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Team & Organizational Design

Team & Organizational Design
Managing a Hybrid Workforce: The Technological ChallengesManaging a Hybrid Workforce: The Technological Challenges

How does IT provide equal quality of service to remote and in-office employees? Benchmark your thoughts and experiences of hybrid work against your peers.

How are you approaching meeting across different time zones, especially within your team?

Top Answer: Samsara is unique in that for our revenue size, we are not globally distributed like a lot of other companies. We're primarily based in the Bay Area and the UK, with a smattering of leadership throughout Western Europe. We have a small concentration of folks in Atlanta and a lot of people have relocated for cost of living purposes and other COVID-related reasons. But everybody is attuned to Pacific time, so our business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. We've recently hired a lot of folks on the east coast and we have not acclimated to them at all. They're working late into their evening to cover up to a 6 p.m. time slot, and I'm not hearing a lot of conversation around that. Now that we've started to expand into other time zones and other geographies from a workforce perspective, it'll be interesting to see how the company starts to acclimate. Even before COVID, it was a very office-centric environment, so it took a large cultural shift to move to remote working. To layer in competing time zones as you're building up those teams adds complexity. And it's not as if you have one person in every major region that helps to cover that overlap between the two. If you just have one person in California and one person in Asia, what do you do with that? That's going to be an interesting problem for us to solve.

Should the CISO report to the CIO or someone else? Why or why not?

Top Answer: The CISO should report to the CEO. Depending how the migration to cloud is going and adoption of a shared operating model, the CIO can end up report to the CISO.

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Change Management Approaches and OutcomesChange Management Approaches and Outcomes

Organizations going through a change often struggle. Can change management help? Benchmark your perceptions against your peers.

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If you are a current SAP customer, when do you plan to migrate to SAP S/4HANA?

Top Answer: No plan to migrate soon.

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How does a hybrid working environment impact meeting etiquette?

Top Answer: One thing I’ve noticed is that I get irritated when people aren't on camera now, which never used to bother me. Before, when I didn't do a lot of Zoom meetings from home, I usually wasn't on camera. Sometimes that was just because it was late at night. Now I default to being on camera on Zoom and I catch myself thinking, “Why isn't that person on camera? I haven't seen them in a really long time.” But before, I wouldn't have cared because the majority of the participants would've been off camera.

If you had a magic wand - what's the #1 daily business challenge you'd eliminate?

Top Answer: Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.

Does a startup’s success depend more on the idea or the team?

Top Answer: There are numerous books and articles on why startups fail. The failure rate is approximately 95%, and I have discovered that the most significant cause is not having the right team or being led by the wrong people. When this occurs, not everyone on the team is motivated by the same vision. If the idea is incorrect because you failed to understand the market, or had cash flow issues, etc., we can correct it with the help of the right team members. But it won't be easy to sustain the startup in the long run if the team is not correct. It is the team that ensures the mission's success. Every startup’s team needs to possess three key qualities: 1. Passion: If they're passionate about working in this startup, things will become easier. 2. Commitment: If they are not committed, then their passion will not have an impact. Anybody can say they’re passionate, but the commitment has to be there as well. 3. Adaptability: When people join a startup organization after working in an enterprise, they may not be able to adapt to the culture. For example, Infosys is now a billion dollar company, and among the top five Indian IT companies. It was started way back in 1981 by four or five passionate people. They’d been working in some IT company at the time, but they were all inspired by the same vision. They were passionate, committed and they were adaptable. That's how they built such a successful company. So the most important factor is the people, not the idea. People think of ideas all the time. If the team has these qualities, they'll think of many ideas to draw many investors.

Do you have a dedicated software implementation team? How do you structure it?

Top Answer: No dedicated team for software implementation, it's the same team who is responsible for infrastructure maintenance.

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What developments are you seeing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices?

Top Answer: I'm seeing a shift from DEI to IDE; inclusion is beginning to come first. It's a positive shift, because you can be as diverse as you want and still not be inclusive. It's kind of like neighborhoods in New York City: You can have a bunch of neighborhoods right next to each other, but you still don't feel like it's inclusive because everybody's confined to their own neighborhood. This shift to making inclusion a priority everywhere is refreshing.

What are the benefits of being an IT leader at a startup?

Top Answer: I really enjoy the startup environment. The biggest difference is that in other companies, the guts of the business were never within scope, even in IT. In startups, everything's visible because there's so much to do, and you can dig in wherever you want to learn something. When I was at MuleSoft, I had no team when I first started. I built IT from scratch and we had the company offsite in just a few months. When first I got there, I hung out with finance because I didn't have a team yet. That’s how I learned all about revenue recognition, international sales and the rules around that. I was eating it up because I thought it was awesome to be able to learn about all these different things. That gives you better context as an IT leader because you can think about the broader impact involved when somebody says, "We want to buy CPQ,” or, “we want to transform billing." It makes it easier for you to think of the different elements that you’d have to consider to do that.