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Workers ‘are embracing automation if it reduces the toil,’ Pager Duty CEO says

PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada speaks with Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi at the Dreamforce 2022 event about the shift to automation in the workplace and how many workers are responding.

Video transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, the future of work is changing. As macro trends drive the digital acceleration, companies are looking to automate work and collaborate in new ways, including from the cloud. Setting to gain from these trends is PagerDuty. Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi sat down with its CEO Jennifer Tejada at the Dreamforce Conference in San Francisco, where they discussed digital trends and the company's take.

JENNIFER TEJADA: Salesforce has been a terrific partner to PagerDuty for the last several years. I think this is my seventh or eighth Dreamforce. But this year, it's really a family reunion. And we hear customers talking about innovation, automation, leaning into the future they want to build for work, which is digital.

And we're essential infrastructure that sits at the core of the always-on on-demand world now. So it's a great opportunity for us to talk about our partnership with Salesforce, where they're using us with Service Cloud, our customer service ops solution, but also a great opportunity for us to reconnect with customers we just haven't seen in a really long time.

BRIAN SOZZI: Absolutely. So I love this panel that you were on-- the Automation Revolution-- Building the New Future of Work. Take us through that.

JENNIFER TEJADA: So I am a huge believer in efficiency. you could call me an efficiency geek, actually. And we believe in building automation for our users in service of freeing up people, giving them the freedom to do the purposeful, intentional work that they signed up to do when they took their jobs.

And so PagerDuty uses APIs and artificial intelligence to detect work through signals, 700 integrations in our platform, and intelligently orchestrate that work to the right people in the right moment to ensure that our customers can deliver on their digital promise to their customers. And we've really found that employees are embracing automation if it reduces the toil, if it takes on the mundane work that they don't want to spend time on.

BRIAN SOZZI: Nobody wants to push paper anymore, Jennifer.

JENNIFER TEJADA: Nobody wants to do mundane stuff.

BRIAN SOZZI: Take us through how does this change-- you know, how does this change the business now that the whole workforce globally-- many workforces are distributed globally? They're not in a central hub. There's no more office.

JENNIFER TEJADA: Well, the developers led the way on this. So the developer community has been distributed, by design, for many, many years. And as with most things, they influence the way we work. They often drag us towards exciting innovation and change.

And so PagerDuty's platform was built for distributed workers and for this concept that we call interrupt work-- this idea that the way we work is shifting from being planned, and structured, and super predictable to actually being unstructured, unpredictable, and, often, time sensitive and mission critical. And there aren't platforms out there that exist from a decade ago that enable you to do this kind of work.

So machine learning, AI, really helps distributed teams not only detect the work, but prioritize it, understand what's the most important thing they should be working on. And in a distributed organization, orchestrate that work to the people who have the skills, the talent, the ownership that can help them get it done.

BRIAN SOZZI: This is a very interesting time for the economy-- US overseas. You had a good quarter a couple of weeks ago. I think it surprised a lot of folks in the Street positively. What are you seeing in the business and were you surprised?

JENNIFER TEJADA: No, I wasn't surprised. We've been consistently delivering great results. Revenue grew 34%. Dollar retention was 124%, I think, above 120 for the seventh quarter. And, really, that's driven by the same macro tailwinds we've been talking about for several years, which are digital acceleration-- the market and the world has moved towards digital.

And we support all the services and the infrastructure that drives those outcomes. Cloud adoption continues at a very strong pace. And devops transformation has become mainstream. We're seeing potentially a fourth tailwind, which is there's still a talent shortage for technical workers, for developers.

And every customer I've talked to as I've been traveling the world over the last several weeks and months is telling me they are trying to figure out how to improve the productivity of their technical teams, because they need to do more with the same number of people they had last year. We see some companies tightening their headcount growth and really wanting to make sure that their most talented technical workers are delivering the most productivity they possibly can.

BRIAN SOZZI: When you talk to customers, and even when you talk to your own employees inside the company, how nervous are they about rising interest rates? And does that change how you plan and operate the business as you look into next year?

JENNIFER TEJADA: Well, look, we have been playing the long game for some time and been very focused on our path to profitability. We've committed to the market that we'll be profitable by Q4 this year and for the full fiscal year next year. And that's been a multi-year plan to demonstrate economies of scale as we grow.

And I think people hate change. People hate uncertainty. So I try and keep our employees focused on this long-term legacy that we're building-- to be the operations cloud for our customers to really help them automate and manage the work that matters to ensure that customer experience is perfect. And we've really seen that manifest itself here at Dreamforce, talking about our application for customer service ops, which integrates into Service Cloud and helps customer service teams bridge the gap between hearing about issues from their customers and being able to work automatically in collaboration with the developers and the product teams that actually build those services and can fix those applications, those web apps, those mobile apps that you're used to using when they're not working as well as they're supposed to.

AKIKO FUJITA: That was Yahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi in San Francisco with PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada.