K2 works with several key figures in the Salesforce ecosystem who contribute to making it such a vibrant environment. In this blog we profile Alex Garcia, CEO of Ennube Solutions, to learn more about his achievements and insights.
With offices in California and Ecuador, Ennube Solutions is a software consulting company. It was established by Alex and his wife Jenny in 2016 to help businesses design, implement and support Salesforce software solutions.
Alex has been a strategic business partner for K2 since 2015. He has engaged with key K2 clients, supporting a number of them over the past five years. He has managed T&M support and SOW team engagements acting as the Solution Architect and Project Advisor.
Solange Grzybowski, who is based in K2’s Mexico office, interviewed Alex. Her role has developed from working with the legal and compliance teams in Mexico City. She is now the Account Manager for the Salesforce Account Executive Program. Solange is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with Account Executives, as well as introducing them to K2 and our services. Thanks to her responsibilities at K2, Solange has developed a wide and varied knowledge of the Salesforce ecosystem.
Solange spoke to Alex about his approach to business and how Ennube Solutions contributes to the growth of Salesforce’s ecosystem:
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background – how did you first become involved in Salesforce?
I was born in Guatemala and grew up in Redwood City in California. I went to university at the University of California, Berkeley.
I knew I wanted to be a consultant, but at this point in my life, I hadn’t had much exposure to Salesforce. I’ve worked in numerous call centers but never one that used Salesforce. I remember the days of manually flipping through hundreds of telephone numbers and calling them up!
After my degree, I was recruited by a company called Blue Wolf Group to be part of an Agile Business Executive program. This was started by the company’s executives to recruit young, potential talent from universities. This talent would then enter the Salesforce ecosystem as consultants.
It was when I was recruited by Blue Wolf that I started to become familiar with the Salesforce system and never left.
2. Can you give us an overview of your company, Ennube Solutions and how it supports Salesforce customers.
Ennube (pronounced En-Noo-Bae), is a Salesforce technology consulting company. We specialize in custom application development, Salesforce implementations, developer operations, data engineering and intelligence.
We work with mid-size and enterprise-level companies to implement software, extend it, build applications and even support the release of applications into the app exchange.
My wife Jenny Ortiz, who I met at UC Berkeley, jumped into the Salesforce ecosystem at around the same time as I did. We founded Ennube Solutions in 2016. She still acts as our Chief Operating Officer. Currently, we employ about 25 people globally. We’re planning to continue to expand in both the United States and Latin America.
3. What led you to open a nearshore office in Ecuador?
We have an office in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. This is where we have our Center of Excellence, offering Salesforce training to the Salesforce Developers of tomorrow. We have a team of developers in the US, as well as our data practice and data scientists that support our projects and data needs in Ecuador.
We decided to open an office in this country to solve a problem for ourselves. I think there was a time when the majority of Salesforce projects were taken on by teams on the other side of the world to the US. This made the timezone considerations quite difficult for us when we were solely based in California. There’s about a 12-hour difference between us and countries operating on Indian Standard Time. It became quite complicated for me, being in charge of a lot of projects. I would have to stay up until midnight and wake up at 6am to account for the different time zones
It was exhausting and we worked like this for a number of years. Even in my consulting experience that was the modus operandi. So I decided that we should get out there and source some developers who can work for us and help solve this problem.
My wife is Ecuadorian so we traveled there a lot to visit family. As I learned about Ecuador, we decided to establish another Ennube office there. I realized that the country is dollarized so that makes things a little easier in terms of finance management.
Unfortunately, at that time there were no Salesforce Developers available in Ecuador. This meant we had to create them ourselves. We achieved this by identifying a profile of the requirements needed to become a Salesforce Developer. We would then work with the talent in Trailhead and give them all the knowledge and experience required. They would then be ready to get certified and become Salesforce Developers.
We started doing this in 2018 when we launched our Center of Excellence in Quito. We’ve organically built developers and now we’re trying to do that en-masse. The plan is to offer completely free training to a goal of 10,000 people across the Americas.
After the training, we identify the star people who achieve great results and want to be employed. This becomes a way to support both individuals in the economy and potential employers. It will also be a better way for us to determine the person’s ability to be successful in a Salesforce development role by exposing them to it and creating a way of measuring their capabilities at the end of the process.
We’re really excited about this and are looking to expand and offer training to more individuals. This will create more developers who can support more projects in the US.
4. What insights/predictions can you give us about the expansion of Salesforce’s ecosystem and what effect this has had on the global job market?
The Salesforce ecosystem is set to grow by 33 million jobs by 2022. The company has also announced that it has had the highest amount of bookings in its history.
This continued growth from larger companies beginning to adopt, implement and expand Salesforce will mean there will be an even greater need for talent across the world.
5. How has the Salesforce ecosystem evolved during your time working with the leading platform?
Salesforce is now firmly established as the number one enterprise platform in the world. With the acquisition of Tableau and the BI capabilities as well as Slack Salesforce is a powerhouse of enterprise technology.
We at Ennube have been bullish in contributing to the organization’s ecosystem and do believe it will expand significantly further in both the United States and in Latin America. We’ve seen very strong growth in Mexico and Brazil, but recently there has also been a lot of strong interest from the smaller, emerging economies. We plan to continue supporting the growth of Salesforce in Latin America.
6. Describe your approach to business. What do you think is the key to providing successful solutions for Salesforce?
Ultimately it depends on working closely with the customer and supporting them to help them be successful. We have to ensure that the methodologies with which we provide the customer are the right fit for them. Generally, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
It’s important to be familiar with Agile processing and having great internal developer operations so that our developers can coordinate and collaborate. This way they can produce the best results.
We’re currently working remotely so we work almost independently then come together to discuss and develop methodologies and processes. This is why we developed our DevOps practice. We’ve delivered some of the most innovative work in the Salesforce ecosystem because our development capabilities are very refined to be able to support customers.
That’s one way we successfully provide Salesforce solutions. The other is our data practice. We found that it’s very hard to take on any project in Salesforce without data support. In order to better support our clients, we needed a data practice to ensure optimum efficiency and productivity. It’s staffed by data scientists who can take large data sets, manipulate and cleanse them and then modify them so they can support successful, on-time and on-budget deliveries.
We look at our products and ask ourselves what is it that really makes projects successful and what slows them down?
We found projects were less successful when we didn’t have a qualified data professional to support implementation. We’ve identified areas where we can excel for our customers by finding talent in the market. If those people don’t exist in the market, we will create them ourselves through our Center of Excellence.
7. Can you tell us more about your work with K2 and why you became a strategic partner?
We’re a small business with a family feel. This means we don’t have a large sales team to support our projects and we don’t have a very large marketing budget to participate in large corporate events. It’s quite expensive to attend big Salesforce events like Dreamforce, let alone have a booth and be a basic level sponsor. It can be quite a challenge for smaller organizations to gain traction.
K2 has been an invaluable partner for us. They really have helped us with not only sales but exposing us to high-quality projects. K2 definitely helps elevate us to a much higher level than if I went out there on my own and just spent all day selling.
Our partnership has helped us not only benefit from consistent cash flow, which has been fantastic but also grow teams and it has given us consistent projects. They really are awesome projects that we really wouldn’t have been exposed to as a lone small business.
K2 is really invested in our projects. The teams I work with at K2 are always very supportive. They really reassure me that they fully understand each project.
I’ve been really grateful for the relationship Ennube has had with K2 and look forward to continuing to be strong partners.
8. What are your professional goals for the future?
As I mentioned earlier our goal is to train 10,000 people in Latin America and we’re chasing this objective. We’ve asked ourselves, ‘we’ve trained this number of people – now how many of them can we hire?’. We think probably about 10%. This number of 1,000 hires is what we would like to achieve.
At the moment we may have a bit of a way to go, but many lessons will be learned and a lot of growth will happen in the process. Part of this journey is acknowledging the effort that will have to be invested to achieve our objective. Another part is to be humble and grateful for the opportunity to take a company and a team to the end goal.
We’re hoping to take opportunities to where they weren’t before. This is both our purpose and our mantra.
Do you want to know how K2 helps businesses drive their digital transformation? Find out more by visiting our website.