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ThreeWill Hero – Jason Jones

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Ending with a Bang

Wow, we’re at our last ThreeWill Hero. In this final post, we want to recognize both a special person and a special company. The person that we would like to recognize is Jason Jones and the company is Microsoft. Jason epitomizes all that is good about partnering with Microsoft. He’s a great communicator, he’s energetic and aggressive at the right times, and he looks for opportunities that make sense for both Microsoft and ThreeWill.

A Microsoft Partner Since the Beginning

One of the first things that we did as a business was to register as a Microsoft partner. Besides the generous licensing offered from partnering with Microsoft, this gave us the confidence that we were not starting our business alone. We felt like our company was starting out with one of the best brands in the industry and gained credibility that comes only by working with a company that has a strong reputation like Microsoft.

How Many Thousands of Companies Have Started Because of Microsoft?

It seems like sometimes it’s fashionable to take shots at Microsoft (I think it’s a part of human nature for people to try and knock success). But there is one thing that is undeniable about Microsoft – they are a partner focused company. For all that is said about the greatness of Apple and Google, Microsoft has provided thousands of companies like ThreeWill the opportunity to start and succeed because they are partner focused. For that, we are extremely grateful. We wouldn’t have started ThreeWill without Microsoft – they gave us a business model that helped us grow and thrive.

Deepening the Relationship

About five years in (and lots of conversations to convince certain people) we became a managed partner for Microsoft. We have had a number of Partner Account Managers (PAMs). We started out with Trey Kimbel, another real gem at Microsoft. Trey provided a great introduction to working well with Microsoft. We learned that PAMs have one of the most demanding and difficult jobs out there. Lots of responsibility with little authority and the difficulties of trying to serve multiple masters.

Partnering as a Systems Integrator

As a systems integrator, your business is making things work together. We’ve built a business around making SharePoint work with other platforms and key emerging technologies (including Enterprise Video with Polycom, Mobile with Rover Apps, and Social with Jive Software). Although sometimes these integrations might lead to competitive situations, most folks at Microsoft understand that all Microsoft solutions might not be the right solution for all companies (I said most). No one can deny Microsoft’s success in focusing on the Enterprise over the last ten years, and a key part of this success is their willingness to work well with other products/platforms. Kudos, Microsoft.

Back to Jason

I’ve been talking a lot about Microsoft in the last couple of paragraphs, but many of the positive attributes could also be said about Jason as a person. Jason is always looking out for us – talking to us about how to improve what we do based on what he learns from other companies like us. Part advocate, part mentor, part friend – he checks in with frequent calls to make sure things are going well and he looks to connect us to people both inside and outside of Microsoft that have the potential to make an impact on our business. Jason is also a man of faith – the highlight of every Microsoft Partner Conference is attending the Partners in Christ meeting that Jason helps lead. He’s got his head set on straight and knows what is important – another reason why we enjoy working with him and trust him. Jason is also very involved with his local Church serving in the middle school ministry which shows Jason has a heart for his community as well as his business.

Our PAM is a Celebrity

Jason is a bit of a celebrity — or at least his family is…his daughters, Mary-Charles Jones – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2325460/ and Maggie Elizabeth Jones – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1369619/, are successful young actors. Mary-Charles has been on Grey’s Anatomy and she plays the recurring role of a younger version of Hanna Montana. Both girls were in the recent remake of Footloose. In December of 2011, Maggie will star opposite Matt Damon in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” which is sure to be a big family hit! I’m not sure how he does this, but for a good part of the year his family is in Hollywood to meet the demands of success. Pretty amazing.

The Future

We recently brought on a twenty year veteran of Microsoft (Kirk Puffenberger). Kirk will be taking the lead in building our partnership with Microsoft (working quite a bit with Jason) and other companies that we are aligning with for success. We look forward to seeing where this partnership leads us and what the next 10 years has in store for both companies. Like any healthy relationship, we’ve had our share of disagreements…(we’re still waiting for an app store for SharePoint) But, by pushing each other, we have learned to grow stronger.

A Word from Jason

Jason had the following to share upon hearing that he was a ThreeWill Hero…

”I am truly honored to be featured as a THREEWILL HERO. It is working with companies like THREEWILL that truly make my job a joy each and every day. ThreeWill has shown unwavering commitment to not only Microsoft but to building great relationships with everyone they work with. Over the years I have seen how the ThreeWill team has positively impacted customers with their innovative approach to technology and knowing them has certainly impacted me personally over the years as well. I know that the next ten years will hold tremendous success for the entire ThreeWill team and I am excited to watch it happen.”

Thanks for being our final ThreeWill Hero Jason and thanks Microsoft for your support through the years!

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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Jason Jones
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ThreeWill Hero – Steve Pattison

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

This Month’s Hero

This month’s ThreeWill Hero is Steve Pattison from Polycom (Vice President, Strategy and Business Development). Steve is another person that we were introduced to by Owen Allen at Microsoft. Based on initial conversations, we could tell that it would be great to work with Steve as a sponsor and that he had great vision for integrating enterprise video within SharePoint to realize the user experience that Steve was the first to dub “YouTube for the Enterprise”.

Meeting Up

The first time we met Steve was at the SharePoint Conference in 2009. Steve’s a very well connected guy so he was very familiar with people and companies that we had worked with in the past, like Jive Software. We talked through what we would need to do to make the relationship work – although Steve had time and budget constraints, he was upfront so we could work together on a plan that would work for both sides.

A Good Partner Helps Make Great Connections

As we pointed out in the blog post on Bill Lynch, one of the best signs in a partner is that they connect you with people that make an impact on your company. Steve made sure that we were connected with one of the most influential people in the SharePoint ecosystem, Mark Gilbert of Gartner, who is an influential analyst covering SharePoint. He’s exceptional about connecting folks and we are grateful for this.

Hands On Approach

We worked very closely with Steve to develop the first version of the integration for the Accordent Media Management System (now rebranded as the Polycom RealPresence Media Manager following Polycom’s acquisition of Accordent) with SharePoint. Don’t let having Strategy in his title throw you off…although he’s great when determining the right strategy, he can also roll up his sleeves and make tactical decisions. We had to address some serious constraints at the beginning of the project. Steve thoughtfully reviewed the options and was decisive when we needed to move forward.

The Polycom Team

Working with smart, hardworking folks is an integral part of being successful in a partnership. Along with Steve, we were fortunate enough to be teamed up with Chris Spanellis in Engineering and Chuck Malloy in Professional Services. Chris was key in helping us understand how we could properly architect a SharePoint Integration solution that would best leverage the AMMS platform and he continues to be our goto guy in engineering to this date. We started working with Chuck when we had a release version that would go into Accordent/Polycom customer environments. Chuck is great with process and the kind of person you want to work with when you need to get down to the brass tacks of getting a solution rolled out to a customer. We could go on, but just thought it would be worth mentioning some of the Polycom Team that made the AMMS integration with SharePoint successful.

Accordent’s Acquisition By Polycom

Polcyom’s acquisition of Accordent was a great move for both companies and positioned Polycom to become the leader in the video content management and delivery market by integrating Polycom’s leading open standards video software solutions with Accordent’s innovative video content management solution.

Working with Polycom

Polycom is one of the most exciting companies to be working with at this time – for example, this year they won the Microsoft Partner of the Year for Unified Communications Innovation award. They are making the right investments and we are excited to begin working with their sales folks in the field. There is no doubt that 2012 will be an exciting year for the Polycom/ThreeWill partnership.

Clients Working Together

It’s always great to see our clients working together. Earlier this year, Jive Software and Polycom announced a strategic relationship. Steve has long envisioned the day when the worlds of enterprise video and social networking would come together, and it is exciting to see it happen especially given our strong relationship with both Polycom and Jive.

Today

We’re excited to be working with Steve to this day. Recently, we met with him at the SharePoint Conference to talk about the next version of the integration. He’s connected us with new folks at Polycom (wonderful folks like Zip Zieper) and we look forward to helping the field roll out successful integrations.

Steve, from the whole team at ThreeWill, we want to thank you for your support and the trust you have placed in us to work together to build a great integration with SharePoint.

A Word from Steve

Upon hearing that he was a ThreeWill Hero, Steve had the following to say:

Working with ThreeWill has been a great experience from the outset at Accordent, when Microsoft first recommended ThreeWill to us as a leading SharePoint development organization, to this day at Polycom as we continue to lead the market with enterprise video solutions for SharePoint. ThreeWill has been consistently committed to our success, our partnership with Microsoft, and the needs of our customers as we provide video access and scale to the SharePoint user community.

Thanks again Steve for being a ThreeWill Hero!

Learn More About the Polycom RealPresence Media Manager
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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Steve Pattison
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ThreeWill Hero – Clint Padgett

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Helping Rembrandt Paint Masterpieces

A couple of years back, Atlassian introduced us to another company based out of Australia that they thought would be good for us to talk to because of similar cultures. The company was Customware. I had skype conversation with their CEO, Rob Castenada, and about midway through the conversation he mentioned something pretty insightful…”You guys are like us, you help the Rembrants of the world to paint their masterpieces.” For us, we help the most successful software companies in the world build software products that run on or are integrated with SharePoint. In the case of Customware, the focus on Atlassian’s products as the platform.

I could say the same thing about the company that this month’s ThreeWill Hero leads. Unlike ThreeWill and Customware, the company doesn’t focus on software development. Instead, they focus on the business of executing successful mission critical projects. Their medium is a proven process. Their clients they serve are the world’s most successful companies. Their company name is apropos, Project Success, Inc. (or PSI for short). This month we wanted to recognize the company and leader of the company, Clint Padgett.

The Book On Successful Projects

Before we get too far, I just want to point out that Clint actually wrote the book on successful projects. Below is a link to his book on Amazon.com.

How Things Got Started

We started working with PSI long before we “bet the boat” on SharePoint. We worked together to update what they call the Project Success toolkit. This toolkit, which extends what Microsoft Project does as an add-in, helps support the principles of the Project Success Method. There was a lot of time in design spent understanding what was needed to support the process.

Real Partnerships Are Made During Difficult Times

What is perhaps most interesting about the PSI/ThreeWill story is that at one point we came to an impasse. There was a time on the project where both sides decided to stop development. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another project in our history where we came to such an abrupt stopping point. After a bit of time backing off from the situation, we came together and put together a plan to begin working together again.

This actually helped me mature about what partnering means…going through a difficult time you find out from both sides the intent. Do they walk? Do they come back and look for the way to bring the divide? Do they put the sweat in to make things work or do they just play lip service? This is what you learn during difficult times.

What We’ve Learned About Clint

Tommy shared this with me about Clint and I think it’s spot on:

Clint has been a great client through good times and bad. He is a man of integrity. Because of our long standing partnership and the trust that has been built up we have been able to achieve great things together!

Tommy doesn’t use the word integrity about people lightly. What happens over the course of working together five plus years is you understand the intent of the other party. You find out if they are really interested in a mutually profitable partnership. Clint has been a man of his word and he can be trusted and he we have no doubt that he and his company have many years of continued prosperity. We look forward to working together over the next ten years and beyond.

Huge Shout Out To Crissy Tevis

It’s official, we have found the world’s best product owner. Her name is Crissy Tevis (scroll to midpage). She spends more time at the ThreeWill office than most associates…we love seeing her and we’re thankful that she takes on her role so responsibly. This is another sign of Clint being great leader, he attracts and builds a team of high contributors like Crissy.

Eric Bowden, who has been working closely with Crissy recently, had the following to share:

You couldn’t ask for a better product owner. Crissy is always part of the solution. She is eager to dig into real problem solving and understanding the pros and cons of feature design, while at the same time having vision for the product level roadmap and features.

And every once and a while, she makes sure that Clint does his job…(smile)

A Word From Clint

After hearing he was a ThreeWill Hero, Clint shared the following…

I deeply appreciate being selected as a ThreeWill Hero. My experience with ThreeWill has been nothing short of phenomenal. They are incredibly good at what they do and we reap the benefits during our product development collaboration. I am looking forward to leveraging their SharePoint expertise as we further integrate the Project Success Toolkit with Project Server. By the way, if you’ll send Crissy back to us for a while, I promise to return her before the next phase of development starts!

Clint, thanks again for being a ThreeWill Hero and we look forward to seeing great things from you and your team at PSI…

Learn More About PSI
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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Clint Padgett
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TW Hero – Jonathan Foulkes

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Introduction

One of the things that I’ve learned at my 10 years at ThreeWill is that the technology community in Georgia is smaller than you think. This is one of the main reasons why you always want to deliver for your clients. And when you deliver for clients, you build close relationships with folks who will want to work with you as their careers evolve. It’s amazing how many times we have worked with the same folks as they have moved to new companies. This month’s hero is one of those people. And, what’s unique about this month’s ThreeWill Hero is that his experiences have paralleled our evolution as a company. Our hero is Jonathan Foulkes, CEO of Rover Apps.

Working Together in the Enterprise

Jonathan knows quality. Just take a look at his home audio setup and you’ll see that he’s pretty passionate about details. We first met Jonathan while he was the Senior Director of Development at Reed Business. He was looking to partner with a company with deep SharePoint expertise and we fit the bill. He had put together a strong technical team (I’ve noticed this is a skill of his) and we worked together well. He and his team quickly picked up on the “SharePoint platform” idea and the benefits of using SharePoint for some of the key internal processes.

More About Jonathan

The thing that I remember most about our initial conversations was that he never talked down to me (although with his impressive background he could…for example, he was the Director of Development at DoubleClick, he holds a patent for a Method and System for a Session Allocation Manager, and he’s Trilingual). Also, he was always honest with me. He would let me know what was going on and was thoughtful about my time by not having us go after unfunded initiatives. Finally, we just got along and built up respect for each other pretty quickly. I think he appreciated our focus on SharePoint and we appreciated the way he involved us and treated us fairly, even at the beginning.

The Next Phase

Jonathan ended up moving on from Reed Business and we ended up staying in touch with an email here and there. Then, one day I got an email that Jonathan had downloaded our white paper on SharePoint as a Product Platform and he mentioned that he was interested in building a SharePoint Connector for an enterprise mobility product that he had brought to market. Talk about connecting us to a sweet spot project – I was so excited and quickly relayed the news to Tommy. We were both looking forward to the prospect of working with Jonathan again and the chance to work on a commercial software venture together where we could clearly help out (we’ve been creating a number of SharePoint Connectors for other companies).

Working Together Again

We met up for lunch and he showed me what the product was and I was floored. He had it loaded on his iPhone and he painted the vision of being able to access SharePoint information from anywhere. After a couple of conversations and then a couple weeks of development, we had a product ready for Beta clients. At the end of 2010, we released the initial version of the SharePoint Connector for Rover. We had a great time going around and talking to a number of our clients and the reaction was positive and enthusiastic. We also took the opportunity to meet up with a number of ISV’s and other SI’s in the Atlanta area – one of those partnerships was formalized last week (see the press release from Handshake Software and Rover apps). We’ve done some webinars together and we are planning even more for later this Fall.

Another Top Notch Team

I don’t need to state the obvious, but Enterprise Mobility is hot right now. Jonathan has put together a world class product in two years along with a top notch team (I have loved working with Deb Farrell and Steve Christianson) to capitalize on the opportunity. We’ve also had a chance to get to know Jeff Garbers, his co-founder. Not only does he have a great voice, but he’s one of the smartest and enthusiastic technologists out there.

Thanks and the Future

Thanks for being a ThreeWill Hero Jonathan! We know that you will be successful making Rover the leading mobile enterprise application platform. Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

Word from Jonathan

After hearing he was a ThreeWill Hero, Jonathan shared the following…

I am honored to be nominated for this award. Working with Danny, Tommy and the great team at ThreeWill has been a pleasure for me. Their high ethical and work standards stood out from the moment I met them and their passion for SharePoint and satisfying their customers has been proven over and over to me. I look forward to many more years of ongoing collaboration with ThreeWill.

Get Started with Rover Apps
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Danny RyanTW Hero – Jonathan Foulkes
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ThreeWill Hero – Gary Heath

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Introduction

ThreeWill has been steadily transitioning over the last five years to focus more and more on software companies to bring commercial products to the market. This month we want to recognize the leader of one of the key companies that we have worked with recently…Gary Heath, CEO of Informative Graphics (IGC).

Our Introduction to Gary Heath and Informative Graphics

We were introduced to Gary through Owen Allen, last month’s ThreeWill Hero. Gary was looking to bring robust SharePoint integration to a couple of key products in his product suite, including Brava and Redact-It. Our initial conversations went great – Gary was up front about what they were trying to accomplish and how ThreeWill could help. I remember talking with Tommy about my conversations with Gary and mentioning that if they work as openly and as honestly during the product development phases of the project, then we have a chance to create some awesome software together.

Working Together

Fortunate for us, the conversations did move beyond initial discovery and we had the chance to work together on delivering new versions of software together. What we quickly found out is that Gary has put together a great company – we’ve really enjoyed working with folks like Andy Lowe (we love working with you Andy!), Jim Bennett, Ramona Ferrara, Chrisman Smith and Jeff Herding. The team has the characteristics that work well for us — innovative, no-nonsense, able to make and keep commitments (like many of our shared values). The team had plenty of knowledge of SharePoint (our favorite clients are sophisticated buyers) so we were able to work together to do some pretty incredible stuff — or produce what Gary likes to call “highly useful coolness.”

Ecosystem Discussions

It’ s been exciting to be a part of conversations with IGC and other software companies. We had some interesting conversations with the Microsoft FAST Team and more recently, look forward to seeing IGC develop a relationship with Jive Software. IGC has mature integrations with Documentum, OpenText and IBM. As a new partner, we enjoyed making some hopefully beneficial introductions with some other companies that IGC could possibly work with in the future.

Trip To Phoenix

Tommy and I had the pleasure of making a trip out to Phoenix earlier this year to meet Gary and the team in person. We were able to celebrate the victories of shipping software and make solid plans to ensure smooth deployments to the field. It’s great to put a face with the name. We came out of the visit even more excited about the opportunity to work closer with IGC and encouraged about the future.

What’s A Partnership?

One of the things that has impressed me most is how much Gary has looked out for ThreeWill’s interests. There have been a lot of conversations where Gary would interject about whether different decisions were in the best interests of ThreeWill. A lot of people talk about partnerships, but to be quite honest in most cases this is more lip service than anything (I have a running joke that goes…with partners like this, who needs competition?). A wise man once shared with me…”A definition of a good partner is someone who looks out for your interests more than their own.” When you realize that this is the case, you want to do whatever you can to look out for them. This has been the case with Gary.

Thanks Gary!

Thanks Gary for being a ThreeWill Hero – thank you for trusting us to work together and we look forward to doing some great things together in the future. We started the company ten years ago in hopes that we could work with innovative and caring people like you — it’s great that our paths have crossed and we wish you and your company all the business success that you can handle… 🙂

A Word From Gary

Gary had the following to say about being recognized as a ThreeWill Hero…

Thanks ThreeWill for the recognition — we’ve enjoyed working with you guys and I’m really happy with our latest releases that we worked on together. We appreciate the high level of quality people that you put on the project — Eric Bowden and Sean Hester have been fantastic to work with… We look forward to working together in the future and congrats on reaching the 10 year mark!

Thanks Gary for having us help out and thanks for being a ThreeWill Hero!

IGC's Solutions for SharePoint
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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Gary Heath
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ThreeWill Hero – Owen Allen

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

ThreeWill and Microsoft

ThreeWill has been a Microsoft Partner pretty much since we opened our doors in 2001. They have been a great company to work with and there have been a couple of key people that have made a big difference in the success of ThreeWill. This month we want to highlight one of those people – Owen Allen (LinkedIn, Twitter).

Our Introduction to Owen

For those of you who don’t know Owen, he used to be in charge of the SharePoint ISV ecosystem for Microsoft (his official title was Sr. Product Manager – SharePoint ISV Partners at Microsoft). And, yes, it is “used to” because he left Microsoft last year to start his own company (more about that later). We first started working with Owen when we were finishing up the initial version of the SharePoint Connector for Confluence. Although Owen wasn’t the one to introduce and recommend us to Atlassian (thanks to Lawrence Liu and Deb Bannon for that), he was the one that showed us the support we needed to grow and go after SharePoint Product Development opportunities.

Working Together

As many of our readers know, we have been fortunate to work with some pretty fantastic companies through the years, one of the biggest highlights has been Jive Software (another account referred to us by Microsoft). During the design of Jive for SharePoint, Owen met with us a couple of times and provided great input on the integration. He was able to provide crucial guidance about which platform aspects were safe to incorporate on and which were safe for us to extend. It was helpful to get his insight on the integration and have him provide a sanity check. He’s worked with so many varied companies to provide strategic guidance on SharePoint that having his input has been invaluable.

Connect, Extent, Build On

Tommy and I attended the SharePoint Conference in 2008 where Owen had a presentation on building products and the SharePoint Ecosystem. One of the key concepts, Connect, Extend, Build On – stuck with us. This probably happened because we could classify almost all of the work that we were doing with SharePoint into these buckets. It made a lot of sense to us. In the weeks following the session and after a few conversations with Owen, it was apparent that we both were thinking of writing a white paper on the topic. Here’s the result of that collaboration – Benefits of SharePoint 2010 as a Product Platform White Paper. To this day, we have 3-4 people download the white paper each day.

Starting SharePoint Directions

Owen has quite a following in SharePoint circles and he is highly regarded as the go-to expert on the SharePoint ISV ecosystem. So, as he parted ways with Microsoft last year he had many options to choose from for his next move. Fortunate for us, he decided to start his own company, SharePoint Directions. This has allowed us to work together with ISV’s and product companies. Owen is a master at the strategic (and tactical, if needed) moves required for product management decisions to be made. And ThreeWill loves to work with people like Owen — his skills complement our implementation skills and our passion to ship new product features and successful field deployments.

Thanks Owen!

Owen is a ThreeWill Hero – he understands what we do and where we are going better than anyone else…like a number of the other ThreeWill Heroes, he has been a strong advocate for us through the years. Everyone at ThreeWill wishes him continued success with SharePoint Directions. I have no doubt he will – please take a minute to learn more about his services at his website.

More About Microsoft

There are a lot of people that we could recognize at Microsoft as a ThreeWill Hero. Anyone from our current Partner Account Manager, Jason Jones, to our good friends Rob Bohm and Emilio Matt (we love you guys 😉 ). We’re grateful for the years of commitment from people at Microsoft. We feel lucky and grateful to have the chance to ride the SharePoint wave that has been building for years.

A Word From Owen

Owen had the following to say about being recognized as a ThreeWill Hero…

It has been a pleasure to work with ThreeWill, and I’ve always been happy to represent them as a development company with integrity when other software companies ask about them. ThreeWill understands that helping software companies build a SharePoint-compatible product that can be shipped is different than helping a SharePoint customer with an implementation. It requires a slightly different approach to the project. The focus has to be on the long term sustainability of the product and has to take into account the culture of the client with much more depth. ThreeWill gets this, and works hard to work well with software companies. I look forward to seeing their list of clients with SharePoint integrations continue to grow!

Thanks again for being a ThreeWill Hero Owen!

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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Owen Allen
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ThreeWill Hero – Brad Pearce

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Introduction

Now that the tax deadline (at least for our US readers) is rapidly approaching, we are once again reminded of the importance of having a great CPA. Our CPA, Brad Pearce, has been with us through a majority of the ten years and he has proven himself a trusted team member. A small (and growing) company like ThreeWill needs just that, a team of business partners, in order to be successful long term. This month we wanted to recognize Brad as one of the best of those people that has provided services to support our stability and growth.

Early Years

We were first referred to Brad from a former ThreeWill Hero, Nick Calivas. Nick recommended the firm that Brad was working for at the time. Working closely with Brad, we liked how he patiently worked with us on everything from how to properly use QuickBooks to answering sometimes basic, sometimes complicated, tax questions. When Brad made the move to work independently we followed him because we felt like he couldn’t be replaced. Even with him moving across Georgia to Macon, we felt like this was the right move for us. And it was.

ThreeWill Loves Brad

We love seeing him at our bi-yearly meetings – he always comes well prepared and ready to help us make sound financial decisions. Brad has been with us through good times and bad; this includes the recent recession. Now, he’s helping us make good decisions as the steady growth that we saw last year builds to what looks like another record year of growth for us. And back when Tommy was out for cancer treatment, like Nick, he kicked in and helped us make the right moves to keep us going and weather the storm.

Thanks to the Whole Extended Team

There are a number of other business partners like Brad that have helped us over the last ten years. They include Jason Jones from Cresa Partners, Craig Belisle of GV Financial Advisors, Joe Dennis and Johnny Carruth from Northwestern Mutual, John Grimsley from Highwood Properties, Mandy Riley of Ellis Avery Photography, Casey Picker of Lamplight Media, and Diane Baker from Baker Law Group. All these folks come highly recommended – the links are to their public LinkedIn or Facebook profiles or if you want to follow up with them.

Thanks Brad

In the end, Brad is dependable, accurate, and a vital part of Team ThreeWill. He has earned our trust through the years and we are so grateful for the quality of service he provides. We look forward to many more years of working together. If you are looking for a CPA that you can trust for your small business, please feel free to contact Brad and let him know that we referred you to him – http://proadvisor.intuit.com/referral/proadvisor_profile.jsp?quickbooks-help-profile=bradford-pearce.

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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Brad Pearce
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ThreeWill Hero – Bill Lynch

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Introduction

ThreeWill has been fortunate to work with some of the most innovative companies in the world through the years (including Atlassian, Informative Graphics, Accordent and JackBe, to name a few). But, perhaps there is not a better example of an innovative company than Jive Software. They lead 3 of the Gartner quadrants for Social Software in the Workplace, Externally Facing Social Software, and Social CRM. This month we would like to recognize Bill Lynch, Jive Software’s Co-Founder and a Vice President of Product Management, as March’s ThreeWill Hero.

[cb type=”person”]Bill Lynch[/cb]

The Backstory

The most innovative companies have the brightest and best working for them – this usually means that they are not willing to go outside their organization to be successful. Much like our hero from last month, we need to have someone that is willing to give us a try. That person was Bill Lynch.

A lot of things led up to us working with Jive Software. One of the most important was the work that we did with Atlassian for the SharePoint Connector for Confluence (read How We Did It coverage from the SharePoint Product Team blog). Jive was looking to take a similar approach for a SharePoint connector for their product. Fortunately for us, they were willing enough to look for an outside partner for help.

Support To Be Successful

It’s safe to say that building “world class” integration between two complex software platforms could be one of the most difficult ventures out there for software development.

Although we had a leg up experience-wise with the integration that was built with Atlassian, we still had a long road ahead of us. Bill had the patience to see this integration come together and in general the whole team at Jive treated this as a team effort. Throughout the development phase we worked as one team (even through the stresses of release deadlines). This is the recipe for success for a successful endeavor between two companies. We have transitioned off our development efforts to their capable engineering teams and today we are focusing on making sure that the integration is successfully deployed to the field with our Jive Packaged Services offering.

Building On Strengths

As with Confluence, there is plenty of overlap between SharePoint product features. The difference with Jive (as we would soon find out) is that people fall in love with their product. And with Social, this experience of falling in love with the accompanying high adoption is key.

At ThreeWill, we believe that using SharePoint and Jive together is a great solution for a lot of enterprises – especially for enterprises that demand “best in class” solutions. But, in a world of limited enterprise funds of course there are times in which the two products compete. Sophisticated buyers recognize that both Jive SBS and Microsoft SharePoint are platforms with their own strengths. It’s been a blast to see companies that are putting Jive (with its refined Social UI and branding options) together with SharePoint (the “Swiss army knife” of ECM platforms).

Extra Support

Bill has also looked out for us as a company, providing sound advice and even making introductions to other companies. A great case of this was an introduction last year to Zvi Guterman of Cloudshare. These introductions have helped us grow and thrive through the years and we are grateful for the doors he has opened for us.

Humbly Confident = “GNAC”

When you work closely together on a product you get a sense of whether there is a cultural fit. On one occasion, Tommy and I were talking to Bill about how it was important for us to find “humbly confident” people for ThreeWill (we were probably talking about Chris “Bazooka” Edwards). Bill related this to a similar Jive value – a “GNAC”. This stands for good natured a** kicker. Love it.

Today (and Tomorrow)

Jive is making bold moves today and we can’t wait to see what is in store for the company through the next couple of years. We’re excited about the upcoming version of Jive and the new opportunities for developers to build on the Jive Platform. We have no doubt that it will be a wild ride and we look forward to being a part of that journey. Bill, thank you for your support through the years and the trust that you have put in us.

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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Bill Lynch
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ThreeWill Hero – Tricia Mercaldo

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Introduction

Our second selection for ThreeWill Hero was another no-brainer. Working with Tricia Mercaldo and her team has been one of the highlights of our ten-year tenure at ThreeWill. She places trust in her teams to give them the opportunity to grow and be successful. She has also placed this trust in ThreeWill, which is one of the primary reasons we would like to recognize her this month as a ThreeWill Hero.

Early Discussions

Microsoft invites ThreeWill to present at events to both educate and sometimes entertain enterprises, usually covering various SharePoint topics. At one of these events, I was fortunate to sit beside Tricia and have a nice initial discussion with her. We followed up with each other over the next year or so until the opportunity came up for us to work on a business case together. The business case focused on Collaboration and laid the foundation for her organization to move to SharePoint.

Working Together

Tricia and her team are extremely creative, innovative, and hard-working. Given that, it’s not to often that she looks for outside help. Fortunately, she placed trust in us to help her and her team out with making the move to SharePoint. We were excited about the opportunity to work with them to put together a plan for both setting up SharePoint 2007 as a pilot and help with the overall rollout. This initiative was successful by every regard and the adoption has turned this into a case-study on how to roll out SharePoint successfully in the enterprise.

Building Momentum

Tricia has been a huge advocate for ThreeWill. She has recommended us to other groups and this has turned into more successful projects that have helped to build the momentum around SharePoint. Most people do not realize how important these referrals are – small companies like ThreeWill live or die based on whether we get referred to other potential opportunities. Tricia has also treated us like we are an extension to her team. In a world where most people have low opinions of consulting organizations (and sometimes rightfully so), it is refreshing to have a client relationship where we are focused on solving problems together and not on whether one group will take advantage of the other.

Today

We continue to feel fortunate to work with Tricia and her team to this day. There are some people who help you to become better over time and she is one of them.

And now, a word from our Hero

Upon hearing about being a ThreeWill Hero, Tricia shared the following…“Thanks again for considering me to be a ThreeWill Hero…I appreciate the continued opportunity to work with you and your team…the experience in working with ThreeWill is so very different than the other vendors in this space and I appreciate that you make it easy to do business. We have accomplished a great deal and I look forward to whatever comes next.”

Thank you Tricia for being a ThreeWill Hero!

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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Tricia Mercaldo
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ThreeWill Hero – Nick Callivas

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Introduction

Our first selection for ThreeWill Hero was about as easy as it gets. Nick Callivas has been one of our biggest advocates through the years – giving us a chance to move beyond just the founders working at ThreeWill and then coming to our aid during one of our most trying times.

The Early Years

Tommy and I first had the pleasure to work with Nick while at a company called ExtremeLogic. ExtremeLogic was a great company to work for with incredible people (as attested by the fact that many ThreeWiller’s worked at ExtremeLogic). Nick lead up the effort for the client’s side. Your first impression of Nick is that he can be intimidating – but he is a straight shooter. Tommy and I love to work with hardworking, honest people – a description that clearly describes Nick. While on the project, we had a chance to get to know Nick and I think it’s safe to say we shared mutual respect for each other.

Giving Us A Chance

There is a typical pattern for a small company to grow. In order for a company to move beyond its founders it must build a backlog of work. This is especially true for self-funded service companies. This backlog of work typically comes from one client, commonly referred to as an anchor client. A couple of years after ThreeWill’s founding in 2001, we were ready to move beyond plan C (writing books and content for Microsoft events) and plan B (training and seminars). Nick gave us the chance to work on what we consider our first enterprise consulting project for ThreeWill. With the success of that project, we were given the opportunity to help out with over a dozen successful projects over the next couple of years. This gave us the opportunity to hire our first employee, Mr. Tim Coalson. We are so grateful for Nick giving us the chance to work with his team and helping us to grow as an organization.

Five Years In

Around the fifth year into our journey at ThreeWill, Tommy had a re-occurrence of cancer (read Tommy’s Cancer Journey). As you can imagine, this put a lot of plans on hold. When Nick heard about the situation, he resigned from his job and came in and filled the gap as Tommy was out of town undergoing treatment at MD Anderson. Besides helping to keep Danny sane, Nick was a cherished edition to the team. He taught us terms like WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to build persuasive sales discussions and to help drive adoption of deployments. He helped make sure that projects continued to be delivered at the high standards. We cannot be grateful enough for what Nick did to help ThreeWill get through this difficult time.

Today

To this day, Nick continues to provide guidance to ThreeWill and everyone loves to see him drop by the office and at company get-togethers. The whole ThreeWill team wants to thank Nick for all that he has done for us through the years. He is truly a ThreeWill Hero.

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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Nick Callivas