Here at Acorio, our clients are at the heart of all that we do. We understand that what builds an incredible consultancy is what’s in its people’s brains. That’s why we’re constantly adding to our team of technicians, consultants, and certified all-stars. Today we’re sharing the October installment of the Acorio Spotlight, a monthly blog series in which we sit down and chat with different Acorians to learn about the work that they do.
This month’s Acorio Spotlight focuses on Todd Morrissette, a Senior Engagement Manager and one of the many people that put Acorio in a league of its own when it comes to supporting clients throughout their transformation journies.
Let’s jump right in and meet Todd!
The Elevator Pitch: Todd in 30 Seconds
Todd has over 20 years’ experience managing Information Technology. It all started back when he took a temp IT job at Holiday Inn’s headquarters in Atlanta, just as they were preparing for the 1996 Olympic Games. He’s adept at understanding business requirements and providing and delivering stellar technical solutions. He’s an excellent communicator who believes in building teams based on mutual trust and leaving room to make mistakes.
Tell us a little about your background – what’s it like working in IT? How has the landscape changed since you started?
I graduated with no experience in IT at all. I graduated from the University of Arizona with just a general business degree and moved to Atlanta, Georgia with no job. But my temp job with Holiday Inn turned into a year (by which time I was running the project to program laptops to work with ISDN devices).
I stayed there for a year then I went on to Best Western where I was the manager of the Desktop team. After that, I went to a dot-com and took over the entire IT infrastructure.
As far as how things have changed: the biggest thing is better networks. It’s the thing that makes technology run faster now. Sure, computers have changed and the software has changed but I think that’s all been predicated by having better networks that allow applications to run faster and giving companies more room for innovation.
When did you start working in ServiceNow? How does the technology and the client work compare to others that you’ve worked with in the past?
Technically I started working with ServiceNow 4 years ago at a previous company. I was responsible for the deployment of ITSM at a large client, but the entire time I was on that project (which was 3 years) I never actually saw the application. I never logged into it, never used it, had never seen it. But I managed a project for 3 years of implementing it. So my background on ServiceNow was a little odd. I never saw ServiceNow until I joined Acorio as an Engagement Manager and went through our ServiceNow bootcamp.
As far as the technology and the client work, to me people are people. It’s taken a long time for the technology sector to recognize and learn that IT and technology is a service. And part of a service is interacting with clients and providing strong customer experience.
Beginning as far back as college, when I worked at Disney World, I’ve always been a strong believer of implementing strong customer service. And I would always push that our job is to provide customer service and customer understanding first before implementing the technology.
How did you find Acorio?
Grant Pulver contacted me. I had worked on a project with Grant at a previous company. He had joined Acorio and about a year later he reached out to me and asked me if I was interested in making a change. I was, in fact, very interested in making a change.
Before coming to Acorio, you co-founded Corossol Software. What challenges did you face, and do you think that experience shaped your current work ethic?
I started Corossol with my mentor. He had retired and, in his retirement, he wanted to start this software company. He asked me to leave Oracle to join him and so I did.
The biggest challenge with that, ironically, was what we were building at Corossol software was very similar to ServiceNow. It was a platform that you could pretty much build anything on.
Our funding was coming from someone who was in the moving and storage industries. So we were trying to customize and build some moving software onto the platform, which is a limited scope. And we were also trying to go out to the medical and healthcare industry with it. The biggest struggle for us was that we just didn’t know how to define our application. That’s where ServiceNow had us beat. At the begining they emerged strongly in ITSM and expanded from there.
But it is interesting to me that my mentor, about the same time that ServiceNow was originally being built, had a similar idea of wanting to have a web-based tool that was a platform that you could build anything upon. The experience opened my eyes to the possibilities for a diverse range of customers, that I now get to work with every day
As a manager, how do you go about building strong teams?
This question I love. I’ve always loved managing people. For me, you’ve got to start with trusting your team and give them the opportunity to make mistakes. Certainly not catastrophic mistakes but I find that people learn more from their mistakes than their successes. So it’s ok as long as you’re encouraging them to challenge themselves.
I don’t like to micromanage. I know a lot of people say that, but I know a lot of people say it and they still do it. I’m a person who likes to set a start point and a finish point and maybe some parameters have to be put around it. But I leave it up to the team to decide how they’re going to get from point A to point B. Because many people out there will choose different paths. Just because it’s the way that I would do it doesn’t mean it’s the right way. They need to do it on their own. I’m always there to provide guidance for them and help them if they have questions, but my job is to get out of their way and let them do their job.
Do you have an Acorio role model? What makes them so special?
I think we all look up to Ellen Daley, our CEO. On one of my current projects, I’ve gotten to work with Ellen and talk to her almost daily. There are many people at Acorio that have really influenced me or impressed me with how they work and how they interact and needless to say, Ellen is one of those.
If I was to call out another person, it would have to be Mike Hanrahan. Not only is he great at doing his job but at the same time he cares about people and it comes across. He’s one of those people that you can just tell he cares about me as me, more than my work or my role here on the team.
What tips do you have for people who work from home?
I’ve been working from home for over 10 years and my wife hates it. So I would say the biggest tip is: don’t annoy your significant other by working at home. Even if the physical location is your home, try to leave the office “in the office” (or at your desk, etc.) and don’t take it home to your family. We work all day and then it’s easy to come back to the office at night since it’s right down the hall. I just think that you need to make sure that you’re balancing your work and your personal life – with a clear schedule and communication with others in your household.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
This one I really struggle with. I never gave it any thought. The one thing that came to mind was: I know it was a goal of mine to become a director before I turned 30. And I did that. I was named a director when I was 29 years old and I was pretty proud of that for such a young age to have reached that position at a company where being a director really had significance.
What is one change that you would like ServiceNow to make in the next year?
In the last two weeks, I’ve come up with several based on the project that I’m on and my complaints that I’ve been having. One would be improvements to Security for HRSD. But each ServiceNow release has significant upgrades so I am sure they are already working on something for Orlando.
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!