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Last week, I attended Extreme NOW Forum 2018, Extreme Networks’ customer and partner conference in San Jose California, the first in a series of events to be held around the world—more than 50. What impressed me was how familiar the senior staff were with individual customers. This clearly was not the first time interacting.

A few items caught my attention:

  • Senior staff knew many of the customers by name and there was a joviality and friendliness indicative of familiar relationships. Clearly the priority is on tight customer relationships, and this is coming from the top.
  • Software application development consumes over 95% of research and development spend—led by customer requests and use cases.
  • Two use cases amused me:
    • The first one was a large retail customer which deployed security cameras throughout its stores—monitoring theft was not its primary purpose! Instead the shop managers used technology to identify facial patterns—sadness or happiness. If a shopper was sad, an assistant would be immediately dispatched to offer help.
    • The second use case was a firm in the education sector which used security cameras in the classroom—not to just monitor cheating, but whether or not students were falling asleep during lectures. This monitoring allowed management to evaluate professor performance.

Certainly Extreme has its work cut out to harmonize the technologies and operations of its recent acquisitions, but its steadfast connection with its customers creates a lasting loyalty.