Q&A with Johnny Ola, VP of Global Alliances & Business Development at FinancialForce
You might have heard the big news! Johnny Ola has joined FinancialForce.com as our new VP of Global Alliances and Business Development. Previously the General Manager of Remedyforce, Johnny successfully led all functions of the BMC Software-owned solution built on the Salesforce 1 platform and reported consecutive growth in excess of 100% year-over-year. As the VP of Strategic Alliances and Business Development at BMC in years prior, Johnny built a world-class partner ecosystem and drove increasing revenue for the company amidst an extremely competitive field against larger players such as HP and IBM.
I had a chance to interview Johnny this week and walked away thinking that this man will make a monumental impact on our growth. See what he has to say!
1) Hi Johnny! Welcome to the team! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. You’ve already made quite a buzz within your first few weeks at FinancialForce.com and I’m certain that employees and customers alike are eager to learn more about you. Let’s start with your new role. Tell me about your position and areas of responsibilities.
I am the VP of Global Alliances and Business Development. My 3 areas of responsibilities include globally expanding our SI partnerships, strengthening our joint go-to-market partnership with Salesforce, and working closely with ISVs to deliver a best-in-class set of integrated solutions.
2) How did you come to join FinancialForce.com? What are your impressions so far?
I was part of the SFDC ecosystem for several years and most recently as the GM for Remedyforce, which is a BMC Software Service Management solution built on the Salesforce platform. I’ve watched FinancialForce.com closely through the years and admired the company’s growth, the strong reputation of its products and management team, and how fired up the employees were to be a part of this great company.
When Jeremy, Adrian, and I first talked a few months ago, I immediately knew that FinancialForce.com was a great career opportunity – there is a strong mutual fit, and we were aligned on how a cloud business should be run.
This is now my third week and so far, everything has exceeded my expectations. I attended SKO two weeks ago and the energy was contagious. Everyone was fired up to be part of the company and there was so much enthusiasm about where FinancialForce.com is headed. Everyone was extremely welcoming and excited to see how we will expand the partner ecosystem.
3) What are your immediate priorities in this role?
With the explosive growth FinancialForce.com has been experiencing, we need to expand our existing partnerships with System Integrators who will be working closely with our internal professional services team, to deliver our world-class solutions. We will be adding additional partners, as needed, to expand our coverage and capacity. The goal for us is all about customer speed and customer satisfaction.
We are going accelerate our efforts to fully enable our partners and build go-to-market plans to drive new business together. There is also strong demand in the UK, AUS, NZ and parts of Europe to expand our delivery capability – a huge focus for 2015.
Another top priority is strengthening our partnership with Salesforce. Not only are they an investor, we have strong product and go-to-market synergies. We are going to further invest in our partnership with resources and focus to drive more revenue for both companies. We see a significant growth opportunity here and our mutual customers will be the beneficiaries of our work together.
Additionally, we are going to put a more formal program and resources in place to partner with ISVs, who will work in close collaboration with our development organization, to build a stronger portfolio of integrated solutions. We want to deliver significantly more value to our customers who invest in FinancialForce.com solutions and platform.
4) Where do you see the partner program a year from now?
You will see us well down the road towards our goal of having a best in class partner program in the ERP industry and the Salesforce ecosystem, with a significantly expanded partner ecosystem.
It’s going to take hard work but the long-term result will be a competitive differentiator for us and most importantly, a major advantage for our customers who are investing in our solutions and platform.
Partners will play an integral part in helping us build and deliver the best portfolio of solutions in the industry, implemented at greater speed and with higher customer satisfaction.
These are lofty goals and we won’t get there overnight – but we want to set our targets very high and drive relentlessly towards achieving them!
5) Now, the most important question! Sports rivalries are huge at FinancialForce.com so many of us are eager to know where your loyalties lie! Who are your favorite teams?
I live in Houston and love the Texans and Rockets. I’m also a huge Mississippi State fan – proud that they were ranked #1 for 6 weeks in the 2014 season before our Cinderella story ended too soon!