Industry Insights

Alfresco Continues Rapid Growth & Global Expansion with Key Hires

The start to 2019 hasn’t slowed down for the open source software provider, Alfresco. With the unveiling of the Alfresco Digital Business Platform—which includes the extension of a global partnership with Tech Mahindra, a digital transformation, consulting, and re-engineering specialist—the expansion of the company’s executive team in 2018 continues its progress in 2019.

Following the appointment of new CFO, Steve Buonaiuto, Alfresco also brought on Tony Grout, Chief Product Officer, to their C-suite team, along with Brigid MacDonald as Chief People & Culture Officer.

I was very excited to connect with both Tony and Brigid in an exclusive interview to hear why Alfresco was a good choice, the key elements they will be bringing to their new roles, and much more. Follow along below!

Tony Grout, Chief Product Officer

Having a strong background in product management and engineering, Tony formerly served as the enterprise and DevOps transformation director at Atlassian, and as Chief Product Owner, DevOps Pipelines, for Lloyds Banking Group. Tony also led the agile transformation initiatives for Skype, Microsoft, and IBM. 

Overall, Tony brings over 25 years of experience and “deep working knowledge of product management, engineering, Agile, DevOps, and CI/CD in the context of SaaS, PaaS, and on-premises software.” I asked Tony what other key elements or relatable skills he will be bringing to Alfresco, what he is most excited about with his new role, and some of the reasons why he chose to join the Alfresco team.
“I joined Alfresco because of my obsession in making society better using software. Alfresco’s open source heritage, the stories from customers it already has, and its vision around building a digital business platform fit for an enterprise all resonated with being able to fulfill my obsession. Last, but not least, the Alfrescans are a friendly team who are passionate about building great software.

Whether in the code I’ve written, the architecture I’ve designed, the user experience I’ve crafted, or my organization’s operating model I’ve built—I’ve always focused on deep simplicity. Where this comes to life in Alfresco is my focus towards a consumer-grade experience for developers and our end users. One of my design heroes is Deiter Rams. I want to bring his design principles into our digital business platform.”

With Tony’s unique expertise in enterprise discipline, and in the startup sector, I wanted to know what his advice to organizations is to help them move along the enterprise-startup spectrum.“In the software space—know when and where to be small, and when and where to be big. Above a certain number of people and size of code, software is a diseconomies of scale industry. Your apps take a network of people and code to work—see Metcalfe's Law. If you’re a startup, be thoughtful about scaling up the number of teams unless they can ship value independently. If you’re an enterprise, head towards customer value aligned teams, that as a group, are around 150 people, following Dunbar’s study.“

Brigid MacDonald, Chief People & Culture Officer

Brigid joins Alfresco from Datawatch Corporation where she served as Vice-President of Human Resources. Preceding that, she led human resources at Empirix Inc., the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the Picker Institute. Right off the bat, I wanted to know what drew Brigid to Alfresco, her background in the space, and what ultimately inspired her to join the Alfresco team.

“Prior to joining Alfresco, I lead the People-Function at two other software companies for the past 15 years. The draw to Alfresco was quite simply the passion I saw from the leadership team to create a culture that allowed our employees to be the best they could be. I saw in Bernadette Nixon, our CEO, a leader who possesses core values of integrity, authenticity, and transparency. She cares about each and every employee, and about leading in an honest and open way.

Exceptional employers recognize that building an exceptional environment for their employees, and taking the steps needed to create better employee experiences, is critical. These companies know that their success is reliant on hiring top talent, and ensuring they are motivated to come to work every day and make an impact. I see that commitment at Alfresco, and I am thrilled to be joining the leadership team as we continue on this journey.”

Brigid brings over two decades of experience in human capital in the technology and healthcare sectors. With her passion for “combining culture, innovation, leadership, and inclusiveness to create workplaces that people truly love, and employee experiences that are truly remarkable.”, I was interested to hear how she intended on applying these skills with her new role at Alfresco.

“I’m looking forward to focusing on how to grow our culture in tandem with our company growth. I want to partner with our employees and help determine how our culture evolves as we continue to grow as a company. Our people make our culture, and we have smart and talented individuals who bring diverse perspectives to the table.

Alfrescans make me excited to come to work every single day. We have many people who are passionate about being successful in their roles and will do whatever they can to make the company successful. I want to make sure we continue to cultivate a culture that supports that enthusiasm and drive and ensures we’re a great place to work even as we continue to grow and scale.”

We all know that an organization’s culture is vital for the way employees interact with one another in the workplace. This was a perfect opportunity to ask Brigid why she thinks culture is so important within an organization, and how she intends on achieving an open and transparent culture at Alfresco?

“Culture is what happens when no one is looking.  When an organization is able to create a winning culture, it truly drives all behavior. At Alfresco, we continually work to create a place where people are empowered to propose new ideas and are motivated to excel. To do this, you must listen to employee feedback and communicate often to create alignment with employees’ goals with those of the company. I’m eager to be a part of it, to share my perspectives as we shape our future and to continue to offer top-notch service while we scale to and enable the needs of the business.

Because of our global footprint, Alfresco is always looking for ways to improve collaboration, from implementing best-in-class communication tools, as well as striving to increase face-to-face communication whenever possible. Our leaders are approachable, and do whatever they can to keep the lines of communication open. With our emphasis on teamwork and collaboration combined, making every effort to do the right thing for our employees, it will naturally, positively affect every interaction with our customers.“

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella is the Digital Marketing Assistant for CMSC Media. She brings a wealth of knowledge from not only a CMS perspective but also content, SEO and eCommerce. She enjoys everything social media and staying ontop of the latest trends in the digital marketing world. 

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