The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many organizations to rethink their day-to-day routines and to find creative ways to achieve their respective missions. Coviant is no different. So, when I learned that my alma mater here in San Antonio, Trinity University, started a summer program to give students an opportunity to gain experience with remote work, I jumped in. I’m an active Trinity alumnus and a proud Tiger; I enjoy giving back to the school that gave me my start.
Coviant is conducting a refresh on some longstanding marketing initiatives, reminding organizations of the value and utility of managed file transfer software, and I thought it would be good experience for one or two students to be a part of the effort. After reviewing a number of resumes and writing samples, I invited four candidates to join the fun.
My expectations were modest. I didn’t approach the project with the idea of hiring cheap labor to do boring administrative chores. My goal was to give them as meaningful an experience as I could for a project scheduled to last two months. I didn’t want them to be bored, but I didn’t want to throw them into the deep end of the pool, either. Let’s face it; if you were to ask 100 people from Generation Z to rattle off their top ten technologies, managed file transfer would not be on the list. So, with no real sense of their familiarity with our technology, I asked them to begin by reviewing the Coviant Software web site, and our competitors’ web sites, and giving me their impressions.
It turns out that my student team is razor sharp. Their questions and comments told me a lot more than I was expecting and for that exercise alone I realized I needed to adjust my own approach to leading this company. For those of us who have spent lengthy careers in technology, there are things we begin to take for granted. Slowly, we begin to speak a language that relies on cryptic acronyms and terminologies and the assumption that our audience understands what we mean.
When I say managed file transfer, automated file transfer, or secure file transfer, I know exactly what I mean, but my audience may have a different idea. The terms file migration, cloud migration, or cloud integration mean something specific to me, but something else my audience. If I talk about compliance, does my audience know if I mean HIPAA-HITECH, Sarbanes-Oxley, GDPR, CCPA, PCI-DSS? Do they know which regulations and standards apply to their organization?
If I am talking about the value Diplomat MFT adds to an organization’s data management and security program, or the ability of a managed file transfer platform to save an organization time and increase the reliability of its file transfer processes, am I thinking in the abstract instead of in terms that have meaning to the other party?
Fielding questions from these students forced me to re-think how I present Coviant’s message to them, how I describe how our products work and why secure, automated file transfer is better than attaching an email or dropping something in a shared folder in the cloud. In turn, it has gotten me to pay more attention to our day-to-day conversations with customers, partners, and prospects, too.
It’s refreshing when someone has the courage to ask, “What does that mean?” I wish I heard that more from organizations I know we can help. I need to ask it more of the organizations I’m talking to.
When you hear from me or anyone here at Coviant Software, I hope you see the lessons learned from my experience with the team of Trinity University students reflected in the way we present ourselves to you. And if you ask us, “What does that mean,” I am confident we’ll have an answer for you.