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Navigate ’19: Q&A with Chief Customer Officer Andrew Kahl

Identity professionals from all over the world will be in Austin, Texas this June for Navigate ’19, SailPoint’s annual identity conference. Navigate is a great opportunity for SailPoint’s customers, prospects, partners and crew members to get in the same room and talk about the identity challenges organizations are facing today. One of those attendees will be SailPoint’s Chief Customer Officer Andrew Kahl, who is going to Navigate for the first time this year. We caught up with Andrew recently to get his thoughts as a Navigate first-timer.

SailPoint: It’s your first Navigate this year. What are you most looking forward to?

Andrew: It is my first Navigate, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I am most looking forward to using the time with our customers, prospects, and partners in a relaxed setting to have frank and open conversations with them.  For us to further differentiate ourselves in the market, and be the standard at which other vendors measure themselves against, we must listen and engage with enthusiastic intent. I’m also looking forward to putting a stake in the ground with regard to the importance of identity and security. Also, it’s all about conversations with customers. At SailPoint, we want to align our approach with our customer’s long-term goals and vision. And, from what I heard, that’s what Navigate is all about: the opportunity for those conversations. I want the unfiltered feedback you get while sitting across from one another, chatting over a beer.

Additionally, the conversations between customers are paramount as well. If we’ve done a specific customization request or tailored training for a customer and another customer hears about it and wants to implement that, I’m all for it. SailPoint is not a cookie cutter operation—we treat all the customers the same in terms of respect, but different depending on their business goals and needs. Also, let’s be real. I’m ready to spend time with everyone outside of the office—I hear the new Fairmont [the hotel in Austin Navigate is hosted at] is a pretty cool place.

SailPoint: A lot of your experience has been focused on customer-centric roles and thus a lot of customer conferences. What is your outside perspective of what makes Navigate so unique compared to other customer conferences? What’s Navigate’s reputation in the industry?

Andrew: The big difference I already see is that Navigate is a learning environment vs. a selling environment. Also, it’s the quality of the people that attend the conference- the customers, partners, and the SailPoint crew. SailPoint has a good reputation in the industry. I really can’t emphasize it enough. The people at SailPoint make it what it is, and our customers look forward to spending time with us. So much of that has to do with SailPoint’s values and culture.

SailPoint: Navigate is known for having a content-rich agenda. Is there any session you are excited to sit in on?

Andrew: The agenda is so rich, there truly is something for everybody here. The items on the agenda that jump out to me is the Women in Identity Reception. This year for the first time ever, it is open to all attendees, and as a father of two girls, I do like things that show the importance of women in the global economy. I’m also eager to see our Navigate keynote speakers—Jennifer Golbeck and Phil Hansen. I like looking for inspiration in places where you wouldn’t necessarily think you would find it and I can already tell these keynote speakers will get your mind working in a different way. I’m all about the abstract. Of course, I’m also excited about hosting our customer panel. Giving our customers a forum to share best practices and learnings with one another is so incredibly important and valuable. The panel is just one way that we’ll elevate that for attendees.

SailPoint: Where can people find you at Navigate?

Andrew: I’ll probably be the tallest guy in the room. Or if you hear someone talking about the Chicago Cubs or baseball, that’s probably me too.

SailPoint: What’s one fun fact about you?

I just turned 49 this year, and I can still dunk a basketball!  We’re not talking a reverse 360, but I can still put it down. Also, I tend not to stand still very much, and if I see a bowl of oranges, I’m compelled to pick them up and juggle.

For those planning to follow the event on Twitter, the official hashtag is #SPNav19. See you in Austin!