Today I joined Sumo Logic, a cloud-based company that transforms Machine Data into new sources of operations, security, and compliance insights. I left NICE Systems, a market leader and successful organization that had acquired Merced Systems, where I led the Sales Organization for the past 6 years. I had a good position and enjoyed my role, so why leave? And why go to Sumo Logic versus many other options I considered? Many of my friends and colleagues have asked me this, so I wanted to summarize my thinking here.
First, I believe the market that Sumo Logic is trying to disrupt is massive. Sumo Logic, like many companies in Silicon Valley these days, manages Big Data. As Gartner recently noted, the concept of Big Data has now reached the peak of the Hype Cycle. The difference is that Sumo Logic actually does this by generating valuable insights from machine data (primarily log files). As a board member told me, people don’t create Big Data nearly as much as machines do. The emergence in the last 10+ years of cloud solutions, and the proliferation of the Internet and web based technologies in everything we do, in every aspect of business, has created an industry that did not exist 10 years ago. By now it’s a foregone conclusion that cloud technologies and cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services and Workday will ultimately be the solution of choice for all companies, whether they are small mom-and-pop shops or large Global Enterprises. I wanted to join a company that was solving a problem that every company has, and doing it using the most disruptive platform, Software-As-A- Service.
Equally important is my belief that it’s possible to build a better sales team that can make a difference in the traditional Enterprise Sales Process. Sumo Logic competes in a massive market with only one established player, Splunk. I believe that our capabilities, specifically Machine Data Analytics, are truly differentiated in the market. However, I am also excited to build a sales team that customers and prospects will actually want to work with. Just like technology has evolved (client server, web, cloud) I believe the sales profession needs to as well. Today’s sales organization needs to add value to the sales process, not just get in the way. This means we need to understand more about the product than we describe on the company’s website, be able to explain how our product is different from other choices, and how our service will uniquely solve the complex problems companies face today. I am excited to build an organization that will have a reputation of being knowledgeable about the industry and its ecosystem, will challenge customer thinking while understanding their requirements, and will also be fun to work with. The team at Sumo Logic understands this, and I look forward to delivering on this promise.
Finally, I think Sumo Logic has a great product. I started my sales career at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). Selling Pro/ENGINEER was a blast and set the gold standard for great products – everything from watching reactions during demos to hearing loyal customers rave about the innovative work they were doing with the product. I had a similar experience at Groove Networks watching Ray Ozzie and his team build a great product that was ultimately acquired by Microsoft. Sumo Logic seems to be generating that same product buzz. We have some amazing brand names like Netflix, Orange, McGraw-Hill, and Scripps Networks as our customers. These and the other customers we have are generating significant benefits from using our machine data intelligence service. The best measure of a company is the passion of their customer base. The energy and loyalty that our customer base exhibits for the Sumo Logic service is a critical reason why I’m very bullish about the long-term opportunity.
I am fired up to be a part of this organization. The management team and in particular Vance, Mark, and the existing sales team are already off to a great start and have grown sales significantly. I hope to build on their early success, and I will also follow the advice a good friend recently gave me when he heard the news: “You found something good – don’t screw it up!”