simply Founder, Marc Wright, found out more about how Mike Hicks rose through the ranks of the B2B tech space, joining Beezy (remotely) as Chief Marketing Officer in 2020, during a global pandemic. We also hear about the company’s rapid growth, Mike’s thoughts on the digital workplace and what the future of work looks like.

Marc Wright 

Firstly: why Beezy? What brought you to this mad world of the digital workplace?

Mike Hicks

I went to business school in Waterloo, Ontario and started out at an integrated comms agency there, primarily serving B2B tech clients. My next move was to BlackBerry. It was the biggest employer in the city, and actually the biggest tech employer in Canada at the time. It was an amazing experience to be part of the rise and fall and transition to being an enterprise software company. I was there for 11+ years and was the director of global enterprise marketing when I left. I then made the decision to branch out and I joined Igloo, a Kitchener-Waterloo founded organisation that was doing some cool things in the intranet space. It was a great fit for me to lead the marketing organisation as I had a lot of experience in B2B tech and understood the buyer personas and their needs. I was at Igloo for four-plus years and was proud to have made a pretty big impact in the industry.

I think you could even say that, beyond vendors like you, I was probably the loudest voice in the space for that time as we had built up a really strong thought leadership program and it’s just something that really interests me. After 4 years at Igloo, I started looking at how I see this industry evolving, and I saw a perfect alignment with Beezy in terms of how the product is structured, the deep integration with Microsoft and the overall philosophy that Jordi Plana (CEO) and Maximo Castagno (Chief Product Officer) have – especially around the way that improving communication, collaboration and knowledge management helps drive the employee experience. And I think that’s what we’re going to see as the next priority in this market, so I was excited to join Beezy last fall.

Marc Wright

How important is the North American market for Beezy?

Mike Hicks

It’s critical because it’s a growth area for us. We’ve done a great job of penetrating a lot of key accounts in Europe and now, the untapped market for us is the North American one. The CEO and Chief Product Officer are both based in Spain, but have invested in North American talent and growth. When they started the company, they focused their efforts on product development – choosing not to really do much marketing – and our original strong customer base in Central Europe is a testament to their commitment to delivering the best product and the relationships and network they’ve built. I’ve seen a lot of different products in this space and I always felt there was a ‘cool European’ vibe about Beezy in the sense that it was never ‘stuffy’ or cluttered. It’s intuitive and friendly and has great appeal to how organisations are looking at their digital workplace now.

Marc Wright 

How do you react to the development of something like Microsoft Viva Connections?

Mike Hicks

It could be said that the world is catching up with what you and I and vendors like Beezy have been saying for a long time, that employee experience is critical to long-term success. You now have Microsoft, one of the world’s largest and most influential technology companies, validating the importance of employee experience. We’ve always needed great UX in the digital workplace but without the right content and value there’s little that can be done to drive adoption and improve engagement. Looking at the bigger picture, we’re now seeing the correlation between employee happiness and business success and the digital tools we use are a big part of that employee experience and culture. Now, Microsoft is coming to the table and saying that this is important, which is causing some organisations to pause and say: What does this mean? Our response is we’re excited about Viva as it’s another piece to the Microsoft platform that we fully support and enhance.

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THE AUTHOR

Laura Riaz

Laura Riaz is simply’s content creator. With a strong background in copywriting and social media management, she thoroughly enjoys writing about the wonders of internal comms.