Alfresco's Jennifer Smith Discusses New Position as CMO
Earlier this year, private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. acquired Alfresco and shortly after that they introduced Bernadette Nixon as their new CEO. Alfresco has been very busy expanding their executive team with a slew of hires and promotions and most recently, their new hire in September of Jennifer Smith, the new Chief Marketing & Culture Officer.
This international marketer has more than 20 years’ experience and has an impressive curriculum vitae to go with it. She previously held positions with Software AG, Progress Software, PeopleSoft and Microsoft where she lead all aspects of marketing including product marketing, marketing communications, demand generation, right down to field marketing.
I was given the opportunity to connect with Jennifer Smith to discuss her experience in the technology industry, why Alfresco was a good fit for her, what makes Alfresco stand out in the ECM market, and how her approach will differ since taking over.
Can you tell us a bit about your background in the space prior to becoming the CMO at Alfresco and what inspired you to join the team?
"I’ve been in technology marketing all of my career – everything from business applications to infrastructure. I don’t consider myself a technologist but a business person that understands how technology impacts a company. I’m inspired by companies that are creating new business models based on software…. I am always looking for the story!
Companies don’t need another technology vendor to tell them that the world is changing and that competitors are transforming faster! They don’t need a company to tell them why technology is important – they need a partner to help with the HOW. Alfresco’s promise is to guide you through the endless narrative of digital transformation so you can build, execute and scale quicker than you ever imagined. So, forget the fact we are in a digital era. We are in the human era where content and processes should work together seamlessly for the better of customers and employees – and that’s Alfresco!"
How is Alfresco standing out between the big players in the ECM market?
"Because we get it done! With Alfresco you can execute ad scale quicker. We are cloud native, having an incredibly fast time to value and excellent user adoption rates. When I talk to customers, I’m impressed at the speed in which they’re able to implement and recognize the value of our Digital Business Platform. I’m particularly excited about our new upcoming fall release that will further improve user experience."
Since taking over the reins, how will your marketing approach differ?
"We will double down on our ability for builders in the community to build something cooler, quicker and more responsive. We will, along with many of our partners, focus on the use cases to show people just how they can use our platform realize value quicker."
How has marketing an ECM platform changed in the last few years?
"I don’t think it’s about how marketing an ECM platform has changed. I think it’s about how marketing technology has changed. Customers care about their business challenge and how you can help them solve it – and they are more informed. They are doing their own research on the internet to a far greater degree. Offering those people access to the products 24/7 with how-to-tips so they can experience a user centric UI is critical."
Other Executives that Joined the Alfresco Team
Alfresco has been beefing up its executive team and they also recently announced the hiring of Heather Guntrum as their new Customer Success Officer. Heather will be taking the reins for all post-sales experiences for customers, and enabling their competitive advantage and success while using Alfresco solutions. Heather previously held the position of both Vice President of Customer Success and Vice President of Global Partnerships at SDL. She was responsible for creating their new customer services practices and helped expand the operation into the APAC markets at SDL.
“Heather has been a pioneer in customer experience and success,” said Nixon. “With her at the helm of Alfresco’s customer success team, I’m confident we’ll fast-track our ability to build on the exceptional growth we’ve experienced by continuing to look for new ways to better serve our customers.”
“Alfresco is a world-class innovator under the direction of visionary leadership who strive to deliver an unrivaled experience to customers and partners,” said Guntrum. “I am excited about contributing to the next stage of Alfresco’s evolution with this team. We have tremendous opportunities ahead to deliver advanced process, content and governance solutions to our customers, and my goal is to become their most trusted advisor, with insights and services that enable them to transform their businesses.”
Alfresco veterans Bob Pritchard and Kamil Chaudhary were also both promoted. Pritchard was appointed to Senior Vice President of Global Sales while Chaudhary was promoted to Vice President and General Counsel.
Pritchard joined Alfresco in 2016 and in his short time, he has already proven himself as a leader, he will be responsible for leading and developing the global sales markets. Joining the company in 2014, Chaudhary is responsible for overseeing all of the company’s legal affairs worldwide, including corporate, commercial, regulatory, intellectual property, ethics/compliance, and litigation.
“It is with great pleasure that I share the promotions of Bob and Kamil,” said Bernadette Nixon, CEO at Alfresco. “Bob has done a great job in his short 18-month tenure at Alfresco in leading and developing the Americas commercial sales team, and his international experience makes him well qualified to lead our global sales team. Kamil’s background, not only with Alfresco but also his previous legal experience in the technology sector, prepared him well for this next step in his career.”
There has been a lot of changes happening at Alfresco and this forward momentum has been very positive for the company. With all these changes in a company, some may expect some growing pains, but this has yet to slow them down, in fact, the company’s momentum has been fast and furious. Stay connected as Alfresco has more exciting news coming soon.
While writing this article The CMO Club announced the CMO Award winners and low and behold Jennifer was one of the winners. Jennifer was among 4 finalists selected for the CMO Leadership Award. The award is based on the marketing executive’s demonstrated leadership in building, leading and motivating a high performing marketing organization. Congratulations Jennifer!