Cloudside Chat: Rip Gerber and Bernadette Pasco Discuss Digital Transformation and “Geeking Out” with Telco Experts

Cloudside Chat with Bernadette Pasco

The Cloudside Chat Series Welcomes Vlocity Solution Architect, Bernadette Pasco

Bernadette Pasco May Be An Industry Heavyweight, But She Believes There’s Always More To Learn. And She’s Always Seeking Out The Biggest Challenges At The Most Complex Digital Transformations.

Embracing innovation and adapting to the ever-changing cloud software landscape is something Bernadette knows well. With a career that spans ERP and CRM consulting, she joins us all the way from Australia to chat about her personal journey and the benefits of free exploration versus micromanagement.

Rip Gerber: Hello Bernadette. You and I have worked together for years down under in Australia, and on large digital transformations across the globe. What are you working on these days?

Bernadette Pasco: Thank you Rip. Currently, I'm helping the Vlocity ATG team [Advanced Technology Group] build several out-of-the box solutions for our communications and media customers. We are using design thinking and our latest industry cloud technology built on Salesforce to transform how telcos are serving their customers.

Rip: What kind of industry cloud solutions are telcos wanting it this digital age?

Bernadette: Well, pre-paid in mobile is a big deal now. In the telco world, prepaid mobile means you pay for the service upfront.

Rip: I’ve been a postpaid on Verizon for over twenty years.

Bernadette: Which means you receive a bill at the end of each month based on your usage. Prepaid plans are popular for milleniuals especially, since you simply 'recharge' your account at the beginning of each month, with a range of prices and add-ons. And you can switch which recharge option you choose every time you top-up.

Have the mentality that you’ll be constantly learning. Because even in the cloud industry there are new technologies that come around every now and then.

Rip: Which is easy and simple for customers.

Bernadette: True, but not so easy for the traditional telco to implement. They need to transform their IT systems and processes to digital and cloud technologies.

Rip: When you offer pre-paid versus post-paid, you need to have different processes for purchasing, service, and architectural modeling inside of a telco.

Bernadette: Definitely. You don’t just “lift and shift” your technology stack as is. You need very specific processes, algorithms and rules because you are treating your customers differently. The transactions are different, and so is the process to enable them in the cloud, in Salesforce and Vlocity, as well as integration into the backend system such as Matrixx Software; we are partnering with Matrixx on our GoDigitalTM product to deliver this industry-specific solution for prepaid services.

Rip: You’re known in the telco industry as an expert designing and implementing that kind of change, Bernadette. How did you get into that? Tell us about your journey.

Bernadette: The journey really started when I joined Anderson Consulting. It was an opportunity to be part of a big management consulting firm, to meet with customers, and implement systems across the industry. I started off in manufacturing, implementing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. But manufacturing is a repetitive process. I was eager to learn more things. So I started asking if I could work on telco projects, which challenged me because telco is a totally different beast.  And then the software industry started to verticalize, that's when Siebel came along.

Rip: You’re talking about Siebel Systems and the birth of vertical CRM.

Bernadette: Yes, industry-specific CRM. The first wave of CRM, before Salesforce. Before the cloud came along.

Rip: So, you went from consulting on ERP to consulting on CRM?

Bernadette: Anderson Consulting was a big investor in Siebel back then, so I said, "This must be a good company." So, from Anderson I moved to Siebel.  The IT system implementation market tends to be cyclical. Every ten years there's something big that comes along that transform companies. During the previous transformation cycle, all the telcos implemented Siebel to serve their customers better. So I started off with Telstra implementing Siebel, and then I moved around within the APAC region. Having worked on very complex projects at Telstra allowed me to leverage that knowledge and experience into other telcos in APAC, like Vodafone and PDLT.

We are using design thinking and our latest industry cloud technology built on Salesforce to transform how telcos are serving their customers.

Rip: Wow, you hit them all. An APAC Telco CRM tour of duty!

Bernadette: And a few others in Asia. Telstra invested a green field implementation in the Philippines, which is now off the ground and running. It was a good experience to be working with the network teams who are really geeky and nerdy and talking about things that were beyond me. It forced me to learn those details and become an expert.

Rip: Embracing “geeky and nerdy” is something we all need to do more, as they say, software is eating the world. Bernadette, throughout your entire career, you have always  embraced the “new.” You seeks out innovation and very complex, hard challenges. You jump right in to tackle ‘em.

Bernadette: Yes, I call it tackling the bull by its horns.

Rip: So how would you describe yourself?  What is it about Bernadette that makes you want to seek out and tackle these complex projects? Most people might go the easier route, but you aim for the hard stuff. Why?

Bernadette: I definitely do like tackling the hard stuff because it allows me to think outside the box, rather than being comfortable in my own space. I feel like I lose value if I just continue doing the same thing again and again. I need to prove I can do other things, new things. I like doing something difficult that everyone says cannot be done.

Rip: You never shy from a tough problem or complex transformations. Like building an entirely new pre-paid process in the cloud. You are definitely doing something new, innovative, and challenging there, and doing it well. Any advice for people who want to roll up their sleeves, get “geeky and nerdy” or who are just getting into cloud transformations and learning about these new technologies?

Bernadette: Just be patient. It will come. But also have the mentality that you’ll be constantly learning. Because even in the cloud industry there are new technologies that come around every now and then. Say, for example, JavaScript to web components. We are aiming for innovation, always streamlining and transitioning. So I recommend to keep learning.

Rip: Always keep learning. I also know you mentor a lot of folks as a consultant. Project teams, individuals, and customers. Tell us a little bit about your mentoring style and how you help others on their journey.

Bernadette: I'm not a micromanager. I prefer someone to be free to execute. Some people are tactical and some are very academic.  So I let them find the best approach on their own. I essentially guide them to what the possibilities would be. The negative and the positive. I give them the option but let them make the decision.

Rip: Terrific advice. Thank you so much, Bernadette.  All the way from Australia for a Vlocity Cloudside Chat. Looking forward to more great things from you.

Bernadette: Thank you Rip!

Rip Gerber

Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer

Rip Gerber has 25 years’ experience inspiring and leading great people to build disruptive, market-leading companies, raising over $500M in venture and IPO funds that have delivered a collective 5x return on invested capital. He currently serves as Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer of Vlocity, Inc. where he leads all go-to-market activities, brand strategy, and global business development. Gerber has helped propel Vlocity as the fastest-growing Salesforce partner (out of 5,000) for four years in a row.

Rip is also an international best-selling author and accomplished musician. Throughout his career he has driven a dual agenda of ‘pragmatic creativity’ and ‘warp-speed innovation’ in the enterprise software, mobile, and Software-as-a-Service industries, where he has served in CEO, GM, Board Director and CMO roles for several venture-backed and seed-to-IPO companies. He started his career at the CIA and has served in management roles at Firestone, American Express, Nokia, Publicis, as well as founding and selling several tech companies including @once, Commtouch and Locaid.  He has a biochemical engineering degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Harvard University.