Today we’re bringing you the November segment of our Acorio Spotlight series. If you aren’t familiar with our Spotlight blog, it’s a monthly culture series where we interview different members of our A-team to discuss life inside Acorio, time outside of work, and everything in between. If you’re curious about the people that make our company so note-worthy, this series is for you.
This month’s Spotlight highlights Grant Pulver, who was our first-ever Client Partner. I always enjoy our spotlight interviews, and this month was no exception: Grant’s extensive project experience, insights into client challenges for 2021, and his quick sense of humor made our chat especially entertaining. Buckle up – from the common client questions, to how he picks a good craft beer – Grant takes you for a ride with this interview.
The Elevator Pitch: Grant in 30 Seconds
As our Director of Client Partners, Grant brings 20 years of technology, consulting, and management experience to Acorio. Over the years, he has been a key contributor to our delivery team. Joining as a Senior Engagement Manager, Grant has led our team on many challenging projects, in addition to helping establish Acorio’s best-in-class Advisory services. A proud Michigander, Grant works remotely from the Midwest where he is responsible for ensuring the delivery of our largest client projects (no pressure).
How long have you been at Acorio?
I’ve been at Acorio for three and a half years now.
How would you describe your job in three words?
Ensure Client success.
I like that! As our original Client Partner, can you talk about how your role started and what other departments you get to work with?
As a Client Partner, I sit in the middle of Delivery, Sales, Advisory, and Pre-sales. Since my main function is to help our clients ensure the success of their platform, I need to be sort of in the middle of, well, everything.
The role started when our Leadership Team first saw there were opportunities to help clients with platform adoption and expansion throughout their entire organization. Back then I was technically working as a Senior Engagement Manager and being a Client Partner started as more of a hobby. On some of my assignments, I started doing that role informally and then it slowly took off and became a permanent fixture. From there, we decided to formalize the role and expand the team.
What does your typical day look?
Well, today I started the morning with a cigarette and a cup of coffee. No, I’m just kidding. Well, not about the coffee part. A typical day for me is pure meetings so, there are a lot of caffeinated beverages. It’s going to sound sarcastic or funny, but my day is really spent socializing. It’s the best way to get familiar with our customers to better understand how we can help them, I feel like people as a whole talk about the struggles of their teams when it’s more of a conversation than a presentation. I also spend time during the day on personal development and continuously learning about the ServiceNow platform, where it’s going and the role it can play in the enterprise.
Based on your conversations with clients, what has been the most common challenge for them this year and what do you expect to be the largest challenge for them in 2021?
Well, COVID aside, although, of course, COVID plays into it, one of the biggest challenges that companies are facing right now is how to spend their time on improvement and what I call KTLO or Keep The Lights On while they handle the current health, economic, political, and social climates.
Because of the adjustments that businesses have had to make in response to everything going on, everybody’s daily job has become more intense and variable. It’s a big difference right now because it’s very hard to separate work from home while everybody is working remotely. I heard somebody say the other day that “we’ve gone from working at home to living at work”.
People are really struggling with how to come up with time to keep growing and improving the organization while also managing their increasingly demanding daily responsibilities.
What are your top three advisory tips for clients going into 2021?
- Understand what is going to make a material difference to your business.
- Identify what the baby steps are to get there.
- Start implementing incremental steps that bring high value and have easy adoption so you get quick wins and quick value out of everything you do.
What is the most important trait for a client team to have in order to get the most out of their ServiceNow journey?
I always use the mantra that incremental progress beats delayed perfection. I think that it’s important for client teams to come in with what they want their end state to look like, but also have an understanding of what’s going to make a material change to their business and really focus on that for each part of the programs.
Do you have a favorite client story since joining Acorio?
One of my favorite stories is with a client who had an early attitude of ‘let’s get the platform up and running and start to get value from it. And then we can start focusing on everything that’s difficult to do and elevate the maturity of it.’
I really appreciate how they embraced an approach that was all about starting young, getting value, and then improving and growing from there.
You’re used to traveling a lot. What are some of the things you miss most about being onsite with clients? What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered now that you’re not face-to-face?
Am I allowed to say it’s my after-hours drinks with clients and getting to know them face-to-face? Because honestly, that is a big part of it. Even without the after-work dinners, when you’re sitting in the office next to them it makes it easier to understand how clients go about their day, and unfortunately, that’s something you can’t get just by jumping on the phone once or twice a day for a half-hour. When you’re onsite with clients, you get to see the 90 other things that they have going in their organizations, which is a valuable context for understanding more about their business.
How do you like to relax and unwind when you’re not working from home?
Luckily, I live in a rural area, so it gives me the opportunity to do the whole social distancing thing really easily. Quarantining has definitely affected me, but it doesn’t affect my day-to-day personal life. For the most part, when I’m not working, I’m doing things outside and getting work done around the house.
I hear that you’re a really big fan of graphic t-shirts, if you had to design a graphic tee for the advisory team, what would it say?
Get shit done because ultimately that’s what our job is: Lay out a plan and then coach through it to make material changes to the business as quickly as possible.
As a member of the Acorio craft beer Slack group, do you have any recommendations for craft beers?
Stay away from the IPA’s because hops are not good.
I always go for the beers with the most fun names, then I start to look at what the ingredients are and what type of beer it is. My advice is to just put yourself out there and enjoy something new and cool.
Last question, what is your favorite Acorio memory?
My favorite Acorio memory is probably my first summit and its charity silent auction. I was taken aback by all of the time and money that people were willing to give. I remember waking up the next day and I had spent $1,100 for a pair of headphones, all for a good cause. The fact that a company of ~120 people could raise $22,000+ in an hour was really amazing.
Acorio Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights A-team members across platform areas who are doing extraordinary ServiceNow work. Stay tuned for our next piece to see which employee we’ll be covering next!