March 24, 2018
By Jerzy Szlosarek, CEO & Co-Founder, Epsilon
The biggest challenge – and opportunity – in cloud-centric networking isn’t about tech. It’s about people and understanding that networks are changing and adapting for a cloud and digital generation. In our own business, we’ve had to transform our products and services to be “cloud-centric” and reshape how we serve the ICT channel. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve learned a lot along the way.
When Epsilon was founded in a coal shed in West London many years ago, we never imagined we’d need to completely reset how our employees think about our business. Back then we focused on providing basic interconnect services to carriers and service providers and simplifying the connectivity experience. As demand for cloud-based services has grown and traffic volumes have exploded over the past 15 years, we’ve had to adapt our business to think at scale while addressing far more complex interconnect scenarios.
The cloud has changed end-user expectations, and that has driven our channel partners to transform their businesses and, in turn, our play in the market. It has meant taking both some gradual changes and some big-step changes in our business. I think we’ve learned what it takes to be successful in serving the channel in the cloud era.
Here are our key points to building a cloud culture and making it matter to channel partners:
On the bus or off the bus: We had to look at our staff across the business and decide if they were ready for a new way of doing things. They had to be prepared to commit to changing processes, team structures and outlook. We needed to build our team around people focused on the future. The result was immediately removing legacy ways of doing things and barriers to changing our business. Channel partners benefit from having support staff solely focused on getting it right for them.
Understanding where we add value: As we evolved our business, we needed to understand how we would change internally. It made us think about what we do well in the business and try to stay focused. We love to be part of something new, and we’ve thrown ourselves into creating the vision for the business, our DevOps and innovation projects. This is what we’re passionate about. We’ve hired more developers than ever before, and these guys are coming into our business and teaching us new possibilities. Epsilon is truly becoming a digital-service-provider business and we think that’s incredibly exciting.
Rocks and sponges: Shaking up the team also meant new hires. From the reception desk through to engineers, we want people who can learn. Sir Clive Woodward, England’s World Cup rugby coach, describes these people as “sponges.” Woodward chooses players that may be less talented but who are ready to learn. Teams of sponges are better than teams of … … super-talented rocks that can’t or won’t learn. Having sponges is about building adaptability into our business with people who can change as demand across the channel changes. We’re ready to support the channel demands of the future.
Partners matter more than ever: Getting the right people on board was critical, but so has been partnering with the right companies. We looked at our partner strategy and chose to work with companies that share our vision for cloud-centric networking and the channel. Partners enable you to move faster to transform your business and continue to change over time. With the rise of APIs, partners have become seamlessly integrated into our business, and we’re offering our platform to channel partners via APIs. The partners you choose are critical for delivering the best possible services, processes and overall experience to customers.
Our core values don’t change: At the end of the day, our business has changed, but the core value proposition hasn’t. Our tagline when we were in the coal shed was “Connectivity Made Simple,” and today at our offices in New York, London, Dubai, Singapore and around the world, it is still “Connectivity Made Simple.” The vision is the same, but how we execute on our vision has changed. Channel partners can trust us and know what we’re going to deliver.
You never think about changing your business culture when you start out, but it becomes necessary. You have to evolve and change with the market, and that means rethinking who you are as a business and what you want to be for customers. To be successful in the cloud era, you have to design for adaptability.
When you have the right people, you’re ready to grow and deliver customer-service excellence. The challenge is to build the team. The opportunity is getting it right and creating a cloud culture that is faster, more efficient and ready for the future.
Epsilon co-founder and CEO Jerzy Szlosarek is a seasoned industry executive with a strong sales and engineering background, particularly in the global telecom markets. Leading Epsilon’s worldwide partner development and innovation initiatives, Jerzy has been central to the company’s success positioning Epsilon into service provider networks worldwide. Jerzy’s track record of success spans almost 20 years, having progressed in Epsilon from the founding days as CTO during which Jerzy laid out the technical vision to running the global sales and operations teams as COO before assuming the CEO position.
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