GUEST OPINION: I joined Zscaler in early 2022 in part because I wanted to work with a diverse APJ organisation which embraced collaborative thinking while providing the technology that allowed customers to interact securely in their world.
While Zscaler has allowed companies to connect their workforce quickly, from literally anywhere, at the end of the day it is people that benefit from what the cloud can deliver: agility, flexibility and cost savings. More recently, we’ve been witnessing cloud security technology not just change the game but save the day. Following the onset of the pandemic, the global pivot to remote working would not have been possible, if operating in a distributed environment had represented an unacceptable risk to data and systems integrity.
I am a long-time high-tech geek and have worked for some formidable companies. I’ve spent most of my career working with cool, often cutting-edge, technologies. The prospect of helping customers leverage their investment in cloud security technology, to get maximum value from their purchase and be able to react quickly as times change securely, is just so exciting.
An effective, high-performing customer success manager does exactly that. It’s the job of today’s customer success jobs to drive client value, by getting to know their business, building long-term relationships with customers and finding opportunities to show them how our products and services can have a positive impact on their operations, productivity and bottom line.
Customer success is all about teamwork – bringing smart, motivated people together to identify and pursue what I like to think of as ‘love matches’: opportunities for technologies to shine meeting customer business goals and objectives is the greatest love match.
The diversity difference
My background as a scientist has really shaped my business perspective. I have had the privilege of working with some amazing people who collectively form ‘teams’. My team delivers – in spades and with outrageous creativity. I’m convinced that’s because it is purposely composed of a diverse range of individuals; a good mix of background, gender, ideology and culture. They’re not all just like me and that’s a good thing. That perspective was definitely shaped by science where the best science and outcomes is only possible with lots of perspectives building on each other.
I don’t believe diversity of contributors is only a feel-good exercise; an opportunity to tick the diversity and inclusion box. Fostering a community of people who are focused on putting forward great ideas is good science and frankly good business. It has been the key to human progress since time immemorial.
I encourage my team to think differently when we’re brainstorming strategies for our customers or creating solutions in my past. ‘Say something outrageous’ is my mantra these days (and that came from a woman offering up an ‘outrageous’ idea once in a meeting). Very often it’s the seeds contained in those outrageous suggestions that germinate into brilliant solutions.
That’s because creative, innovative thinking – and action – is only possible when team members feel confident that pursuing unconventional ideas won’t result in them penalised if, despite best laid plans, things don’t turn out as expected. We cannot be afraid to fall down. It is OK, I have band-aids.
It’s an approach that will help us to provide the optimum solutions, ideas, and innovation support to our customers as they tackle the challenges and opportunities the fast-approaching new financial year is sure to offer up. Indeed, here’s to a new financial year of thinking outside the box!