*APAC Careers Day* Customer Centric Culture: The Team & How We Collaborate
Samuel Sathyajith (Head of India Sales), Akanksha Seth (Team Lead, Customer Success (SAARC)), Amaresh Sawant (Head of Strategic Accounts, India), Smitha Radhakrishnan (Customer Solutions Engineer), and Mahesh Kateel (Solutions Engineer) will talk about how they support customers in India, the growth potential in the region, as well as current open roles.
To find all of our current open roles, go to https://www.cloudflare.com/careers/jobs/
Hi everyone. Welcome to Cloudflare APAC Carriers Day. The team we selected for today's discussion with the India team is customer-centric culture, the team and how we collaborate.
I am Samuel, head of India and SOC region at Cloudflare, moderating this discussion along with four of my colleagues representing various functions.
We hope this discussion provides the audience with insights as to what's Cloudflare's culture, how we work, what we are doing here in India and more importantly, what carrier options and growth exists at Cloudflare.
We will start off with a round of introductions of the team members here.
I'll begin with Akanksha.
Thank you, Samuel. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for investing your time with us today.
My name is Akanksha and I am the team lead for customer success team of SOC region.
I'm very happy to meet you all virtually here and looking forward to hearing more from my colleagues.
Morning everyone. I'm Amaresh Sawant and I manage the Cloudflare business for large enterprises in India and SOC.
It's an absolute pleasure to virtually meet all of you along with my colleagues, share our experiences and let you know more about our journey at Cloudflare.
Hi everyone. I'm Smita. I'm the customer solutions engineer for India and SOC region.
It's a pleasure to meet all of you today along with my colleagues. Hey everybody.
This is Mahesh. I work as a solutions engineer at Cloudflare. I'm mainly handling India and SOC region.
I welcome you all to this segment. Thank you all.
Thanks, Mahesh, for introducing yourselves. First question to you, Mahesh. Cloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet.
And the Internet is the lifeblood of business.
It is a primary vehicle for commerce and communications for people globally.
With applications being everywhere, users or your customers or your employees could be anywhere.
And the best thing is the threats are coming from everywhere.
With this backdrop, customers are relying on us and we have been critical to their business success.
Millions of customers not just trust us but are big admirers of Cloudflare's values.
What is in your opinion, Mahesh, are the key value propositions Cloudflare brings to its customers?
Sure. I think, Sam, you brought out two interesting topics.
First thing is the applications being everywhere and also you spoke about users being anywhere.
So if you traditionally or if you typically look at today's industry, right?
So customers are either going multi-cloud or they're going hybrid model.
And it is sort of like very rare in today's case that the applications only reside, let's say, in a data center or just one cloud.
Now, managing such a complex deployment is basically like a big challenge for most of the enterprises today.
And that's exactly where Cloudflare's customer sees value in Cloudflare.
Cloudflare, being a backend agnostic solution, it sort of becomes like that one-stop solution for all their security needs.
Customers using Cloudflare, they can switch between clouds.
They can move their application from, let's say, on-premise to their cloud environment.
Anything and everything they want to do with their application, they can do seamlessly using Cloudflare without worrying about security or reliability issues.
It is actually that simple using Cloudflare. Now, the same would be the case for the employees as well.
With the advent of COVID, most of the employees may be working from office or most of the employees are actually working from home.
If you look at it, this becomes like a serious problem for the companies where they basically need to add more and more capacity to their existing VPN boxes.
And these VPN boxes, typically being a point solution, they also need to ensure that all these solutions are scalable across data centers and cloud.
Now, if you get Cloudflare in between, Cloudflare simply eliminates all these problems by being a sort of centralized secure access point to all their applications.
Let it be deployed across cloud, let the applications be deployed on-prem, and the users, let those particular users be working from office or let them be working from home.
Cloudflare, as an access solution, as a Zero Trust solution, becomes that uniform Zero Trust policy across applications, across locations.
Now, to top it all off, you spoke about the threat intelligence.
Since there is so much amount of traffic that flows via Cloudflare, our threat intelligence is one of the best things that customers love about us.
Now, if you ask me personally, the one thing that is very close to my heart is about Cloudflare, how it works towards the greater good for the community.
Let's talk about Cloudflare 1.1.1. Cloudflare 1.1.1 is simply a free and unlimited DNS service for anyone who wants to access Internet in a more secure way.
Talk about Project Fairshot. Project Fairshot offers a free and fair way for vaccine distribution around the world to use digital queues to safely scale their efforts.
Project Galileo, Cloudflare's response to cyber attacks launched against important yet vulnerable targets like artistic groups or humanitarian organizations.
Athenian Project is basically a project that is initiated by Cloudflare to protect against cyber attacks targeting election infrastructure.
Having spoken about all these things, the one thing which is my personal favorite is assistance to under -attacked customers.
Where we as Cloudflare, like you know the AEs and SCs, we help first customer to onboard onto Cloudflare under any under-attack scenario.
We, no questions asked, we protect them and we save them from the crisis and check with them if they would like to sign up with Cloudflare.
And most of the times, the customers do sign up with Cloudflare.
Wow, isn't that inspiring? Thanks, Mahesh. Over and above the business value propositions, you brought about some of the noble contributions Cloudflare brings to the community.
That leads to me to another question.
And this time, I'll divert this to Akanksha. And I want to ask about customer first or customer centricity.
Akanksha, as a CSM lead, you speak to our customers every day.
What are the values your team brings to our customers? Very interesting question, Samuel.
Thank you. I would say that we at Cloudflare, we live with a customer centric mindset, which is the business builds products with the customer's best interest in mind.
As Mahesh rightly pointed out, our customers aren't just the ones who pay us, but also the ones leveraging, let's say, 184.108.40.206 or Project Fearshot.
Yes, my team speaks with our customers every single day. We build relationships and focus on working proactively in partnership with our customers throughout their time as a customer to help them get more value out of their purchase and also share their feedback internally.
It drives the customer experience forward and ensures a successful path into the future.
I would say that the Cloudflare's customer success team works for customer's business success.
Thanks, Akanksha. Customer's business success. That's nice. Picking up the thread on customer business success.
Next question to you, Amarish. In order to achieve that excellence in customer centricity and enhanced customer experience, Cloudflare has various specialist roles.
You're marketing, you're the PDRs, sales, solutions engineers, customer success managers, customer solutions engineers, and customer support team.
But when it comes to customers, there's one team that turns up in front of the customers.
That is the team Cloudflare.
How do you collaborate and in unison that customers so much appreciate it?
Absolutely, Sam. It's one for all and all for one. Right from the first call by the frontline team, like the sales or the business development reps and the sales engineers, right to the execution of the project and ongoing handholding by the CSMs like Akanksha and the others, or CSEs like Smitha and the other support functions.
We ensure that the customer sees Cloudflare as one team. While there is a clear demarcation of roles, for example, the strategic sales team provides the direction and plan while the others ensure on the execution.
The secret to this cohesiveness are the relationships and the bond that is created at every single stage.
Let it be internally with our peers, subordinates, or other colleagues, or externally with our customers or partners.
They are treated as you would want to be treated.
The trust, transparency, constructive feedback, and a collaborative mindset only helps us to ensure we do the right thing.
If you see, Cloudflare is a very, very nimble and an all-inclusive company.
And we try to hire a diverse team, bringing new ideas, but with a very common objective of teamwork and excellence.
To have an ownership mindset with the intent to build a very, very strong culture.
Because at the end, that is the foundation of a successful organization.
Thanks, Amresh. You brought out some of the pertinent values of what we call as Cloudflare capabilities.
I think these are the pillars of our culture.
Embrace diversity to make Cloudflare better. Communicate clearly, directly, and transparently.
Do the right thing. Smita, you as a customer solutions engineer, when you interact with your customers, doing the right thing for the customers, go above and beyond.
What makes you excel in your work? Thanks, Sam. I love everything that I do as a customer solutions engineer at Cloudflare.
Starting from onboarding customers to the Cloudflare platform, helping customers adopt Cloudflare products, technical consulting for their use cases, conducting technical workshops, and then representing customer feature requests to the product team.
I enjoy everything about this role. I believe that a product lifecycle gets complete when customers adopt that product for their security, performance, and reliability portfolio.
And I'm happy using it. Adoption and customer satisfaction is a major part of the product lifecycle.
We share the same goal with customers to implement their use case with Cloudflare products.
And together, we achieve our mission of helping build a better Internet.
Thanks, Smita. I appreciate the passion you bring to work, really.
And I appreciate everyone. I've seen this passion across everyone here in Cloudflare.
Sam, why don't you share about your passion and the vision you have for India customers?
For our viewers, Sam is a very inspiring leader, one who breeds Cloudflare capabilities.
We would be very curious to hear your vision.
Thanks, Akanksha. Well, it's my honor and privilege to be leading a fantastic team in India.
Probably my role is the simplest.
I just start the course for India and steer the ship. And I think it's the simplest with the great team we have.
We have had enormous growth in the past year and poised to grow exponentially.
Growth of the India market in general and acceleration of the digital transformation is necessitating Cloudflare's network as a service.
And the breadth of the products and the value proposition under this subscription service, what we call it as a network as a service, makes Cloudflare to be in a very enviable and vantage position in India.
Just look at the past 12 months alone.
We have more than doubled our India team and the presence in India in all aspects.
The presence is expected to grow manifold in every aspect, not just the team, the network, the customer base, and the revenue growth.
We have open positions in sales, solutions engineers, implementation engineers, marketing, and many more to come.
All these open positions are on our website. And I encourage the viewers to look up for opportunities to be part of this amazing team at Cloudflare.
Cloudflare sales and solution engineers are trusted advisors to our customers.
They understand the customer business. What success means to the customers.
What are the business pain points? What is the competitive scenario they are in?
And solve those business issues with our products and services. Let us hear from all of you on your roles and functions and how we add value to our customers.
Sam, let me go first. As you rightly mentioned, Cloudflare has been growing and we as employees couldn't be happier at the same time excited about the plan set for the next three years.
With many of us joining Cloudflare India team under your leadership just over a year or two, it only reinforces our decision of being part of something this large and special.
What Cloudflare is trying to achieve cannot be done by one person.
We know that India is one of the fastest growing markets and has some of the best talents in the region.
The technology development, the fast innovation and some of the homegrown solutions at Cloudflare only shows the belief that our leadership has on their teams.
Similar to the concept of bringing technology closer to the edge, we are hiring some strong candidates with the right attitude to work closer to the customer.
Having an I'm out for you mindset.
Over a year or so ago, I heard that the mission of Cloudflare is helping build a better Internet.
People ask, what does that mean? Our customers are Internet property.
Our customers are very special to us and we have to continue taking good care of them.
As I mentioned earlier, there's a clear demarcation in roles which systematically keeps all the engines running.
On the frontline, we have the business development reps who help in prospecting.
The frontline sales who like to meet and partner with new customers and the expansion sales who ensure that they continue to make a win-win for the existing customers.
However, one thing is very common amongst them.
They are self -driven, team players and think out of the box to solve real business problems and aspire to make a name.
I think I'll just hand it over to some of my other colleagues who would like to share their views as well.
I think that's very well said and very well put. For me, being a solutions engineer at Cloudflare, it's just not exciting, but it's super fun.
I not only get to talk to so many big brands out there, but also get to solve most of their burning business problems.
The best part about my job is I get to learn so many new things at Cloudflare.
Cloudflare is always innovating and bringing up so many cool products and features.
Being a trusted advisor to the customer, it always amazes me how many problems of their customers we can solve because of the breadth of the solutions that we have.
Of course, I wouldn't be so confident and successful in my role without my customer success buddies.
I've always had that trust and sense of relief that once customer signs with Cloudflare, they have that A-team to ensure that they succeed with Cloudflare.
Over to Smita and Akansha to tell us how the magic actually happens.
Thanks, Mahesh. A customer solutions engineer is an exciting role to be in.
My fellow friends in the pre-sales team do a great job in identifying customer requirements and solutioning it.
When they pass the baton to the post-sales team, we are clear about what our customer is looking for.
That makes the customer adoption journey pretty easy. Every day offers new challenges and solutions to our customers' pain points.
The one-team outlook that we have here makes us a broader team, which includes engineering and the support team.
It's awesome to work at a place where every team puts customers first.
Well, that's fantastic and so true to what we all stand for.
I would say as a customer success team lead, I see myself as a builder, building bridges for our customers to grow.
We take care of their security portfolio so that they can focus on their core businesses.
Cloudflare's CSM team has witnessed numerous organizations, our customers of course, acquiring unicorn status.
And this is what makes us all so passionate about our work.
I, along with my army of internal teams, work with our customers in keeping their application, their website secure, performant, and reliable to their customers.
We make sure that the client understands the product they are buying and has everything they need to start making use of it.
Onboarding, product adoption, customer training, use case identification are some of the everyday tasks my work, my team does for our customers.
I would say that we don't primarily exist to sell or to provide tech support.
We ensure that the customer feels happy about their purchase, just after they buy it, when they start using it, and for the lifetime of the product.
Growing sustainably while building long-term relationships with the people we depend on the most, my customers and my team, we deliver impact.
Thanks for that, Akansha.
So now, since you've heard from all of us, Sam, why don't you tell us what exactly excited you to join Cloudflare, and how has it been your journey so far?
Thanks, Mahesh. That's a very interesting and interesting question.
It takes back to more than 30 years, when I was doing my college days, and what was my aspirations as a student, what my career would be.
I was a hardcore engineer at heart, still am, during my last year of my engineering graduation.
I was actually contemplating a career in biomedical instrumentation, that was one of the electives.
And probably I thought myself I was a good fit for research and development as well.
So I was really a hardcore technical guy. I came across an opening for short service commissioned officer in Indian Air Force in aeronautical and engineering branch.
Applied for it, went through the SSB process.
As a first job, as a very young officer in the Indian Air Force, it was ingrained that leadership comes from enormous responsibility.
I was told to inculcate the habit of saying, I or me when it comes to taking the blame, if the team fails.
And always use the word we when you succeed. I think it was a foundation for integrity and honesty, and some of the core tenets of leadership.
Being inspirational, having trust and credibility, having empathy, have vision, be decisive, collaborate and be supportive.
You spoke of some of these tenets during our conversations here.
After I completed my tenure as short service commissioned officer in Indian Air Force, which was six years, with booming privatization and growing telecom industry.
I had the choice of choosing GSM mobile, which was growing.
Or the growing networking industry. I chose the field of networking.
And then in 2006, the network security was in fancy.
And I chose to build Arbor in India. And joined the booming security industry.
After 14 years at Arbor, I was contemplating, what next?
Did I miss the cloud transformation journey? Digital transformation has been happening.
The compute had moved on to the cloud. I was contemplating, what next? I've been selling on-premise to large enterprises, service providers, building organizations.
I've been studying as a technology interest.
I came across Cloudflare and what Cloudflare did.
It was amazing when I started studying about it.
I looked at it, the digital transformation has already happened on the compute.
And the applications have already been on the cloud.
And this is one organization which is leading the transformation, the network layer onto the cloud.
It's just happening and one flag bearer of this transformation is Cloudflare.
As I started researching more on it, I looked at it. What is the amazing growth, the potential this company has?
I was surprised, I did not know earlier.
And I studied more and I started, then somebody referred me. And I happened to go through the interview process.
When I started interacting, then I realized, I started becoming desperate.
I need this job. This is where I want to be. This is where my aspirations lie.
Luckily, I made it. And it's 14 months. And I feel that the 14 months of the experience and the exposure I've got is like 14 years.
But the 14 months, I keep saying that I'm new in the system, but 14 months, I keep saying is because 14 months have gone just like 14 days.
It's been every Monday morning and every day when I wake up to get into the work, it's exciting to be with your customers, to be with your team.
So, I have not realized how the time has passed by.
It's basically because I've been an insider, then I started realizing it's not just the values which you bring to your customers, but it's more significantly how we have been innovating.
How we've been innovating is, if you look at the products which you rolled out in so fast and quick manner, is because of this innovation.
And how does this innovation come? You look back and innovate, we innovate because of the ideation.
And where does the ideation come from? Ideation comes from inclusiveness, the diversity what you have.
It is not compartmentalized.
Anybody can come and give an idea. It could become a field sales engineer.
It could be coming from a customer. It could become a network engineer.
Look at the dogfooding, what we do. We use it around the way the Zero Trust solutions came out.
We solved a real problem for our own selves. It came out because there was a problem existed.
Somebody said that we need to solve this problem.
And we solved it. This is how we have been innovating. In a decade or so, Cloudflare has become such an impactful organization in such a short time is because of this.
It's not by acquiring companies, but building ground up because of this.
Because of what we bring to the table and because of the culture of openness, transparency, and encouraging people to come up with ideation.
It's been a fantastic journey and a great team.
I look forward for this hyper growth to go take us to really significant and manifold growth.
And I encourage people, whoever is seeing this, viewing this, look at Cloudflare and join us in this hyper growth, what we have.
That's very inspiring, Sam. I think one of the other things also, whenever I talk to my friends, one of the things that keep coming up is, my friends ask me how Cloudflare is innovating at such a rapid pace.
And they're expanding as well. There are a lot of job openings and there are a lot of job, you can join Cloudflare for various roles.
It's always a question from my friends that how Cloudflare is expanding so much and there are so many opportunities in such a pandemic time.
Thanks. That's an interesting question. The pandemic has changed.
It's impacted negatively in various aspects. But pandemic has changed the way, not just the way we work, but the way we live.
And many industries have impacted.
Most importantly, what's impacted is how organizations are resilient, how quickly they're able to bounce back into business.
With Internet being so critical and Cloudflare helps these organizations being resilient.
And that's the criticality of Cloudflare for the business existence, makes it very relevant even during pandemic.
Because of this, many of the Cloud transformation, and especially in the network layer transformation and the security industry, it's been growing for us.
So that's why you would have seen that we have been augmenting across the globe, not just in India, across the globe.
We've been adding a team to grow this because customers need us, need us in times of stress.
More importantly, in a situation like this, when everything is everywhere, your employees are everywhere.
I'm conscious of the time. I know I really want to thank all the panelists.
I'll hand over to Aakansha to conclude. Thank you. Thank you, Sam, for sharing your inspiring story and also about the open job positions.
And since we are nearing to the end, I just want to take a moment. Thank you so much, everybody, for tuning into the Cloudflare TV and joining us for Cloudflare APAC Careers Day.
Thank you to all the panelists for sharing their thoughts and experiences.
We hope that it was beneficial and informative for the viewers and they learned about the way we work, we collaborate, and our endeavor in bringing value to our customers and community in general.
Thank you, everyone, and goodbye.
Thank you. Bye.