Q&A with Mike Dickerson, Chief Executive Officer at ClickDimensions

Media 7 | April 20, 2020

Mike Dickerson, Chief Executive Officer at ClickDimensions is an experienced global executive with entrepreneurial passion for developing new businesses and building the teams to bring them to life. Mike has turned an idea on a bar napkin into a $250 million division providing mission-critical communications technology to the Global 1000. He has funded and founded three start ups, and was part of the executive team to take PGI private in a $1.1 billion transaction with Siris Capital.

Mike is interested in talking with anyone who wants to make digital marketing technology more accessible for the benefit of our 3,400 customers and 1,000 partners in the Microsoft Dynamics community.

MEDIA 7: Could you start by telling us a little about yourself? How has your journey been so far?
MIKE DICKERSON:
 I was born into a family of entrepreneurs and business pioneers, which meant I was exposed to grit and perseverance from a very young age. Raised by a strong female journalist and self-made businessman, the lessons my parents taught me proved to be ideal for a life as an entrepreneur, including the importance of ethics, integrity and hard work in measuring a person’s impact in the world.

Later, it was my passion for developing new businesses and building the teams to bring them to life that led me to found and lead three startups. A good friend, who has led or funded many companies, calls being an entrepreneur a character defect. This same defect drove me to a brainstorming session with a friend at a bar which became an idea on a napkin which then became a $250 million division providing mission-critical communications technology to the Global 1000. That story has a happy ending as I was as part of the executive team that took PGI private in a $1.1 billion transaction with Siris Capital.

Since 2017, I have been the CEO of ClickDimensions, an industry-leading marketing technology and services company owned by private equity firm Accel-KKR.

My journey so far has involved more than a few risks and obstacles, which have led to big rewards and the ability to work with tech talent across the world. New York Times Best-Selling Author Clayton M. Christensen once wrote, “How Will You Measure Your Life?” in which he described the honor and noble purpose of management. Most of us have to work and spend most of our waking hours on the job. I think about the difference between a team leader who understands teammates needs, and helps them do their best work and leave the job feeling energized for their life outside of work by the contribution they’ve made versus the lousy boss who leaves the company’s employees directionless, defensive and demoralized as they head home. I want to be the former.


"Digital marketing, and all the channels included within that, is more essential than ever before for businesses around the globe."

M7: How does ClickDimensions help clients with Marketing Automation solutions? What are the common challenges that ail most of the companies?
MD: ClickDimensions is The Marketing Cloud for Microsoft Dynamics™ and exists to help marketers create amazing experiences that drive growth and engagement. Started in 2010, the company was first foundedto help Microsoft Dynamics users worldwide bridge the gap between marketing and sales. At the time, there was no solution that offered Dynamics users and Microsoft partners a 100 percent native solution created for marketers. Since then, the company has developed into a marketing cloud for Microsoft Dynamics, serving 3,700 customers around the world and building a partner network that spans 76 countries. Built natively in Dynamics, ClickDimensions solves marketers’ challenges by offering a single unified marketing applications, analytics and services platform.

In a world of convenience and personalization, fulfilled daily by companies like Amazon and Uber, mid-market and small businesses recognize the need to deliver consistent experiences in order to stay competitive. Marketers are challenged with an ever-changing buying cycle, and technologies are often too complicated and too expensive and there aren’t enough people with the right skillsets to create the experiences that mirror the personalization they receive in their consumer lives.

Since I came on board in 2017, ClickDimensions has grown from a marketing automation provider to delivering multichannel marketing applications that work natively as one solution with Microsoft Dynamics. Our platform also now provides the accompanying marketing services needed by today’s marketers to expand their bandwidth and achieve success. By doing so, we are democratizing the industry and allowing small to mid-market companies the opportunity to provide personalization and compete with enterprise organizations.

M7: What marketing channels do you use and which one do you see promising given your target customers?
MD: ClickDimensions has always been digitally focused in our marketing efforts, which makes sense given our business. A means for digital marketing is what we sell, so it comes naturally to us to use it too. With the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing means digital everything. Digital marketing, and all the channels included within that, is more essential than ever before for businesses around the globe.


"Built natively in Dynamics, ClickDimensions solves marketers’ challenges by offering a single unified marketing applications, analytics and services platform."

M7: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work - what day to day processes have you had to re-tool to be able to pull them off remotely? What does your remote tech stack look like?
MD: 
The way our company operates today is very similar to before COVID-19. Our global team has always been familiar with teleconferencing and working with customers and colleagues via remote environments. And because our solutions are built natively within Microsoft Dynamics, we have a strong technology infrastructure that can serve a remote workforce. I’m sure it helps that I spent 10 years in the collaboration industry helping people work together when they weren’t together.

With that said, many of our customers and partners are continuing to feel the effects of COVID-19 on their business operations and sales. As such, their work with us has pivoted as digital marketing has become more important than ever. This includes increased usage of our marketing automation and social media solutions, as well as utilizing our managed services to provide support to internal marketing and sales teams to drive traffic and results.

COVID-19 has shown that it’s more important than ever for sales and marketing organizations to be unified. ClickDimensions is set up to serve these two organizations from a remote environment, enabling collaboration, and helping to provide one solution that can serve multiple departments in one organization. I have a feeling that companies are increasingly more focused on finding ways to drive revenue than the historic rivalries between sales and marketing.

M7: Do you think we will constantly be looking over our shoulders and have to have a remote plan ready?
MD:
As businesses are navigating the effects of COVID-19, one lesson that has emerged across organizations, regardless of size, is the importance of being flexible and understanding the digital landscape. In some industries where salespeople could rely on one-on-one, in-person interactions with customers or prospects, they are quickly understanding that the digital landscape may be different and it's imperative to get up-to-speed quickly to keep moving business forward.

Because more industries are relying on digital selling, sales and marketing are pivoting to more of a revenue-centric strategy. No longer are these two organizations allowed to think differently or work independently, and all efforts must be tied to the bottom line. It’s imperative that these organizations use this time to get on the same page and work together, as digital selling and marketing will happen for the unforeseeable future and will become more important than ever in a post COVID-19 environment.

A model for the future is to think digital first; the in-person is an extra blessing when you have the opportunity.


"A model for the future is to think digital first; the in-person is an extra blessing when you have the opportunity."

M7: What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
MD:
 The first thing I would tell young Mike is that goals are important, but that you can only control your own actions and not the results. Make sure you are not confusing the act of staring at the mountain with the act of climbing it. The second thing I would tell him is that there is tremendous benefit to devoting time each week to reflecting on what has your attention, considering what you plan to do about it and writing down your thoughts so you can learn from them in the weeks ahead. I wish I had started that habit 20 years before I finally did.

M7: What is your superpower or spirit animal?
MD:
In keeping with today’s emphasis on digital everything, I turned to the internet and an online quiz to help guide me in choosing my spirit animal. The result? A tiger – which I think is a great honor. Tigers are amazing creatures that have incredible instincts. Sadly, there are only around 3,800 left in the wild today, so I think we need more people in this world to think of them as spirit animals.

ABOUT CLICKDIMENSIONS

Founded in 2010, ClickDimensions is the leading marketing platform for Microsoft Dynamics, with more than 3,700 customers around the globe and a partner network that spans 76 countries today. As The Marketing Cloud for Microsoft Dynamics™, ClickDimensions is redefining how marketers work and attain results with the only unified marketing technology, analytics and services platform in the market. Made exclusively for and natively built within Dynamics, ClickDimensions allows marketers to leverage technology to its full potential by providing built-in measurable results and insights into revenue impact with world-class services to drive continual improvement.

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Northern Data Becomes Preferred Cloud Service Provider in NVIDIA Partner Network

Northern Data | September 21, 2022

Northern Data Cloud Services has joined the NVIDIA Partner Network as a Preferred Partner for Cloud Services in Europe. Northern Data's (XETRA: NB2, ISIN: DE000A0SMU87) sustainable data centers provide a GPU compute infrastructure based on NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core and RTX A6000 GPUs, primarily targeting artificial intelligence (AI) and professional visualization development teams. Northern Data helps these teams solve research and development assignments that require high processing power as well as data-driven business models. This infrastructure creates the platform for automated and semi-automated workloads in fast-growing segments such as image, video and data analysis, natural language processing (NLP), rendering, and machine learning (ML). "We are delighted to be an NVIDIA Partner Network Preferred Cloud Service Provider. The market is just getting started in the development of GPU cloud computing, yet we have the capability to offer large volumes of GPU computing power, tailored to the growing needs of our customers based on our own HPC data center infrastructure. We run our climate-neutral data centers in Scandinavia with a focus on the highest levels of energy efficiency. As a European supplier, we also guarantee our customers data sovereignty and security in line with European standards to meet their compliance requirements." Aroosh Thillainathan, CEO of Northern Data "Combining our powerful full-stack accelerated computing platform with Northern Data's user-friendly and climate-neutral concept marks a milestone in the European cloud services market," says Markus Hacker, Regional Director of Enterprise Business DACH at NVIDIA, and continues: "Together, we'll drive demand for these new, cloud-based HPC offerings." A powerful overall package With a large number of NVIDIA GPUs, Northern Data will provide start-ups, scale-ups, established companies and system integrators with massive computing capacity for data-intensive workloads on demand. With Northern Data, customers will benefit from a tech stack that guarantees high interconnectivity and absence of latency between individual GPUs, as well as within one tenant for maximum scalability and flexibility. In accomplishing this, Northern Data is relying on the latest networking technology from NVIDIA, all-flash storage solutions from PureStorage and an external, redundant 100 Gbit internet connection. High security standards, low complexity of the network configuration and the simple scaling of workloads thanks to the support of Cloud-init complete the offerings. To simplify developer workflows and optimize performance on GPU instances, NVIDIA offers NGC™, a Hub of GPU-optimized AI and HPC software including enterprise-grade containers, frameworks, pre-trained models, Helm charts and industry-specific software development kits (SDKs) for data scientists, developers and DevOps teams to build and deploy solutions faster. This end-to-end approach — from the choice of location to the construction and operation of the data center — and Northern Data's focus on cloud-native applications and the formulation of transparent flavors guarantee Northern Data customers cost-efficient use of sought-after HPC resources with no surprise follow-on costs. This is enabled by Northern Data's sustainable data centers with exceptionally high power usage effectiveness (PUE) in Sweden (PUE value: 1.04 in 2021) and Norway (PUE value: 1.15). "The underlying technology and framework conditions in which it is provided are crucial for our offerings. NVIDIA GPUs speed up large, demanding workloads as they can process data volumes in the petabyte range much faster than traditional CPUs. With the exceptional performance of NVIDIA GPUs, large-scale simulations can also be processed faster than ever before," explains Christopher Yoshida, President and CFO of Northern Data. Cost transparency for wide-ranging application scenarios The current cloud offerings target a wide variety of application scenarios for GPU computing. For example, they include fast, efficient image and video analysis for media content creators, rapid rendering of complex models and 3D simulations for research and development teams, real-time analysis and evaluation of large data volumes for business decision-makers or even the accelerated training of AI and ML models. Customers of Northern Data Cloud Services can reserve large processing capacity in advance as part of a transparent cost structure. Besides B2B customers, the company is also providing system integrators and AI consultants with a powerful, immediately available HPC offering that represents an intelligent addition to traditional solutions from classic hyperscalers. About Northern Data: At Northern Data, we are convinced that High Performance Computing (HPC) will open up opportunities for research and development, business and ultimately human progress never seen before. Our multinational company is quickly becoming a globally significant provider of GPU and ASIC-based solutions through the development and operation of an efficient, environmentally-friendly HPC infrastructure. We combine intelligent, sustainable data centers, advanced, leading edge hardware and in-house, proprietary software for various HPC applications such as Bitcoin mining, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analytics, IoT and graphics rendering. We work in large, customized data centers and proprietary, mobile high-performance data centers which offer the ultimate scope of flexibility in the choice of location. The Northern Data Group employs around 220 members of staff in active in 7 countries.

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CLOUD SECURITY

CoreStack and Marlabs Announce Global Partnership to Expand Cloud Management Offerings

CoreStack | September 15, 2022

CoreStack, a global multi-cloud governance provider that empowers enterprises to unleash the power of the cloud, today announced a global partnership with Marlabs, a leading global digital solutions company. The partnership will integrate the expertise of both companies, bringing extensive digital transformation for their shared customer base to help them stay competitive through increased digital agility. Marlabs will implement CoreStack’s AI-based real-time cloud governance engine in its Cloud Management Platform, allowing its customers a 360-degree broad and deep visibility across cloud financial management (FinOps), security operations (SecOps), and cloud operations (CloudOps) in an integrated single pane of glass. Marlabs will be hosting this solution in the Marlabs Experience Center in Bengaluru, India, to enable clients to leverage the power and value of the solution. CoreStack's AI-powered multi-cloud governance solution has provided customers with transformational outcomes with its NextGen cloud governance fabric. Implementing their technologies have led to fifty percent increases in cloud operational efficiencies, forty percent decreases in cloud costs, and one-hundred percent compliance with security standards. "We have a strong focus on cloud-powered IT management, and this partnership with CoreStack is a concrete step to our commitment in that direction, We are excited to collaborate with CoreStack and implement and support their ground-breaking FinOps, SecOps, and CloudOps offerings as part of our Cloud Management Platform.” Siby Vadakekkara, Chairman and CEO at Marlabs “As Marlabs’ global partner, we will get a chance to enable our joint customers to manage the cloud proactively and confidently, across key verticals like healthcare, life sciences, fintech, retail, and technology,” said Ezhilarasan Natarajan, Founder and CEO at CoreStack Inc. “We are thrilled to partner with them, and we are looking forward to extending our award-winning NextGen Cloud Governance platform to their customers while drawing on their extensive digital expertise to help businesses around the world.” About CoreStack CoreStack is a NextGen cloud business accelerator that empowers enterprises to predictably increase top-line revenues, improve bottom-line efficiencies, and gain a competitive edge through AI-powered real-time cloud governance on autopilot. CoreStack's FinOps, SecOps, and CloudOps solutions embrace, enhance, and extend native-cloud enable reporting, recommendation, remediation and provide single pane-of-glass governance across multi-cloud. Through executive dashboards for comprehensive real-time insights, CoreStack delivers transformative value such as 40% increase in operational efficiencies, 50% decrease in cloud costs, and 100% security assurance and compliance. CoreStack helps 500+ global enterprises govern $2+ billion in annual cloud consumption. Frost & Sullivan, Gartner, and IDC recognized CoreStack as an innovator and leader in cloud management. CoreStack is backed by strategic advisors, including the ex-CEO of Wipro and ex-CIO of Microsoft. The company is a Microsoft Azure Gold Partner, Amazon AWS Advanced Technology Competency Partner, and Google Cloud Build Partner. To learn more, visit www.corestack.io. About Marlabs Marlabs designs and develops advanced digital solutions that help its clients improve business outcomes swiftly and precisely. It succeeds by harnessing the power of the Digital Collective™, which brings together design-led digital innovation with human experience, composable digital platforms, and a collaborative ecosystem of first-class technology partners and innovators. Marlabs provides digital-first strategy and advisory services, digital labs for rapid solution incubation and prototyping, and agile engineering to build and scale digital solutions, as well as prize-winning products and solutions in AI and analytics, cybersecurity, and IoT. Its offerings help leading companies around the world make operations sleeker, keep customers closer, transform data into decisions, de-risk cyberspace, boost legacy system performance, and seize novel opportunities and new digital revenue streams. Marlabs has its headquarters in New Jersey, with offices in the United States, Germany, and India. Its 2,500+ global workforce includes highly experienced technology, platform, and industry specialists from the world’s leading technical universities.

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