As part of our Industry Leaders Interview series, we reached out to Chad Massaker for a few questions concerning some of the biggest challenges and burning topics people in the IT industry often face, and lucky for us, he was happy to share his thoughts and insights. The result is a great piece of innovative thinking.
Massaker is an experienced and multiple-award winning IT executive, who worked with some of the leading companies in the industry to help them improve their IT systems operations. He was ranked in CRM Magazine’s 2014-2015 MSP500 list, as well as their Next-Gen list in 2011 and 2012.
Q: It is no secret that the high-tech market is booming, and as a result there is a growing need for the most cutting-edge IT and the highest levels of cyber security. In your view – what are the top 3 mistakes companies make with IT? What are some key differentiators you recognize in a successful IT integration?
A: I recognize 3 major mistakes companies make with their IT system: The first one is trusting employees way too much by giving them admin level access to their machines and unrestricted access to other network resources that they should otherwise not have. The second one is NOT notifying the current IT service provider BEFORE they terminate an employee, so appropriate precautions can be made to secure company proprietary information, such as customer lists. The third one is continuing to run obsolete, and therefore insecure firewalls and wireless access points.
What I think makes a successful integrator is that they will take into account how changing any one piece of the core network infrastructure might affect the rest of the infrastructure and/or user experience. Moreover, they will know that users come first. IT should be taken for granted, like a utility. When you walk into a room, you flip a light switch, and the lights come on. In other words, things simply work and are not complicated.
When it comes to IT integration, it’s important to remember that soft skills training for technicians and engineers is critical to ongoing success.
Q: Which innovative trends do you recognize in IT nowadays?
A: There are four leading trends:
1. Line of Business Applications are all in the cloud as a SaaS subscription, or soon will be.
2. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a large and fairly unexplored space for many MSPs and integrators.
3. Pricing for standard managed IT services (like helpdesk, monitoring, etc.) are being driven down by lowering cost competitors looking to claim market share.
4. Cloud continues to be hit or miss with SMBs. SaaS usually makes sense, but moving core network infrastructure to the cloud (IaaS) rarely, if ever, makes sense for SMBs from a cost perspective.
Q: How do you prepare for a new add-on service implementation, and how do you make sure you stand out from the competition?
A: When we roll out a new add-on service to our managed IT services agreement, we generally roll it out to only a few volunteer clients first to see how they like and develop business processes to better support it.
Our key differentiator is our people. My background is from running IT in 4-5 star conference centers and resorts. This coupled with my degree in psychology bring a unique approach to our organization in terms of how we manage employees and how we train them to interact with clients.
Q: A lot of IT managers find themselves overwhelmed with responsibilities, coming from all directions within a company. What tips would you give them to ease the pressure?
A: Focus on strategic initiatives that help transform the company and outsource the low-level tactical stuff like helpdesk or monitoring. If all you are doing is the low level stuff, your job is in real danger of being replaced. But, less so if you are of strategic value to the organization.
Q: Let us in on some of your secrets… where do you look for innovation? For inspiration and revolutionary ideas?
A: My partner is the CTO of our company. He finds his inspiration at technology conferences meeting with vendors.
Also, I find my ideas by speaking often to customers and surveying them regularly. I can also find it when I am asked to give a presentation on a particular topic, which forces me to deep dive into recent research and unearth current IT trends. (e.g. IT Security and the Dark Web was a recent topic)