Tom Fedro: Implementing Transformational Leadership and Delivering Success in Complex Technology Markets

Tom Fedro
Business Intangibles
June 8, 2018
“When it comes to cybersecurity, the threats are multiplying daily. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to back-up your data”
May 1, 2019

In an interview with Insights Success, the CEO and President of Irvine, California-based, Paragon Software Group Corp. (PSGC), Tom Fedro, shares his key insights for go-to-market success, international software licensing strategy, and most importantly, leadership.

Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Tom and Insights Success:

How do you diversify your solutions to appeal to your different target audiences? 

Paragon targets two well-defined audiences with its product portfolio. Our flagship backup and disaster recovery solutions, which include Paragon Protect & Restore (PPR) and Paragon Hard Disk Manager (HDM), are targeted at small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and sold through resellers. These proven software offerings protect small business workstations, servers and virtual machines – along with entire IT infrastructures – and continue to earn industry awards for their effectiveness and value.

The second target audience for Paragon is large consumer electronics manufacturers – OEMs that make tablets, phones, routers, media players, Network Attached Storage (NAS) boxes, action cameras and other devices. These manufacturers use Paragon’s embedded file system drivers to gain valuable data management and cross-platform communications capabilities, and Paragon plays an important role in ensuring a frictionless experience for their customers around the world. Our software sits between the manufacturer’s platform and an associated storage device, serving as the “Rosetta Stone” that performs all the “translation” between the two devices to allow them to communicate. Whether it’s a MAC laptop, an iOS phone, a Windows tablet or something else, Paragon ensures that, regardless of operating system or file system, communication with the storage device is flawless and first rate.

Recognizing that in today’s competitive environment it takes more than technology for a company to be successful, I have also worked to diversify Paragon’s paths to market through a variety of channels. We sell through OEMs, resellers, system integrators and e-tailers as well as through the company website and have been able to use channel diversification to reduce risk and increase sales and profits.

Paragon’s success in driving business with these varied methods is the result of a strong focus on partnership, including a tight alignment of the necessary resources, investments and deliverables to effectively meet the needs of different go-to-market partners and strategies. For example, for PSGC’s reseller partners, we established an operation in which the company offers critical enablement elements such as streamlined sales motions, marketing and demand generation as well as U.S.-based engineering, support and technical resources.

Describe some of the vital attributes that every CEO should possess. 

Some key attributes would include curiosity, vision, realistic optimism, and the ability to take risks and lead from the front. But most important is the ability to hire the right team, give them the resources they need to be successful, and then check your ego at the door and get out of the way!

What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that shaped your journey? 

In reflecting on my journey, not only at Paragon but in the senior executive positions I’ve held leading up to my current role, what stands out the most for me are my experiences with international software developers from China, Russia, Ukraine, Western Europe and beyond. Working closely with our team to identify and convey market requirements, then negotiating and delivering multimillion dollar license engagements in new and highly competitive markets has shaped my career and been very rewarding. I’m especially proud of all that we’ve accomplished at PSGC these past 10 years.

What were some of the primary challenges and roadblocks that you faced during the initial phase of your journey?

When we launched PSGC we faced the same challenges that other new businesses often face including a lack of brand awareness in our target markets and a small marketing budget. The biggest roadblock we set out to overcome was getting our foot in the door with the largest manufacturers in the world. We knew that our technology could have an impact, so we persevered and Cisco Systems became our first customer in 2008. Earning their business started a domino effect, leading to relationships with other top brands as we demonstrated our commitment to integrity, quality and customer service.

Where does Paragon Software Group Corp. see itself in the near future and what are its future goals? 

Our aim is to continue to expand our business with our current OEM customers while also identifying new consumer electronics manufacturers who face the challenges of burgeoning storage requirements and cross-platform communication. We want to be their go-to resource for file system driver technology that transforms the customer experience and elevates their success in the market. In addition, we see our widely used technology for Bare Metal Recovery (BMR), Hyper V and other technologies as vehicles for empowering our OEM partners to reach new levels of success in the cloud backup space.

About the Leader 

Tom formulated Paragon’s business model and go-to-market strategy, hired its talent, and continues to guide its success in a variety of complex markets. Under his leadership, PSGC has established technology agreements with many of the world’s largest consumer device manufacturers including Cisco, GoPro, Seagate, Western Digital, Netgear, Amazon, Dell, ASUS, Toshiba, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi and many others.

About the Company 

Founded in 1994, Paragon Software Group offers a wide range of software tools, solutions and technologies. These offerings range from low-level storage management and file system drivers to solutions for safekeeping and recovery of operational, business and user data across heterogeneous platforms and environments.

Source: The League of Extraordinary CEOs

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