looked at our internal systems. And within 45 days, we had a minimum viable product, which we called screen by Company Nurse. And we were lucky we had a fast quick serve coffee shop in the Cath lab at a national now international coffee shop, not the one that starts with an S and came to us and they you know, they obviously wanted to stay open, and we helped them, we help we help them grow, or they helped us develop and continue to develop that solution. Fast forward to today, we had predicted that by now the pandemic would be over. And that we wouldn't see any more digital screening revenue. We also priced this very aggressively because our goal we signed a pledge to one not layoff our employees and to bring a million Americans back to work safely. So we had solutions. Once we went to market, we underpriced it, once I took a look at the text messaging cost, we actually had to bump up the price a little bit. So it's really priced very, very aggressively. And other solutions that came to the market were priced four or 5x. where we were, again, we had some capacity in our in our contact center. So what the solution did is, it's a digital reminder system where every day you get a message that says please check in, you click a link, you go through a set of questions. Think of it as a health survey. So are you having an emergency? Do you have any symptoms? Have you been exposed to anyone with COVID-19. And then we allow employers over time to add their own custom questions. And then as soon as somebody in it would take, I think this coffee shop is giving employees an extra two minutes of pay every day. But it takes about 20 seconds to complete this digital screening. As soon as they said, Yes, I've been exposed or I'm sick or I've got these symptoms, we're given the option to then connect to a nurse live agent. Initially, we had maybe 510 percent that took us up on that option. Over time, due to the some of the false positives, they just said, You know what? We're okay with not having to escalate this to a nurse. But we really like the notifications. We started building some capabilities to alert supervisors managers. And so now, we've basically stepped into an absence management space where our solution because of the reminder and the text messaging in the alerts is the first indication that a company has that somebody is not showing up to work today. So we're, again shifting from what we're calling screen by Company Nurse to something new that we're just now launching and we'll have in the market within the next three or four weeks, which we're calling front door by Company Nurse. And that is actually a verse think of it of like a version above what we already have. We're just changing the front end a little bit and going from COVID screening To attendance screening, but also providing employees with not only that live agent integration, but we're implementing video live agent integration so that somebody could actually be seeing a nurse. And then also integrating with some of the expanding from just a COVID type of injury or type of report to any type of workplace injury. And we're working with a few partners, EAP programs and health benefit programs, because every organization, you know, large or small, has a number of these employee benefits. And we feel that in this new cope, post COVID world where everybody's working remotely and on zoom, you need to reach employees in a different way. And you need to provide tools that are easy to use. And, and, and not relying on email or downloading. Because as I think you will all agree, we're all just overwhelmed with the number of notifications and everything else that we see. So I hope I don't know that I hit on all the points, Aarde.

Aarde Cosseboom  30:57

I think so I the only one I want to drill into is would you have been able to do this if you weren't in the cloud?

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  31:04

Absolutely not. Without question. I mean, let me back up for one quick second. So let's start with what happened a year ago, right around March, we were already in the cloud with our CCaaS. Many of our agents were remote, but we had a large office in Scottsdale. And luckily, and this is just I had made a decision. Obviously, we as leadership team had made a decision to go full in on zoom. And so we had zoom rooms, and everybody had a zoom license. And you know, fast forward to march 15 or 16th, whatever that Monday was, everybody go home. And we've been home since. And there's still organizations that are struggling with how do I get my employees productive to work from home because they've got on premise systems, the systems are designed to be on premise, they don't work. So well. You've got to be on a VPN. We're now in a we're not only in the cloud, but I coined this kind of battle cry for our organization that we deemed serverless in Scottsdale, it's kind of like Sleepless in Seattle, but just maybe more IP focus. So we are now 100% serverless in Scottsdale, meaning our corporate office is no different than a lounge at a hotel at an airport or a hotel where people can get Wi Fi. And they get access to all the systems that we have. But everything is cloud based. So not only were we able to quickly pivot to this digital screening solution, and now this front door, but we were able to have our employees 100% productive the first day that everybody went home. And I'm sure some of us miss some of the things in the office. But that in and of itself wouldn't have been possible if we had an embrace the cloud the way we did.

Alex McBratney  32:45

Yeah, that is interesting, because Aarde is going to essentially ask the same question, right? Like, what does it look like two or three years ago, if this had happened, and what that transition would have been like, because we see tons of clients that are still struggling, right, they're doing VPNs or, and they're in the process of doing it, but they might be stuck in contracts, or they just bought their system four years ago, and they don't want to write it off completely, because it still has depreciation left. So it's an absolute struggle that companies are dealing with.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  33:13

Exactly where they're shipping firewalls and load balancers and hard IP phones to every remote employee and then having to spend all the management time to configure and set that up, you know, and what if somebody trips over a cord? It's, it's wild, I can tell you. And again, I won't name any names, but we're because we're now we've shifted from being a service based company to be more of a technology company and offering our technology even to some of our competitors. And when we go into some of these large competitive situations with these billion dollar Fortune companies, I've had some Tell me, Well, our IT team doesn't allow AWS. Okay, job security. Exactly. So your IT team doesn't allow AWS. Okay, well, interesting. let's go through some of the organizations that are using AWS that might have a little bit more of a security focus than you and so it's hard sometimes to buck that mentality. But it's out there.

Alex McBratney  34:14

Yeah, we I see that all the time with whichever products that we're looking at whether we call them turf protectors, right? It makes complete sense for a customer to go a certain direction, like no brainer, but you have that system admin or you have that telco admin or whatever it might be. And they're just like they just kabocha they get these stone wallet. Just curious guy doesn't know what he's talking about. And they that you don't have that champion or influencer because they're controlling that decision makers, you know, view on what's being presented to the organization. So going higher up definitely helps, right, get past that turf protector sort of thing, but they're definitely out there. And it's, it's, those are the companies that aren't going to, you know, thrive Yeah. The JC Penney. 

Aarde Cosseboom  35:00

Exactly. I love the that you call them the champions. But also there's the challengers, you can find the person who's in the organization who is okay with and comfortable with challenging the status quo. Those are the people who are really going to push things forward and not only push things forward for the organization, but also be progressively thinking about what's the next step? What's the next step? What's the next step, because, in reality, the job real job security is I need to not be doing one day in work and I can be replaced by someone else can be doing mundane work, I need to be the innovator in the company that's pushing it forward. Because the people who are innovators are a lot harder to replace than the people who are just doing the tasks or maintaining a system admin for Cisco, or short tail or star some sort of on prem solution. So if you can elevate that, that person who is doing the, you know, the turf war, and you say, hey, you can be this challenger instead. And you could not only help with implementation, but progress your own education and grow and learn this new toolset, it's going to open up more opportunities for you internally at this company. And another company is from a consulting standpoint. So definitely...

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  36:14

Spot on, Aarde and that's a discussion that I had with a lot of the technology team, right that to your point. And I just want to say we didn't we definitely didn't have near any of those sort of turf issues as we described. But there's still some amount of, quote unquote, selling that needs to happen or just education Look, your value as an employee, and this is something that I feel very passionate about, as I've as I'm getting older, and no longer professional cyclist and kind of thinking about, you know, what's the what's that, that last big, big effort or, or maybe even thinking about that island with that, that sangria is I'm really passionate about building up people's careers and providing opportunities for not only for the folks in my organization, but even just helping the organizations that we work with. And, and a lot of that starts with really helping them understand what's possible in their careers that they embrace some of these technologies, right? So if you become a Genesys expert, what does that mean and what doors that open for me? If I become an AWS cloud infrastructure engineer, what does that mean? And what does that mean to me from a career perspective? Or, you know, you could stay with Cisco and you know, what, what are the what are the what are the opportunities there, I think they're more limited from a contact center perspective. But that's a big part of my role is sort of championing those people and the opportunities that they might have, if they embrace some of these technologies.

Alex McBratney  37:47

Yeah, we've talked to a lot of our guests about the leadership role, right? And sometimes when they're in support is how do you get those agents to advance in their career and being okay with them only being in your, in the call center for maybe 18 months to two years, and then having that great agent, but they're going to move on in the career, which gives them reason to stick around. And that's what you want, right? You want to master careers, keep people engaged, otherwise, we'll just be off to the next. And I think Aarde with Dustin, it was the same way, he was the inContact expert at the last company that you know when he was at, and now he's a great executive sales associate for inContact. You know, like building up those careers or ABS is absolutely key to doing that as a leader, too. 

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  38:32


Aarde Cosseboom  38:35

Exactly. So we're coming up a little bit on time, I know, we could talk for another probably four or five hours and we'll definitely have you on with it on a future episode. But we'd like to end our podcast with a question about customer experience, but we're going to flip the role, you're going to be the customer. So tell us about a time in the past could be in the past six months, year or whatever, that you had a good experience with the company? And what made that experience? Good. I know, it's easier to think of the bad experiences, but sometimes bad experiences turn into good ones, just because of the service that you received. So is there a company or brand or product that you purchased or service that you got provided to? That was a good experience? And if so, what was it? 

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  39:22

Yeah, I'll keep this in the contact center space. I could probably pick several but this was actually kind of an interesting, an interesting one. So I don't know I don't know about you guys. But here in Arizona, most of our floors get pretty dirty. I've got two cats. So my wife was completely against us getting a robot vacuum. But I surprised her for Christmas a couple years ago with an iRobot which I just love. I don't know if you guys have one, but I highly recommend it. And so we got an AI robot. And again, we've got a lot we've got a couple cats. So there's a lot of a lot of hairs and this thing It stopped working, I forget what it was it was jammed up somehow. So I call their contact center. And they have. And I found out through after having an amazing experience with an agent, I mean, they were, they answered the phone quickly. They were super knowledgeable, they were smart. They, they walked me right through the process in a very calm way, which you know, it's one thing to walk somebody through technology. But when you have a physical product that you have to take apart, it requires a different level of skill. And being kind of a contact center geek that I am, I wanted to know where they were. And so I found out that this is an organization that runs contact centers out of Grenada in, in the Caribbean. And we were looking for a third party to help us. We were This is kind of getting a little bit into the weeds. But we had been using an outsourced contact center that was handling our calls on an A via platform or some old platform. And so we had made kind of a decision, in addition to switching over to Genesys and going to the cloud, we were looking at changing our sourcing strategy, and getting all of our agents onto the Genesys cloud platform so that we had more control over the calls and the quality of those calls. So I was shopping around for contact centers. And I just I found out who you know who that company was, who they work for. And we ended up working with a contact center provider and Honduras. But it was just kind of an interesting, you know, segue because here, an agent that you're talking to helping you with your robot gives you such a great experience. And now I'm shopping their company to see if they can provide agents for us.

Aarde Cosseboom  41:38

I love that example.

Alex McBratney  41:39

It's a great story, and you never know who you're talking to you right? I mean, yeah, that's the beauty of SWAT.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  41:45

I had to kind of pull the information out of the agent because they're trying to say, Well, I work for iRobot I was like, Well, I get that but you know who do you get your paychecks from, right? I was trying to get to what do you really work for it? And yeah, it was interesting, interesting discussion.

Aarde Cosseboom  42:03

Well, Henry, it's been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. You'll be hearing from us again to do another episode and looking forward to sometime in the near future getting together. I don't know. We'll do it in Scottsdale, may be too hot during the summer, but for a nice pitcher of sangria. 

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  42:21

Absolutely. I'll be out in California this summer. So I will hit you guys ready go.

Alex McBratney  42:25

We'll be here really ready for it with the recipe in hand.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  42:28

And my borrowed surfboard. I tried to keep up with you. That's funny. I'll try to go around your planning boards.

Alex McBratney  42:35

I've got it and we'll go mountain biking, right. You can just wave to me when you're at the top and I'm at the bottom still climbing.

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  42:41

I don't know. I'm pretty retired now. Now it's all about... I measure the value of a right now not by how many kilojoules or watts I average but how many beers we have afterwards.

Alex McBratney  42:52

There you go. Keep it. It's going to be fun, the reward at the end but yeah, again, thanks for jumping on. We really appreciate it and it was great having you. 

Henry Svendblad (Guest)  43:00

Thank you, guys. 

Alex McBratney  43:01

Well, that wraps up the show for today. Thanks for joining. And don't forget to join us next week as we bring another guest in to talk about the trends around cloud contact center and customer experience. Also, you can find us at, LinkedIn, or your favorite podcast platform. We'll see you next week on Another Cloud Podcast.