Inside HqO: Amanda Pontbriand, Lead Implementation Manager | HqO

Inside HqO: Amanda Pontbriand

Amanda Pontbriand

Implementation Lead at HqO

Amanda has been with HqO since 2020, having seen the company (and her role) evolve significantly over that period of time. Currently, Amanda helps manage customer relationships throughout the onboarding and implementation processes, making sure that all partner and product integrations are working successfully and that customer goals are being met to create the best possible end-user experiences.

Inside HqO: Amanda Pontbriand, Lead Implementation Manager | HqO

You’ve been with the company for about two years now, and even just received a promotion! What has changed in your role from when you started up until now? 

When I first started at HqO, I was new to the industry. I came from the technology sector, but not specifically the proptech or commercial real estate spaces. In the beginning, I was working directly with the onboarding process. This means it was my job to make sure the customer had a smooth transition from their post-sale process to their building app launch. A couple of months in, my team took over all of our platform’s integrations. We began working closely with the product to ensure everything from the beta testing, go-to-market, and implementation of our integrations was successful. Now, we own everything from mobile access, to service requests, to parking, and more. 

That sounds like such a crucial position for our customers. What does your day-to-day currently look like?

My day-to-day is changing a little bit due to the evolution of our team, but previously I ran weekly meetings with our customers who were in the onboarding stage to ensure that we met all of their project specs, goals, and timelines. We also shared best practices while working closely with our Customer Success team for the customers post-onboarding experience at HqO. This would include integrating their existing technology into our app, and then testing it to ensure it was working successfully. We’d then work on clear communication launch plans for them, whether virtual or on-site.

In that role and in my new role, I’m a point-of-contact for our partner integrations, including a lot of the troubleshooting, documentation, and scaling processes as we continue to grow our customer and technology partner base. We partner with Delivery Managers and the Product team if an integration is already live, and navigate any errors as they arise. Moving forward, I won’t be as close to the onboarding part of the job, but I’ll be owning the technology part of the role, as well as updating documentation, holding trainings, managing internal and external relationships, and everything in between.

Does your team also help source and vet new potential partners for the HqO platform?

Yes, currently my team does manage that process. Whether it’s my own customer account or a new customer account, our Customer Success Managers will loop me into conversations with potential partners so we can scope out how we can work with certain vendors and service providers — both now and in the future. For example, an immediate solution might be a link out, which is just a quick fix. In the future, it might be a full SAML or API integration. Then, after we collect all the information we need, we pass it along to our Engineering, Product, and Design (EPD) teams, who help us determine if and when an integration can go in HqO’s product roadmap.

Would you say that most of our new partner integrations come from existing clients, or based on our own personal outreach?

Most of our integrations come directly from our customers, which is a good thing. HqO works with the major players in the space right now, such as Building Engines, Angus, Envoy, and Cloudgate. This allows us to focus on other integrations that aren’t as mainstream, but that our clients still use in their day-to-day lives.

That is a great example of us personalizing our product to our customers’ needs.

Yes. And we work with more than the integrations they’re already using, we also work with the ones they’ll find beneficial. For example, some customers might not have the leading platforms in a given category — like Ritual for food ordering or Mindbody for their fitness center — but they might still be looking for one of those solutions. We can then take on the role of consultant and help them strategize based on our experiences with other similar use-cases. We can say, ‘Here is a solution we recommend. We already have an integration with them. They’re a reliable partner,’ and then go from there.

You must work very closely with our other teams to make this all a seamless, informed process.

We do! We work with almost all of our EPD team, as well as our Customer Success (CS) and Sales teams and other subject matter experts as needed. The benefit of the Implementation team is the people on the team — we’re good at understanding the different dynamics of our internal teams. The way you would interact with EPD is not the same way you would with CS. This means we translate that information, from team to team. We give the Product team the customer perspective, and translate back the more technical conversations of what they’re working on to the CS team and our customers to help set expectations and align across the company.

Inside HqO: Amanda Pontbriand, Lead Implementation Manager | HqO

Is there a specific project that you are most proud of at HqO?

I’d have to say when we first took over our integrations in February 2021. I had more of a technology project management background, and our Director of Implementation, Shelly Just, had more of a property management background — which was great for the lens of the customer! We figured it all out together, and I was really able to dive in and standardize our documentation, rollout plans, and our partner relationship with Building Engines.

That relationship is now the ‘cookie cutter’ for all the other integration partners that Implementation works with, and we are able to mirror our current documentation and set up our kick-off flows in the same way. It was a really great project for Implementation to show that we can be relied on by the EPD team to take ownership once a product goes live. We’re a source of truth that can talk to customers in a non-technical way, which is what most customers are looking for — a truly stress-free, seamless experience.

I’m sure Building Engines taught the entire company a lot.

Absolutely. They are one of our biggest partners. We have three different verticals with them – visitor registration, resource booking, and work orders. They’re all unique in their own way. Additionally, we also just rolled out Prism work orders, which is a whole new product line. I think our most exciting capability right now, though, is mobile access. In my new role, I’m going to try to lean in more there and wrap my arms around it to help streamline that process because my strength is in documentation and scalability. Mobile access is where we can grow the strongest in the future, since everyone in a given space can use it.

That makes total sense. Is there a way that one of our customers is using our product that’s particularly unique?

We’ve seen an uptick of customers using our app for leasing. So, even if their building is not completely (or at all) leased out, they’re having us come in to host their leasing information in the app, as well as a place to showcase the current technology in the building. Then, we can create accounts for their leasing team. When they’re demoing or touring the building with new potential tenants, they use their app to say, ‘This is an additional amenity,’ and, ‘If you come to this building, you have this built-in app that has all our technology in one place so you don’t need to download multiple apps or sign into multiple logins.’ It’s easier to get customer adoption when it’s there from the beginning, and then we can bring in a digital neighborhood so they can see the benefits of working in that building. We can show them everything from nearby retail to attractions to mobility in a completely branded way. That’s been a really strong use case for our customers.

And how do you think workplace experience technology is reshaping the future of the industry?

I think it’s just easy because you always have your phone on you. I love that when I’m coming to work in the morning and I need to get in the elevator, A) I feel secure because I know not everyone can get in that elevator, and B) I’m probably already on my phone doing Wordle or something else. This means that I can be in the elevator answering an email or Slack, and while I’m doing it, I can place my phone near the reader and grant myself access. I’m not digging through my bag looking for my key card, or freaking out that I left it at home by accident. It just makes life simpler, and everyone’s looking for something simpler.

I feel the exact same way. To wrap things up, what excites you most about working at HqO?

That’s easy! It’s the people. I love my team, but I also love my cross-functional teams. I think HqO does a very good job of hiring really smart and compassionate people. I’ve worked in other places where I’ve had to work with their equivalent of our EPD teams, but sometimes the relationship isn’t as strong and there seems to be clear walls between the team. And that just isn’t the case here. I know that I can go to anyone on EPD and ask them a question. They know that if I’m asking them that question, it’s a pertinent question and they’ll answer it appropriately and timely and be someone I can lean on.

It’s the same thing with our CSMs. I think we have a really great relationship with them. They see us as a resource to help them and vice versa. I know I can lean on them if I need them, so I never really feel the pain point of coworkers not getting along. I also love that a lot of us hang out outside of work and have become friends in our own time. When you’re at work the majority of your week, it’s nice to be there with people you consider your friends and who respect you. 

At the end of the day, the culture at HqO stems from its people. It allows you to curate your interests and make sure that the role you’re doing at the end of the day is something you want to be doing. Implementation, in general, is great for that. You can easily step into Product or Delivery Management or Sales Engineering or Solutions Architecture — whatever you want. That’s important to me, to have every day be another opportunity where I can gain more knowledge and challenge myself.

Inside HqO pulls back the curtain and introduces you to the people who make HqO the undisputed leader in workplace experience technology. For more information on HqO, click here. If you’re interested in joining Amanda and the HqO team, check out all of our current openings here.