Chief innovation officer of Next-generation MSP Award winner Vology discusses why the physical office space has become outdated and reacting to the coronavirus
What are the key challenges facing your business this year?
Some of the key challenges facing Vology this year are conquering our fear of curiosity and looking back far enough to ensure that our vision for the future is sound. Albert Szent-Gyorgi once said: "Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought." The future in general, and certainly our future, is cloud—of this, we are sure. Helping our partners and clients by solving their greatest business challenges with Vology's unique capabilities to create optimized outcomes is our greatest challenge, and one that Vology, and I, personally welcome!
What measures have you taken to protect your business from the effects of coronavirus?
Fortunately, as a cloud-first organization, Vology did not have to do anything other than make the decision that all employees can stay home! The great news is that several years ago, we set off on what was then called our "One-Company, One Platform Initiative," which transitioned to become what we call today our Opus platform. As an MSP, we envisioned a world that didn't have datacenters and tools on-prem—where all data warehousing could be pulled together from anywhere and presented and accessed from cloud first and SaaS platforms.
Therefore, when coronavirus hit, Vology was already in a position to immediately react to what many saw as the new world, as entire industries and technology were validated overnight.
Our clients immediately benefited from Vology's cloud first approach as well in that the levels of service they received were further enhanced as our productivity skyrocketed due to the groundwork that was put in place three years ago.
How do you expect your customers' IT needs will change over the next six months?
We are already seeing IT needs changing in the areas of cloud, security and collaboration. SaaS, PaaS, UCaaS, and security is where we are seeing the most significant growth in technology/business strategy conversations, solutions and deployments. I expect we will continue to see the trend of cloud enabling businesses that never once thought they would have the need for cloud, and I see a continuation of technology innovators debunking the myth that the cloud is "too expensive" along with the myth that cloud and security are separate conversations vs. one unified strategy.
How have you adapted your offering as a result of the coronavirus crisis?
Not so much adapted; I would submit that we have added more purpose and intent around our service offerings and messaging to both our clients and global partnerships with organizations including Microsoft and Cisco. Vology is, and will continue to be, a cloud-centric company - it is our identity.
We are also using this opportunity to add more high-value components to our cloud offerings to support the current state of collaboration required in a COVID-19 world such as Devops, Microsoft Teams, UCaaS, etc.
How has your workday routine changed since self-isolation measures were put in place?
We have found that our team is identifying innovative ways to stay motivated and connected. For example, teams are having quick power lunches with each other to stay connected. We are also leveraging Microsoft Teams and white boarding to collaborate on solutions and problem solving, and inviting our clients to these joint sessions.
We have seen an increase in our intent-based communication as an organization. I believe the teams are doing everything they can to make the best of a tough situation.
What part of your workday routine are you most looking forward to returning to once life gets back to normal?
I would not be our champion of innovation if I told you that we are all ready to get back into the office! The idea that a physical office is required to do what we need to do is now a bit outdated.
We are connected in a multi-cloud environment. Connectivity and access are the currencies of cloud, and data is its yield—meaning that we have at our fingertips greater access to our teams than ever before—on terms that they can decide and we empower them to do so. We are leaving it up to our teams to determine if, when and how they would like to return to an office environment.
What does it mean to you to win an MSP Innovation Award?
On behalf of our team, it is certainly an honor. The world is a dark place right now; beyond the pandemic, we are seeing the impact of systemic racism on a global level, endemically affecting Black people. We count ourselves fortunate in welcoming the challenge to do what we can to help create change, innovate and be recognized.
This allows us to lend our voice/my voice in that I do not believe innovation stops at technology. We are having purposeful conversations at Vology, and I recognize that being able to accept an award on behalf of this organization is also providing me the opportunity to lend my voice within the technology community to bring awareness to the legitimacy of the endemic challenges facing the black community that is most vulnerable right now. #ConversationsoverConfrontations.