RSAWEB is growing up. From its launch in the early 2000s, the company has been through a number of changes, both small and large, and has recently gone through a massive growth spurt with the Cape Town team moving to a new office and new products being launched. Sitting at the RSAWEB offices, gazing out at the gorgeous view of the ocean, I chatted to Allan Boyle, RSAWEB’s Director of Operations, about his role at RSAWEB, the team behind him, and what makes his job exciting.
In 2009, after a ten year stint in Europe, most of which was spent in IT management roles in the financial services sector, Allan returned to South Africa to take a brief sabbatical. It was during this time that he was introduced to RSAWEB founders Mark Slingsby and Rob Gilmour. Allan was enthused by the passion the team shared for the South African market, both in terms of how they were rapidly adopting virtualization technologies into their business model and also by their greater goal of driving the South African tech sector forward. Allan noted that “at that stage, SA was always a couple of years behind the US and European markets and it was evident that Rob and Mark were looking way ahead and that they had a massive vision and goal. In Rob and Mark, I saw two like-minded guys that were keen to disrupt; keen to take an industry and say ‘this is how it has been done, but we could do it differently’.”
After meeting Rob and Mark, Allan joined the RSAWEB team, taking on a Sales role that saw him make a 180 degree career change, landing him on the opposite side of an IT manager’s desk. He quickly realised how much he enjoyed being in front of customers, talking to them and ultimately being an evangelist for the brand. Soon the phrase; ‘technology meets life’ became his mantra and as the years went on Allan found himself ultimately becoming a crusader for Cloud computing, driven by the enthusiasm of the young and energetic RSAWEB company and by a passion to land the next client and bring in revenue.
Today, Allan is involved in all aspects of revenue sales and the key elements of acquiring and retaining customers. Heading up the Sales and Customer Service teams, Allan oversees 30 people in both Cape Town and Johannesburg and notes how this change in role has also brought on a change in his mind-set and passion.
Before, ‘landing the deal’ was the reason to get out of bed every morning, but now Allan comments that that this drive has changed to be centred around people and their development: “RSAWEB is growing and constantly changing and I am passionate about developing our people, so that they can change with us. A lot of people don’t like change; they fight against doing things differently and I enjoy finding ways to help them through the change.”
With the industry constantly moving forward and evolving, it is safe to say that change is a constant in the ISP/Cloud hosting environment. With that change comes new challenges and the need for new staff and the development of the trust amongst that staff.
“When bringing in a new customer, it is so important to create a relationship and then introduce the experts to support the customer’s need. You need to have the backup of your full team and trust in that. Build the relationship – use a meeting as an opportunity to listen to what the customer needs and then take the next meeting as an opportunity to introduce the team. In solution sales engagements you need to hold hands on a first date and develop the relationship.”
We continue our conversation by looking back at 2014 and discussing the need to create a culture of high performance. As people have left RSAWEB, others have come into the company with a new energy – a vitality to assist with driving the company forward and to create new opportunities for the business and themselves. “Guys who create opportunities for themselves get opportunities. As we grow, people will get more opportunities. Curiosity and enthusiasm are key. Identifying the A-players, bringing them to the forefront and seeing them grow is what I find increasingly exciting.”
What 2015 and the future holds:
Allan believes that everything is moving to the Cloud, and soon we will no longer need to worry about load shedding for example, as increasingly we move workloads and computer power into the Cloud.
“People need to ask themselves, what can you move into the Cloud to generate access? The Cloud provides an easier, more individualised experience, making day-to-day life faster, better, easier. Previously companies created data; now we, the individual, are making the data ourselves. Consumers are creating data, so they also need to be closer to data and to have access to it. At RSAWEB we focus our products and services around Cloud hosting and connectivity solutions. We believe that by implementing high-speed connectivity solutions for customers, it gives them the ‘highway’ needed to harness new Cloud technology. For RSAWEB, connectivity and bandwidth are quickly becoming commoditized and margins are tighter, but we still believe it is vital to provide these connectivity highways so that we can give our customers access to our ‘best of breed’ Cloud hosting products and services.”
Allan’s main aim for the future is to push for more and more people to get connected, so that we can reduce bandwidth costs, ensure security is in place, manage big data, and ultimately allow more people to move data into the Cloud.