Switching to a Performance Mindset: Riverbed Employees React


I heard a joke recently that will ring true to any IT professional. It was: “What do farmers and most organizations have in common?”

The punchline? “Silos.”

Siloed teams means missed goals

Overall company macro goals can be missed when siloed teams focus on micro goals.

Siloed thinking occurs when companies have a segmented structure with units that fail to share resources and knowledge with each other (Harvard Business Review, 2015). When departments are too focused on achieving their own micro goals and lose sight of their company’s overall macro goals, the organization is effectively being its own worst enemy. This is particularly an issue for businesses with many different products and services. If not managed properly, teams will often become single-mindedly focused on their individual projects or products.

Especially today, when digital performance is one of the top preoccupations of most organizations, having a unified team that understands each other’s priorities is more vital than ever before. To become more cohesive, efficient and proactive, enterprises need to adopt a performance mindset to master digital performance. Check out the blog “The Digital Future with Riverbed’s Digital Performance Center” by Riverbed VP of Global Customer Success Gary Duggan for more information on optimal digital performance.

Getting into the performance mindset 

What is a performance mindset?

It is a mentality focused on overall digital performance, rather than making point products the emphasis.

“A performance mindset is not limited to products, as has been the case up until now,” weighs in Emmanuel Odarno, a Riverbed lead performance consultant.  “Rather, it looks holistically at digital performance, on both technical and business ends.”

Riverbed is the digital performance company and emphasizing a holistic performance mindset is vital to our success, on both a personal and company-wide level. It is a value our employees always keep in mind to maintain the bigger picture, even when dealing with the daily nitty-gritty.

“Someone with a performance mindset if business focused,” describes Dr. Eugene Ward, also a Riverbed lead performance consultant. “They’re looking for specific business outcomes. They’re not just asking, ‘how can I maximize my application performance’, but ‘how can I maximize my application performance to drive more business and improve my customers’ overall experience?”

Driving tangible results for our clients is a core priority for Riverbed. “One of the common questions we ask leaders of organizations that we’re engaged with is, ‘What keeps you awake at night?’” says Dr. Ward. “It’s important to us that we know exactly what they’re seeking out of our services.”

Keeping the focus on our clients’ overall digital performance is key to helping them reach these milestones. “Having a performance mindset helps our customers realize the full value of Riverbed products and tools. This provides faster time to resolution and a proactive approach to problems,” explains Odarno. “Whereas if you have a singular focus, small things may go unnoticed if they do not affect your team directly. That can lead to business problems in the long run.”

Silo thinking is an issue our teams are very aware of, and one we consistently strive to combat. The performance mindset helps avoid segmentation and finger pointing by examining our customers’ digital performance, across the board, as opposed to risking errors falling through the cracks.

“Many people who work in IT will tell you they are basically just ‘keeping the lights on’ in terms of daily operations, instead of focusing on improving the processes to spur growth,” says Dr. Ward. “By managing digital performance comprehensively, you are spending less time solving daily operation flaws and can devote more time to strategy. You’re looking at metrics and proactively trouble shooting by noticing trends.”

On the customer operations side, emphasizing a performance mindset leads to concrete benefits such as fewer outages and shorter time to repair.  This, in turn, allows our clients to focus more on the tactical and strategic goals of the company.  Through this displacement effect, they are now able to focus more on the end-user experience, rather than troubleshooting issues.

To help promote this type of comprehensive mindset, Riverbed has recently developed a new training program called Riverbed Certified Performance Engineering (RCPE). Watch the video below to learn more about this curriculum:

RCPE covers the crucial principles of digital performance management and engineering, with four different levels. The introductory Foundational track highlights fundamentals of performance engineering and delivers a common understanding for all levels of the organization. To learn more details about the program, read our blog post “Mastering Digital Performance with RCPE.”

Riverbed has incorporated it into our customers’ teams and our own teams as well. Below, Odarno and Dr. Ward reflect on the changes they’ve seen from RCPE.

Riverbed employees react

Since launching RCPE, Riverbed continuously checks in with customers collecting feedback to ensure that the program offers tangible benefits. We’ve heard that RCPE has had as much of a positive effect on team-building as it’s had on individual proficiency.

“The RCPE tracks have effectively shortened many of their internal discussions regarding managing digital infrastructure,” explains Odarno. “Even just taking the Foundational course makes the process more efficient, because people coming from different sides of IT are historically not on the same page.”

One of RCPE’s most prominent strengths is its breadth. It touches on many different areas of digital performance – from end user experience, to network monitoring, to virtualization and storage. This makes the program universally relevant, providing technical information for those who don’t currently possess it and adding business insight for those who are usually more focused on the digital architecture components.

“Performance management allows you to build on existing skills and add new ones.” shares Dr. Ward. He previously worked as a network engineer and explains the difference he noticed once he transitioned to performance management. “In this larger environment, you have to understand where it all comes together. You can have everything on the network be great, but the end user might be having a really poor experience. Performance management is all about bridging that gap.”

RCPE mindset

Contact training@riverbed.com to sign up for the free RCPE Performance Foundations course.

This incorporation of both business and technical in performance management further helps advance the performance mindset for our customers as well as ourselves. “By training our teams in both these aspects, even a business unit leader will find their work more effective with RCPE because their groups are working in a more cohesive and united fashion,” says Odarno.

Overall, the dialogue we’ve heard is that RCPE is a well-rounded and accessible approach to performance management. This value translates to our customers as well; the more proficient and united IT professionals are, the more efficient and effective our work is collectively.

Dr. Ward sums it up: “It’s where the conversation about performance management certification can really begin.”

Performance Foundations is free for everyone. To try it for free, please contact us at training@riverbed.com to sign up.

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