Bill Tennant Of BlueCloud On How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Learn from your peers: Dig in with your partner to find the right concepts to pursue for you. There is so much noise and so many promises made by technology companies and consultancies within space, that it is easy to fall into the trap and believe the hype. A trusted partner can provide the ability to analyze multiple technologies and discern which solutions will provide value vs which solutions simply have great Product Marketing teams.

As a part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Tennant.

Bill Tennant stands at the forefront of BlueCloud as the Chief Revenue Officer, where his nearly 20 years of experience across various industries fuel the company’s growth and innovation. With a decorated background featuring honors like TBBJ 40 under 40 and the CRN Next-Gen Solution Provider Leader, Tennant’s leadership has been pivotal in securing BlueCloud’s position as a partner of choice for tech giants. His vision has led to milestones such as the Snowflake Elite Services Partner Designation and numerous awards for channel partnerships. Tennant is an advocate for leveraging Generative AI, Machine Learning, and Data Governance to deliver business value and is open to discussions about joint ventures that push the boundaries of technology and strategy.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, finding ways to help support the family business from an early age. My first job was cleaning cars at my parent’s car rental company in Buffalo, NY. We worked hard and constantly discussed business, outcomes and the variables that could be controlled to help drive the company KPIs in the right direction. It was a central part of my life.

At 17, I moved to Boston for college and had the opportunity to try different types of roles during Northeastern University’s co-op program. Unfortunately, challenges within the family business and a need to help at home resulted in me leaving Northeastern midway through my 3rd year to help close the company. After this, I followed my family to Florida and focused on finding my path, while completing my degree through the NEU remote program. With a love of numbers and finance, and a perspective on business that many didn’t have from seeing our family business thrive, then close, I sought roles in Financial Services. I quickly realized that I could excel in sales and tried to learn as much information as possible from those around me. When something worked well, I analyzed the activity, and found a way to integrate it into my repertoire. The mix of B2C, Financial Services, Accounting, and Analytics roles helped me to pull together methodologies that ultimately led me to focus on business outcomes in the Data space.

I found that by constantly considering other perspectives and ensuring that every task I took on was brought to a successful conclusion, I was able to rapidly build my career and leverage my unique experiences to focus and find a path that constantly challenges and excites me.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

I remember a time very early on in my career when I walked into a conference room and presented a solution to a group of executives at an Enterprise company. Eager to impress, I meticulously showcased a solution PowerPoint and Demo of the product. However, my pride quickly deflated when one of the VP’s in the room laughed and said, “you’ve done that before”. It dawned on me that this was not a compliment. In my haste, I had condensed a 60-minute pitch into 15-minutes, rushing through the content without truly emphasizing its value or connecting with the audience. I had regurgitated memorized lines without grasping the essence of what I was presenting.

As I mentally went through the lost opportunity on my 4-hour drive home, I realized the importance of prioritizing value, fostering collaboration, and truly understanding the message I was conveying — not merely repeating someone else’s words. This experience taught me the significance of taking the time to engage with my audience, to genuinely communicate the benefits of the solution, and to tailor my delivery to resonate with their needs and interests. It was a humbling yet transformative moment that made me realize the distinction between reciting information and effectively communicating its significance.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are so many people who have helped me through my career, which makes this a difficult question to answer. People like BlueCloud’s CEO, Kerem Koca, have helped me to grow immensely, and help me to get to where I am now. However, I would be remiss not to point out my time working for and with Tim Moxness and Phil Tonachio. This was a pivotal point in my career. After many years of being a sales leader in this industry, I took a role that allowed me to be an individual contributor again and focus on learning from some of the best sellers in the space, as well as executing on the goals we set. They taught me the value of being human in my interactions and reinforced a mix of accountability and empathy that I will keep with me through the remainder of my career.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The books that have impacted me the most are those that have helped me to gain new perspective based on data. Early in my career, I would regularly hear from others and in many cases, repeat that without inbound leads I wouldn’t be able to fill my pipeline. Fanatical Prospecting, by Jeb Blount and Mike Weinberg helped to reshape my view on this. Malcolm Gladwell’s books have opened my mind to different ways of looking at data and situations; and Start with Why by Simon Senek provided inspiration to double down on my curiosity and the “Why” behind everything we do.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

I am extremely energized by the work we are doing at BlueCloud. Our unique delivery model offers us the ability to deliver powerful business outcomes, especially when coupled with Generative AI. We’re enabling businesses to access data quickly, establish strong foundations and develop recommendation engines. Additionally, we are making complex insights accessible to a wider audience, making them understandable even to those without specialized expertise. This bridges the knowledge gap, enabling individuals to interpret trends and variables as if they were plainly written in front of them.

What truly excites me is the broader impact we’re witnessing. There’s a notable shift in global workforce dynamics, as we are providing opportunities to those who have not previously had them all around the world. BlueCloud’s borderless delivery teams are scalable, high performing, and on-demand and allow us to deliver on projects quickly, while providing ROI rapidly because of our cost-effective models. People who previously did not have the ability to work for or with US companies can now provide their valuable skillsets and build careers that in turn help to grow the entire global economy.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. Digital transformation can mean many things to many people. From your perspective, how do you define digital transformation in your industry?

Digital transformation is a complex topic, as depending on the organization it can mean anything from taking the first step toward moving to the cloud; to advanced generative AI delivery that enables extremely complex algorithms and content generation to be leveraged by even the most non-technical users. Ultimately, in our industry we must be prepared to support these companies regardless of where they are in the digital transformation lifecycle. The key for us is ensuring we work closely with our customers to build the foundation, ensure well-governed data is available to support the future state and iterative process that delivers business outcomes. We use digital transformation to support our customers with cost reduction, revenue generation or risk mitigation.

Which companies can most benefit from Digital Transformation?

Every company must review their organization and focus on maintaining a steady pace of innovation. To do this, a strong foundation must be built. In short, every company can benefit from digital transformation, as it is no longer a nice to have, it is mandatory to not only keep pace with change, but also stay ahead of competitive threats. New upstart competitors can quickly take down Global 2000 companies if they find ways to revolutionize that space. However, the days of innovation at all costs are over. Seeing companies that are struggling to survive after surpassing long-established, “behind the times” competitors is due to the move back to the normal economic system where funding is no longer readily available for companies operating at a loss. Business value and digital transformation must be considered concurrently to ensure that when you do innovate there is a way to continue to pay your bills and have the time to surpass your competitors.

Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?

Integrating digital transformation can certainly pose numerous challenges for companies. Many struggles with defining the value and taking the necessary risks to initiate the process. Others find it challenging to navigate away from legacy governance structures to embrace new capabilities. These companies often find themselves in a precarious position. While those of us immersed in the digital transformation space recognize the immense potential of certain technologies, those on the periphery may fail to see the speed and cost-effectiveness with which these ideas can be implemented to benefit the company. If these companies do not start with the why, the challenge is even greater.

Others may not be able to filter through the noise of a tremendous number of organizations claiming to offer the best solutions. It is a difficult place for technical and business stakeholders to be. To combat this, we always take the approach of being a trusted partner for our clients and focusing on filtering through the noise so that we can bring the right technologies that solve for the why, instead of starting with the technology. We prioritize the rapid implementation of ideas; from conception to production implementation through to long-term maintenance. Ensuring companies can capitalize on the opportunities presented by digital transformation with confidence and efficiency.

Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”?

1. Build the foundation — no matter the idea, the foundational model is required to execute on the desired future use cases. If you are trying to understand your customers, every incremental step toward a consolidated, governed view of the customer will add value AND require investment. Without the foundation, the ability to innovate and build the business case for every potential innovation is made more difficult.

2. Collaborate with the business, Solution based on requirements, not the current tech stack — as you progress through the foundational delivery, the architecture may shift based on the needs of the business. The ability to adapt will be vital to long-term, future proof transformation, and translating the requirements of the business will be vital. In many cases stakeholders will have ideas that can turn digital transformation into profitable organizational transformation, but do not have the technical knowledge to make this happen or even know that it is worth raising the idea. Technologists will default to solutioning based on current technologies and skillsets, and potentially limit the ability to achieve these outcomes.

3. Align with a trusted partner — technology is constantly changing and building an innovative internal team for every project/pilot is likely not possible. You may have a pilot you would like to run or require a complex strategic initiative to be mapped out. There are ways to support these initiatives that a trusted partner may be able to provide that allows for more experimentation than would be possible with an internal team that also has a laundry list of day job focus areas.

4. Outsource the day-to-day: Internal team members will have advanced knowledge of the business and an ability to navigate the system to uncover nuances to finding value in ways that someone outside the organization may not understand. However, if they are focused on maintaining the day-to-day of the previous innovative initiative, they may never achieve that second level of return. Push those tasks to a trusted partner to deliver.

5. Learn from your peers: Dig in with your partner to find the right concepts to pursue for you. There is so much noise and so many promises made by technology companies and consultancies within space, that it is easy to fall into the trap and believe the hype. A trusted partner can provide the ability to analyze multiple technologies and discern which solutions will provide value vs which solutions simply have great Product Marketing teams.

In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?

The most innovative organizations I have seen have prioritized business and technology collaboration and allowed for a culture that focused on a free flow of ideas with rapid execution and collaboration. If every member of the organization not only can present ideas but also knows that those ideas will be valued and considered, the ideas that will flow will likely shock the organization. That front-line worker who feels comfortable sharing that one manual task costs them half their day, may allow you to automate this task and create an ability to increase productivity across hundreds or thousands of people by 4-hours per day. When someone says, “I wish I had this information when I do this”, there needs to be a way to convey that feedback so that the organization can take note and consider the value of even the smallest wins. A foundational data architecture may allow for the business to watch for these revenue and cost optimizing/enhancing ideas and a focused team that shows innovation is valued can change the culture rapidly.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My father had a framed quote in our house growing up that I kept in mind throughout my career, and has served me well: “My son, observe the postage stamp. Its usefulness depends upon its ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.”

This quote has proven to be profoundly relevant in navigating the fast-paced world we live in today. In an era where instant gratification is expected, it can be challenging to commit to tasks that demand prolonged focus and dedication.

However, this quote serves as a reminder that true value often comes from resilience, persistence and perseverance. By breaking down complex tasks into manageable components, seeking outside perspectives, and continually pursuing our goals, we can achieve outcomes far beyond our expectations. This lesson has guided me through numerous challenges in my life and career, reminding me of the importance of staying focused and committed, even when the path ahead seems daunting.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Insert LinkedIn and BlueCloud website here.

Bill Tennant | LinkedIn

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.