A major TRANSFORMATION is underway . . .

Blog Post created by tjatkin on Jan 30, 2018

I know it’s been awhile since my last blog, so a happy (belated) new year! It’s been a busy couple of months and I’m excited to be blogging again. We just established a new organization at Blackboard focused on providing an improved post-sale client experience -- the Global Client Operations & Success organization. Under this team, we are bringing together client delivery and support functions across the company into the new organization to better serve you. I’m psyched about this change, our commitment to our clients, and the energy of our teams to make improvements.


What does this mean for you?  We are laser focused and have concentrated efforts targeted to improve every element of interaction you have with us, from billing to support to more proactive engagement of the user community with product leadership.


In my 30+ years of experience across education, military and federal service, and information technology services, I think of three elements that are critical to a successful transformation:

  • Understanding: A thorough, thoughtful and expansive period of self-reflection, analysis and research
  • Commitment: Alignment by leadership on mission, priority and resources
  • Communications: A healthy understanding of the need for change management, as well as transparent and periodic communications


  1. Understanding.  After becoming Blackboard’s Chief Client Officer last April, we embarked on a journey to assess and reflect on our performance, and to get clarity and insights into what we can and must do better.
    • We listened to clients. We completed detailed analyses of the results of a Client Satisfaction Survey which included response from over 2000 clients, and we held multiple listening sessions via user groups, feedback sessions at BbWorld, one-on-one conversations, chat boards, and through case studies.
    • We listened to our people. Blackboard has some of the most passionate people in the education field – including current and former faculty, administrators, instructional technologists, subject matter experts, developers, policy thought leaders and analysts. Through our people we gleaned insightful field inputs – on challenges and solutions – to guide our collective thinking.
    • We studied.  We had an outside-party evaluate our processes, functions and business practices that impact the client experience. We attended conferences and talked with leaders in the field of Client Success, across multiple industries, searching for best practices, lessons learned, and insights.


  1. Commitment. Based on the deep understanding we gained over a 7-month journey, we made significant changes and established a single post-sales organization focused on client operations and success. We reassigned one of our most senior, seasoned and experienced executives, Lee Blakemore, to lead this new organization, reporting directly to Bill Ballhaus. We brought together all of our client delivery and support functions across the company. We created the investment capacity and launched a Global Client Success function under the leadership of Shawn Boom to give greater focus and attention to, and strengthen and tighten the integration of, all post-sale efforts.


  1. Communications. We’ve only just begun.  With our press release, and with this blog, we wanted to frame this transformation. You will see us continue to communicate through dialogues, user groups, our community site, at BBWorld2018, at TLC Manchester, TLC Australia and TLC Singapore, and in direct communications. We will inform you of initiatives and progress.


Another thing I know from my many years of awesome career experiences is that transformation does not happen over-night.  It is a journey.


And transformations are successful when the need, change and path are well understood; the commitment is real, it includes senior leaders, thoughtful plans and appropriate budget; and, the communication channels stay open and active.


Next blog post to look for: Q&A with Lee Blakemore. Send me your questions!!




Photo: Tim Atkin, Heather Woods, Anita Swope, Ben Younce, Edgar Gonzalez, Sheryn Anthes, Ken Sadowski - SLATE Conference