A Salesforce-Focused Podcast Series

Ahead of the Curve

Whether it's CRM and ERP integration, smart factories, digital underwriting, or how small travel companies can rebound from the pandemic, Ahead of the Curve dives into the substance and surfaces with thorough discussions on how technology is shaping the Manufacturing, Insurance, Travel & Hospitality, Education, Healthcare, and Quality Management Industries.
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Episode 28: Is The Distributor Still Relevant In Today’s Supply Chain?

Episode 28: Is The Distributor Still Relevant In Today’s Supply Chain?

Supply chains are very complex entities. We saw what happened to supply chain infrastructure early in 2020 and, more recently, we’ve seen how supply chains have struggled to get up and running fast enough to meet surging demand.

Because there are so many moving parts in a chain, it’s worth questioning if every component is necessary at a time when raw material costs are spiking and cost control is more important than ever.

One of the moving parts that may come under scrutiny is that of the distributor. We’re living in an age where e-commerce has proven its worth and, if supply chain managers are looking for redundancy, perhaps the bricks and mortar distributor is expendable.

In this episode, we examine the relevance of distributors through the thoughts and comments of David Morley, Gerent’s V.P. of Manufacturing Practice and Mike Simon, partner in Gerent Digital and someone with an extensive background in logistics and supply chain processes

June 10, 2021

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Episode 26: From Single Channel To Omni-Channel: The Evolution Of Life and Annuity Distribution

Episode 26: From Single Channel To Omni-Channel: The Evolution Of Life and Annuity Distribution

The digital revolution in the insurance industry is in the process of  transforming the way insurance is marketed and sold.

The reason it’s undergoing such a metamorphosis is because of how customers want to do business. Smartphone technology, the internet and e-commerce have all combined to allow purchases at the touch of a button and this is changing the role of the insurance agent, as well.

In this episode, we learn from two experts why and how insurance selling is changing.

Donn Vucovich is Gerent’s Insurance Practice Lead and someone with a rich background in providing technology solutions to carriers, MGAs, and others. Michael Plazony is a former senior executive at both Kemper and Erie Insurance and also possesses a strong understanding of modern insurance technology.

June 3, 2021

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Episode 25: Organic Growth Or Growth From Acquisition: Which Is Better?

Episode 25: Organic Growth Or Growth From Acquisition: Which Is Better?

When a company’s product line is expanding, figuring out whether to prioritize organic growth or acquisition can be challenging. Both options have their merits and drawbacks; the question is, which strategy works best for your organization? 

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, host Chris Henry connects with David Morley, Gerent’s Manufacturing practice lead and 30-year industry veteran to assess the value of organic and acquisition growth and provide an insider’s perspective on how manufacturers should approach growth planning today.

June 1, 2021

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Episode 24: How Technology Powers The Hotel Industry Back To Health

Episode 24: How Technology Powers The Hotel Industry Back To Health

The hotel and lodging industry suffered enormously last year as a result of the pandemic. For the first time ever, over a billion room nights went unsold. Revenue per available room was just 48% and the industry barely turned a profit. For all intents and purposes, hotels were just as badly off as the financially crushed cruise lines. But whereas cruise ships spent all of 2020 in port, where many are still stuck, the hotel industry in the US began to recover in the summer of 2020 as Covid restrictions eased off – prematurely, as it turned out – in state after state and people jumped at the chance to get away.

In this episode, Ketta Riley, Gerent’s Senior VP of Travel and Hospitality Practice, joins us to provide her take on the hotel industry and what the future might look like. We’ll also talk with Michael Blake, Chief Technology Officer for the American Hotel and Lodging Association on the value of and the role that technology plays in the hotel industry today.

June 16, 2021

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Episode 23: How Insurers Can Use Digital Tools To Acquire New Business

Episode 23: How Insurers Can Use Digital Tools To Acquire New Business

In this episode, we examine how insurance carriers can acquire new business efficiently, using methods that are strictly customer-centric and digital.

We’ll be hearing from Gerent’s Insurance Industry lead, Donn Vucovich, as well as Robert Rudy who has founded several Insurtechs and has years in the insurance field. Robert helped a major carrier in the Caribbean create a fully digital company in 8 months that generates new business in a digital omni-channel environment using products developed in mere weeks at a tenth of the cost for a traditional carrier.

May 25, 2021

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Episode 22: How S&OP Can Recover Fast In A Post-Pandemic Manufacturing World

Episode 22: How S&OP Can Recover Fast In A Post-Pandemic Manufacturing World

It’s been over a year since the global pandemic forced manufacturers to stall their operations. Hundreds of thousands of employees were put on pause; demand vanished overnight. The impact was catastrophic — and amid the fallout, demand planners were forced to reimagine their approach to gauging supply and demand. 

In a new episode of Gerent’s Ahead of the Curve Podcast, host Chris Henry checks in with two manufacturing veterans to discuss how businesses can prepare for future economic disasters by improving their real-time adaptability. In this installment, you’ll hear why the old rules for demand planning don’t apply today and how S&OP teams can leverage emerging technology to better respond to shifting market conditions.

April 19, 2021

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Episode 21: Why Educators Need To Master Journey Mapping

Episode 21: Why Educators Need To Master Journey Mapping

Enrolling in an education takes time and a lot of paperwork. There’s no getting around either — but students shouldn’t need to slog their way to admission and beyond. 

In this episode of the Ahead of the Curve Podcast, host Chris Henry connects with two industry experts to learn what training firms and higher education institutions gain from mapping their students’ journeys. The episode also provides a few actionable notes on how administrators and program leaders can reimagine their offerings and procedures from a student-centric perspective.

March 24, 2021

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Episode 20: Salesforce Insurance: The Ideal Platform To Automate Underwriting

Episode 20: Salesforce Insurance: The Ideal Platform To Automate Underwriting

The recent Salesforce acquisition of Vlocity is adding tremendous muscle to Salesforce Industries and its technology platform for the insurance industry. Consequently, insurers finally have the tools at hand to drive up revenue and profitability without incurring rising costs at the same time. Breakthroughs are being made across the entire insurance chain but especially where automated underwriting and the customer are concerned.

In this episode, we feature a conversation with Doug Stitzer, the Global Director for Insurance Industry Advisors atSalesforce. Doug has nearly 20 years of liability insurance experience which he brings to his role. So, can automated underwriting really impact the customer experience? Listen now!

March 19, 2021

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Episode 19: Technology Builds A Brand New MGA For Insurers

Episode 19: Technology Builds A Brand New MGA For Insurers

The role of the Managing General Agency is rapidly shifting into one of even greater importance for insurers. Companies, especially property and casualty carriers, are coming to depend on them even more.

The benefit of digital transformation is evident in how fast MGAs can quote and bind, underwrite and issue policies today, relieving carriers of many of the processing costs that help to swell expense ratios.

In this episode, we discuss why and how this technology is having such an impact on insurers and MGAs and how it’s re-shaping the entire field. Our guest is Donn Vucovich, Gerent’s Insurance Practice Lead, an industry veteran with more than 30 years in the insurance field, creating and implementing technology solutions for carriers and MGAs.

March 1, 2021

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Episode 18: Is Online Learning Really Working?

Episode 18: Is Online Learning Really Working?

“Stay out of school” isn’t advice educators ever thought they would be giving their students — but in March of 2020, many did exactly that. The rise of global pandemic forced education providers of all levels and types to transition to fully-remote formats. Some were prepared; others were overwhelmed. 

In this episode of the Ahead of the Curve Podcast, host Chris Henry connects with two industry experts to assess how educators have succeeded — and fallen short — in transitioning to an all-digital approach amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Together, they take a deep dive into the challenges of online instruction and consider how educational institutions can leverage technology to achieve success in the post-pandemic market.

March 1, 2021

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Episode 17: P&C Carriers and MGAs Create a New Digital Customer Experience

Episode 17: P&C Carriers and MGAs Create a New Digital Customer Experience

The Property and Casualty insurance industry is changing fast. Much of what is changing in the P&C space parallels the changes occurring in the life insurance field. There is a need to make internal systems from back end to front end align and function seamlessly while ensuring the best possible experience for the end user, whether that’s an MGA, an agent, or a consumer. At the same time, many P&C carriers are taking advantage of an explosion in data tailor-made for them.

In this episode, we’ll be talking to Sal Abano, Executive V.P., and Chief Technology Officer for two major insurers and someone with three decades in the P&C space as well as Kishan Ramineni, Gerent’s Salesforce Industries lead who has 15 years of knowledge and experience implementing technology solutions for insurers.

February 9, 2021

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Episode 16: Accelerated Underwriting: Technology Changes The Face Of Life Insurance

Episode 16: Accelerated Underwriting: Technology Changes The Face Of Life Insurance

Life insurance is not a hot ticket consumer item. People don’t like to face their mortality at the best of times. When insurers conduct surveys about buying life coverage, they unearth the same problem over and over: the process of applying and being approved is far too long, far too complex and, as a result, leaves consumers feeling far too uncertain that they’ll get coverage at all.

So, life insurance companies – or lifecos -are quickly adapting methods to reduce the 1 to 2 month (or longer) waiting period as much as possible. One key method that is rapidly finding traction is accelerated underwriting – in other words, speeding up the risk assessment process. And insurance companies are achieving this with digital solutions.

In this episode, we’ll hear from a former life insurance company executive at CNO Financial Group and Chase Insurance and the former Vice President of underwriting for Triple A Insurance. They’ll explain why lifecos have been laggards with technology when it’s working so well for property and casualty firms. And they’ll talk about how accelerated underwriting may just be the game-changer the industry badly needs. Our guests are Russ Bostick and Cheryl Johns.

January 28, 2021

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Episode 15: Insurance In The Cloud: Security, Agility, Strong ROI

Episode 15: Insurance In The Cloud: Security, Agility, Strong ROI

The insurance industry is finally embracing digital transformation. More and more companies are migrating their operations to cloud platforms because there is much to be gained. Insurance firms that have already made the journey are reaping the rewards: the speed and agility to test and bring new products to market, the data analytics that is helping top in point new markets and the overall cost reductions that cloud-based technology can deliver.

Digital transformation can bring enormous benefits to companies, no matter what industry they operate in. But a successful transformation can only be achieved as the result of a well-conceived strategy – a blueprint, or digital roadmap. Insurance companies also have to grapple with the issue of data security, one of the chief reasons they’ve been reluctant to adapt cloud technology.

Our guests in this episode are Brad Lontz, CTO and Senior VP of IT at CopperPoint Insurance, who is leading a cloud migration within his company, and Donn Vucovich, Gerent’s Insurance Practice Lead.

January 5, 2021

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Episode 14: Digital Transformation Sweeps Through The Insurance Industry

Episode 14: Digital Transformation Sweeps Through The Insurance Industry

Theoretically, CRM systems can solve problems that have beset manufacturers for years. But do these miracle products hold up in practice? 

In this episode of the Ahead of the Curve Podcast, host Chris Henry checks in with Tim Gollin, the former CEO of Arc International, a global manufacturer of glass and tableware. During their conversation, Tim reflects on his successful digital transformation at Arc and advises manufacturing execs to focus on implementing solutions that benefit the value stream, rather than the C-suite.

December 2, 2020

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Episode 13: The State of Travel Today

Episode 13: The State of Travel Today

In a normal year, the global cruise industry might derive more than $32 billion from the U.S. market. But in 2020, that usual income flood slowed to a trickle as pandemic-fearing travelers put their vacations on indefinite hold. 

In this installment of the Ahead of the Curve Podcast, Chris Henry examines the current state of the travel industry and checks in with Andy Stuart, the former CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, to get an insider’s eye on the challenges facing travel organizations today.

October 30, 2020

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Episode 12: Quality: With It You Win; Without It You Lose

Episode 12: Quality: With It You Win; Without It You Lose

In the early months of 2020 and amid a frantic, pandemic-prompted scramble for medical gear, the Centers for Disease Control unpacked a rushed shipment of face masks only to make a shocking realization — the masks had unresolvable quality defects. The entire shipment was effectively useless.

Stories like these are startling, if not entirely uncommon. But why do they happen in the first place? In this episode of Gerent’s Ahead of the Curve Podcast, Chris Henry sits down with two experts to uncover why quality occasionally gets the short shrift and how manufacturers can leverage innovative QC technologies to avoid such public disasters. 


April 13, 2021

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Episode 11: Technology: The Key To Re-Opening Safely

Episode 11: Technology: The Key To Re-Opening Safely

Covid-19 kickstarted a remote revolution. However, not all workers could pack up their gear and go home when the pandemic began. Some industries, like manufacturing and education, still needed people to staff operations in person. Getting people back to work safely was a major challenge — and one that technology simplified. 

In episode 11 of the Ahead of the Curve, host Chris Henry examines how Gerent has improved upon Work.com, a Salesforce platform designed to help both the private and public sector to reopen safely during the global pandemic.

August 10, 2020

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Episode 10: ERP/CRM Integration - The Holy Grail in Data Access

Episode 10: ERP/CRM Integration - The Holy Grail in Data Access

In recent years, companies have turned to Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) to streamline their back-office procedures and achieve greater operational efficiency. But for all their potential, these systems often fail to provide real gains. 

The problem? Experts point to data silos that arise between back-office ERP systems and front-office CRM platforms. In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, host Chris Henry explores the ERP/CRM disconnect and sits down with a CEO who says his company can deliver transformative integration.

June 30, 2020

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Episode 9: Can Manufacturing Recover From The Pandemic?

Episode 9: Can Manufacturing Recover From The Pandemic?

For manufacturers, the prospect of planning a post-pandemic recovery is intimidating . Over a million industry jobs were lost in April 2020 alone, as demand dropped to shocking lows. Analysts project varying visions for the future; while some believe the industry will recover as soon as the pandemic is under control, others predict a much longer timeline.

This uncertainty only generates more questions for manufacturers. Will they be able to hire back those who were laid off? Should they put their costly digital transformation plans on hiatus, to save money? In this episode, Chris Henry sits down for an interview with Tim Gallen, the formal global CEO of Arc International, to learn what lies ahead for the manufacturing industry.



May 19, 2020

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Episode 8: Pulling Manufacturing Out Of The Pandemic

Episode 8: Pulling Manufacturing Out Of The Pandemic

In March, US industrial production plunged nearly five and a half percent. This collapse in demand is unprecedented in modern times, representing the sector’s worst performance since 1946. However, within every crisis is a seed of opportunity — and in manufacturing, that opportunity lies with technology. 

While no software can create demand out of thin air, it can help companies spot the early signs of renewed activity and give manufacturers a chance to ready themselves and their supply partners for recovery. In this episode, host Chris Henry connects with Adam Alfano, the senior area vice president for Salesforce’s manufacturing vertical, to discuss the state of manufacturing today, its immediate future, and its longer-term outlook.



January 12, 2020

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Episode 7: Manufacturing Cloud – Uniting Sales and Production Planning

Episode 7: Manufacturing Cloud – Uniting Sales and Production Planning

In 2019, Salesforce unveiled the Manufacturing Cloud: a platform designed to give sales and operations teams common (virtual) ground on which to forecast, strategize, and provide value to customers. MC can provide an incredible competitive boost to those who adopt it. But how can adopters maximize its functionality? 

In the seventh episode of Ahead of the Curve, host Chris Henry connects with two Salesforce executives to take a deep dive into the Manufacturing Cloud. Together, the trio explores what the product is, what it does, and why no manufacturer should ever be without it.

March 26, 2020

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Episode 6: DeepQuest: Levelling the Playing Field in the Travel Industry

Episode 6: DeepQuest: Levelling the Playing Field in the Travel Industry

Today, hopping onto e-booking platforms like Expedia or Travelocity seems like a no-brainer; after all, why would you call an agency when you could swipe-tap-plan your vacation on a smartphone? But for all that digital bookings might seem ubiquitous to consumers today, the online travel space has long been challenging for the small-to-medium players who couldn’t afford the massive expense that most online booking tools posed — until DeepQuest. 

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, we take a dive into DeepQuest: an affordable but powerful Salesforce-based CRM platform that gives smaller players the means to compete with e-booking giants.

September 16, 2019

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Episode 5: Slaying the Twin Dragons of Compliance and Quality

Episode 5: Slaying the Twin Dragons of Compliance and Quality

Playing by the rules is a big-budget effort for modern manufacturers. According to statistics from the National Association of Manufacturers, there are nearly 300,000 restrictions governing industry players in America. Adhering to these ever-increasing, ever-shifting regulations is a significant challenge; even briefly falling out of compliance could mean enduring fees, public censure, and lost customers. 

But while maintaining compliance can be stressful, it doesn’t need to be difficult. In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, we’ll cover how Enterprise Quality Management Solutions (EQMS) make adhering to thousands of shifting regulations, restrictions, and standards all but effortless for manufacturers. 

January 8, 2020

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Episode 4: A CEO’s View Of Technology in Manufacturing

Episode 4: A CEO’s View Of Technology in Manufacturing

Theoretically, CRM systems can solve problems that have beset manufacturers for years. But do these miracle products hold up in practice? 

In this episode of the Ahead of the Curve Podcast, host Chris Henry checks in with Tim Gollin, the former CEO of Arc International, a global manufacturer of glass and tableware. During their conversation, Tim reflects on his successful digital transformation at Arc and advises manufacturing execs to focus on implementing solutions that benefit the value stream, rather than the C-suite.

November 11, 2019

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Episode 3: Practical Uses of Technology in Manufacturing

Episode 3: Practical Uses of Technology in Manufacturing

Taking a cookie-cutter approach to digital transformation is a losing play. Your organization is unique; its innovation journey should be, too. But if there’s one universal constant for manufacturers undergoing a change, it’s the value to be gained in the process. Emerging technologies empower manufacturers to run more smoothly, efficiently, and intelligently.

In this episode of the Ahead of the Curve Podcast, Chris Henry connects with Eric Satterthwaite, the VP of Sales for Manufacturing and Distribution at Gerent, to consider how technology can help alleviate pain points in the manufacturing industry.

October 7, 2019

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Episode 2: Artificial Intelligence for Manufacturing

Episode 2: Artificial Intelligence for Manufacturing

Most buzzwords are more hype than substance; however, artificial intelligence is a notable exception. AI is in the process of revolutionizing business as we know it, and those who do not keep pace with its advancement could be left behind. 

In the second episode of the Ahead of the Curve Podcast, host Chris Henry examines AI’s impact on the manufacturing sector. He also connects with Ally Witherspoon, the Senior Director of Einstein AI and Analytics at Salesforce, and Tony Kratovil, the vice president for Salesforce Industries’ manufacturing vertical, to obtain insiders’ perspectives on the evolving industry.

September 9, 2019

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Episode 1: How CRM Helps Manufacturers Boost Sales

Episode 1: How CRM Helps Manufacturers Boost Sales

We’ve seen the future, and it is now. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, being on the cutting edge has become increasingly necessary for modern manufacturers — but how can they get there?  

In this episode, Gerent examines how companies in the manufacturing sector can leverage CRM to meet the fourth industrial revolution head-on. To tease out industry insights, host Chris Henry connects with two Salesforce experts who specialize in manufacturing.


August 12, 2019

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