Q&A: Valerie Naderkhani, Senior SaaS Consultant

Based in Dallas, Valerie Naderkhani joined Zylo in 2018 as a SaaS consultant. She brings a unique worldview to her role, helping Zylo customers connect the dots to discover, manage, and optimize SaaS throughout their entire organization. She’s also a consummate traveler; she’s visited more than 24 countries and continuously plans to visit more.

What’s your role at Zylo?

Being a SaaS Consultant at Zylo is truly a multi-hat role. We are an extension of our customer’s team and help them work towards desired business outcomes, including ongoing discovery, ROI, and license management. We are their advocates and work with them very closely to ensure success.

At the end of the day, we want customers to look like rockstars to the rest of their business with full knowledge of the SaaS stack and savings to flaunt.

Why do companies need SaaS management?

The need for SaaS management is simple. Companies need SaaS management due to the tremendous growth rate of employees using cloud applications to do their jobs. There are always new tools and new needs in the business that ensure SaaS is an endless source of growth in most companies. This growth can snowball quickly if it’s not actively managed. That’s where the leader in SaaS management–Zylo–comes in.

As companies scale, there are more business needs, more employees, and more cooks in the kitchen. It is natural that as an organization grows, its cloud presence also grows. The growth is inevitable. We want to help our customers grow with intention. We help customers implement purchasing policies and governance around SaaS to make this possible.

The top three challenges we address are shadow IT, purchasing inefficiencies, and license optimization. If a company knows what they buy, how they buy it, and how they use what they buy, they’re empowered to have a lean SaaS stack with intentional, planned growth.

You recently began working fully remote in Dallas. How do you stay in touch with customers and coworkers?

In my world, it’s easy to stay connected because I have recurring meetings with every customer as part of our high-touch model. Internally, I’m deeply ingrained with the product, and I’ve created great relationships during my time at HQ. I leverage those to stay in the loop and connected despite the miles that separate us.

What do you miss most about working face-to-face with colleagues?

I miss the informal conversations that arise amongst my colleagues throughout the day. We always tend to float ideas and discuss them openly. It is not uncommon to see a SaaS consultant at the dry erase board working through a problem. I miss that collaboration, and just the dialogue after a meeting wraps up. Oh, and I cannot forget the high fives after an excellent delivery or customer win. Virtual high fives are just not the same.

You’re known around the office as a globetrotter; When did the travel bug bite you?

I am a Navy brat. All four of my parents and my grandmother were in the Navy. So from an early age, I was receiving postcards from around the world and lived vicariously through my parents’ adventures at ports from Malta to Egypt to Greece.

Wanderlust has always been in my blood, but it hit me when I was ten and went on a Tiger Cruise. This is where you get to go meet your loved ones’ ship and ride the ship into port with all the sailors at the end of a deployment. I met my mom’s ship, the USS John F. Kennedy, in Bermuda. My grandmother and I flew to Bermuda and rode a water taxi to the side of this massive vessel, then climbed a terrifying ladder to the hanger bay. We lived on board the ship like true sailors for the next five days.

It was there during an airshow on the flight deck as I stared across the vast Atlantic Ocean that I knew there is so much more to see. The sailors on board had spent the last six months traveling the world. They had stories of adventures and tours they took on liberty, and I just knew I wanted to make my own adventures and embrace the vast cultures of the world.

In college, I studied abroad in Barcelona and visited 16 countries in a semester there. I am now up to 24 countries visited, and it still gives me the thrill of a lifetime to go to new places.

What are the top three trips you’ve taken?

Barcelona (best city in the world in my opinion), Peru (Machu Picchu is breathtaking), Salzburg (the Sound of Music tour is life-changing).

Up next on my list are the Maldives (it’s sinking, so, it’s now or never), Bueno Aires (I love a good steak and nice glass of Malbec), and Singapore (Crazy Rich Asians inspired as they’re known for their food, and I love to eat).

Anything else?

Days at a scale-up can be challenging. You are constantly pushed to solve really tough problems and create long-lasting solutions for the success of the customer. Although some moments are challenging, the wins are absolutely monumental.


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