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Talent and Technology: how the pandemic changed perspective on productivity

Clive Armitage

August 17, 2022

In the latest of our ‘Agents of Change’ series in which we ask business leaders and pioneers to share their thoughts with us about driving sustainable success in a changed world, we were lucky enough to be joined by one of Silicon Valley’s most successful executives,  Jeremy Burton,  CEO of Observe, a California-based SaaS observability company, which raised $70M in its most recent round of Series A funding.

Formerly CMO of Dell EMC and Symantec, Jeremy has also held numerous senior marketing roles at B2B technology industry goliaths, including Veritas and Oracle, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for cloud-based data company, Snowflake, as well as holding an advisory role for the McLaren F1 team.

In this episode of Agents of Change, Jeremy spoke to us about attracting and retaining the industry’s top talent and how the pandemic changed his perspective on the need to be physically present to create a productive team.

If people are a company’s most valuable asset, argued Jeremy, why are 60-70% of workers today reportedly looking for new jobs?  Employers need to focus on providing employees with the flexible work environment they have come to expect in order to drive maximum productivity.

With today’s post-pandemic talent pool that reaches far beyond the geographical limitations of commuting distance, Jeremy argues that staff retention has become dependent on two critical factors:

(i) The ability to inspire people by the company’s mission and ensuring everyone is bought in, and focused on, the ‘big prize’ 

(ii) Providing remote workers with access to the right information, both in order to do their jobs and to ensure trust in the company they’re working for is maintained.  If information flow was important in the past, it is more important than ever today, and total transparency builds that trust.

Finally, given Jeremy has consistently been part of fast growth technology companies, we asked him for his predictions around future technology trends and likely ‘winners’.  Jeremy believes there will be an increased number of industry-specific applications that can handle the colossal volumes of data that are being created.  He argued that the increased use of cloud-based technologies has led to an increased number of people online with the volume of data increasing exponentially, as a result.  His conclusion?  Anyone who can provide the ability to analyse and iterate based on that data, will win. 

As ever, Jeremy was an engaging and passionate advocate for the technology industry and we look forward to hearing more great things about Observe – if you’d like to hear Jeremy’s interview in full, click here

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