Open23 closing keynote

RevOps Unleashed: Rediscovering Community at MOps-Apalooza + Open23

Last week was the inaugural MOps-Apalooza (MOpza) conference in Anaheim, California. To help the MO Pro community get MOpza off the ground, Openprise provided the anchor sponsorship, curated the data track sessions, and brought Openprise customers and partners like KPMG and Hyperscayle to the event by co-locating our own user conference, Open23, at MOpza. The MO Pro team did a fantastic job with the inaugural event, which drew over 700 attendees with 300+ attending in person. True to the promise, it was a community-centric event with a very light vendor presence. Based on all the feedback we have received, it was a resounding success, and the Openprise team is very proud to have helped make it a reality. We look forward to future collaborations with the MO Pro team.

The 3-day event was full of insightful presentations, stimulating conversations, and fun-filled dinners, headlined by a keynote from the person who requires no introduction to the RevOps community: Scott Brinker. Now that it’s been a few days since I returned from the event, I would like to share my top 5 takeaways from the combined MOpza + Open23 event.

1. The Marketo Summit vibe is back!

One of the things Marketo has achieved probably better than anybody else is the strength of its user community, the Marketo Nation. These are users who love the product and bleed purple. This strong sense of community was always evident at the various Marketo User Groups and peaked every year at Marketo Summit. COVID and the Adobe acquisition put a heavy damper on these in-person get-togethers, forcing this community to go online only, which is just not the same. MOpza definitely had the Marketo Summit vibe going on. I lost count of how many MOpza attendees ran towards each other and embraced like long-lost friends. The RevOps community hasn’t had a conference it can call its own for the last three years to bond and share knowledge. It’s back with MOpza!!! In fact, JD Nelson from Vimeo brought his purple luggage and wore his Marketo Champion purple sneakers! I was surprised I didn’t see anybody show up in a purple cape.

2. AI has our mindshare, but not our budget—yet

As you would expect, there was a lot of talk about AI at the event, both in sessions and in conversation. It was also a big topic at our Customer Advisory Board meeting on Thursday after Open23. One surprising thing is that, while we are all talking about AI, we are not spending much money on it and have not budgeted much for it in 2024. Besides using AI to generate sales and marketing copy, there is clearly a lack of killer use cases for RevOps. Openprise customers were happy to hear how we will enable them to use technologies like GPT in the near future to improve data quality operations, but otherwise, AI still seems very much like a technology looking for problems. Instead, many told us that while their board has mandated budget cuts in technology spend, they are making an exception for data and data management tools. The logic is that AI won’t be useful without good data—the classic garbage-in-garbage-out challenge—so to be in position to leverage AI when killer use cases do emerge in (maybe) 2025, companies should be building out their data foundation in 2024. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, when we surveyed our CAB for their budget priority in 2024, data enrichment came in #1 and AI came in dead last.

3. It won’t be aggregation. It has to be consolidation.

As always, Scott Brinker’s keynote was fantastic. Scott has the talent to explain complex concepts in simple terms and he is usually spot-on with major trends like the shift from Big Data to Big Ops. One thing I do disagree with Scott on is consolidation vs. aggregation. Scott shared a recent survey that shows the average enterprise now uses 91 RevOps technologies. That’s a lot of technical debt, and we have seen how it creates scaling challenges in RevOps. The technology tail has now wagged the dog in many organizations. Scott believes that for enterprise RevOps to manage this tech explosion, the answer is aggregation, not consolidation. I disagree with that assessment on two fronts. Consolidation means reducing the number of technologies by switching away from point solutions to platforms or multipurpose technologies. Aggregation means ADDING even more technologies on top of existing technologies. That extra layer of aggregation may help unify data and processes, but from a manageability standpoint, it adds further complexity and exacerbates tech debt by adding even more points of failure to the tech stack. Also, in this economic environment, where most companies have to cut their tech budgets, aggregation means buying even more overlay technologies, and that simply won’t fly in most companies. CFOs are demanding cuts and that can only come with consolidation.

4. We are moving into the era of composable architecture

You can’t talk about paying off technical debt without walking right into the topic of next-gen stack architecture. Another one of Scott’s keynote themes is the emergence of composable architecture. A composable architecture is when you take something that started off as a single technology, like MAP or CDP, break it down into its primary capabilities, then recreate those capabilities using your existing core platforms, like cloud data warehouse and RevOps data automation. The drivers for the composable architecture are to consolidate the tech stack, remove data silos, and gain flexibility.

One of the sessions that highlighted this shift was “A highly mechanized prospecting process” by Conrad Millen of Rippling. Conrad described how Rippling is building out its next-gen marketing automation by replacing their MAP with a combination of Snowflake for data storage, Openprise for automation, and Outreach and Brevo for email. This new architecture not only removes a large piece of technology from the tech stack, but also adds the flexibility to do hyper-personalization, like using the Yelp API to find the top restaurants near an email recipient. This new architecture can support such a high level of mechanization that Rippling’s SDRs no longer have to write emails; they just need to manage inboxes for responses. This is such a cutting-edge use case of next-gen composable architecture that Conrad was flooded with questions after his presentation.

5. RevOps is Moneyball for GTM

My Open23 keynote was about our journey in the last three years trying to understand the essence of RevOps, what makes it more than just a buzzword or a sexy title for sales ops. Two years ago at Open21, we flat-out asked the question “RevOps, who are you?” Last year for Open22, we had the sense that RevOps provides a clear value-add to the enterprise and is an engine that makes everything better, so we came up with the conference theme of “multiplier.” This year at Open23, we believe we have finally achieved clarity and found the essence of RevOps. RevOps is not just a shorthand for MOPs plus SOPs. It’s not just a sexy title for SOPs. Functionally, it’s the GTM metric reporter + technology architect + data ops.

RevOps is the glue that ties all the GTM teams together. GTM has turned into a team sport with multiple stakeholders, and someone needs to orchestrate the actions, technologies, and priorities across departments. Of all the value RevOps adds to the enterprise, we believe ALIGNMENT is the most important, thus for Open23 the theme was “Just align it.” If you’re interested in how RevOps can best create alignment in your organization, watch my keynote here: link.

So what is the essence of RevOps? RevOps brings technology and data to GTM, which traditionally has been a black art. For folks familiar with the story author Michael Lewis narrated in his book and later turned into a movie featuring Brad Pitt, this is exactly what Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland A’s, did for major league baseball talent scouting. He used data science to transform how MLB evaluates talent and assembled a World Series team with the lowest payroll in the league. So next time you have to explain what RevOps is to your parents, you can say RevOps is Moneyball for GTM.

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