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You’re Number One – Interview with 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.
Danny:Hello and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast. This is your co-host Danny Ryan here with Tommy. Tommy, how are you doing?

 

Tommy:I’m doing well. Excited about our first interview.

 

Danny:Our first … This is Tricia Mercaldo. Tricia, you are our first interview, not our second.

 

Tricia:That is very exciting. Okay.

 

Danny:This is a little bit of an inside joke because I think at ten years we had what we called our ThreeWill heroes and they were people who really influenced ThreeWill over the first ten years, and Tricia was one of them, and she happened to be the second person we recognized and I think her husband, Allen, noticed that she was the second, so he pointed out that you’re our second, so you’re our first interview. Do you feel privileged to be on?

 

Tricia:Absolutely. Hopefully I am not your last.

 

Danny:You’re our first and last interview. Thank you, Tricia, for doing this just to get us kicked off here and started. We’ve known each other for I guess it’s close to ten years because we’re up on at least seven years since the 10-year anniversary and we knew each other before that and coming up on ten years; wow the time has flown, hasn’t it?

 

Tricia:Yes, agreed.

 

Danny:It has flown, and so we first got to know each other when you were Director of Collaboration? What was your title back then? Or was it Director of Apps?

 

Tricia:Director of Communication and Collaboration for Turner.

 

Danny:Awesome, awesome. So, that was I guess when we first had our couple of conversations together, I was talking a lot about SharePoint and you probably thought I was crazy about talking about SharePoint so much and then eventually we started looking at it and we were able to work together and do some great stuff together there, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with you during that period of time.

 

Tricia:Thank you.

 

Danny:Absolutely, absolutely. So today, what I wanted to do was to get into some of the things that I know you’ve talked about at conferences more around the soft side of collaboration and talking about making changes inside of large organizations and sort of how some of these technologies can help support you to do that, and I know Tommy and I, we talk a lot about ThreeWill’s culture, I mean it’s very important to us. So as we get this kicked off I just wanted to talk a little bit about: How do you use these platforms to influence positive culture change inside these larger organizations?

 

Tricia:So, collaboration is an overused term these days, and people think that if they talk to each other, that’s collaboration. So it’s an interesting concept but inside a large organization, the larger the organization the less collaborative it becomes because it spans across too many areas, so many people and all the organizations struggle with their internal culture and I’ve seen this in a couple of places and even my last role with Cree, which wasn’t a huge organization like Coca-Cola but it was still 7,000 people across the globe and culture certainly drives productivity and employee engagement, and the more engaged your employees are, you guys already know this, the more productive everybody is.

 

So, leveraging SharePoint and now with the rest of the Office 365 tools, Microsoft is really starting to get it: How do we bring people together, not just on the SharePoint platform but with Teams and Planner and all the other products that they’re wrapping together. It gives people a way to communicate with someone they’re not sitting next to. So the culture will change when you implement these tools, whether you want them to or not as long as you allow people to use the tools, because they will discover how to find a person across the globe who does exactly what they do and begin to share information, chat with them, in ways that they never have before. So that’s a positive thing and if leadership or someone in a higher leadership level across the organization can understand how those products can work together, and leverage that for a culture change it’s really fun to watch that happen.

 

At Turner Broadcasting, when we started out with you guys and we did MOSS, remember MOSS?

 

Danny:Yes.

 

Tricia:One of the things that we did on the back end is we built it so that we could connect various business entities in the future even though they would all say they didn’t need to be connected at that time, and that’s been a fantastic thing. As you know, that team is still going strong, as a SharePoint Center of Excellence they’re in Office 365 in SharePoint online now and so we were able to leverage the power of the platform and we were kind of sneaky about how we set it up because we wanted people to be able to share content and search across site collections even back then when they didn’t even understand the power of the product. In the same thing both at Coca-Cola and at Cree establishing an environment where people can ultimately get there is really important I think.

 

Danny:When Tommy and I often talk about culture, we talk about what our shared values are and the culture; Turner Broadcasting and Coca-cola and even Cree, I imagine the culture’s very strong in the shared values; you want to continually emphasize those as well. Was there often a shared value inside these organizations that was open communication, overused word collaboration, but did that have to be part of the culture in order for this to succeed? Or how does that fit into …? Was there often …? One of the values of the company is this idea of sharing openly.

 

Tricia:Yes. I think in all of those places and many others, I’ve had the opportunity to see others present their culture and their intranets and employee engagement across many different companies and communication across the enterprise and building trust across the enterprise is always something that ends up on a company’s mission and values. Whether it is really fostered and whether they have to tools in place to do that becomes the question. So I don’t know that you’ll find too many companies, perhaps there are some, where they wouldn’t want to foster great communication and having an open, trusting environment. But it is not always the case; either people can’t find a way to make that happen or the more engineering type organization you’re in, the more people keep things to themselves and so you’ve got to have something really cool and shiny and interesting for those engineers to use in order to get them there and I think Office 365 is now starting to offer those cool shiny things, not just SharePoint, right?

 

Danny:Yeah, and do you think …? I think a lot of this as well is people will look and see if the leadership is open with their communication so how has it been going out and making sure that everyone is seeing that the leadership is being open and communicating and has that been a part of what you’ve tried to do as well?

 

Tricia:Yeah, absolutely. Again at Turner we actually … Oftentimes we would have to write a script for the executive but we would convince the executive that it was great for them to do a quick little video showing their favorite feature of Office 365 or talking about some way that their organization is leveraging their new … And we didn’t really call it SharePoint we would call it whatever their site name happened to be and just not a professional video just a quick snippet of them talking about a feature.

 

Coca-Cola executives did a great job talking about … They were really supportive of social media inside the organization, and while they may not always be the one posting in the social media for employees, there was certainly some activity that happened there to support the company being social and communicating across boundaries, so I think that’s really valuable. We didn’t quite get there with Cree, but they’re on the right path to get there as well. There are some executives, and I think it’s critical to seek out the people who have either done it in a company prior, or they understand it; seek those out, pull them together and I was doing that at Cree to have them start a dialogue about: How do we extend this beyond just the people who are interested and get the executives on board?

 

Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now I think one of the things that I was impressed with at Turner Broadcasting was how you guys educated a lot of folks, you had the monthly groups that would get together as well, and it was really a part of everybody was … you ended up training a lot of folks and teaching a lot of folks how to use the platform as well, which I think was really smart of you guys to do that to pick up adoption.

 

Tricia:Yeah, I think that’s crucial because some of these tools you can easily get help, and understanding the power of the platform and how it’s designed so that you can leverage it, and so there we did start with … We did try to identify people who would be interested across the company, and then we drew them in, and we would actually have a user group, and they would lead the user group meetings by showing something that they just learned how to do that we might never even think of doing, right? So that really fun and then we did the introductory and more advanced level education, and that’s still happening there, we did that at Coca-Cola as well, mostly by webinar rather than classroom training but it was still effective, and I think that part of it is really, really important.

 

So, discovering your champions, and maybe in obscure places. We had executive’s admins who just got it and loved it, and engineers and whose personalities were totally different and then a whole bunch of people in between so it was really fun to bring those people together and make them feel good too about what they’re learning and discovering.

 

Tommy:Tricia, how did you find those champions? Because we found that that’s a great way to drive an option is to have people showing real examples of how they’re using the platforms. So how did you discover those people, did they come to you? Did you seek them out? Was there some way to find where they were in the organization?

 

Tricia:Yeah, yes. So I think the best way to do that is not stay in your chair, so you have to understand the structure of the organization and then find out who the people are across that organization, maybe at your level, maybe a level lower than you, ask them to lunch; you guys know I love to go to lunch or have a coffee or just go out to where they are and talk to them. You will be surprised how much people know and how many people would love to be engaged in a different way that typical IT teams never ask them to be. So even at Cree, where … Cree is a manufacturing organization; there are a lot of brilliant engineers there designing the next elite dividing sources, it’s fascinating. But they all stay in their space and so I was able to pull different people just in a pretty short time.

 

When you start talking about what might be coming and asking who might be interested, people will come out from all over the place as long as you don’t ask them to do a lot of work for you but they can share ideas with you and be part of something different, people are pretty up for that. We had some brilliant guys working on our SmartCast Technology team and, you know a little bit difficult to work with because they’re so brilliant and they’re working so fast to get new products out. But they were so easy to hook in, and they become your evangelists, and then they’re talking to the engineer over in a whole different organization about what they just did, and they don’t have to like each other, by the way. But they do listen to each other, and all of a sudden, stuff is happening. So it’s really a fun thing to do, but you kind of have to make that happen, they don’t really come to you.

 

Tommy:Okay, yeah. So you seek them out, spend time with them, understand what the value is for them and somehow enable them. So, how do you make it easy for them to evangelize; what things have you found are great support mechanisms to take those champions and make it easy for them to have a voice for the company?

 

Tricia:So, you should always feed them, whether it’s donuts or lunch, and then you give them the cool stuff first. You make them part of your … Maybe not your initial implementation, but pretty close to the beginning so that they become part of the implementation of the products and they can help you figure out how to leverage that product in their particular environment, and they become the champions of their domain, and suddenly they want to talk about it. So it’s a fascinating thing to happen, but you can’t just do it once, you have to continue to foster that relationship, or they’ll just do it and go away and do their own thing again.

 

Danny:Tricia, I imagine with talking about doing your own thing, there may have been some differences between Turner and Coca-Cola but you were an internal group providing these options for services and working with a lot of different departments and I know over the last 10 years or so there’s been a lot of options outside of going with something that maybe Microsoft has and going with more of like an SAS offering where they can just sort of go buy it, set it up and they’re off and doing their own stuff. How did you get consensus with groups or were you able to get consensus with groups using what you’ve got already instead of going after what the bright and shiny thing is that’s the latest thing out there. How did you deal with that?

 

Tricia:I think that is 100% dependent on your executive support for your goals and missions so making sure that, as high as you can go in your organization … So at Turner, I knew the CIO and CTO very well because I was there for so long, and it was a little simpler to meet with them and help them understand the value of using products that are designed to work together in a suite and that you’re already paying for, right? At Coca-Cola that was a little more difficult; as you guys know they chose to go with Chatter instead of Yammer, but they had a pretty large sales force team as well for obvious reasons it’s a very large organization and selling a lot of different products and marketing. So our CIO, who I also met with regularly, and CTO, could not be convinced that Yammer was a better way to go, but they did support the other Office 365 products within the organization, partially because that was a very large investment for the company from a licensing perspective.

 

So, finding the way to speak to that organization to the senior level: Do they want to talk about dollars, do they want to speak about value, do they want to talk about the soft cultural pieces? You know, what is the language of that senior executive, and speak that language to that executive so that when someone tries to do something different, they’re gonna listen to that a little bit, and at Cree, we just finished the Office 365 project a month or two ago and that was very new, this was all subscription licensing and all of that was very new for that company so we talked more about the stability of the product and the environment and they were beginning to really say “Okay, good. We don’t want to go pay for anything else” and so we talked a lot about the dollars and the cost of the product suite and how Microsoft continues to add new capabilities to the product suite and it doesn’t cost you anymore and so that was kind of the sales pitch there and they were very good about not letting some of these engineering teams go pay for something different if we could show we had the same capabilities.

 

So Microsoft has tons of … And you can search for it online using that other product called Google. The analysis, what are the features of this product versus another product, Teams for example, people were skeptical because it was a Microsoft product but when they really looked at it they were like, “Yeah, okay we can use Teams and we’re already pay for it.” So building those business cases over and over again it’s not something that you do once and it stops, right? You have to do it all the time. Again, stay connected with your business people so you know what they’re up to, so you can hear about it first before they go do something else.

 

Danny:The question about sort of … And I’ll share sort of one of the things I’ve noticed from my perspective but how things have changed since we made the move to Office 365, I think one of the big things that I’ve seen is … you were sort of getting into this, but the number of features or what Microsoft is able to do more quickly nowadays than what … Traditionally, SharePoint was a three-year product life cycle you sort of got whatever the version was and three years later you got an updated version of that and had a really tough migration in the meantime, the pains of the way it used to be. Well in my day, we upgraded software.

 

Tricia:Or redid.

 

Danny:Redid software, and what benefit am I getting out of this? It just seems like nowadays I can … We’re a small, agile organization and we can barely keep up with what’s coming out and I imagine there’s other things like … What else has changed from your perspective since moving from the, I’ll call it the good old days of SharePoint, installed on Chrome to nowadays where it’s Office 365 and you’ve got whatever the latest version is all the time.

 

Tricia:Well, so I’ll say, the fantastic part about it that is from a mobility perspective or multiple device perspective, they’re really getting that right and they didn’t for a long time but now they’re really getting that right so it’s tough to justify not going in that direction, especially if you have a large workforce that is remote, a sales force out in the field that kind of things, so the value is certainly there. Keeping up with the latest releases and understanding how quickly those are coming, preparing your employees for that is a tough job and you have to sell it as though it’s the iPhone or their Android, where things are updated all the time and compare it more to that which is why it’s good that they’re figuring out the mobility piece because it would be tough to say, “Just like on your phone, everything’s changing.”

 

But it’s tough for an internal organization, I’ve found, especially in finance organizations, they don’t really like stuff to change and so getting new features even in Exchange or Outlook, you know like the junk folder, we had to turn that off at one point because mail was … You have to train it, and important mail was going in that folder and it just showed up one day, and we didn’t know it was coming and we couldn’t communicate it and we had to find a way to turn that off. So it’s a lot about communication and I think your technical people can watch the roadmap and the new list of features that are happening but it’s almost like that’s a full-time job so I don’t know what the answer is there. But you have to prepare your employees who are using the products for not having it the way it used to be where you were on the same version for 10 years, it’s more like on your phone.

 

Danny:Yep, yep. That makes sense. You were also talking about different types of users where the folks in finance are different than the engineering group; any insights on addressing the different generations of users and how that fits into what you’ve done inside these different organizations?

 

Tricia:Sure. So, my generation doesn’t like change apparently. Although, I claim not to be part of that group, unless I’m directly in that group and that might be a problem but-

 

Danny:Tricia, you’re so young at heart.

 

Tricia:That’s right.

 

Danny:You’re young at heart.

 

Tricia:So, understanding and trying to help the different generations get through that is a very important part of the process. The younger generation who has grown up with technology, really fun people to work with I think, but they’ve grown up with it so they would be upset if something wasn’t changing every couple of weeks or every month because that’s what they have grown up with. So that’s a little bit easier so again when you’re looking for champions, don’t forget the kids. Sorry, I don’t mean that to be insulting, but don’t forget them.

 

Danny:I think she’s talking about Oliver, I’m looking over at him right now.

 

Tricia:Yeah. Right, Oliver? So don’t forget them, because they’ve got great insight and they can help you champion the products and be part of the new stuff and they can go, you know the whole reverse-mentoring concept in a less formal way, they can go help the guy in finance who’s mad every day because there’s a new feature in Excel that he didn’t know about; hook those people together and let them leverage each other to get excited about what’s coming and how it’s changing. But don’t forget to have the conversation with the Microsoft team and provide the feedback about the pace of the change because people can’t take too much, that’s too big and to help Microsoft find a better way to let people know what’s coming before it gets there so that they can prepare people if it’s a big enough change, and they haven’t quite figured that out and I don’t know that any of these companies have figured it out but I think that’ll be key to the long-term successes of all of these companies.

 

Danny:I think I remember you talking about you were part of some group or committee from Microsoft that was providing feedback to the product team at one point in time?

 

Tricia:Yeah, Coca-Cola was large enough we were part of a CAB and we met twice a year and we were able to provide feedback on new features and communication and that sort of thing. But even while I was at Cree, I met with my account team every single week mostly because we were moving a lot of products into the Microsoft suite but we had a lot of conversations about the pace of change and we asked them to take that feedback back to the teams and I think Microsoft is listening to that a little bit; as much as they can.

 

Danny:You said they’re called CABs? Like red wine?

 

Tommy:Customer Advisory Board?

 

Tricia:Customer Advisory Board.

 

Danny:Is this just some excuse to drink red wine? Is that all?

 

Tricia:Pretty much, yes.

 

Danny:Sorry, Tommy. You were going to say something.

 

Tricia:It was Seattle.

 

Danny:In Seattle. Tommy, you were going to say something.

 

Tommy:Yeah, what I was going to say is it’s great that Microsoft has those formal feedback loops with large organizations that have many people that are impacted by their products so it’s a great way to kind of aggregate the needs into representatives that go out there but also, what I’ve found and I’m very excited about and I’ve seen it kind of in action is the UserVoice feedback loops that are out there so all the products that are out there in the suite of Office 365 that have their own UserVoice forum that you can suggest an upgrade or change or concern about the platform and you can see the folks at Microsoft are saying, “We hear your voice, it’s being considered. Oh, it’s actually on the roadmap and, hey, it’s actually been implemented.”

 

I think that’s an awesome thing that they’re doing that … I know it’s out there with some other small software companies and I think they’ve adopted some of those more agile, open philosophies that you see with the smaller companies that some of it maybe came from the Yammer acquisition or just came from the leadership of [inaudible 00:32:29] to say, “We need to get closer to our customers,” and that’s just another avenue that you don’t have to be a Coca-Cola to get your voice heard.

 

Tricia:Right. You’re right and people need to be encouraged to use those forums because you have the attitude, “Well we’re so small, how are they going to listen to us?” But you’re right, those are there; you need to give them the feedback I think it’s really important. Otherwise, how do they know?

 

Tommy:That’s right, yeah it’s not fair. Yeah, we see things that are either what we’re experiencing as a team or what our customers see, we’ll go out there and put it in UserVoice and announce it in Teams and say “Hey folks, I just put this out there, can you give me a vote, a thumbs-up on that so it has a stronger voice out there on the forum?”

 

Tricia:Yep.

 

Danny:Cool, so I’d like to keep these … I don’t want this to be too long because I think Tommy and I could talk with you for another hour. But I just wanted to say Tricia that Tommy and I really appreciate the relationship we’ve had with you over the last 10 or so years, however long that is and we appreciate staying in touch with you and next time you’re in town or next time we’re up there we’ll definitely go out for lunch and have some lunch together.

 

Tricia:Awesome. Awesome.

 

Danny:So, tell me what’s the next couple of months look like for you? What’s going on? Anything we can do to help out? Or what’s next for you? What’s your next big thing?

 

Tricia:I am looking in the area of program management, so I’ve taken some time off and it’s been wonderful I’ve had some other things to do during this timeframe and so I’m starting to get back into looking for something more in program management; a little less in technology. Throughout my career at Turner I had the good fortune to sometimes be part of the business and liaison with the technology and how to automate processes and improve processes within a business group, and I haven’t done that in quite some time and so I’m seeking opportunities where I can be part of the business and use my technology background to help them grow.

 

Danny:Are you looking primarily in the area you’re living right now?

 

Tricia:Yes.

 

Danny:Okay, awesome. This has been awesome. I appreciate … Tricia thank you for taking the time to do this and maybe six months, eight months from now when you’re in that new position you’d like to check back in again and see how things are going. But I appreciate you sharing the insights from working at three really great companies and it just was really neat to sort of look back on all of this and thank you for taking the time to do this.

 

Tricia:Thank you so much and thanks for letting me go first.

 

Tommy:You’re welcome.

 

Danny:Tricia’s number one. Tricia’s number one. You have to bring that back to Allen, okay? Make sure he knows that.

 

Tommy:Ah, don’t you worry, don’t you worry.

 

Danny:Excellent, excellent. Well thank you everyone for listening, taking the time to listen to the podcast and Tommy and I look forward to having these types of conversations with folks in the near future whether it be folks we’ve worked with in the past or folks we would potentially work with and just love having these types of conversations and love just sharing more about making these organizational changes and talking about communication and collaboration and it’s great to hear from folks like Tricia and thank you for listening and have a wonderful day. Thank you, bye-bye.

 

Tommy:Bye.

 

Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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Danny RyanYou’re Number One – Interview with Tricia Mercaldo
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Microsoft Inspire 2017

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.

Connect with Microsoft employees, industry experts and partners as we host Microsoft Inspire, formerly known as the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. It’s the great event our partners know and love, with a brand new name. Join us in Washington, D.C. to build connections, increase engagement with Microsoft, and transform your business with innovative sessions and experiences.

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Danny RyanMicrosoft Inspire 2017
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Topics Covered for Upcoming Podcast Interviews

Tommy serves as the President at ThreeWill. In this role, he works with his leadership team to hire the best people, find the right business opportunities, and ensure that ThreeWill delivers for our clients on projects.
Danny:Hello, and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast. How’s that feel Tommy?

 

Tommy:Yeah. Here we go. Let’s do it.

 

Danny:Let’s rock this thing buddy. It’s June 29th.

 

Tommy:Okay

 

Danny:We’re reaching the end of the quarter and we wanted to talk in this podcast about, for the upcoming interviews that we have, what sort of questions do we want to go over? And where our overall theme for the podcast has been, you know, focusing in particularly on people at Three Will-

 

Tommy:Being bald.

 

Danny:Being bald, socks, those types of things. And I know in general, we play around with … What’s the word of what we do? And it keeps coming back to collaboration.

 

Tommy:Right.

 

Danny:And so I think that’s the overarching theme of the podcast, has been collaboration. What I’m excited about with the podcast is that we’re going to open it up, we’re going to interview some folks and we’re going to invite them in.

 

What I wanted to talk to you today about was some of the topics. What do we want to talk to folks about? And why are we going to talk to them about it? And just sort of what some of the goals are. I think as we branch out and give a new name and start meeting up with new folks. I’ve got a list, you know, we met up and talked through some of the things that we might want to cover as a list. And how do you like-

 

Tommy:It looks pretty fancy there!

 

Danny:I know.

 

Tommy:Holding your surface book.

 

Danny:I know, isn’t that nice?

 

Tommy:Tablet.

 

Danny:Detached

 

Tommy:Disconnected from your machine thing.

 

Danny:Call it the clipboard.

 

Tommy:The clipboard.

 

Danny:This is the clipboard. And this is OneNote. You’ve seen OneNote before.

 

Tommy:Yes.

 

Danny:Spent plenty of time in that.

 

Tommy:Way too much time.

 

Danny:So the first one, obviously I’ll get, we want to keep them to a length of 15 minutes, maybe, or so. Just something that’s edible. That’s not too long. That you can listen to between meetings.

 

Tommy:You can listen to three of these in general traffic in Atlanta.

 

Danny:Listen to four of ’em driving home. No, actually two of them, it’s not that bad. So I’ll get us kicked off. You and I will do a little intro to the person, and who they are and sort of, “Why do we have them on the podcast?” So maybe introduce them, and their title, and their company if they want to let us say what company they work for.

 

So really we’ll ask them about their role, back to, “What is it that you do? What’s your role within your organization? And how does collaboration fit into that role?” And so trying to find out from them, sort of where’s this whole theme of working with large groups of people, working together to accomplish goals.

 

Tommy:Right, because I think there’s different roles that play into collaboration in an organization. It’s not just the director of collaboration.

 

Danny:Yep.

 

Tommy:It would be good to get aspects from different points of view, that make it work.

 

Danny:Yep. It would be nice too, I think in general … We will have some clients that will come on. I also want to have some partners that we work with as well. We may go through this set of questions too. Maybe, just thinking of what folks would add some value to this conversation. And what people may have maybe a unique perspective on collaboration and working together. What works for collaboration inside your organization?

 

This will be interesting, just to see maybe the different types of companies that are out there, the different industries. You know, you have some folks you are really innovative and some industries who are a bit of a laggard. How do they deal with that when it comes to collaboration?

 

Tommy:Right, yeah. When are they ready for certain types of tools and certain types of approaches?

 

Danny:Absolutely. What’s the most difficult thing about collaboration? It would be great to hear some stories about maybe something they tried and it ended up not working. What did they learn from that? Hearing those stories, I think, those are incredibly valuable.

 

Tommy:Oh yeah, definitely.

 

Danny:To hear that sort of thing. What collaboration technologies, you and I are geeks, so every once in a while we have to talk about technology, so we might talk a little technology talk here.

 

Tommy:Of course.

 

Danny:Obviously this is more into-

 

Tommy:So when are we going to talk about process?

 

Danny:Oh geez.

 

Tommy:I don’t see that on the list!

 

Danny:We talk plenty about process on the podcast.

 

Tommy:Yes.

 

Danny:We have. We’ve lost a lot of listeners because of the talk. What technologies get the most traction within your organization? Obviously we’re working with customers and we’re very Microsoft-centric. We’ll probably end up, with some folks, geeking out a little bit about what works within Office 365 within organizations for collaboration. Like it or not, people process technology. So, you know, you’ve got the technology piece of this that I think we would like to understand from people. But, we don’t want to lose people either. We don’t want to get too much into the nuts and bolts.

 

What’s the best business advice someone has given you about collaboration or you have given? So let’s see if we can get any nuggets of wisdom from folks about collaboration. And what’s your favorite collaboration related book? And see if they’ve got one there. So maybe it’s something we can add to our list or maybe if they want to share a little bit about what they got out of that book.

 

And then just wrap up and thank you. So overarching theme for this is really is just something where you and I … Maybe from our unique backgrounds and wanting to learn more about collaboration, just having some people onto the podcast. Really I love the conversational format of things with the podcast. It would be great if some of the folks were able to come here in the office. That would be great. It would give our producer a new challenge to set it up for three people instead of two, which is always a good thing. But some of them will also be remote. We’ll setup either Skype or GoToMeeting or whatever ends up working out for us to interview folks.

 

Tommy:Yeah, it would be good to get different perspectives. I think you get, kind of, stuck in your own world of what you think is collaboration and what’s effective. It’s always good to get other people’s point of view. And you’ve done a great job at talking to people within Three Will. I think we’re ready, at this point, to start broadening that view to see what other people think about collaboration and what works.

 

Danny:Awesome. Anything else before we wrap up here?

 

Tommy:No, I think that’s it. Ready to do it! Let’s do it!

 

Danny:Alright, let’s do it. We’ll invite some people on. Look for upcoming podcasts where we have some interesting folks on. Where we can talk through the world of collaboration and look forward to learning with you guys. This will be a lot of fun.

 

Tommy:Definitely.

 

Danny:Thank you, buh-bye.

 

Tommy:Adios!

 

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Tommy RyanTopics Covered for Upcoming Podcast Interviews
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Another ThreeWill Client Wins Best Intranet of the Year

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.

Last year ThreeWill client Cadwalader was one of the winners of the Best Intranets of 2016.  Another ThreeWill client, Goodwill, has won the same award for 2017.

The user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group announced the winners of the Intranet Design Award for 2017.    Among the winners for Best Intranet was ThreeWill’s client Goodwill (Press Release).  The winning intranets were chosen by expert review based on design and usability from an international field of submissions.

ThreeWill worked with Goodwill to design SharePoint dashboards for managing and reporting on sales, people, donations, square footage and other financial information.  ThreeWill also performed a health check on their SharePoint environment . They were having some issues with their hosting provider and asked us to take a look at their farm and make recommendations for stability.

ThreeWill was referred to Goodwill by another client, St. Francis Hospital, based on our experience and knowledge of SharePoint.

ThreeWill, a Microsoft Gold partner based out of Atlanta,  helps teams work together better by building solutions on SharePoint using an agile process.

Learn more about Goodwill – http://www.goodwill.org/ .

Read more details and purchase the report here – https://www.nngroup.com/reports/intranet-design-annual/.

Contact us today about building an award winning SharePoint initiative for your company.

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Danny RyanAnother ThreeWill Client Wins Best Intranet of the Year
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How to Assign ThreeWill as Your Office 365 Partner of Record

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.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been fortunate to help hundreds of customers.  If you’re a customer of ThreeWill and you want to do us a huge favor, please assign us as your Partner of Record.  This enables us to keep our Gold Certification and to serve you better because we have more resources from Microsoft to help you on projects.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Add ThreeWill as Your Partner of Record

  1. Go to the Office Customer Portal at https://portal.office.com/adminportal/home#/homepage.
  2. Log into your account using your user name and password.
  3. In the left navigation pane, select Billing, then Subscriptions (screenshot).
  4. Select your subscription and click on More actions in the bottom right corner under the price per user/month.
  5. In the More actions drop down menu, click on Add Partner of Record. This is where you will attach their Partner of Record (screenshot)
  6. Enter 566560 for the Microsoft Partner ID.
  7. Click Check ID to verify ThreeWill and Click Add this partner to all of your subscriptions without an associated partner.
  8. Click Submit to complete assigning their Partner of Record (screenshot).
  9. After you customer assign us as your Partner of Record, we will receive an email notification that lets us know that we have been assigned as the Partner of Record.

To Change or Remove Your Partner of Record

  1. Follow steps 1 to 5 outlined above.
  2. In the More actions drop down menu, click on Edit Partner of Record.
  3. On the Partner information local pane, the Partner of Record ID assigned to the subscription will be shown. Click the “X” inside of the field to remove it.
  4. Click Submit. The Partner of Record has now been removed for this account and the subscription no longer has a Partner of Record.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a Partner of Record?

The Partner of Record for an Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription is the partner who is helping the customer design, build, deploy or manage a solution that they’ve built on the service. It is not the partner who sold the subscription.

What are the benefits of specifying a Partner of Record?

Customers benefit because it provides the partner access to usage and consumption data, so they can provide better service and help customers optimize their usage for their desired business outcomes.

Who can attach a Digital Partner of Record?

The administrator role, also known as the owner, is the only role within the customer’s tenant or account that can attach a Digital Partner of Record. Service admins, co-admins, and partners designated as delegated admins do not have the ability to change the Partner of Record.

When should a Partner of Record be added to a for Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription?

Microsoft recommends a Partner of Record be assigned to subscriptions right away. Partners of Record can also be assigned for Azure subscriptions in the admin portal for that service.

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Danny RyanHow to Assign ThreeWill as Your Office 365 Partner of Record
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How to Assign ThreeWill as Your Azure Partner of Record

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.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been fortunate to help hundreds of customers.  If you’re a customer of ThreeWill and you want to do us a huge favor, please assign us as your Partner of Record.  This enables us to keep our Gold Certification and to serve you better because we have more resources from Microsoft to help you on projects.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Add ThreeWill as Your Partner of Record

  1. Go to the Microsoft Azure Portal at http://azure.microsoft.com/.
  2. Click on the My Account icon on the upper middle of the screen.
  3. Click on Usage and Billing.
  4. Log into your account using your user name and password.
  5. In the left navigation pane, select Subscriptions.
  6. On the Summary Subscription Page, click on Partner Information on the right navigation. This is where you will attach your Partner of Record.
  7. Enter 566560 for the Partner ID.
  8. Click Check ID to verify ThreeWill.
  9. Click Submit to complete assigning their Partner of Record.
  10. After you customer assign us as your Partner of Record, we will receive an email notification that lets us know that we have been assigned as the Partner of Record.

To Change or Remove Your Partner of Record

  1. Following the steps outlined above, log into the Microsoft Azure Portal.
  2. On the Summary Subscription Page, click on Partner Information on the right navigation.
  3. Highlight the Partner of Record field and delete the Partner of Record shown in that field.
  4. Click the check box. You have now removed the Partner of Record for this account and your subscription no longer has a Partner of Record.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a Partner of Record?

The Partner of Record for an Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription is the partner who is helping the customer design, build, deploy or manage a solution that they’ve built on the service. It is not the partner who sold the subscription.

What are the benefits of specifying a Partner of Record?

Customers benefit because it provides the partner access to usage and consumption data, so they can provide better service and help customers optimize their usage for their desired business outcomes.

Who can attach a Digital Partner of Record?

The administrator role, also known as the owner, is the only role within the customer’s tenant or account that can attach a Partner of Record. Service admins, co-admins, and partners designated as delegated admins do not have the ability to change the Partner of Record.

When should a Partner of Record be added to a for Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription?

Microsoft recommends a Partner of Record be assigned to subscriptions right away. Partners of Record can also be assigned for Office 365 subscriptions in the admin portal for that service.

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Danny RyanHow to Assign ThreeWill as Your Azure Partner of Record
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What Makes a Great Stakeholder?

Tommy serves as the President at ThreeWill. In this role, he works with his leadership team to hire the best people, find the right business opportunities, and ensure that ThreeWill delivers for our clients on projects.
Danny Ryan:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan and I have Tommy Ryan here with me, my co-host. How are you doing Tom?

 

Tommy Ryan:Doing well Danny.

 

Danny Ryan:Great. We’re trying a new format where we’re standing up. That seems to be the theme.

 

Tommy Ryan:That’s the theme around here. Stand up; stand-up desk, stand-up podcast.

 

Danny Ryan:Sitting is new smoking, right? I guess there’s probably going to be a stand-up desk in my future. I think it’s a great idea. Just getting up and also walking around and every once in a while getting out of that desk. We don’t want to get to be 70-80 years old and all you see is some hunched-over dude. I think it’s a really good thing. Let’s start it off with the socks. Let me see … Now I’m looking down. What did you do today.

 

Tommy Ryan:That’s nice. Not too bad.

 

Danny Ryan:I have asked … from my children have asked me what I want for my birthday and I told them dancing socks so we’ll see if …

 

Tommy Ryan:Oh, you going to kick it up a notch.

 

Danny Ryan:Yes, because I just have black socks on right now so I’m not going to show you my black socks. Great topic today was one with sort of just talked about a little bit earlier and I think it will be a fun one to cover which is what makes a great stakeholder. We’ve been in business for like 15 years … I guess right around 15 years.

 

Tommy Ryan:August 23rd will be 15.

 

Danny Ryan:My goodness … and through that period of time have had a series of great stakeholders and wanted to talk through with you sort of what makes a great stakeholder. What do you see as the characteristics of a great stakeholder so let’s get this whole thing kicked off. What’s one of the key ones that you see as far as a characteristic of a great stakeholder?

 

Tommy Ryan:I think a great stakeholder has vision. Not only has vision but can map that vision to business value and communicate that in a way to their organization to kind of get what they need to follow through with that vision so being able to obtain budget, being able to obtain internal buying from teams like IT organizations, other business stakeholders that need to be subject matter experts to pull off that vision and to be able to find what it takes to pull that together to see through that vision so that’s a tough combination; having vision and then execution together. That’s some of our best stakeholders that have that combination.

 

Danny Ryan:Not only do they have the idea but they have the willingness or where with all to go execute on that idea …

 

Tommy Ryan:Right. They might not have project management disciplines or disciplines that are required to implement against division but they can see it through and get the right people involved to make that a reality.

 

Danny Ryan:Great so it’s a key, having a vision and being able to execute on that vision. What’s another thing that you see as a key characteristic?

 

Tommy Ryan:Another key one I think is humility in a sense. A lot of our great stakeholders have strong personalities but they have a humble aspect of “I can’t do it by myself.” It takes a team to do it and we tend to find the stakeholders that we work with the best are the ones that are willing to say, “We don’t have it covered. Let’s look at expertise that we can bring in to kind of round out the team and make sure we’re successful.” There’s a lot of times the ego gets in the way to say, “I can do it all. I don’t need any help,” and so they end up kind of closing off opportunities to be more successful because they think they can do it themselves.

 

Danny Ryan:The fact is we’re outside help and if somebody never feels like they’re going to ask for outside help, we’re never going to get involved. That’s one of the things early on from a marketing standpoint is looking for people. There is a lot of folks out there who just want to go do it themselves and that’s great but then this may get into another characteristic. I think they have to be willing or I guess part of humility is looking for some outside help, recognizing they can’t get it done all by themselves or all with internal teams or whatever they may be hung up on using internal teams but they’ve got to be able to be willing to look for that outside help. I think this gets into another one which is they have to be great collaborators. We do a lot of collaboration software but as individuals they’ve got to be able to be willing to work together and want to collaborate with someone to go create something as well.

 

I think a lot of our … the end product of what we’re creating is are these solutions typically on share-point where you have large groups of teams collaborating together. They themselves have to have the characteristic of being great collaborators because they’re going to not only work with us but work with a lot of internal teams to go get the things done, they’ve just got to be able to pull all these different groups together to go pull this off.

 

Tommy Ryan:Right. Another aspect of that is in the communications side is not only collaboration but also being able to make those tough decisions and be direct and really ask for the things you need to ask for and do that in a way that works within large political systems which are corporations that they know what are the right punches to pull to kind of pull it through because I think in most cases in large organizations that need these big projects accomplished you’re a lot of times rewarded by not picking your head up and not drawing attention to yourself so to be direct to ask for things to be aggressive towards “we’re going to make this goal.” That sometimes goes against the culture of some large organizations and so you have to be brave to be a good stakeholder to have those direct conversations with your leadership to ask for the things that you need to be successful and to get the right people involved and that sometimes is not a shy person. It’s a person that is willing to make those … kind of be in those awkward situations but see through that situation so you can be successful.

 

Danny Ryan:I think along with the vision that we’re talking about earlier is that ability to translate what they’re trying to do into business value and a key point for a great stakeholder and a couple of people come to mind with this is they have the ability to go get budget. If they’re never able to be able to have this idea to go translate that over into what the business value is of this and sometimes we collaborate with people to talk about what the value is of something. I know I’ve been doing a lot of migrations lately and trying to translate it over into why do you want to invest this money into doing the migration but a lot of these stakeholders have to be able to say, “Hey, this is going and creating this new community side. This is what the benefits are of doing this. This is why we should we go spend this money.” They’ve got to be really good at that.

 

Tommy Ryan:Right and they’re taking the chance because they’re kind of putting their neck out there because companies care about the bottom line so when you’re going to make these investments, you’re taking away from that bottom line for the promise of things will be better and those things. To have the results of what that vision … the vision that you said … it’s a lot of hard work. It’s actually seeing it through and making the left and right turns as you get roadblocks along the way because it’s never going to be a smooth path and your original vision can been seen through. There is some adjustments along the way and a smart stakeholder and an effective stakeholder will know where to give and where not to give and where to push through and say, “Team, we’ve got to do this. This is going to be important in the overall success.”

 

Danny Ryan:I think that through the years the best stakeholders have been people that we’ve gone through some struggle with. I think that’s sort of where rubber hits the road, where you really see are you a partner or not and looking at where a challenge comes up and seeing what the other side does during that challenge and really seeing yourself through that … I know some of our key stakeholders we’ve been through that and they know what happens when things inevitably go wrong and it’s nobody’s fault about it but how do you react to those situations.

 

Tommy Ryan:Right and I tell you that’s when we build our best relationships and if you do see yourself through a tough situation with a great stakeholder, that’s a life-long stakeholder and although you don’t want to see those bad situations occur, you know when they do occur this is going to be tough but if we make it through it, we’re going to have a better relationship, a better bond in a sense with that stakeholder that they know, we’re going to see them through the tough times so we in a sense have got their back and they’ve got our back. It’s a mutual thing that you have to have this trust that’s built up and what really strengthens trust relationship is through having a situation where things go wrong and it could be things that someone is at fault and admitting that, “Okay, well this did not go well and this is what we’re going to do to learn from that and this is how we’re going to adjust and this is how we’re going to compensate for that situation and do that in a fair and equitable way that allows you to move forward,” and that’s important.

 

Danny Ryan:… and we’ve had situations where it was a win-lose where we may have … we’re on projects where we could have been at fault with somebody and seeing what happens during those times. Do they go after … There has been situations in which we see someone say, “I understand you guys have come up with a good resolution to this and I’m not going to … at every meeting I meet with you, bang you over the head about this,” and we’ve had some customers who are that way and it’s like we need to look at it and it’s win-lose. They’re not thinking of “how do we learn from this and grow to be better as organizations,” and some of these you walk away, you realize …

 

Tommy Ryan:… you did a good job.

 

Danny Ryan:… this is not a good client. You need to walk away from that.

 

Tommy Ryan:You finished what you’ve committed to and then you don’t look for the next opportunity and the opportunities don’t just fall at your feet in a sense, it’s because you’re continuing a relationship, building that relationship, having those conversations and if you do have that strain of it, it’s a win-lose. Then when you come to the end of that commitment there’s not going to be another opportunity and so you gracefully move on because there’s customers that need our help and there is nothing worse than putting a lot of energy towards a situation where you’re not behind that stakeholder and that’s tough. It’s hard to get up every morning and work hard in that situation. Those are the toughest projects but you have to finish through on your commitment and then you’re at that walk in the road that, “Okay, is it worth entering into a new commitment or we’re better off having some bench time and then looking for that next opportunity.” We’ve been fortunate were a lot of our … through the last 15 years or so a lot of our stakeholders have been at three or maybe four companies and we’ve followed them around. I think it’s just been something where they can rely on us. You know who I’m thinking of.

 

Danny Ryan:Yeah.

 

Tommy Ryan:She goes by Bad Penny. I think it’s her name. If you’re listening to this, you know who you are but there’s multiple folks who have moved on from company to company and we’ve just been lucky to continue the relationship with them and really just fortunate that … and I think it’s because they go and they come when they want to make changes and their wrong terms of purposes rising stars because they’re going and trying to do the difficult things that they’re doing and in a lot of ways I feel fortunate to be able to get to know some of these stakeholders who are going out there and making things happen in these larger companies because …

 

Danny Ryan:… you feel like you’re a part of that too and there is some pride in that to say, “We’ve done some pretty amazing things” and definitely takes that stakeholder to be the leader and you want to follow those leaders that are strong, ones that make a big impact.

 

Tommy Ryan:A key characteristic of a stakeholder is that it’s a woman. We’ve joked around about this but I don’t know whether it’s a … through the years we’ve just … it seems like there’s been a lot of … I think in nowadays in IT I think sort of the leadership that we’re seeing in women coming into IT is that they have a lot of these characteristics of great stakeholders which is they work collaboratively, they are trustworthy, a lot of the things …

 

Danny Ryan:… they’re humble in the right way.

 

Tommy Ryan:… in the right way and so I think we joke around about it but as a market person one of the things that I do is I want to understand what’s our key persona. What is the person who really does make up a great stakeholder and some of our best stakeholders hasn’t been all women but I’m seeing …

 

Danny Ryan:… a good proportion.

 

Tommy Ryan:… a good proportion of them are. It’s whatever that means. It means whatever it means but it’s been … I think we’ve been really fortunate to work with some great … and it’s been great in the IT industry because it’s been primarily male-dominated and to see some up and coming stars go and make things happen in these organizations and to really come in and shake some things up and needs to be a part of that.

 

Danny Ryan:Definitely. Anything else that we haven’t covered yet that you’d like to …

 

Tommy Ryan:Probably you’ve hinted around this but I think innovation is a key aspect that they are comfortable with new ideas and willing to break through the status quo to be innovative and try something new that has a certain risk component to it but they have enough wisdom to know how much to buy it off but that energy to be innovative, I think that has to be within the person. You can’t make someone be innovative. I think they naturally have that ability to kind of see through an existing situation and say, “We can do better and this is how we’re going to do it.” I think innovation is probably the one thing we didn’t mention.

 

Danny Ryan:Yeah. I’m sort of looking out a list over here on the chalkboard. I think we’ve probably hinted at this but they’re not typically political creatures themselves but they know how to deal with politics. They’re very direct. They don’t fool around with … I think for us a majority of the business that we’ve had over the lifetime of the organization has been non-governmental because we didn’t … I think we like to go and we’re not political creatures ourselves. We’re problem-solvers. We want to come in, get something done and don’t want to have something that we’re not just doing this because this person doesn’t want to do this on this certain day. It’s because we want to come in and really solve our business problems but these folks that the stakeholder has to be able to deal since they’re in larger organizations, they’ve got to be able to deal with the politics that are out there but I think they just put out, they just realize that’s part of their job.

 

Tommy Ryan:Right. They look at it from a logical standpoint of these are constraints within seen through my vision and as a part of that picking the battles that you need to pick, the right battles to be able to go forward with the vision and there’s going to be some people that will be nay-sayers and you have certain conversations there to listen but not have that discourage you in seeing through your vision unless there is something obvious that you overlooked but in a sense they don’t get beaten down by kind of political systems they know how to work within that system and do just enough to make that impediment go away and see through their vision.

 

Danny Ryan:Anything else before we wrap up here?

 

Tommy Ryan:No. I think that covers it. Thanks for covering this topic.

 

Danny Ryan:Absolutely. For folks who are listening who are our key stakeholders, thank you so much. A part of why we feel like we’re going to be in business tomorrow is because of you and it’s because of the trust that you’ve put in us and as an organization and I think Tommy and I are very thankful for the years that we’ve had working together with some really great stakeholders. For folks who this sounds interesting to and maybe we haven’t worked together we’d love to hear from you. Obviously drop by the website. The person you’d be interacting with would be me and just be looking for more of a longer-term partner. If you’re looking for … If you have some of these characteristics that we have of a key stakeholder we’d love to talk to you so thank you for taking the time to listen to this today and have a great day. Thank you. Bye bye.

 

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Tommy RyanWhat Makes a Great Stakeholder?
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Cadwalader Partners with ThreeWill to Win Best Intranet of 2016

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.

Earlier this year the user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group announced the winners of the Intranet Design Award for 2016.    Among the winners for Best Intranet were ThreeWill’s client Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.  The winning intranets were chosen by expert review based on design and usability from an international field of submissions.

ThreeWill worked with Cadwalader in setting up their SharePoint Infrastructure on Azure, Authentication, SQL Infrastructure, Design/Implementation of Branding and Handshake Software configuration.  The project lasted 3 months and was completed on time and under budget.

When wrapping up the project with a project retrospective, Cadwalader shared that they liked having a concise sales cycle, a full product backlog to support justifying hours and dollars for the project, having multiple user experience experts available and our ability to find ways to solve complex problems.

ThreeWill, a Microsoft Gold partner based out of Atlanta,  helps teams work together better by building solutions on SharePoint using an agile process.  Cadwalader chose ThreeWill based on our experience with SharePoint and working with other law firms.

Learn more about Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP – http://www.cadwalader.com/about/.

Read more details and purchase the report here – https://www.nngroup.com/reports/intranet-design-annual/.

Contact us today about building an award winning SharePoint initiative for your company.

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Danny RyanCadwalader Partners with ThreeWill to Win Best Intranet of 2016
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ThreeWill Customer Appreciation Night

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.

Join Us for a Night of Improv at the Red Door Playhouse in Roswell

We’re so grateful for you, our customers.  Let’s have a fun night out full of laughs and celebrate our successes together.

  • 7:00pm – 8:00pm  – Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served.  Get a new profile picture done with a professional photographer!
  • 8:00pm – 8:30pm –
    • Welcome and Recognition of Our Shared Successes – Tommy Ryan and Bruce Harple will share some successes from the year and get us kicked off.
    • ThreeWill Labs Presentation –  Learn more about what we’re doing to stay ahead of the curve from Pete Skelly.
    • ThreeWill Foundation Presentation – Danny Ryan will share more about how we are giving back to the community.
  • 8:30pm – 10:00pm – Improv Show.  Just like on ThreeWill Projects — you’re in control.  We’ll be gathering suggestions for our Improv scenes from you before and during the show.
  • 10:00pm – 11:00pm – Enjoy the night with more food/drinks, Meet the Improv cast, other customers, and ThreeWill folks or get that profile picture if you haven’t already!

This is going to be a lot of fun and we hope you can make it!

Other Details:

  • Bring a Friend/Spouse/Co-Workers – No need to come alone – make a night of it!
  • Business Casual Attire – yes, it’s fine to wear those new jeans.
  • The ThreeWill Team will be invited as well – meet someone you haven’t worked with yet!
  • This is a great place to network – we’ll play a fun game where you can find one thing you have in common with others at the party.
  • If you want to have Dinner before the event, there are some great restaurants in the Downtown Roswell /Canton Street area.
  • We’ll also be collecting donations for the North Fulton Communities Food Pantry that night.  We ask that you bring either a box of cereal or pasta or a can of soup (no creamed) to donate.  Thank you!
RSVP Now read more
Danny RyanThreeWill Customer Appreciation Night
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Feeling Grateful for a Colleague? Write a LinkedIn Recommendation

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.

Last week we had an event at Microsoft Alpharetta office – it was on moving to the cloud on your terms. Pete Skelly did an excellent job presenting on the New Business Operating System covering subjects like Top 5 Benefits of Moving to the New Business Operating System (including Office 365 and Azure) , Three Perceived Barriers to Moving to Office 365 and Azure, and The Business Impact of a Continuous Delivery.

The second part of the event was a Panel discussion on moving to the Microsoft Cloud. We were fortunate to have a great panel that included leaders from Ernst & Young, Atlanta Braves, McKesson, and PGi.

We had about 80 people register for the event, but last week mixed two things that are like oil and water – (the chance of) snow and the SouthEast. All of the Panelists were able to make it to the event (miraculously), but we had a lot of cancellations because Fulton county cancelled school for the day – if you want a good laugh, here is the weather for that day.

Yes, 0 inches of precipitation (snow).

MjAxNC00ZjZjNDg1MzQ0NzBmM2Vh

Image Credit – Christy3514165 

Friday afternoon after the event, we were feeling pretty thankful for the panelists and discussed how we could show our appreciation. After some discussion, we thought that it would be good to write a LinkedIn Recommendation for each of the Panelists.

I was writing my recommendations this morning and noticed that a majority of the recommendations that I had received almost stopped after 2010. I used to love to go look at my recommendations if I was having a bad day. Recently, I find myself going to the testimonials section of our website to feel like we are making a difference if I’m having a particularly challenging day.

I think when endorsements came along, people stopped taking the time to write recommendations. It’s easier to click than to take the time to put your thoughts down in words.

Here’s my challenge to you (if you’re setting goals for this year). Next time you are feeling grateful for a colleague, why not take the time to write a recommendation? Chances are that you will get a recommendation in return. I’m definitely guilty of this – I’ve stopped writing as many recommendations.

You could probably set the goal of writing one LinkedIn Recommendation a week? Set apart 30 minutes on Friday afternoon to write this.  Put this down in your calendar as an appointment for yourself.

Of course, for my connections (probably the only people who will read this ;), write a recommendation for me and I’ll do one for you in return.

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Danny RyanFeeling Grateful for a Colleague? Write a LinkedIn Recommendation
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The ThreeWill Promises – Control, Choice and Commitment

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.

What is The ThreeWill Promise?

Our promise to our business sponsors:

  1. Control – We provide the structure for our clients to control priority of features and budget throughout the lifetime of the project​.
  2. Choice – Because we deliver working software every two weeks, we earn our client’s business every two weeks.​
  3. Commitment – We take on your challenges like they are our own; you will not find another business partner more committed to your success.

Internal Discussions

We’ve been discussing our brand promise often recently on our internal Yammer network.  It’s a relatively new concept for us. I wanted to summarize what we really do for our business sponsors.  Yes, we are technical and process experts in our given domain. but how does this ultimately translate over to benefits to our customers?

Control

The first promise is control.  We want you to feel and be in control throughout the lifetime of the project.  To do this, we need to provide structure.  The way we do this is you own the priority of the features (what goes into the next Sprint) and you decide where the budget is spent (more about that in a minute).  The feedback we get from many of our projects is that what is liked best is the process we use to structure the project.  We typically get hired because of our technical acumen, but the reason we stick around is our execution of the process.  In fact, sponsors like the experience so much that they want us to teach other projects on how to “do SCRUM.”

Choice

There are a couple of options on how we price projects.  A majority are T&M with a budget cap.  We have adopted a fundamental tenet of SCRUM, which is to deliver working software every two weeks.  That means you can stop when you feel the product is ready.  And yes, this does happen.  Some opt not to use the remaining budget; others opt to use the budget on other projects that could use some attention.  This means we earn your business every two weeks – because you are in a good state at the end of each Sprint.  Note, especially for larger projects, there is a Transition Sprint – usually for 1 or 2 weeks to do appropriate training and transition of deliverables.

Commitment

Our last promise is commitment.  Simply, when you hire us your challenges become ours.  Take a minute to read some of the testimonials here and here.  The only way we build this reputation is putting your needs in front of ours.

Making the Promises Real

We don’t want these promises to be just words on a website or a slide.  As a part of ThreeWill, we need to hold each other accountable and call each other out if we aren’t true to a promise.  As a customer, we want you to challenge us if we fall short of any of these promises.  Iron sharpens iron.

Leave a Comment

If you’re a customer, we’d love to hear any experiences where you have seen the promises in play.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

If you’re another ThreeWiller, I’d love to hear your words on what these promises mean to you.  This would be great to supplement the page on what it’s like to be at ThreeWill.

If you’re a prospective customer, we’d love the opportunity to show you these promises in action.  Reach out to us here.

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Danny RyanThe ThreeWill Promises – Control, Choice and Commitment
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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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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