After more than 3 years of involvement with the CONVERGED User Group, Jonathan Toulon (JT) has recently been named president of our Board of Directors. JT recently sat down with CONVERGED to tell us more about his experience with Dell Technologies products, his history with the user group, and the benefits he sees of being a member. JT’s employer, InComm, owns about 70% of the global market in prepaid and gift card transaction processing, charging JT with the responsibility of ensuring smooth operation and zero downtime for millions of customers every day. Internally, JT leads a lean team between the operations and engineering sides—52 people in total, with roughly 7 supporting converged and hyperconverged infrastructure. In total, his team manages eight vBlocks, three VxRack SDDCs, and two VxRails.
CONVERGED: How were you introduced to the CONVERGED User Group?
JT: My Dell account team saw the passion that I had for learning and understanding the technology. They always thought I had a really good voice around explaining it to executives and engineers, so they asked me if I wanted to speak at the CONVERGED User Group event during Dell Technologies World last year (April 2018). I agreed, and then I realized it was an actual customer panel and I had to go speak in front of hundreds of people. Around the same time, we filmed a bunch of videos for Dell Technologies explaining InComm’s IT transformation, which was cool. Opportunities like that are a good metaphor for what customers experience, how they can share their stories, and how they can provide their feedback directly to Dell.
C: How did you express interest in becoming a leader in the group?
JT: My leadership role has come about because of my advocacy for the product. I’ve talked to multiple prospective customers who were considering one of Dell EMC’s converged or hyperconverged products and connect with them on a personal level. When I tell my story, you know I’m not giving you fluff. Everything I’m going to tell you is accurate. I can tell you the bad, I can tell you the ugly, and I can tell you the good as well, and that’s with any product. With my CONVERGED experience specifically, I gave them the good, so they knew that the product did work and backed it up with concrete examples, and then I gave the other side of some of the concerns or some of the misses. In those misses, though, it allowed Dell EMC to grow because it provided valuable feedback about the products, how user-friendly they are, how easy or difficult it is to train someone on it, the operation model around it, etc. My dedication to the product and making it better for everyone involved is what set me on the path towards becoming president of the Board of Directors.
C: In your time as a member of CONVERGED and as a leader in our community, what do you think is the most valuable benefit of the User Group for its members?
JT: The most valuable benefit of being part of the user group is the feeling that you’re not in this by yourself. A lot of customers don’t realize that this network exists. They don’t understand that they’re not alone and that we can provide those resources that will help them be successful and grow and optimize their current teams.
Additionally, one thing all CONVERGED members should know is that we have access to Dell executives and product experts, so if they have issues or are looking for some type of guidance, you don’t have to Google the answer. You can come to the CONVERGED User Group and hear from people who have been in the exact same situation and have direction or advice to share. The research is built in.
C: How would you say CONVERGED has helped you in a professional capacity?
JT: Professionally, I’m exposed to a lot of different people and opportunities through the User Group. For example, public speaking has been a huge opportunity for me. My experience with podcasting has given me quite a bit of experience already but being in the User Group allows me to speak in front of large audiences even more. I’m able to share my story about why I’m an advocate for these products with other customers on a much larger scale than I would be able to otherwise. I also have a great opportunity to be a sponge around Dell executives and soak up their vision, which allows me to take a lot of the strategies they have and apply it to myself and my team so we can align our roadmaps and visions with the products themselves.
Jonathan Toulon (JT) has more than 13 years’ experience as an engineer and more than 3 years of involvement with CONVERGED. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Enterprise Engineering for InComm, a global leader in the prepaid products and payment technology industry. He was recently named president of CONVERGED User Group’s Board of Directors. Outside of work and CONVERGED, JT spends his time golfing, watching one of his 400 DVDs, podcasting with his wife, spending time with his two kids, and running a photo booth business. You can find JT on Twitter at @boywonderJT.