By Ashley Shadday
A BA by any other name… Nothing captures the collective attention of a cloud technology company like a little faux Shakespeare, amiright? Stick with me; it will come full circle.
I still vividly recall my first day at Appirio in April 2012. Coming from a non-consulting, non-technology background, I joined with few expectations but plenty of excitement. My plan was to hunker down during a layover between Indianapolis and getting to our San Francisco office — grab a quick lunch and crack open my shiny new MacBook for a first peek of Appirio email. With my $17 deli sandwich in hand, I logged in and was instantly overcome with sheer panic. 528 new emails. Surely I had inadvertently hacked into someone else’s account. Hundreds of messages about Bells Ringing and Chatters Digesting. I quickly shut my laptop, envisioning the Cloud Police pulling up, ready to take away my Silver Lining t-shirt and Appirio mousepad. I texted my boss later to confess my unintentional crime. Thankfully, I would evade the email authorities and make it to California still fully employed.
The San Francisco office was a world of wonders; many brilliant minds all in one place. But what really stood out was the break room; fancy carbonated waters, a bowl of fresh fruit, organic, gluten-free, unicorn-tear-infused granola bars and… wait, is that beer? Do they know that’s in here? Don’t get me wrong — my previous company certainly took care of their employees, but this was a thing of professional fairytales. I shook some hands, trying to remember names and faces, and looked around for a money jar to pay for my snacks. A thorough search would have to wait though; it was time to learn the world of Appirio consulting operations!
The first 30 minutes of training was smooth sailing. I was learning from the best of the best, taking countless notes and trying to overcome the clumsiness of New-Mac-User Syndrome.The full gravitas of my career move — the proverbial icing on the first-day-on-the-job cake — became a reality while reviewing the Appirio consulting delivery team roles: Account Director and Project Manager — check; I know those! Technical Lead — check; a familiar-enough term. BA — che… wait, what? BA? Bee-aye? Is that a word, a phrase… an acronym? I had no idea!
Writing this now, it’s hard not to laugh, but this was the turning point that made me sit up a bit straighter in my chair, buckle down, and started me down a humbling path of daily growth, daily note-taking, daily asking and probing, and learning from a diverse group of talented managers, consultants, account executives, and many others who walk the virtual Appirio halls. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my Appirio day one was truly a blueprint of what was to come.
Four years later and I’ve still not found the Break Room money jar. However, I can safely say I’m well acquainted with many wonderful Appirio BAs. When I consider my first day at Appirio, I see major themes that have continued, refined, and reworked over the last 4 years that I am so grateful for.
Appirio is built on open and frequent communication. I couldn’t have known at the time, but each of those 528 emails pointed to our “secret sauce”: Appirio’s team. Keeping our team engaged, involved, and in the know — even from day one — is a top priority and drives our business (and our culture) forward in ways other companies overlook and often undervalue. Worker Experience matters and is measured in a hundred big and small ways — mythical-creature granola bars notwithstanding.
For those who have not experienced a job outside of Appirio, know that our grass is very, very green. And, for me, most significantly, not a day has gone by since my first day at Appirio where I haven’t learned something new that has made me a better contributor. On day one I learned a new term, “BA,” and, for me, this has come to symbolize the opportunity at Appirio to continuously improve and grow one day, one task, one click, and one term at a time. That’s why I can say with full confidence that a BA by any other name is truly just as sweet.