Thanks to a front-row seat within Cisco, AppDynamics’ new country manager for Canada Rebecca Leach has witnessed the tech giant go from hardware giant to a hardware giant with a growing software portfolio and an ecosystem of developers.

“Selling software is a very different sales motion, compared to hardware. A transition was needed around change management and changes in behaviour among Cisco sellers to be able to approach customers with a different type of conversation,” she told IT World Canada in an interview, reflecting on Cisco’s focus on cloud adoption and as-a-service offerings. The introduction of Webex back in 2015 was a massive change for sales teams.

Rebecca Leach, AppDynamics country manager for Canada.

During the remote work era, Leach, who took over as AppDynamics’ country manager in late September after a lengthy run as the general manager of software sales and Canadian inclusion and diversity leader, is witnessing another shift in how front line sellers and channel partners are approaching customers.

It comes down to pace – nearly 75 per cent of technologists, according to an AppDynamics study, report that digital transformation projects which would typically take more than a year to be approved, have been signed off in a matter of weeks. More than 70 per cent of technologists point to digital transformation projects that have been implemented within weeks rather than the months or years it would have taken before the pandemic.

The strain on IT is enormous, and teams not only have to figure out how to support all of the new endpoints coming online, but what it means for the business. Leach says IT no longer has the luxury of physically looming over the data centre with the rest of the team.

“We have a huge opportunity to go in and have relevant conversations about the pressures in the marketplace,” Leach said.

The Canadian telecommunications grid is holding up but faces enormous strains, impacting even the most digitally savvy mom-and-pop shop or grocery store chain. Customers are paying more attention to page load times, for example, and noticing load times increase as e-commerce traffic explodes. And when the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 123 per cent due to a couple of extra seconds of load time, it’s not just IT that’s paying attention. It’s the line of business itself.

AppDynamics’ deep integration with Cisco – Cisco scooped up AppDynamics in 2017 for US$3.4 billion, followed by the acquisition of network monitoring firm ThousandEyes – leads to compelling offerings in the application performance management (APM) space. But it’s a crowded arena. According to IDC*, the APM market grew from $4.3 billion in 2018 to $5.8 billion in 2019. That trend is expected to continue, says Leach, especially in Canada, where the SMB market is still ripe for digital transformation.

“I’m fortunate to come into this role at this time,” she said. “We have the most compelling story in the industry. We have Cisco backing us, so when we talk to a customer, it’s not just a conversation about APM, as it’s been in the past. It’s now about infrastructure, network monitoring, applications. That’s a unique differentiator for us.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada