Gene Farrell, Smartsheet | Smartsheet Engage 2019


>>Announcer: Live, from Seattle,
Washington, it’s the Cube, covering Smartsheet ENGAGE 2019, brought to you by Smartsheet.>>Welcome back, everyone,
to the Cube’s live coverage of Smartsheet ENGAGE here
in Seattle, Washington. I’m your host, along with
my co-host, Jeff Frick. We’re joined by Gene Farrell. He is the CPO of Smartsheet. Thanks for coming on the show. Thanks for having me. Thanks for being here.>>Great to be here. Here last year, and
even bigger and better. You moved out of the hotel and into the
(laughing) Washington State Convention Center.
>>This is the big time.>>That’s a good sign.>>We did, we did. We have almost 4000 strong this year, and we’re super excited. We’ve been looking forward
to this for a while.>>So this is the third annual conference
>>Mhm.>>Just tell us a little bit. Let’s open it up by telling our viewers a little bit about what this means to you, how big the show is. Give us a few stats.>>Yeah, well, when we ran
our first customer conference, our first ENGAGE, really three years ago in Bellevue, in a conference
center attached to a hotel that’s right next to our headquarters, which is super convenient. And I think we had five, 700 people there, and it was a great start. And then last year we doubled in size, and we actually outgrew
the facility in Bellevue. And so, when we planned for this year, we said, you know, let’s go big. We felt this momentum build, and we had such great
feedback from customers on what they learned
and what they came away and could do after coming to ENGAGE, that we felt we were ready to kind of take it to a big stage. And so, it was really exciting. I spent, before joining Smartsheet
two and a half years ago, I spent five years at Amazon Web Services, and I was fortunate enough to be there when they did their first
re:Invent in Las Vegas. And it was roughly 5000 people, and I had a very
interesting deja vu moment walking into the main
auditorium here yesterday. And it just brought back all the memories of, oh my gosh, this is
like the size of re:Invent. So, in three years we
should be roughly 25,000. We’ll be in Vegas. It’ll be awesome. (laughing)>>So, today up on main stage, a lot of great new product announcements. I want you to sort of break
it down for our viewers. You started talking about
how you really serve three core customers.>>Gene: Yes.>>And these new product announcements are really targeted at
each of these three.>>Yeah, we kind of broke it out. And what we found, we serve
customers of all sizes. So, from startups to
medium size businesses to large enterprise. And within almost every
one of those customers, we really see three distinct user groups. The workforce, which is at the core, kind of where we started. The IT teams, which many times are there to support the workforce, but also drive a lot of
their own work flows. And then, the business decision-makers, folks that are really looking at, how do I drive overall
organizational effectiveness and improve efficiency? And so what we tried to do was make sure we were delivering a set of
capabilities for everybody. And so, for the workforce, we announced a bunch of new capabilities. Probably the highlight was our new conversations in context, which
we’re really excited about. It’s going to enable a whole new level of collaboration and
engagement within the platform. And it was really grounded
in customer feedback that said they wanted the ability to actually interact in
the context of their work. And, too many times, what
they were forced to do is, they would have a question, and they would have to go send an email. Or they’d go send a chat. And then the response is disconnected. So, it just wasn’t as
efficient as it could be. So we took that signal
and worked very closely with customers to design
the new experience. So really excited about
those capabilities. We launched new forms capabilities, new multi-select dropdown, a lot of things that our customers are
really excited around from the workforce perspective. On the IT front, we’ve introduced a ton of new things all year. The two big announcements today were around our Accelerator for GDPR, which actually affects almost anybody that does business with an EU citizen. So, a lot of folks don’t
really connect the dots. They go, “Hey I’m in Redmond, Oregon. “Why do I need to comply with GPDR?” Well, if you sell to anybody in the EU, you need to figure that out.
>>Jeff: Right.>>And then, beyond GDPR, we talked about our FedRAMP offering in our new GovCloud, which is really key for
government agencies, but also all the contractors that support government agencies. And so, a lot of our customers
are very interested in that. And then, the final piece
was really business leaders. And we talked there about new enhancements to Control Center, to really let it scale and move across the organization roll-ups, the ability to do multi-tier. And then, importantly, we talked about the new content collaboration capability, which is really big. It integrates our Slope technology, so marketing and other
types of disciplines can use content
collaboration in their work. And I’d be remiss if I
didn’t mention 10,000ft. (chuckling) So, lots to talk about.>>It was a lot, but you
clearly listen to the customers, right, because I think it was at the Pacing Widgets Between Dashboards,>>Yes.>>Was a standing ovation.>>Yes. (laughing)>>It’s amazing the
power of copy and paste when you can pull that work. Well, you know, it’s what the people want.>>Gene: It’s funny you say that. I am constantly amazed at the things when you solve little
problems that unlock, all sorts of new use
cases, and many times, that cheer you hear, is because customers have been trying to work
around those problems. Right? So multi-select
drop down is great example where they had to all
sorts of gyrations in how they configure their work to support multiple selections. And so now, we’ve made
that much more elegant for them and they’re like, ecstatic cause they no longer have to invest that time. And I go kind of look and go, wow, is that all it took? I
would have done it sooner. (laughter)>>But it is a lot of times, right, the simple things that have the huge improvement
>>Yep. Absolutely>>And getting away from
this repetitive work which is kind of the theme we keep hearing over and over and over again.>>Gene: Yeah, no, that’s absolutely true and it’s really, little
things can have a big impact, or the analogy I sometimes will use is if, if you’re creating a puzzle, or if you have kids and you’ve ever built the X-Wing fighter set, if
you’re missing a few pieces, it’s just not the same, right?
>>Jeff: Right.>>You can’t kind of complete the work, and so sometimes completing
that play for customers, giving them that, that last
piece they need to really go and power their work flow is really key.>>And I also think, because
we’re living in a time where we have, we demand so much from technology in our personal lives and it delivers, you know,
>>Gene: Yes. for the most part our
lives are pretty seamless in the way that we can
order things from anywhere and so when we deal with
these little aggravations at work, it’s just that much more. So, one of the things
you said on the mainstage is that customers are not shy about telling you what they want, so I want to hear from you how you solicit feedback and your process for making these changes and for coming up with these new products.>>We actually have a bunch of different mechanisms we use to listen to customer and
I call it customer signal because it comes from a
lot of different places. We have, kind of foundationally,
we have a process actually called an enhancement request, so any one of our customers
can go in our community and actually can submit a
form and say I really want you to build this. And that’s very intentional. There’s no confusion and usually they’re very straightforward. But beyond that, we have
the community in general, so we monitor that and we get feedback on kind of a free flowing forum where they give us feedback. We have user groups that, this year we’ll do north of forty
user groups around the world where we bring collections
of customers together, many time hosted at
different customer locations and customers will talk
and share best practices and give us feedback on
things they’d like to see. I’ve spent a ton of time out
in the field with customers just visiting with them,
talking about their use cases, helping them solve problems, and importantly, we have
a product advisory council and a customer advisory board. And these are both specific
groups of customers, small groups that we’ve recruited, and we’ve actually used
them to consult with us very closely to give us
kind of overall direction. And probably, the most valuable feedback, once we know where we want to go, once we start building, we have a private beta program, and what we call, and
early adopter program. And both of those enroll customers in interacting with things we’re building before they’re launched. And that gives us a chance
to get real time feedback into what they like, what they don’t, and what we need to improve. And sometimes the
product will stay in that private beta phase for longer we expected because the signal we get requires that we make changes, so we think that’s really important to make sure
we actually hit the mark, because if you’re not
satisfying customer need or solving a problem,>>What’s the point?
>>They’re not going to buy it. Yeah, what the point? Is
really the right way to say it.>>Well, you’re surely
going to get a lot of customer signal here at ENGAGE over these next couple of days.>>Absolutely. And they
are absolutely not shy. Every time I run in to somebody,
it’s “Oh, we love this! “And here’s the ten things I want fixed!”>>Well Gene, thanks so
much for coming on the CUBE. It was a pleasure having you.>>Well, my pleasure.
Thanks for having me and thanks for being here at ENGAGE.>>Thanks for having us.>>Great.>>I’m Rebecca Knight for Jeff Frick, you are watching the CUBE. Stay tuned. (upbeat music)


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