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Aligning Strategy with Execution - Q&A with Changepoint's Paul Cramer

    

Blog-PodcastModernCTOChangepoint general manager Paul Cramer recently appeared on the Modern CTO podcast to discuss how businesses are aligning strategy with execution. 

Some highlights from the conversations included:
  • Ways businesses leverage Enterprise Architecture Management to propel their organization forward.
  • How to get better results by asking better questions.
  • And, why your business continuity plan may be in need of a complete overhaul.

The majority of the podcast conversation can be read below - you can listen to the complete episode #171 of the Modern CTO podcast, featuring Paul Cramer, anywhere you listen to podcasts. SoundCloud | Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher

Joel (Modern CTO Host): Talk to me a little bit about what Changepoint is.

Paul (GM, Changepoint EAM): Changepoint is just a super fun software company. We are focused on helping companies achieve better business outcomes. And, we have three platform products one Changepoint Project Portfolio Management (PPM), one on Services Automation called Changepoint SA. And then the product that I lead up is Changepoint Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM). At the end of the day, we are focused on aligning strategy with execution. The story that gets me excited and gets the rest of the organization excited, is giving companies the ability to imagine what could be. This is where I'm at today, what could be? What changes do I need to make or how do I need to react in the context of external situations?

So you look at the unprecedented business environment we're in right now: did businesses have a continuity plan? Totally. Did they ever think that they would have to leverage it? Probably not. So being able to react in real time to these unprecedented business environments and make decisions that benefit the customer and their employees while enabling them to keep executing on their strategy—that's the really fun stuff. That's primarily what we focus on when we say, 'aligning strategy to execution.'

Joel: Do you notice a lot of the a lot of businesses having continuity plans?

Paul: There's two answers to that question. Do they have the plans? Yes, it's likely in their head though. It's likely in isolated tribes of siloed information all over the enterprise. So they do have a plan, whether it's codified and it's something that they can turn to right away? It's a crapshoot. If they do have one, it's likely outdated or really doesn't address the unprecedented environment we're seeing right now.

The business continuity here isn't a natural disaster like a tornado or hurricane where you lose your data center. It's more, 'how do I continue to scale my organization in a distributed environment?' No one is going to be working next to each other. Everyone is remote. 'How do I support some of these manual processes offline?' That the type of stuff most business continuity plans didn't take into consideration. Business Continuity Planning is timely given the environment that we're in, but that is only one use case in the context of Enterprise Architecture Management and creating that sync or that linkage between strategy and execution.

Joel: I want you to shed some more light. Because while I get to talk with a lot of different people that run large organizations. Myself, I haven't worked in an organization that is bigger than 250 people. So can you give me some background on, what Enterprise Architecture Management looks like? When you're talking about strategy and execution, are these two different teams or this one team? Can you tell me, how is it broken down?

Paul: Fundamentally, Enterprise Architecture Management at the end of the day, it's just an inventory. It's an inventory of what an enterprise does, how an enterprise does it, and then how it allocates finite resources to deliver on whatever it does—make a widget, sell a service, what have you. So fundamentally, it's very simplistic. You're just counting things and you're looking at how, for instance, an application may be related to a process, or a software technology may be related to a given product. So with enterprise architecture, you just count those things and start to map their relationship. What that inventory allows you to do is not only assess, what you have, but it can enable us to start to imagine what could be or what you could do with respect to the things that you have. That alignment of strategy to execution is super important and is often overlooked. Not from a, 'people think about strategy' perspective, but [from a perspective where the] definition of strategy is the allocation of finite resources to deliver a specified outcome.

A business has finite resources, people money, time, all of these different things. How do you allocate those finite resources to deliver on your vision? Maybe at Changepoint, our CEO wakes up one day and says, 'you know what, we're going to be an app company. All we are going to do is build apps, and we're going to go into the services business.' Now what enterprise architecture allows you to do is assess that pivot.

  • Do you have the capacity to make that type of pivot?
  • What are the resulting impacts?

So that's really the forward-facing part of enterprise architecture. To bring it back to business continuity planning, you asked, 'do a lot of companies have it?' Yes, they know what widget to move where, what process, who's on first, who's on second. They can change all their routing for their call centers. But what this recent world calamity has introduced is business continuity planning that didn't necessarily address how to collaborate as an organization. Yes, there's Zoom. Yes, there's email, and you have some collaborative, tools out there like Slack so you can have conversations. But how can you bring to scale, the ability for individuals to affect the enterprise? To affect decisions that are going to be made? You don't have the water cooler conversations anymore or the coffee conversation—those are all gone right now. Really what we try to talk about and what we focus on delivering in the context of Enterprise Architecture Management, is how to leverage that collective experience, that finite resource, the most important part of your business, your human capital, and arm them with tools so they can help affect change whether directly or indirectly.

Think of it, how do you crowdsource information in an enterprise that's not isolated to email or SharePoint? A lot of antiquated technologies that, candidly, the millennial generation doesn't even like to participate in and they want to be able to have a voice or some context or alignment to what's going on at the higher level. We try to humanize those enterprise assets, those enterprise resources and and almost give them a personality for lack of a better term.

Joel: I like that. And you're right. As the generations come through, we're just constantly redefining how we work, what we work on. I was talking about this is my wife the other day, we've always just been in a constant state of change. It's just always been changing. There's never been a time when it's a certain way for a long period of time. Every generation changes. There's new music, right? But there's different styles, there's different trends, there's different businesses, we're just in this constant state of change. What's going well for Changepoint? Oh, yeah, you have Change in the name. What services are doing well for you right now?

Paul: Really, if you look at the three pillars of our business - Project Portfolio Management, Services Automation and Enterprise Architecture Management. They're naturally built to support chaos and really bring calmness to that chaotic state. So across the board, all of our businesses seem to be performing well, granted, are we on the growth trajectory that we were seeing, you know, coming out of our fiscal q4 at the end of March? No. But from a business standpoint, we are profitable software company, we are continuing to grow. We're just not growing at the clip that we were growing prior to COVID-19. So we're really happy with where our business stands right now.

We have a mantra right now, selling doesn't help helping sells. So really what we're doing as an organization is getting very intimate with our customers and digging in to try and figure out, where we can be of service to them. How can we help them? This isn't a transaction, we are building a relationship. So let's not worry about any transaction. Let us dig in and help them solve their problems.

[Let's say] you had 100 projects that you were going to focus on and now you need to whittle that down to 20. How do you prioritize those 20? Which ones should they be? The ones that you've identified - are they aligned with the strategy where you want to go? So we are really just digging in and almost sitting in our customers lap for all intents and purposes to really understand their business. What are the fears that they have and how can we help them overcome that?

Joel: I have never heard that selling doesn't help helping sells...

Paul: I wish I made it up. I stole it from our CEO, he says it all the time.

Joel: Are you guys a publicly traded company?

Paul: We're not, we're privately held.

Joel: Dang. Whenever I meet really great people, I know that there's other great people at the company and then after, I don't think I've ever shared this before, so candid moment, but after I go buy shares of their company. Oh, they have great people and great culture? I'll just hold a long position on this for a decade.

Paul: We're a unique software company. We're cashflow positive, we're profitable. We have EBITDA, we're owned by a private equity firm and they've been awesome to work with. They're very patient, and they've let our CEO and his leadership team really navigate and traverse the business. They're very hands off. So it's been an amazing experience. We are a mid-sized software company. We're a close knit bunch of people and collaboration is super important. Not collaboration banging on the keyboard. But, [asking ourselves] how are we going to solve problems? Let's imagine what could be, how do we get there? We can't get there today. But how do we get there over time? And how can we bring our customers along in that journey? And while we're bringing them along in that journey, how can we help them? Because if we're not doing helping them, they're not going to be interested in anything that we're doing. We could have the greatest widget in the world or piece of software, but if it's not adding value to them, personally, not just at an enterprise level, but if they don't have an intimate relationship with our different software applications, we're not going to succeed. So we're very, very customer intimate and user-centric with respect to how we help customers solve the problems that they experience day in and day out.

Joel: You have an entrepreneurial background?

Paul: Yes.

Joel: So you learned a lot of this stuff by starting your company and then did you get acquired by Changepoint?

Paul: Correct. We were required in April of 2015.

Joel: Okay, and what are the big takeaways from that?

Paul: You know, it's quite a chasm to cross. I'll say to be an entrepreneur, to get acquired, which is something that always, as an entrepreneur, just validates what you're doing. This business is a part of me and then to make that transition into 'this isn't my business anymore' — to make that emotional separation—is the hardest part.

You know, I can act very transactional and be like, 'Yep, that's the process that we follow.' But that emotional separation candidly took a long, long time. From my perspective, like a band or musician, they're as entrepreneurial as any software mogul who's out there. They write this music, they shop it around, they're trying to get people to be interested in what they're doing. You know, that experience that I had playing in bands and doing a little touring and making some albums? That just got me excited about [how much] I love sharing ideas...I get emotionally attached to them.

When Changepoint acquired us a lot of amazing things happened.

  1. There was unique synergy.
  2. They brought scale that we didn't necessarily have as a smaller company.
  3. They brought some process. I mean, they really brought some order to the chaos of a startup.

But, detaching emotionally from the product and how we interact with each other, that took a little bit of time. Really, I don't want to say the culture evolved, Changepoint's, culture evolved, and we had to adopt some of their cultural habits. Candidly, they adopted a lot of our habits they liked—we were a super cool technology, recognized in the industry, moved really, really fast, [had] very small team that could crank out a lot of work very, very quickly. But when you start getting pummeled with a lot of customers that approach doesn't necessarily work and you have to scale. The emotional detachment is tightly coupled to building trust and you build trust over time. It's not instantaneous.

Joel: That is something I 100-hundred percent agree with. Now, was this your first entrepreneurial endeavor?

Paul: No, I had two before that one nice big crash and burn during the .com, "the dot bomb." Then just a little small one prior to that. My father was an entrepreneur, he used to own a bunch of machine shops. So I've grown up in that. That's, just what you become, you don't work for someone else, you just start your own business. And I had, some great employment opportunities in between where I learned a ton.

Ultimately, being an entrepreneur in a business like Changepoint is super fun, because I'm almost more of an evangelist. I manage the Enterprise Architecture Management business. But I get to focus a lot of time too on:

  • What could Changepoint look like?
  • What could it be?
  • How can we take our customers to the next level?

That's super exciting. 90% of my day is spent collaborating with customers and trying to create a relationship so they can get to a point of vulnerability where they'll say, 'You know what, this is really what's bugging me. This is really where we're having problems. And then to have that candid dialogue to say, 'Let's drill into this a little bit more. And let's see if we can help you there.'

That's one of the great things about Changepoint: we really are focused on helping our customers and if we have a product that fits the need, or capability rather that fits the need, then we're going to really create that intimate relationship. But if it's the wrong opportunity, we'll be very candid with our customers, we don't want them to stick a square [peg] into a round hole, we want every touch that they have with us—whether they become a customer or not—to be an experience that can't be replicated. And software is easily replicated. You can replicate it, someone could make Changepoint EAM, and likely maybe doing it in the garage. But that customer intimate approach that is not easily replicated. The experience that we have as an organization—aligning strategy to execution—is second to none. We have very deep expertise in the ability to execute big ideas and bring those to market.

Joel: I was having a conversation yesterday with a gentleman named Larry Robinson, and we were talking about and he introduced me to this concept of budget allocation and in the context of a run growth transform, RGT. So this is something that's an industry known thing?

Paul: It's common. In budget, yes, definitely in budget allocation, but if you look at enterprise architecture, you are looking at the different parts of your business, and you're making decisions.

  • How am I going to allocate these finite resources?
  • Am I running this part of the business?
  • And that's just to sustain? Do I want to grow it?

Anything I'm growing I'm going to throw more investment at it and hopefully, it's aligned to my strategy, because it's going to help me get to where I want to go. Or am I going to transform it and if I want to transform it, I'm going to stick a little bit more money in that? So yeah, it's a great paradigm to really focus your attention.

You were talking to the Shopify guy, I really enjoyed that interview, if you think [of] it in the context of 30/60/90, the run the businesses is that 30%, the grow the business is that 60%, that transform the business [is] the 90%. I want to get into the details and understand what we are going to do to transform because that'll ultimately support what we want to do from a growth perspective. So that just gives context to the decisions that you're going to make. And it enables not only stakeholders, but everyone in the enterprise to understand this is the focus of the business. If you're working on that 30% or the run side, that doesn't mean you're not important to the business. It really means you got to keep this thing going. If you're working on the grow and the transform, it all just provides context and a lens of - how to engage with this stakeholder or other team members as it relates to where we are are in that budget allocation paradigm.

Joel: You're very intelligent. Do you write?

Paul: I would love to write. I have a lot of ideas—like 20 pages—that I haven't finished. But yeah, I enjoy writing. I do I like to do anything that helps shape the experience and create refined context. Context is on a continuum, right? And as you get deeper and deeper and more intimate your lens gets bigger and bigger, you start to see things more clearly. That's why I appreciate the space that I am in from an Enterprise Architecture Management standpoint.

You start at a 30,000 foot view, and you can get very, very deep. You have a lot of people participating and providing that context. To me, that's everything. Context supports the ability to be customer intimate and know a lot about your customer, not only Changepoint to our customers, but internally as a business. Every person has a different stakeholder or is a customer to someone else. Someone is consuming what they're doing. How do you evolve that? How do you create a customer intimate relationship, in that context? I'm a developer, my customer is a business user, how do I get customer intimate in that context? And how do I create a level of transparency and, an air of vulnerability where I can reduce that gap, that chasm, between business and IT. That, fundamentally, is really what we're focused on from an Enterprise Architecture Management standpoint. We think it's that type of relationship that accelerates the strategy to execution alignment.

Joel: So let's say people are listening, they hear that and say, 'Hey, I think I have a gap. I want to analyze my gap.' That is a service that they could come to you and discuss?

Paul: Definitely. They can leverage our Enterprise Architecture Management software to support the discovery of that gap and then take different pivots.

  • If I do this, does it close the gap?
  • If I do this, does it open the gap?
  • Do I move it an inch?
  • Or do I move closer to my goal exponentially? 

Joel: So you have software for this?

Paul: Exactly. We are that software company.

Joel: So I could take your software and you could sit next to me. I put this information in about the business, and it could help me drive the strategic direction of the business by using the software?

Paul: I don't want to say drive because it's not like [you] push a button, [like on] Amazon, [and] buy it now. That's what everyone wants. But it will help inform you. Are you aligned with where you want to go? It will enable you to ask better questions. Because our belief is if you're asking better questions, you're going to get better results. It's the lean mentality. Ask why seven times? That's just an obsession to me, if someone says it doesn't work because we had too much load. Okay, great. Why did we have too much load? Well, we had 500 users. I think asking better questions gets you better results. And at the end of the day, what Changepoint Enterprise Architecture Management software does is enable anyone in the enterprise to ask a better question. We're about creating enterprise advisors.

Our perspective is stop hiring the Deloittes, the McKinsey's, these fancy consulting firms out there, you have a valuable resource throughout your enterprise, leverage them to be your advisor. I can link this back to that business continuity plan that you were talking about and [whether or not] businesses were ready for this. They could cut over and do all the things that they needed to do from a physical standpoint. But they have a gigantic opportunity right now to leverage the collective experience of their entire business to help them determine [whether or not] they aligned with with where they want to go from a strategic perspective.

Where are the gaps? Every individual is looking at gaps day in and day out and they document it maybe in an Excel spreadsheet, a post-it note, and Changepoint EAM gives everyone the ability to, for lack of a better term, share their thoughts about something in the business. A piece of software, a given process. As you crowdsource that you get closer to identifying, where the opportunities are to make a change and [that can] get you where you want to go. That's what's super exciting. It's aggregating that collective experience, almost [like a] hive mentality. As a stakeholder, I can look back and see I am aligned, and my most valuable resources are saying we're aligned, or I could look and see we're really off base. Yes, everyone has a job and they're super grateful. But [if] the right doesn't know what the left is doing then how do we get that alignment?

Joel: I like that. I think you guys are doing meaningful work.

Paul: It's super exciting. I get geeked out here. Truly as a stakeholder, if I was a CEO, or you know a CTO, what's gonna keep me up at night are the things that I don't know? That's what's gonna keep me up at night. What I know? Big deal. If I know it, that means everyone knows it, I'm just not that smart. But what I don't know, that's going to prevent me from either being intimate with my customer [or] it's going to create an impact to the business that may have a ripple effect to other parts of the business.

Enterprise Architecture Management, a core component of it is, let's identify what you have and what you do. Is it adding value? And if it adds value, is it aligned with where we want to go? And those are four easy questions to answer, assuming I know everything I need to know. So Enterprise Architecture Management, helps me find those blind spots and really focus on those things that I don't know. The beauty of that is oftentimes that's where the magic moment is. That's where that 'aha' moment is where you're like, "Huh, I didn't know that." And now, using your budget allocation paradigm grow, run transform, you didn't know this now you can apply a paradigm to say, let's ramp this up. I had no idea that this was in the business either as an impact or a benefit. Let's run towards that. That is the stuff that literally gives me chills. I love hearing our clients say, 'I never knew this before.' It's just such an awesome experience.

Joel: At the core, it's like you're selling certainty. Almost right? Which is important. I want to give context where I'm coming from with that. I read this great article from Tony Robbins. I was about psychology and there was like six or seven core human needs, core drivers inside of humans. And one of them was certainty. That's a core driver. And some of us have higher needs for certainty and some of us has lower needs for certainty and it can ebb and flow like the seasons and the weather. But when I try to make sense of things as a carbon-based life form, I try to always boil stuff down, where does this fit in the portfolio for humans? And what people want, what we desire is a certain level of certainty. We go through these exercises in our business, whether they are meetings, or frameworks, like the run, transform, budget allocations, things like this, we leverage these tools, these cerebral tools and procedural tools in order to gain a higher level of certainty. And rightfully so. I want people to have that as a core driver. Obviously, you can take it to an extreme and it can get too much but what this leads me to a question because we were talking about some frameworks or some acronyms for the budget allocation. Are there any favorites of yours in this strategy alignment?

Paul: The one we use a lot. It's from Gartner. It's tolerate, invest, migrate, eliminate. It's almost identical to run, grow, transform. I wouldn't say I have a favorite acronym. But what I'd like to pick up I like what you say now about certainty. Fundamentally, I think that is at the core of Changepoint enterprise architecture. And I, as an employee, want to have a level of certainty that what I'm doing is meaningful and is having an impact in the business. We give everyone the ability to participate at the enterprise level so they can start to see, 'is what I do impactful? Is it aligned with where I want to go?' And if I can answer yes to those questions, I have a level of certainty that I didn't have before.

Especially when we're all working in these isolated environments right now. I mean, I'm in my studio. My level of certainty goes away. There is just emotional apprehension with distance. The ability to interact in a different form and crowdsource not only what do I do, but what the business does, that starts to give me a level of certainty.

Or, like that CTO conversation, it highlights what I don't know. It gives me an opportunity to learn more or to pivot and make some changes. Think about that level of interaction hundreds or thousands of times a day in an enterprise—the metadata and the insight that you can glean from those different individual transactions, it's monumental. My ability to identify gaps, see blind spots, test alignment, look at the impact of change [is crucial]. Now, I can do that in real time. It is not a six-month [or] 12-month exercise where I have an external consulting firm coming in at something I can do all day every day.

Once I make the decision as an enterprise to put some oomph behind our most important assets, turn them into enterprise advisors, and then leverage that collective experience...there is a behavioral change component to it. Organizations that are more actualized are open to that behavioral change. Organizations that are more fear based, it's a bigger hump for them to get over.

Joel: I want to see it, right. I like this idea. Do you have videos or screenshots on the website? How do you help your customers when they're new, let's just pretend this is a first interaction with us and I'm telling you I want to see it. How do you answer that question with your customers?

Paul: Well, definitely, you can go to Changepoint.com and you can look at our Enterprise Architecture Management solution, or our other two solutions. The way that I would describe it best [is] if someone says what does it do? Imagine Facebook for the enterprise. But really, my [Facebook] 'friends' are processes, applications, technologies, markets, product strategies, and I'm creating a dimensional map or relationship of those things. So anytime I click on it, I can see their friends and all the things that they're related to. So I can traverse a graph, and I start to get this graphical representation of my enterprise.

That is what we aspire to do from an Enterprise Architecture Management standpoint, we are trying to turn the what we would say old school Enterprise Architecture Management approach on its head. It is really about leveraging the collective experience to create that dynamic, organic enterprise view. So that no matter where you're at, you can see, if I change this, what's the resulting impact?

If you think about a business, there's a lot of bits and bytes. So you can auto discover a lot of information, kind of like when you get a new printer—it can auto discover the Wi-Fi network you're on. There's a lot of software that can do that. But using the printer example that discovers the Wi-Fi or the network you're on, that printer can't discover what's around it. "I'm in a credenza. This credenza has got a desk, it's in an office that's next to a kitchen." They're all seemingly related, even though it seems isolated. We help enrich that picture. So we can take out undiscovered information from other third party products. Then, the collective experience starts to enrich that information.

Say [you] have an application [and] that application supports procure-to-pay or customer transaction. This transaction is supported by a customer service agent, that customer service agent is in Torrance, California. So [you're] really creating that dynamic map to get a graphical representation of the business. How can it not get you chills? Right?

Joel: I'm so excited.

Paul: It is super exciting. And when it really [clicks], it can bring tears to your eyes, because you have the collective experience of your business chiming in and saying, this is what this thing does. It's on a continuum, it gets so data rich and it no longer is metadata. It is an insight in and of itself. That is really where the magic is, is when data just becomes an insight. It's still data. But contextually, it's so rich, because it has so many relationships. It's almost like you've created a painting, just looking at one thing, because you can see everything around it.

Joel: So you have this abstraction of the organization, its processes in a digital way. And then there's a social component to where we could actually go in and you could be looking at the model—I could be looking at the model—and I could leave a comment on different areas. Is that how it works?

Paul: Yes. I would say that conceptually, is very close.

Joel: Alright. Yeah. I'm trying to build the mental image. It sounds so useful. Because even as my business was growing, I was looking for things [such as]: how do we do process management or how do we visualize the process in which all of these things happen. Because I'm an engineer, I want to see it on a flow. I found that the tools were pretty old for that. Because only some of the massive enterprises were really doing it and I was kind of blown away by how it's not happening at smaller companies. So that's probably another conversation. But what I found was the tools weren't really [doing] what I wanted to do. The reason why I'm kind of excited now is I feel like your tool is the blue ocean. I didn't know I wanted it to look like that, but I feel like that's what I would want the tool to look like, and that's how I would want to interact with it. Are you guys seeing that with your customers? Are you like a blue ocean here?

Paul: We are like a blue ocean. That's where the customer intimate philosophy becomes really important. You know, how do you swim a blue ocean one stroke at a time, you can't just jump across it right? So really, you can do a lot of different things with Enterprise Architecture Management.

Our implementation methodology is a bunch of focused sprints. How can we do quick two-week sprints to get [our customers] where they want to go? It may start out with five users and explode. Our first customer, we sold to one person and sold one license. Within a year, they were at 1,000 active registered users. Now they're at 6,500 active registered users that are, on a daily basis, entering something someone else didn't know about the business (about a capability or a process, about an integration, about a piece of data, about a new application, about a strategy). As you continue to make those contributions you're just enriching that whole enterprise graph.

Joel: You're blowing my mind this is actually really cool. I get to hear [about] a lot of products, I get to hear a lot of things. You know, I get to see a lot of stuff but I feel like you're just at the beginning. You're just at day one. Once the enterprise's hear about this and see it and as you get your first license and land and expand. This is going to be something that's like really big long term.

Paul: Yes, there is a fundamental change happening in the different disciplines that support strategy to execution. There's a fundamental change and we are at the forefront of that. It is super exciting. The nice thing about being at the forefront of it is everything that we just talked about, we can actually do. I'm super excited about how we take it even further and really accelerate this fundamental change that is occurring within enterprises. How do you create an army of enterprise advisors so that everyone is focused on the end result, whatever that may be? And that is what is super, super exciting. When we're talking about making companies hyper productive. If the computer was the introduction of making people productive, this is that intellectual capacity. That is the hardest thing to codify and capture and to be able to get insight into it. And so that is what is so, so exciting.

Joel: So I don't know if this is helpful for you. But this is actually a trend I'm noticing. I don't know if it relates at all, but I'm hearing a lot of people talk more about how they connect subject matter experts within their organization. So, whether it's around a specific technology, I hear a lot about that in engineering teams, we're doing a Slack channel, or we have a group that needs Once or whatever. And then this group will know everything about Redis, or databases and so if other parts of the organization need to know about databases, they could come talk to this group, because we're inside. But everyone's kind of doing it a little bit differently. I like to watch patterns emerge, because well, that's how you profit as an entrepreneur. But I like to watch the patterns emerge. I'm definitely seeing, people are asking that question - how do I get the smart people, the subject matter experts, essentially just to identify, and then be available for other parts of the organization. And it makes sense, it's actually surprising that there isn't more refined way to do it already.

Paul: Yeah, and that's one of the exercises of participating with the Changepoint Enterprise Architecture Management solution, our platform, you are announcing your subject matter expertise. It's very identifiable. And you can start to see as an example, how that subject matter expertise relates to the rest of the enterprise. And it's very discoverable now. Now, I don't need to create centers of excellence for Red Hat or a center of excellence for the procure to pay process. It's discoverable in the context of Changepoint Enterprise Architecture Management, and more importantly I can start to interact with it at a personal level to assess impacts, benefit, or how to advance something, or just discover other like minds.

Joel, he likes to code on the Unity platform, had no idea. I'm using the Unity platform to render in 3d, a new process or something to that effect. That's the type of question you can ask. You can discover it and then interrogate that, and the end result is an insight that you didn't have prior.

Joel: Yes, 100% I definitely see the center of excellence is changing from how we did them before to what they will be. To your point, I could be a hobbyist creator of video games, but you would never know that was my job title. I happen to have an interest in that and then that could be useful to someone else at the organization. But in order to get those things out there, I think we'll see more of that. I think we'll see more of, I guess a visualization that's coming to mind is a video game where you have all the stat bars and the strength, I think we'll see more of that with our employees, not because of a negative right? Of analyzing them being overreaching, but because of a positive, because knowing what the interests are, if I'm forming a new team in this part of the organization, I might recruit internally through people that already know our product or our culture and have that skill set. So I think there will become, there will be in the future, there will be more transparency about about the different team members and what their strengths are.

Paul: The interesting thing about what you just said too, is the millennials, the younger team members, that type of information to them as like you said, it's not a negative, it's context. This is who I am I have a maximum shot factor of whatever it is, you know, if you think about it from playing on discord. It just informs you on how I'm going to interact. This is how I can create that employee to employee intimacy or in some essence, it's super vulnerable to show that information but that vulnerability provides greater context for the enterprise.

So we are seeing our customers that have a younger generation, millennials and younger as their core employees. They're hyper productive, in Changepoint EAM, because at the end of the day, they want to see:

  1. Does what I do matter?
  2. Does it affect or is it impacting the business?
  3. Am I moving it forward?
  4. How do I relate to everything else?

I don't want to be just an employee number or a member of this team, I'm the member of a collective. And there's a lot of people in here. And that's the exciting stuff, that willingness to make that leap of faith and say, put your knowledge out there not your knowledge in the context of I'm a J2E developer, I know Spring, any of that type of stuff, but to say, this is what I'm working on. And what I'm working on is related to this process. Then when you click on that process, that process is related to the strategy to find a cure for COVID-19 I had no idea. Are you kidding me? The enthusiasm and the empowerment all of a sudden, what I do has different context, and I can start to traverse all these relationships that I didn't have any line of sight to before

Joel: It builds meaning and purpose. And that's incredibly important.

Paul: Totally, it helps the individual with what's my why?

Joel: This was an awesome conversation. You're a fantastic person!

Paul: Joel, thanks. It was it's fun. Truly, I'm super grateful for the opportunity. Changepoint is as well and it's been a hoot riffin and collaborating.