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Insights / Vista’s 2022 CXO Summit: What We Learned

Vista’s 2022 CXO Summit: What We Learned

Vista’s annual CXO Summit brings together executives from across our portfolio to create meaningful connections that enable knowledge sharing and spark innovation. This year’s Summit was a chance to step away from the day-to-day and look collectively at the opportunities and challenges ahead. Together, as a powerful ecosystem comprised of dynamic leaders and seasoned executives, we shared best practices, swapped lessons learned and ultimately left the event energized and inspired to lead our teams, our companies and the enterprise software industry to new heights.

Here are our key takeaways from the Summit:

Prioritization Is More Important Than Ever

A constant refrain heard throughout the week was that prioritization takes on outsized importance in times of uncertainty. Businesses that take a priorities-first approach position themselves to nimbly navigate dynamic conditions.

“To deal with the uncertainty in the market, we’ve pared our list of priorities down from 60 items to just five core initiatives. Those priorities are cascaded down to every individual at the company to ensure we’re all aligned, holding ourselves accountable and ultimately focused on execution.” – Toyan Espeut, Chief Customer Officer, Apptio 

“We’ve got to sharpen our pencils and know our businesses inside and out. Networking and sharing best practices on key metrics and activities we should be undertaking during uncertain times has provided valuable clarity.” – Christina Kosmowski, CEO, LogicMonitor

“The best leadership teams don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach when things get tough and know their businesses well enough to prioritize and reprioritize with agility and decisiveness. This is always important but even more so when things get tough.” – Martin Taylor, President of OneVista and Managing Director, Vista

Strong Cultures Always Win

While the labor market may be cooling off, attracting, nurturing and retaining the right talent remains key to positioning businesses for long-term success. A strong culture, professional development programs and meaningful emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion are all key elements to winning on talent.  

“The best companies prioritize DE&I at the highest levels – starting in the boardroom. But they also complement these efforts with other initiatives and tools such as employee resource groups, which have been a powerful force for progress throughout the Vista ecosystem.” – Lily Perez, Operating Senior Vice President, Vista

“We’ve had an incredible, transformational journey over the last few years. Yet throughout the growth and change – including five add-on acquisitions – we’ve stayed true to our culture and maintained our commitment to our customers. And that’s been crucial to our success.” – Cynthia Williamson, Chief Transformation Officer, Jamf

Leadership Takes Grit

While the current market environment poses challenges, great leaders are ready to embrace the difficulty and draw on their inner strength and determination to guide their companies through the storm. Genuine grit is contagious, and it permeates throughout an organization. 

“Everyone looks good when it’s growth at all costs. The ability to lead in uncertain times is the mark of a true leader.” – Rachel Arnold, Co-Head of Endeavor Fund and Senior Managing Director, Vista

“Ruthless prioritization is not just a good idea – it’s essential, and it’s elusively hard to keep going. You have to be willing to make tough choices.” – Mike Campbell, CEO, Fusion Risk Management

There’s Power in a Network of Peers

Leadership is often isolating, so meeting peers in similar roles at other enterprise software companies affords an opportunity to share experiences and form connections that last long after the final session. Savvy leaders recognize the value in leaning on that network for outside perspectives and advice. 

“There’s nothing better than getting together with peers who are trying to do the same things that you are: build strong companies, create great outcomes for our shareholders and better serve our customers.” – Steve Lucas, CEO, iCIMS

“I value the text conversations and phone calls with fellow software CEOs – being able to follow up, ask questions and get quick feedback.” – Monica Enand, Co-Founder and CEO, Zapproved

“Software CEOs are often running very similar companies, so hearing how others have dealt with a challenge is relatable and it’s valuable.” – Christopher Cabrera, Founder and CEO, Xactly

Software Is Enduring

Software has proven to be the most productive tool introduced in the economy over the last 50 years and will likely maintain that position for the next 50 years. Through periods of rapid growth and in times of uncertainty, enterprise software has remained mission-critical to businesses across industries and will continue to be an enduring force in our economy.  

“Software is an industry of change…of moving forward, so any time there’s a crisis, there’s also an opportunity.” – Patrick Severson, Co-Head of Foundation Fund and Senior Managing Director.

“Companies around the world are facing tremendous challenges – from wage inflation to supply chain disruption – and the most powerful tool to solve those issues and mitigate risk is software.” – Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Vista Equity Partners  

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