Inside Identity with f5 Networks


(upbeat instrumental music) – Hi, I’m Sue. I’m here with Calvin. We’re here today to talk
about how Microsoft and F5 are working together and
using customer obsession to make great value and
benefits for our customers. How are you doing, Calvin? – I’m doing great. It’s a pleasure to be here. – Good, thank you. And thank you for the cup. – [Calvin] You’re welcome. – So tell me what these symbols are. – Well, it represents F5’s values or the behaviors that we’re
all supposed to follow. There are five of them. I’ll reference a couple of them, though, because we have them in common. – [Sue] Okay. – One is, you referenced it, it’s obsessing over customer need. You know, we’re in business
to delight our customers, provide value for them, if you will, and so obsessing over their
need is one of the things that you need to do to be able
to be successful with that. And one of the other behaviors is standing for diversity and inclusion. (playful instrumental music) – Let’s talk about being
in someone’s shoes. I think our, we have to walk
a mile in our customers’ shoes to know what they need.
– That’s for sure. – And we’ve been collaborating together, and I think the partnership is going well. Love the meetings we’re having and the things we’re talking about, and I think that really, like I said, came from customers telling us that they needed to have help. – That’s why we’re sitting here together. – Exactly, exactly.
– Yeah. – So we’re telling everyone
to go to the cloud, and they’re like, “We
can’t get there from here.” – [Calvin] That’s right. – Let’s slow down, let’s talk
about what we need to do, and lo and behold, F5
has a great solution. – That’s right, that’s right. You know, we need to meet
customers where and when and how and with what
they want to be met with and as it relates to
their access strategies, what they’re saying to us
– Certainly. – is, “Hey, look, I want
something that covers “all the bases, of course, I want it all, “and I want it to be easy.” Okay, great, can you be
a little more specific? “Well, I need access for my applications “that are in the cloud that are SASS apps, “but also, I have a lot of applications “that are still on-prem
in the Data Center. “Can you give us a solution
that encompasses all of that?” And working together,
that’s how we’re doing it. – Well, you know, you mentioned SaaS apps. I think that that’s an
area where, as Microsoft, we feel like customers are often confused, and they think of Azure Active Directory as just being for Microsoft products. – Right. – Like Office and Azure. And we really want them to understand that it’s also available
for all those SASS apps. So we’ve come up with
a new tagline for that in saying that it’s, our
solution is from Microsoft, not just for Microsoft. – [Calvin] That’s true. – And you help us then create that ability to have all apps under the protection of Azure Active Directory. – That’s right, that’s right, of course. They want access for their
SaaS apps, their cloud apps, but also for their, you
know, Oracle Business apps, maybe it’s J.D. Edwards, maybe it’s CIBL, maybe it’s PeopleSoft,
E-Business Suite or SAP HANA, or ERP applications, you
know, and so since F5 is ubiquitously on-prem, sitting
in front of applications of that build, adding our APM solution in concert with Azure Active Directory gives them that full
suite of access capability they’re looking for.
– Exactly. – Yeah.
– Yeah, that’s great. (playful instrumental music) – Of course we obsess over customer need. You know, everybody has a different way of getting this feedback,
this diversity of perspective from the marketplace. So F5, of course our primary
source of customer feedback is through our field. They are the primary
advocates for our customer. They come back to headquarters
and advocate on their behalf as it relates to the sort of
innovation they’re looking for for us to be able to lean
in on their success more. But we have found that we
need to widen the aperture, if you will. And so we’ve created this
bespoke experience for customers, from all geos, of all different sizes, different implementation constructs, different technology needs, if you will. And we bring them to
Seattle, F5 headquarters, for a three-week event we call Aspire. We aspire to do a better job
of satisfying their needs. And so we bring them in for
this bespoke experience, and we get their unique perspective. We hear their voice in a unique way. And so we get a better, a
more diverse perspective, if you will. – Sure, sure, like one of
the things my team does is works, you know, our
job is to cut the distance between engineering and our customers so we can operate at cloud speed. One of the things that we do is what we call Customer Onsites. It sounds a little bit
like your Aspire events. And what we do is we
bring customers together, and we’ve done this now for four years, about every six months. And we create this agenda,
and we have the ability for customers to hear what’s coming. And we learned over time that
it felt like we were just in “tell mode” too much and
not in “listen mode” enough. – Yeah. – And then when customers
started talking more, they started to tell us how
much they really enjoyed hearing from each other. Then we got to the
point where they started bringing their own case studies,
and so most of the agenda, about three-fourths of
the agenda is actually customers talking rather than us talking. And even our latest iteration, what we do is we actually
ask the customers for what they want the agenda to be. So they actually drive what it is we’re gonna be talking about. And we’re finding that those events are just amazingly valuable for us. It energizes the team to understand what customers are really doing. And as, like you said,
the customers feel heard. And they feel like they
get more value than that, than even say in an industry conference or even our own Ignite, because
they have that immersion and an ability to really go deep, and then for us to really
understand their scenarios. – And regarding listening in in Aspire, something that we have learned
that is super valuable is you can’t just listen to
seek feedback from your fans. It’s as important, more
important, to get feedback from folks that are less happy with you. Maybe they’re not your fan, not as aware of your
solutions as possible. They bring a unique perspective
to the table as well. – We do the same. We have people, we have
in-product feedback, and we see whether
people are dissatisfied. And we get an opportunity to talk to them, and we give them an opportunity to really tell us what’s missing, tell us what they need more of. – Right. – And hopefully move
them from being someone who’s dissatisfied, of course, to someone who’s satisfied.
– You want to reward their bad news.
– Yes. – It’s not what I wanted to hear, but it’s what I needed to hear. – Absolutely.
– You know, so thank you. – Absolutely. (playful instrumental music) So the solution that we have is secure, which is paramount for CISOs. – Baseline. – But then you have the users
who have to have something that’s easy.
– Right. – So if it’s not easy, then
they’ll try to go around it. We all know that. So we have to have security
balanced by user experience. So can you tell me a little bit, how does that turn out in your hallways? – Sure. Well, you know, so starting
out what got us here. Customers were looking
for modern authentication. SSLO, multi-factoral authentication, conditional access, et cetera. And so we have the technology
today to make that possible. Okay, so now, customers
are taking advantage of it. What feedback are we
getting from them now? Well, okay, this is great. Thank you, Microsoft, thank you F5. Now we’re looking for an easier
implementation experience because, you know, our
application portfolio’s only gonna grow. You know, my users have
this sensational appetite for more and more application, which increases my attack surface. And so can you make this as
easy as possible to deploy? And so working in concert
(clapping) with Microsoft, you are informing our customers, and you are informing our roadmap for working on simpler
implementation scenarios. Call it an easy button if you will. – Yeah, well that thing about the roadmap, that’s like basically our
customers are building the roadmap for us.
– Right, sure. – And so that makes it
much easier for us to know that when we build it, it will be used. – Right. One of the primary on-premise applications that we are highly likely
to find our customers wanting us to provide access for, let’s provide easy
configuration out of the box for those applications. And so that’s what we’re striving to do. – Yeah. And Satya coming in and
telling us and reminding us that we ought to be partner-led, always, that that was in our beginnings,
and that’s still our ethos, I think that’s really
given us the wake-up call to really be a good partner. And we’re really, really
serious about doing that. (upbeat instrumental music) So we’ve been talking about
how we’ve been listening to customers, and now
let’s talk a little bit about how are we listening
to our employees? What are we doing to make sure
that their voices are heard? – Super important, it’s super important because if we’re gonna get the most informed portfolio of insight, it’s overwhelmingly gonna
come from our employees. Yes, we’re talking directly to customers, but our employees are our
advocates, our informers, if you will.
– Yeah. – [Calvin] So we have to do that. – Well, if you want to create a solution for a diverse world, it’s best if it comes from a diverse team. – True, that’s right, and then we don’t have any blind spots. – Yeah.
– Right? And so you have to take
very specific actions. This has been my experience, if you will, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. You have to be deliberate in your actions to make sure that other voices are heard, that people feel comfortable speaking up, that they feel included,
because when they feel included, they just give that much more. They lean in on the
project that much more. The data’s indisputable. We know this now from social science. – So that reminds me of one
of the things we’re doing now at Microsoft are values conversations. And that’s really a
way for us to make sure that respect, integrity,
and accountability are a part of everything we do. And it’s really exciting to see. People really respond to that ability to see what they can do
better, or what are we like when we’re at our best, what are we like when we’re not at our best, in order to make the
environment just more, giving everyone a better
sense of belonging. (playful instrumental music) – So we’re talking quite
a bit about the values and the practice of making
people feel included to get a diversity of opinion. What are some specific
actions people can take? What sort of things
have you seen that work, or what sort of experiences have you had on the other side of it? – Oh, you know what they say, you don’t always remember what was said, but you remember how they feel? – [Calvin] Yes. – Just even yesterday I was in a meeting around a conference room table. Everyone was introducing each other. I was in between two men. And I was skipped. And I was thinking, “Seriously,
in this day and age?” So you know, it’s still happening. And I’m sure it was not intentional, and that’s the notion of unconscious bias. – Right. – But it does happen. But what to do about it? I think, I’ve always
said start with yourself. I know that I do those same things. And so it’s really
important to become aware when something happens, think about how you
could do it differently. And if it is really egregious, speak up and say
something to someone else. Or I think there’s
another, even a third one, which is help someone else
when something happens to them. And that’s what we call allyship. So it’s the ability to
see something that happens and then, or even to prevent
something from happening, be a person who can advocate for someone, make sure that, you know, call on them, make sure that they are being
able to be contributing, invited to the right
meetings, all of those things that help that person
have a seat at the table. – So model the right behavior, but then also specifically have
a positive impact on people. – Yes, yes. (upbeat instrumental music) I’m a voracious reader. I’ve most recently been reading this book, it’s called “The Four
Paws of Spiritual Success” by David Michie, and it’s
actually how to apply the Buddhism concepts to daily life. – Okay. – You know, you can be
any religion, really, and apply these concepts of good living. And so I was a first reader. I actually had a chance
to get an early copy, and I wrote my first review on Amazon. So I’m in print, I feel
kind of like Navin Johnson in “The Jerk.”
(both laughing) – Free publicity. – That’s right, that’s right. So anyway, what are you reading these days besides newspapers? – Business book that I read
recently, not once, but twice, was Geoffrey Moore’s “Zone to Win,” the principles of which
we’re using at F5, actually. – So I’m familiar with
his “Crossing the Chasm.” So this is new print. So tell me about it. – Well, the point, the
middle level with the time that we’ve got here is
companies historically miss horizon two and horizon
three opportunities because they run the entire business in what Geoffrey would
call the performance zone. And so you invest behind revenue. And so in that kind of environment, you starve incubation
opportunities for horizon two and horizon three from the
blood and oxygen that you need to get launch velocity, if you will. – So tell me, what we’re doing together, where does that fit in this model? – Well, actually, I would argue, and I think Geoffrey would agree, that my customer at F5 is
our security business unit who owns the APM on BIG- IP solution. And so this is an integration
that will help them satisfy their business goals in 2020. However, Geoffrey would say every zone has its own quadrants, if you will, and so we are incubating. This is an incubation zone
within the performance zone of taking a solution
as a result of feedback from a few forward-leaning
customers for the benefit of the rest of our customers, and we will be graduated
into common implementation scenarios for the rest of the customers. But maybe you would say
now, going back to another Geoffrey Moore book, we’ve
got to get ’em across a chasm. – Oh, absolutely. It’s really been a pleasure
talking to you today. – Likewise. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. I’m looking forward to
continuing to drive innovation for our customers. – Excellent. Sounds great. (upbeat instrumental music)