CRN Exclusive: Optiv Forms New C-Suite Role Overseeing Product Management, Vendors, Delivery


Optiv unveiled a product management team focused on creating multi-vendor reference architectures and has tapped its services guru to drive supplier relationships, product management and delivery.

The Denver-based company, No. 27 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, has promoted Stu Solomon to the newly created chief technology and strategy officer (CTSO) role, where he will be responsible for determining what Optiv sells and how it delivers it. Solomon joined Optiv in 2015 as a security strategist, and most recently served as executive vice president of security solutions and operations.

As CTSO, Solomon will oversee a 1,000-person organization focused primarily on advisory services, managed security services and emerging services. He will have nine direct reports, including product managers and the head of Optiv's global solutions group.

[RELATED: Optiv Execs: Customers Need To Understand And Secure Their Entire Cloud Application Landscape]

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Solomon will join other members of Optiv's C-suite such as Peter Evans, who started as Optiv's chief marketing officer in November, in reporting directly to CEO Dan Burns. Solomon previously reported into Executive Vice President of Worldwide Client Solutions Tim Hoffman, who stepped down in November.

The more streamlined approach will allow Optiv to zero in on driving customer satisfaction and success, according to Solomon.

Optiv's new product management function is focused on bringing vendors together within the framework of a reference architecture to maximize the end customer's return on investment, Solomon said. Unlike an OEM's product management unit, Solomon said Optiv's team won't be focused on creating or selling new products and intends to avoid conflict with its current vendor ecosystem.

The product management team will work with end users to optimize their security investment by plugging specific gaps around purposeful needs rather than resorting to wholesale architectural changes, according to Solomon. The unit will focus on driving adoption and stickiness around the security tools end users have already invested in, Solomon said.

"As an industry, we have way too much shelfware," Solomon said.

One opportunity the product management function will look to take on is compliance around the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which takes effect in late May.

There is no single switch or tool that can make an organization GDPR-compliant, Solomon said, and will instead require a combination of data security and management, identity and access management, continuous monitoring, and governance, risk management and compliance (GRC). Optiv's product management team will focus on tying all those components together in a programmatic fashion, he said.

Optiv plans to hire a handful of senior leaders to spearhead the product management initiative, Solomon said. These hires will be focused on building out the software engineering capabilities focused around technical skills that are unique to reference architectures, according to Solomon.

The company plans to measure the success of its product management team based on measures such as client adoption of solutions, Solomon said. Going forward, Solomon said Optiv plans to have more focused conversations with its customers around driving return on investment and unveil more purpose-built solutions aligned with the capabilities of its vendor partners.

Solomon said he has looked at security product sets from each angle thanks to his years of security consulting work, time at Bank of America conducting enterprise-level risk projects, and his military experience oriented around the U.S. Cyber Command. From these experiences, Solomon said he's learned that value is most truly created when disparate security architectures are connected.