91: Alfresco in the Cloud – Enterprise Content Management

Aug 11, 2016
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Anybody who follows those big tech headlines week after week will see a common trend. It seems every other day we’re reading about a digital transformation, there are not enough women in tech, and businesses jumping into the cloud to find they are unhappy at the speed and scale of the cloud, so they are on the lookout for hybrid solutions. Imagine my surprise when I came across a company called Alfresco. Their tagline is they are the only true hybrid solution, and they proudly connect people, content, and processes to accelerate that digital transformation. Not only that but they attribute their recent phenomenal growth to four women (including one former UN deputy CIO) proving the importance of having a diverse workforce. CEO Doug Dennerline has already led gender diversity task forces during his time at Cisco.

Can you tell the listeners a little about who you are and what you do?

I’m in my 34th year of my career. I came to the bay area right out of college and went to work for Hewlett-Packard selling HP 3,000’s back in the day. I spent about 5 years at HP and was really lucky to fall into the world of networking. I went to work for 3Com Corporations; I was employee number 300 and the first real rep in the state of California. I spent 11 years with 3Com then I went to work for Cisco Systems. I spent almost 12 years at Cisco. My last job there was as the general manager of the collaboration software group. I worked for Sales Force for a short time then became President of Success Factors until we got acquired by SAP. I’ve been at Alfresco now for three and a half years in the content management open source world.

doug-dennerline

Can you talk about what services Alfresco offers and what a hybrid model is for those who don’t know?  

I think there are a lot of definitions for a hybrid in the marketplace, but for us, we’re a next generation, enterprise content and business process platform. We manage enterprise content, whether that content is a medical record, invoice, formula for your microprocessor or maybe a contract. The best way to describe what hybrid would be to us is if you wanted to take a contract you had on your on-premise content repository and put it out in the public cloud, negotiate that contract, get them signed, and bring it back to the on-premise version of that you can do that. Our definition of hybrid is to be able to go from the public cloud to your on premise of the virtual private cloud.

Can you tell me how Alfresco’s recent growth was due to an overhaul of how it manages its entire customer life cycle and a turnaround was driven by four women?

At Cisco, I was responsible for helping drive their gender diversity strategy to help put more women in leadership positions there. I have spent my whole life as a leader trying to be balanced in my own approach to hiring a diverse set of folks. It’s not that I’m trying to build a balance of women, what I’ve forced myself to do is have a sleight of candidates for every role that I’ve ever had in a leadership role that was diverse in the group that I talked to so I would have a balance of male and female candidates and then I pick the best candidate for the job.

What benefits does Alfresco offer and what makes it different from other hybrid solutions?

We compete with 25-year-old companies that were built on closed systems. We’re an open source company. We’re a platform for both content management and business process management. We think those markets are coming together. The old version of content management was very IT driven and very file and structure oriented. You had to go find your content, and now you want your content to find you. You want to be in a business process and whatever point in the process you need to be engaged with the content. We deliver that content to you based on intelligence and on who you are and what role you play and what rights you have.

We develop our software around four things:

  1. It has to be engaging in today’s world.
  2. It needs to show up at the right point in a business process.
  3. It has got to be integrated because content runs everywhere these days.
  4. It has got to evolve as businesses evolve.

If there is anyone listening who would like to reach out to you guys directly, maybe find out more information or inquire about your services, what’s the best way of doing this?

You can go to our website at www.alfresco.com. If anyone wants to get to the right point in an organization, I’m a very accessible guy. You can email me at ddennerline@alfresco.com, and I will point you to the right person in the organization who gets you the resources you need to learn and interact with us.

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