By Andy Jonak
On January 21st and 22nd of 2020, our firm held its annual Sales Kickoff in CT. It’s an exciting time for Vicom and the one time a year where we bring together our Leadership, Sales, Architecture, Sales Support, and our strategic partners. Our Kickoff each year is used to celebrate our success from the previous year, but most importantly, it gives the opportunity of Vicom to present and discuss our plans for success for 2020. Success as Vicom’s strategy, but also success in how we work with our strategic partners.
The theme for our Kickoff this year was New or as I like to refer to it: New2020. The point of our theme is to reflect new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking, new routes to market, and new ways to improve and grow the business. The theme is a straightforward 3 letter declaration, New, but it couldn’t be more powerful. The interesting thing around the theme of new is that the IT world is all about new—the IT world is at the forefront of new and has been since its inception. Let’s talk about what that means for us this month.
The IT world rarely stays the same. We’ve all seen throughout the years—especially for those that have been in the IT world for any length of time—that IT continues to change and that change many times is something that is genuinely new or can be something that is a better (or “newer”) way of doing things.
Just think back to many of the innovations that have guided IT throughout the decades. It started with centralized computing and then evolved into client/server, where things became decentralized. Then virtualization came about, or should I say re-came about, since virtualization has been used in the mainframe arena since the 1960’s. But then in the late 90’s and early 00’s, VMware was released as something that was “new,” but was it? More like a new interpretation and take on a solution that has been around for a long time (mainframe) but brought to a new market (x86).
With the introduction of server virtualization, IT became more efficient with larger, scalable systems, which wasn’t really a new thing, it’s really what centralized computing was all about way back when. So it wasn’t a new way of doing things, but a new way to build upon what was being used and worked in the past. Just look at what Citrix did too. Large systems and resources on the backend, with a thin device upfront, which what mainframes were all about, and still are. Allow the workload and application to work at the centralized level and use a device (or app, hence what Citrix did with its ICA client) to access everything.
You saw a lot of firms moving from lots of smaller servers/systems to larger systems, which harkens back to the big old mainframe days of centralized infrastructure. But this whole concept is what the foundation of what cloud computing is all about.
Speaking of cloud computing, we all know it’s not a new trend, but something that took the market by storm of over the past few years. In years past, firms used to work with ASP’s (Application Service Providers, remember them?) which provided infrastructure and applications hosted at their location so firms didn’t have to have technology on site. Smell familiar? Isn’t that was cloud is all about, at least in its purpose? Yes, virtualization, made the current state of cloud computing what it is for today, but is it that much different than what we had “back in the day?”
Many firms also use—and still use—hosting providers. How much of that change is that really from the purpose of what cloud is today?
The same can be said around containers. A wonderful, reasonably new concept, but if you think about what it is, it’s packaging applications and workloads in such a way that they are no longer dependent upon the underlying OS anymore, so it’s completely portable and movable. But wasn’t that sort of what Java Applets and Servlets used to do? If you look back to how virtualization revolutionized things, to me, it seems like containers built upon that. Server virtualization removed the dependence upon the hardware with its hypervisor, and containers remove the dependence of the hardware and the OS.
So the message is that so many of the things we do in IT are not indeed “new,” but ideas and concepts built upon the things that preceded them. That is what is wonderful about IT.
So what does this have to do with our Sales Kickoff and its tie into IT? Those of you who know me know that I can take roundabout way to bring my point home and here it is: Our Sales Kickoff gave us the strategy we need for 2020 to focus on the “new” things that are important: New ways of thinking, new routes to marketing, new ways of doing things, and ultimately, new business. But these aren’t new concepts but are things we need to do to be successful in 2020 that is built upon all of the great things we’ve done in the past. Our Kickoff and our theme of “new” gives us clarity in that.
Kickoff also allowed us to be with our closest and most important strategic partners. Just about everything that we do, just about everything we sell is somehow tied to or related to a solution or service from one of our strategic vendors. Our Kickoff gives us the opportunity to meet with and reconnect with them and figure out the new areas and strategies we need to implement in order to be successful collectively. This reconnection is so important to our strategic vendors and helps to set the stage for the entire year for Vicom. And it all reflects our theme of “new.”
So as with all things in life, “new” can have many meanings to you and your business. For us, it’s about achieving new things with a focus and clarity that is needed to be successful. I hope that’s the case for you as well.