Kevin Conroy is determined to have more fun in 2013. Whether it's through remembering the importance of the user experience, or creating great work environments for employees starting at home, with his in-house 509 winery, Conroy is walking the talk. Find out more below.
An Interview with Kevin Conroy
CMSWire: What first brought you to the world of social business?
Kevin Conroy: Our clients were struggling to drive adoption of their employee portals. They were making these huge investments in technology infrastructure, and their employees just weren't excited about using the tools.
When we started to peel back the layers of the issue, we found all kinds of evidence that a social business approach could shift the paradigm. By establishing a more interactive, social interface, we were able to begin driving adoption. And that inspired us to up our game.
In addition to understanding and utilizing SharePoint's out-of-the-box social tools, we built Sepulveda, a social networking solution that integrates seamlessly into SharePoint to better connect employees to the company, to important resources, and to one another. As a company, we've made a huge investment in the future of SharePoint as a social medium.
CMSWire: What project are you working on now that you'd like the readers to know about?
Kevin: Our team just launched Madison, a proprietary document sharing solution that makes it possible to share large files or sensitive documents directly from SharePoint and within the security of a company's firewall.
I'm excited about Madison because it addresses a huge gap in the functionality of SharePoint. Until now, users have been relying on third party file sharing services, which are inconvenient and, in the worst case scenarios, unsecure. Madison addresses both of these issues in one fell swoop, and we believe that it is a huge step forward for file sharing for SharePoint users.
CMSWire: What excites you most about your field today?
Kevin: I've started to see real traction around user experience (UX) as a priority for employee portals. UX is in Blue Rooster's DNA -- it has always been important to us.
For a long time, we'd get blank stares when we tried to talk about UX with our clients. And then came the iPhone.
Consumers were introduced to this incredibly complex, multi-functional device that required no training and was really easy to use. Expectations around UX -- for devices of all kinds -- totally changed.
Today there is more of a shared commitment to creating employee portals that are built with the end user in mind -- that really take into account the principles of usability and adoption. I'm really excited about that evolution.
CMSWire: Was there ever an "aha" moment in your career and if so, what was it?
Kevin: Before the economic downtown of 2008, Blue Rooster had primarily been an event marketing company. We had a lot of success in that space, but when the market began to fail, our clients pulled way back on event marketing.
Things started looking pretty bleak for our business model, and I had to make a decision -- I could accept that there wasn't a place for us in the "new world order" and walk away from Blue Rooster; or I could create a place for us by focusing on what our clients needed now.
I opted for the latter, and I've never looked back. It reinforced for me how important it is to put our clients first -- that it is only by meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations that we can continue to grow and thrive.
CMSWire: What would your one or two biggest wishes for the industry be for 2013?
Kevin: I have one wish for the industry in 2013: that we expect more. I want for all of us who touch SharePoint -- from technical developers to end users -- to elevate our expectations for the platform. I want for users to demand and the industry to deliver the kinds of enterprise-ready solutions that make clunky "workarounds" a thing of the past. And I want to have fun doing it.
CMSWire: Is there anything else our readers should know about you?
Kevin: I definitely want for readers to see that Blue Rooster is so much bigger than me. We've had success because we've built a team of incredibly talented, creative, dedicated professionals who continually elevate the level of one another's work. They are defining the best practices in employee portals and exceeding client expectations at every turn. They are the reason the Blue Rooster has thrived in this space.
Speed Round: 6 things you should know about Kevin
1. Right now I am reading
"Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition" by Guy Kawasaki
2. Quote to live by:
"Only those who have been in the valley can appreciate the view from the mountain." -- Archie Manning
3. The best word ever said
Shankopotamus. Not that I am one. Well, maybe occasionally.
4. When I am not working
I am riding one of my bikes -- I may be slightly addicted.
5. Word that should be struck from the dictionary
6. Best song ever sung
Nothing can turn a day around like Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"