Helen Yu, CEO/Founder at Tigon Advisory On UI/UX, Marketing & Digital Transformation

Dinis Guarda interviews interviews Helen Yu CEO, Founder At Tigon Advisory, CXO, Top 10 Global Influencer In Digital Transformation

Helen Yu is CEO and founder of Tigon Advisory. Ms. Yu helps start-up technology founders accelerate growth through CXO as a service offering. Ms. Yu has led multibillion-dollar revenue growth for Fortune 500 enterprises, including Oracle, Adobe and Marketo. She was dubbed a Top 10 Global Influencer in Digital Transformation by IBM, Top 35 Women in Finance by Onalytica and a Global Top 10 Marketing Thought Leader, Global Top 5 Start-up Thought Leader by Thinkers360.

Helen Yu Interview questions

1. An introduction from you – background, overview, education…
2. Career highlights
3. Your company / companies, organisations and focus?
4. YOU ARE A GLOBAL influencer in multiple areas. Can you tell us about #DigitalTransformation your obsession with #CXO and #GrowthHacker.
5. How do you see the intersection of #Tech and #Humanity. #AI #Blockchain #Marketing #CX #IoT #CyberSecurity
6. How do you see Society 5.0 – 4IR,  and all areas of digital transformation with what we are facing now with Covid 19?
7. What are your views on our society, technology and digital transformations going forward special when it comes to AI and blockchain?
8. What are your goals and how do you see the future of work and the main trends in tech and society?
9. With Covid-19 what ways do you envision to redesign our society with technology and social impact?
10. What are your visions for the present and future?

Interview Quotes and Highlights

· There are only two options when it comes to digital transformation: disrupt or be disrupted. That’s exciting! It’s exciting to think that we can CHOOSE growth for our organizations, CHOOSE to scale our companies, CHOOSE to win.

I’ve been lucky throughout my career to be in the crossfire of “the way we’ve always done it” and “what do we need to do to prepare for the future.” Digital transformation is the bridge between these two worlds.

One of the most exciting periods of my career took place when I became a Solution Architect post-acquisition. I learned about the nuances of Enterprise Software Sales from Keith Block who, at that time, was Oracle Executive Vice President of Sales. I then learned marketing and SAAS at Adobe, and successfully led the start-up to scale-up challenges at Marketo.

Automation is integral to digital transformation and companies like Oracle, Adobe, Marketo led the way and continue to lead the way.

· I believe growth thrives at the crossroads of #tech and #humanity.

Technology defeats its purpose if it does not serve the greater good of society and solve real problems. Before organizations embrace any technology, they must embrace humanity as an organization.

AI, Blockchain, IoT, Cybersecurity, Marketing automation are all huge parts of digital transformation. They affect everyone across an organization. Technology does not live in a world by itself. Making technology and humanity mutually exclusive is like cutting off oxygen to a plant. It won’t survive and neither with technology if it is thought of exclusively.

In digital transformation, technology only contributes 20% to a company’s success, 80% is about leading people to a more successful place through effective change management.

· Fifty years ago, we could not have pivoted as quickly or as creatively as we are seeing people do today. Zoom was founded in 2011. FaceTime came out in 2010. So technology has stepped in as an important tool to keeping the economic engine of business moving forward — and it’s even accelerated digitalization.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, finally, will change not only what we do but also who we are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships. It is already changing our health and leading to a “quantified” self, and sooner than we think it may lead to human augmentation. The list is endless because it is bound only by our imagination.

Society 5.0 is similar to 4IR in terms of technologies used and the idea of merging of cyber, physical and biological worlds. However, Society 5.0 is a more sweeping concept that goes beyond manufacturing and commerce and envisages a complete transformation of our way of life. Society 5.0 is a human-centered proposition that seeks to use the same relationships between cyberspace and physical space as 4IR to solve social problems.

COVID-19 has reminded us about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Health and safety are among our most basic needs. We have to address these before we can address ones like career advancement or personal growth.

· This next wave of tech innovation promises to multiply our capacity to work better, smarter and more seamlessly through technology.

AI and Blockchain are both overhyped technology in my opinion. In general, there is lack of understanding of how they apply to a real world and sometimes the fear and the psychological impact of it. AI turns into “accelerated investment” to many companies. Companies need to focus more on what problems they want to solve and understand the root cause of the issues prior to jumping into digital transformation initiatives.

The secret ingredients of digital transformation are the triple play: Culture, talent and practice.

Culture: Creating a culture of collaboration and sharing

Talent: Upskill workforce talents or create a bimodal workforce for more rapid realignment to changing dynamics

Practice: Having a practice/process in place to align strategy with execution. Embracing a simpler and more agile practice allows a company to adapt faster is critical.

· Social responsibility and strengthening the tech ecosystem through community and collaboration is extremely important to me. Every year on my birthday, I volunteer my time to make a difference. Last October, I donated my time to speak at 1871, a tech start-up accelerator in the heart of Chicago. I celebrated being another year older by leading a hands-on workshop for tech founders. I also find great inspiration in mentoring and coaching up and coming female leaders or those leaders within the under-represented community. Giving back has always been a goal of mine and, with more people working remotely, I believe it’s giving us all more time to allocate to the causes we believe in and more time to think about our values.

The future of work. That’s the million-dollar question. Gartner Predicts 69% of Routine Work Currently Done by Managers will Be Fully Automated by 2024. What does that look like?

The gig economy becomes more common. There will be more shared jobs. Organizations won’t need an FTE for every single role. Technology will be more advanced, with driverless cars, drone delivery, more remote work made possible. People can live anywhere to get their jobs done. We should leverage technology to foster more diversity. This means to leverage AI for screening and hiring candidates, monitoring performance and reminding leaders for performance management. And maybe leverage robot policemen to reform and drive more unbiased behaviours.

· This is a great question because we’re really talking about how people will adapt and thrive in the future. There are 10 tech trends I see influenced by COVID:

1. Online Shopping and Robot Deliveries
2. Digital and contactless payment
3. Hybrid work (remote work)
4. Distance learning (immersive education vs. traditional lectures)
5. Growing demand of telehealth
6. More on-line entertainment
7. Supply chain reform – Big Data, cloud computing, Internet-of-Things (“IoT”) and blockchain are building a more resilient supply chain management system for the future by enhancing the accuracy of data and encouraging data sharing.
8. 3D Printing breakthrough – Ventilators/Masks
9. Robotics and drones
10. 5G – The adoption of 5G will increase the cost of compatible devices and the cost of data plans. Addressing these issues to ensure inclusive access to internet will continue to be a challenge as the 5G network expands globally.

· IDC’s report calls artificial intelligence (AI) “Inescapable — by 2025, at least 90% of new enterprise apps will embed AI,” they predict. “By 2024, over 50% of user interface interactions will use AI-enabled computer vision, speech, natural language processing (NLP), and AR/VR.”

DXC’s report says AI and machine learning, analytics, IoT and other data-driven technologies will lead to technology-enabled change. Companies should look for the biggest impacts in professional services (DXC), advertising (Gartner), and a trio of benefits cited by IDC: Faster time to market; greater product innovation; and improved customer satisfaction. That last item — customer satisfaction — is a key CIO priority, according to IDG’s “State of the CIO 2019” survey.

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Helen Yu Profile and background

Helen Yu believes real growth thrives at the crossroads of #tech and #humanity. Described as “a rare combination of intellect, work ethic, and compassion often not found in C-level executives,” Ms. Yu has led multibillion-dollar revenue growth and profitability for pre-IPOs and Fortune 500 enterprises, including Oracle, Adobe and Marketo. After watching many start-up technology founders rise and fail, Ms. Yu launched Tigon Advisory in 2018 as a growth accelerator. No stranger to tech, she has been named a Top 10 Global Influencer in Digital Transformation by IBM, Global Cloud Top 15 Thought Leader, Top 10 Cybersecurity Influencer, and Global Top 10 Marketing Thought Leader by Thinkers360.

As a global customer success executive, P&L owner and board advisor, Helen Yu has delivered value through multifaceted perspectives for driving growth, solving complex challenges and turning around underperforming organizations. She has honed the ability to improve and scale business models that have accelerated multibillion-dollar revenue growth and profitability through my career across private, early-stage startup and pre-IPO to Fortune 500 companies including Oracle, Adobe and Marketo. Helen Yu is known as a strategic thinker with a record of building successful organizations and driving innovations through deep customer understanding, Enterprise scaling and digital transformation. Her experience in boardrooms makes her ready to assist mid-cap to scale-up boards preparing for IPO and public companies reshape their strategy and transform customer experience.

Rapid Growth: Helen Yu has driven growth from $15M to $45M in the first year, and $65M the following year at Adobe. She has contributed to $50M+ license sales and drove 20% YoY growth at Oracle. She grew the professional service revenue from <$500K to $14M while improving margin from -39% to 5% within 3.5 years at Marketo. During her time in the company, the grew the company from 60M to 280M ARR that led to 1.87 billion dollar Vista Equity acquisition.

Global Expansion: She expanded Sales from one to three verticals and opened a London office at a private Company. In addition, Helen Yu held $200M P&L responsibility and led a global team of 500+ across four functional areas of customer success at a private Company.

Thought Leadership: IBM named Helen Yu as Global Top 10 Influencer in Digital Transformation; Thinkers360 named her as Top 30 global Thought Leader in 10 categories including AI, Cybersecurity, Cloud. Onalytica named Helen as Top 35 Women in Finance.

Advisory Board: Helen Yu has advised Jebbit, named one of Top 25 Most Promising Companies in the World by CNBC, on business growth strategies, doubling 2018 revenue over the previous 2 years. She is an advisor at Pypestream, a conversational AI company built for scale.

Board Experience: Helen has prepared materials for and attended both public and private board meetings, including at Marketo, Sprinklr and Clinc. She has been attending board meetings at Showpad.

About Tigon Advisory

Tigon Advisory advocates that All start-ups have them: strategy-to-execution gaps that disconnect “where you are” from where you want to be, and where you need to be.

You’ve got a product and customers to validate it; enterprise users among them. Know that enterprise customers are like premium fuel: Their business drives awareness, their trust inspires confidence, and their logos enhance your website. But what enterprise customers can’t do is validating your potential for traction; the likelihood of achieving the momentum needed to scale.

To reach the promised land of traction, you’ll need to survive the gauntlet called “go to market” – a minefield whose vagaries doom 80% of start-ups.

Wildcat Venture Partners has its own name for “go to market.” They call it The Traction Gap™, the thrive-or-die period in which start-ups must produce both a “minimum viable product” and “minimum viable repeatability” – the latter, a solution-grade product buttressed by a sustainable business model and a reliable process for generating sales.

Helen Yu Links and resources