Howard Beader Of Catchpoint On How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Automating manual processes — This is where there may have been a paper process in the past and I have seen many organizations transform this into a digital process across department across the enterprise.
As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Howard Beader.
Howard Beader is the Vice President of Product Marketing for Catchpoint, where he’s responsible for driving the go-to-market strategy, solution marketing plans and tactics globally across Catchpoint’s solution portfolio.
Before joining Catchpoint, Howard was Sr. Director of Product Marketing for ServiceNow, where he was responsible for bringing Creator Workflows and the Now Platform to market, building the developer program & the CreatorCon event, and the ServiceNow App Store.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I got started in this space working for a small custom electronics manufacturer after implementing an ERP system end to end, which I didn’t think was anything special at the time, but it in fact led me to join SAP, and my career went from being a consultant to helping bring SAP BW to market, to then creating and launching SAP Mobile.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Early on in my career, I worked in the restaurant business and in one job, I worked in an open kitchen where the patrons could always see me. I was trying to look cool, flipping burgers in the air, and dropped one on the floor. Not thinking about it, I picked it up, put it back on the grill and eventually served it to a customer. Well, that customer had watched the whole thing, complained and of course I got in trouble. This experience defined a key lesson for me: that living and working with integrity is very important and it’s one of the traits that people remember you by.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There are a number of folks that have been a huge help throughout my career, but one of the most pivotal was Pascal Gibert who hired me to join his team at Microsoft. We then worked closely when he joined SAP, and later, he brought me into ServiceNow. Pascal taught me the value of building relationships across the organization, and that work can also be fun.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I am sure many are also inspired by by Geoffrey Moore’s books, Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado. They continually resonate with me as I have always worked with new technology solutions in the enterprise software space, and the lessons learned are hugely valuable.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
When Catchpoint started, we were extremely purpose driven. It was about being the best cloud monitoring company in the space, by providing our customers with the maximum ability to test, analyze and identify issues before they cause problems.
Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
We are currently working on our upcoming Q4 launch, and there are many great new capabilities and enhancements which will increase network observability, improve usability, grow our global observability network, and expand integration and automation capabilities.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?
There are many definitions of digital transformation, but let’s keep it simple and call it automating a process digitally that was once manual. Most organizations had to dramatically accelerate their digital transformation journeys over the past few years due to Covid. This could involve a restaurant ensuring it’s easier for their customers to order and pay online and notifying the staff that they have arrived to pick up. Or it could be an enterprise moving an application or workload to the cloud from their own onsite data centers.
Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?
All companies can benefit from digital transformation, but those that adopt and go all in will see the benefits sooner than those that are just dipping their toes in the water.
We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.
All of our customers today have achieved some level of digital transformation, and as a result, we have seen huge increases in site traffic, especially in eCommerce. Many of our customers (and we have 9 of the top 10 Forbes Digital Companies among them) have also come to realize that their DT is only as good as the resilience of the internet. In a brick-and-mortar store, you can still go in and buy something with cash if the internet is down, but for eCommerce, if there is no internet, there is no experience. At a time when the frailty of the internet is often demonstrated by slowdowns or outages, and so much of the digital delivery infrastructure that delivers the ultimate digital experience is beyond IT’s direct control, troubleshooting can be very difficult. The companies we work with recognize that they need a robust end-user observability solution to proactively monitor the entire digital delivery chain to determine if there are issues in different regions/states/countries and make necessary adjustments before their customers are impacted. We have a number of stories up on our website that speak to just this, including one close to my heart by my prior employer, SAP who use Catchpoint for their eCommerce platform to ensure internet resilience for their 2000+ customers.
Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?
I believe I just covered this above.
Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.
Organizations can use Digital Transformation in a huge number of different ways. The top ones that come to mind are:
- Automating manual processes — This is where there may have been a paper process in the past and I have seen many organizations transform this into a digital process across department across the enterprise.
- Moving workloads to the cloud — Many companies still have critical applications running in their own data centers. Moving these to a cloud service (and benefiting from greater scalability, flexibility and efficiency) is a path to DT.
- Re-define your processes — This is where it’s not just about automating a process, but rather re-thinking that process to leverage new digital capabilities.
- Digital = Agile — Digital transformation doesn’t mean one and done, it’s more so a continuous process of innovation.
- Shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach — The most successful organizations have made the shift from reacting to failures when they arise to constantly observing their systems, services and sites to catch any issue before it impacts the end user, and make the necessary changes proactively.
In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?
This is about building a growth mindset in the team and constantly learning as you go to leverage your differentiators.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
This is one of my favorites: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” — Albert Einstein
How can our readers further follow your work?
The best place to follow me is either on Twitter @hbeader or on LinkedIn.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Howard Beader Of Catchpoint On How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.