Status Go: Ep. 240 – View of the Market 2024 | Jonathan Lerner

Summary

In this forward-thinking episode of Status Go, titled “View of the Market 2024,” host Jeff Ton and visionary guest Jonathan Lerner, CEO of InterVision Systems, delve into the transformative wave hitting managed service providers and the tech industry at large. Tune in for an incisive conversation that busts the myth of cloud costliness, explores the unprecedented adoption of AI and the fascinating evolution of technology affecting multi-industry MSPs. Discover how InterVision’s strategic partnerships and new product offerings like Connective CX are driving customer-focused business outcomes and workforce modernization. With insights on the everything-everywhere experience economy and the imperative to master business agility in a tech-dominated future, this episode is a must-listen for industry leaders and technology enthusiasts eager to stay ahead in the dynamic 2024 market landscape. Subscribe now for a glimpse into the crystal ball of IT innovation and strategy with the expert guidance of Jeff Ton and Jonathan Lerner.

 

About Jonathan Lerner

A visionary leader, Jonathan thrives on pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, transforming business through the evolutionary power of leading-edge technology.

Jonathan has spent the last two decades inspiring high-performance teams to define market differentiating strategies that deliver operational excellence and drive profitable revenue growth. His executive leadership spans multiple industries including financial services, capital markets, technology services, professional and managed services, retail, logistics, distribution, public sector, and telecom.

A dual, American and Canadian Citizen, Jonathan earned an MBA in International Business at Bentley University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Jonathan and his wife Michelle have made Atlanta their home for 25 years, along with their 3 children: Matthew, Josh and Olivia. Jonathan serves as an advisor and a Host Committee member for Heroes for Hope, and HOPE Atlanta, dedicated to eliminating poverty and homelessness.

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Episode Highlights

[00:00:00] – Demystifying Cloud Costs: Revolutionize Your Tech with Affordable Integration in 2024!

[00:01:15] – Status Go: Your go-to podcast for the cutting-edge IT insights you can’t afford to miss!

[00:02:03] – Tune in for a Sneak Peek: 2024’s Tech Trends Ushering in a New Era for MSPs!

[00:03:45] – Celebrating Progress: Welcoming a Game-Changing Year for Status Go Listeners.

[00:04:50] – Revolutionizing Industries: The Unstoppable Surge of Personalized Tech Solutions!

[00:06:25] – AI and Data Democratization: The Dawn of Hyper-Personalization and Collaboration!

[00:07:40] – Vertical Solutions Steering the Market: The New Competitive Edge in Tech!

[00:08:55] – The Inside Scoop: InterVision’s Big Moves in the Complex and Regulated Spheres!

[00:10:38] – Edge Computing in Manufacturing: Reimagine Speed and Efficiency in Data Processing!

[00:11:52] – Customer-Centric AI: How MSPs are Customizing Content Creation in Real-Time!

[00:13:29] – Opportunity Knocks: Turning Customer Challenges into Growth Milestones!

[00:14:47] – Engagement is King: Upskilling for a Future Dominated by AI and Digital Transformation!

[00:16:25] – Strategic Alliances: Powering Through 2023 with Partnerships and Gen AI Technologies!

[00:18:09] – Celebrating Milestones: Paying Tribute to InterVision’s 30 Years in the Tech Arena!

[00:19:34] – Pioneering Customer Demands in 2024: A New Age of Strategy and Rapid Innovation!

[00:21:07] – Mastering Business Agility: The Cutting-Edge Focus of Tomorrow’s Tech Market!

[00:23:02] – Beyond the Norm: Embrace World-Class Practices and Innovate Past Your Competitors!

 

Transcript

Jonathan Lerner [00:00:00]:

That key element is strategy. Understanding the customer, taking the time to come equipped not just with good questions, but knowing the answers and having understood from the time we’ve spent with some of these folks what that strategy is and how it’s evolved.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:00:20]:

Technology is transforming how we think, how we lead, and how we in. From InterVision, this is Status Go, the show, helping IT leaders move beyond the status quo, master their craft, and propel their IT vision.

Jeff Ton [00:00:38]:

Welcome to another episode of Status Go, the podcast that explores the ever-evolving landscape of technology, leadership, and innovation. I’m your host, Jeff Ton, and today’s episode is packed with insights and foresight into the world of managed service providers. Our guest is no stranger to the industry’s dynamic nature. He’s at the helm of one of the leading MSPs in the United States, InterVision Systems.

I’m thrilled to have Jonathan Lerner, the CEO of InterVision, joining us today. InterVision not only delivers cutting edge solutions to its clients, but as our listeners know, it’s also the publisher of the Status Go podcast. This makes Jonathan uniquely positioned to understand the pulse of the tech world.

In this episode, I’m going to ask him to drag out his crystal ball for 2024, exploring the market trends that will shape the destiny of MSPs and their clients.

Jonathan will be sharing exclusive insights into the exciting new products and services InterVision is rolling out, designed to meet this ever-growing demands of the fast-paced digital landscape. But that’s not all. We’ll be tapping into Jonathan’s wealth of experience to understand what customers will demand from their MSPs in the coming year. As organizations continue to navigate unprecedented challenges, the role of the MSP becomes increasingly crucial, and Jonathan will shed light on how InterVision is staying ahead of the curve.

So, whether you’re a tech professional, a business leader, or an MSP professional, this episode is your backstage pass to the future. Get ready to gain invaluable perspectives on market trends, innovation, and clients’ evolving needs. Let’s dive into this conversation with Jonathan Lerner, the visionary CEO of InterVision Systems, right here on status go.

Jonathan, welcome.

Jonathan Lerner [00:02:43]:

Thank you, Jeff. It’s great to be back with your community on the Status Go podcast and listen…I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, and I’d like to wish you and all of your listeners a safe and happy new year as well.

Jeff Ton [00:02:54]:

Thank you so very much. And Jonathan, as you know, since we have video, I’ve got a big grin on my face because I love our conversations. I look forward to these. We try to do a couple of these a year. I think the last time you were on was our 200th episode. We’re now at, oh gosh, maybe 240, something like that. Closing in on that.

Jonathan Lerner [00:03:16]:

Congratulations. That’s a heck of a run. Heck of a run.

Jeff Ton [00:03:19]:

It’s been too long, so I’m happy to dive into that. And thank you for the wishes for the new year to our listeners. We’re recording this on the 29 December. It will air in January as you’re listening to it.

So I want to start there, if you don’t mind. Think back on 2023 and what’s one or two things that stand out ton you in the tech market, the tech space from 23.

Jonathan Lerner [00:03:51]:

It’s interesting. So, people, this is that time of year where every analyst, every think tank, every practitioner talks, pulls out their crystal ball, as you call it, and every podcast host, and they talk and we talk about trends. But much like last year, we try to focus on market forces that drive the trends. And those trends are kind of flowing from 23 into 24 with a little bit of a tweak, right.

So I think forces drive trends. And the forces we continue to see, number one is that decline in digital trust. I mean, it’s all over. What is risk? It’s the definition of how prepared are you for the inevitable. But that decline of digital trust is a force that is driving a trend.

The second would be the continued double-digit growth in the cloud, specifically in the public cloud. Right. That is an undeniable force. And we’ll talk a little bit about metrics and what some of the objective numbers coming out of the Gartners and the Forresters are, because I think it’s quite compelling on looking from 23 to 24 and seeing that acceleration.

I’d say the third is really monetizing democratized AI data. And this has taken on, as you’ve seen and as you know, an accelerated path as we mix traditional AI, automation, RPA, and now gen AI and move from, I don’t want to call it dumb data, but inside of our four walls, knowledge to, the unlimited unstructured and structured data, and how to use, monetize and frankly, drive strategy around that, that’s a continuation and an augmentation in itself.

And the fourth, I’d say, is probably the everything everywhere experience economy, whether we’re talking about customer experience or patient experience, citizen or constituent experience, and ultimately consumer experience.

That and the related self-service, assisted service, and managed service are really the driving forces that are driving trends in our industry, Jeff.

Jeff Ton [00:06:08]:

So as we’re sitting here on the cusp of 24 what’s different about 24? We put those four trends will continue on into 24. Where’s the nuance? Where’s the difference?

Jonathan Lerner [00:06:26]:

I think it’s about our community as an MSP. How are we mastering, really business agility? It’s not a trend, it’s a requirement. Right. What are we doing? Which really is about how we compete and thrive in a digital age and what we do to quickly respond to market changes, market forces, like I talked about, and these emerging opportunities with innovative, digitally enabled solutions. So it’s a mindset, it’s a change mentality. It continues to be that willingness to actually look at your business, look at yourselves and your skills, and frankly, challenge both efficiency and effectiveness in how we serve customers. I think that’s around how we define mastering business agility. That’s the imperative year to year force to force.

How agile are you? Right. What are we doing to infuse, I’d say, the elements of being an agile business? What are we doing? What are we doing to embrace change? How are we thinking about the culture of agility? What are we doing to embrace data-driven decisions? These are all consistent across years. I think that we’re seeing.

Jeff Ton [00:07:53]:

I think you’re exactly right. So we saw a huge technology, I’ll call it a shift, although AI has actually been around for what, 50 years or something, but it became mainstream with the release of Chat GPT.

Jonathan Lerner [00:08:08]:

That’s right.

Jeff Ton [00:08:09]:

Just about a year ago this time. How is technology evolving, and how will it impact MSPs? And then we’ll talk about the client side in a minute. So, how’s technology evolving, and how is it impacting an MSP?

Jonathan Lerner [00:08:26]:

Yeah, well, look, let’s start with one of those trends. I’ll lead with the dynamic around cloud. Right. So our customers, let me give you a stat. I teased you with this before. Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is expected to grow at over 20% again this year. That’ll be almost 700 billion in 2024 alone. And some key trends around that are definitely around cost optimization.

It’s a key theme around what some say would have stalled some of those migrations to cloud, around the metrics and the cost and the questions around, am I getting full value? Where should I be focusing? How do I gain greater traction around finops and managed services related to it? And then the whole concept of hybrid and public multi-cloud strategies. And it’s driving not only multi-cloud adoption but also mergers and acquisitions. Although those slowed in 23, we’re already seeing momentum pick up. And you’ve seen some of those consolidations in the Google orbit with Saba and Insight, and we’re starting to see enterprises really looking for best-of-breed, not compromising again on ultimately trying to get the benefit of suite offerings and data resiliency that comes with it. But clearly, this is driving that accelerated industry cloud since 2020 and beyond. Right. But there’s a big transformation, and it’s around cloud-led digital transformation.

Jeff Ton [00:10:06]:

And I love some of the themes that you wove into that because, as you recall, in 2023 here on Status Go, we did a series called Mythbusters, and one of the myths that we busted was that the cloud was too expensive. So I love that we were on point with that and aligned with your thinking as well. That means a lot as you look across InterVision, client base, prospect base, maybe even broader than just InterVision’s. Are there specific industries or sectors that are really driving MSPs to change?

Jonathan Lerner [00:10:49]:

Well, let me come back to industry in a second. I do want to address your question, which is where are the technologies transformations accelerating, and how is that impacting MSPs? How is it impacting our customers? Yeah, I want to mention that IT spending on legacy infrastructure continues to shift right towards next gen technologies. And we’re seeing in the next three to five years that path of adoption and growth is going to increase. The curve gets steeper as customers are modernizing and revamping their IT stacks and they’re doing it end to end. They’re not just taking point, they’re actually looking at moving legacy IT systems to hybrid cloud or to focus cloud. Those choices are still out there, but they’re definitely adopting more virtualized and interconnected IT environments. And they’re moving from traditional software licenses towards very personalized technology and services on demand. These composable industry-tailored services that we talked about are a major trend.

Again, we’re starting to see that acceleration. We’ve been talking about the blend of legacy software models. Buy it up front as an asset. Right. Depreciate it. And we’re starting to get into hyper-personalized industry. I’m getting to your industry question. Industry-focused, composed solutions that are very different.

And that’s actually driving many of the conversations I’m having with our C suites and customers. Right. It’s about a conversion of IT and security teams and going back to that theme of zero trust, it’s how are those two coming together increasingly right with the…Given that hyper scalers are driving a lot of the real-time ecosystem, more and more partners are being driven, whether it’s through marketplaces or through ecosystems and alliances; many, many more transactions and enterprise agreements are happening at the hyper scaler level. These are all becoming more interconnected.

The interesting thing is when you throw AI and Gen AI in the mix, you’ve got an interesting dynamic because when you talked about legacy enterprise platforms, ERPs, supply chain, P to P systems, those were very corporate-driven, top-down, right Jeff? It was all about what I need to mandate from the above and push it back into the when you’re talking about democratized tools like your flavor, name it, of Gen AI, that’s a bottom-up momentum driver. Knowledge workers are embracing tools, and so there’s this almost like a coming together of applications and platforms and hyper scalers with self-driven, sometimes minimally controlled introduction of gen AI and hopefully democratized data. But it’s a new dynamic where IT is spending a lot more time focused on business outcomes than ever before.

So you’re seeing this marriage in the middle even more. You’re seeing PMO and IT and line of business and outside advisors all huddling now and we’re a part of that mix and we’re thrilled to align with our customers. A lot of what’s happening by industry and that hyper-focus on industry value. There’s a term in the market used to be called “meet me where I live or where I am”. Increasingly we’re adopting “meet me at my industry and bring insights.” That’s the dynamic that we’ve really embraced and are seeing through a number of things we’re doing. We’re hiring industry practitioners. The observation is we have a great ecosystem.

I love to say the best ecosystem wins. Increasingly our OEMs, our original equipment manufacturers are doubling down on their R&D around the shrinking time to innovate features, development of the solutions and they’re relying on us increasingly for the services, the managed services and the expertise and the industry flavor.

So we’re hiring industry practitioners and we’re bringing that insights well in advance. Remember, I think in our conversation we talked about it’s not if you show up; it’s when you show up, and hopefully, to our base of customers and prospects, we’re showing up earlier in a more insightful way, and I think that’s the demand. That common threat across managed service providers is that we’re bringing insights earlier to help with roadmaps. We’re not showing up around RFPs or identified need. That’s the consistency. I’m going back and forth but I think if we think about it and last thing I’ll do I’ll add that the focus of our business customers is on augmenting and automating both while they create these guardrails around the AI and the automation.

All these factors are coming together in 24, well beyond the POCs and the pilots that have really, I think, run the last six months of whether it’s Gen AI or automation or augmentation. We’re getting into industry focus. We’re getting into alignment with those OEMs around where each of our strengths are so that we can take on some of that responsibility on developing industry specific automation, augmentation and solutions. So it’s a very exciting dynamic. It’s a very exciting time.

Jeff Ton [00:16:48]:

It is. It reminds me of a conversation we had here on Status Go with Brian Jackson of Infotech Research Group, in which he was talking about the sharing of anonymized data between peers in an industry. Right. That industry data is valuable. And so, he believes we’re going to start to see more and more of that. And it sounds like from your description that you’re seeing it from the MSP side as well, that this verticalization across industries is going to be key.

I want to turn our attention a little bit more to InterVision itself. I know you all conducted a huge event at re:Invent back what was at the end of November, I think, and it was centered around some of the product offerings, some of the new services that InterVision is putting together.

Can you share a little bit about, first of all, that event? How’d that go? But then, more importantly, what are some of the products and services we’re going to be seeing out of InterVision here in 24?

Jonathan Lerner [00:18:08]:

You’re leading me. Well, Jeff, thank you. I’ll step up on our box and talk about InterVision liking to do. We’re known now that we continue to excel at doing hard things for complex and regulated organizations, both in the public and private sectors. But in regulated industries like financial services, like healthcare, definitely. In sled, in our state and local government, and in the federal government space, in the public sector, again, not just meeting them where they are, but meeting them at their industry. And I’ll give an example. Outside of that, right in the manufacturing space, there’s a lot of growing interest around edge computing and how moving insights and decision-making all the way from the hub out to the spoke, all the way to either the controllers or the machines or the machine operators.

And doing that securely, that rise of edge computing for faster data processing and reduced latency is really driving investment and innovation in that space. So, it’s an area where not only for manufacturing, but it’s indicative of really of everything happening, right, it’s the rise of the knowledge worker, it’s empowering, but securing all the way to the edge and all the way to the security and the risk profile, all the way to the mobile phone or the device where often folks are targeted. So all these things start to blend.

I think re:Invent was a great opportunity that reinforces where we are and where we’re bringing DevOps and application development on top of world-class leading innovative platforms and solutions, and we’re helping customers continue to integrate their legacy investments. But we’re also bringing in this concept of how do we hyper focus around customer strategy, not just around technology, embracing technology, but then and one right, bringing what we do around, how do we bring legacy applications into the modern world? How do we develop on top and make full-service-enabled use around those microservices and those strategy-enabling elements? And I think re:Invent brought somewhere between 50 and 55,000 people together. It is an unbelievable event. I was logging 20,000 steps a day. We were going back and forth all the way up the Strip in Las Vegas.

But I think it was a great reinforcer of our relationship with Amazon, one of our two big cloud partnerships. And I’ll sound our horn. Our partner team did a sensational job. We were only one of a handful of AWS partners that were honored with an SCA, a strategic collaborative agreement in 2023. So we feel very fortunate not only to participate and be invited, but we sent almost a dozen people to re:Invent to really embrace and fully emerge in the opportunities with customers, with video testimonials from some of our new customers and our legacy customers who are partners with both us and Amazon. And you know, the themes across re:Invent. You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a Gen AI presentation around how data, ultimately knowledge, insights in real time beyond the boundaries of the enterprise walls is driving innovation, but also investment. And it was fascinating to see because when we talk about Gen AI, Amazon has a very, I think, realistic approach to where those emerging technologies, where those domains land and what the ultimate business advantage is.

And that was my walk away was, look, you can really drive gen AI in four areas. Like you’ve said for the last 15, maybe 20 years. We’ve enhanced customer experience with chatbots and virtual assistants and AI powered contact centers and personalization around that. And to that end, we’re actually introducing.

Thank you for the offer for me to pound my chest and talk about offerings we’ve introduced a solution called ConnectIV CX. ConnectIV CX.  Connect-Amazon Connect, IV-InterVision, and CX-Customer Experience. Yeah.

And we’ve made it consumable, like we’re doing in our brands, around personalized, tailored, industry-specific offerings. And this falls into our CoE, our center of excellence called Workforce Modernization, one of our four CoE’s in 2024. That outcome-driven, industry-focused flavor embraces that element of Gen AI for enhancing customer experience. And we’re doubling down on how do you automate and augment and build world-class contact engagement centers for businesses.

And we’ve done supremely well in our public sector business. We’ve doubled our growth in that area, for instance, year over year from 23 to 2024 and we’re thrilled. There was a recent announcement that the EDD, the employment development division of the state of California, highlighted our work together with Amazon in helping the citizens and the constituents of the state of California. We’re honored to receive the accolades. We’re thrilled to engage with Amazon around that experience driving technology and the process shift.

So here again, we’re bringing in advisors to advise on what a world-class engagement center contact center means to future-proof this for the next 30 years. What are we bringing to the discussion around not just pub sec as a baseline for showing me best in class, but world-class? And here we’re bringing in talent from the best financial services contact centers, the best banking experiences you can imagine, the best healthcare experience, and we’re bringing that to the public sector as an advisor, frankly, to how do we engineer process tools, people and this ever-evolving complement of AI and automation into that experience for the citizens of the state of California, for instance.

We’re doing that over and over and we’re thrilled we’re going to be announcing soon a couple of other large go lives with other state and local organizations. But now I’m bragging, Jeff, but I’m thrilled of the work of the team and the combination of what we’re enabling. Because under the covers, in addition to experience, there’s a security platform that sits and helps and has to drive that. Well, let me step back from that area of ConnectIV and re:Invent because we were super thrilled to announce that. And for customers, what that means is it’s really a two-flavor adoption, so we make it simpler, and it’s this concept of ConnectIV.

Now you can start and grow and ConnectIV, wow. Which is a broader, fully functioning end-to-end with analytics on one end and automation infused right from the get-go. We can launch with your customers. So we’re trying to make it easier to consume these service-enabled, hyper-industry-focused solutions for the market. Again, that market for us is that 100 million to about 7 billion in revenue and we’ll flex up and down. But that’s really in our commercial enterprise and regulated public sector. That’s who we continue to target.

Jeff Ton [00:26:13]:

And you mentioned, Jonathan, about helping clients for the next 30 years. And that brought to mind, and I can actually see it behind you, InterVision celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2023. We’re no longer young pups. We’ve been around for a while, right? We have seen a lot. And I just wanted to call that number 30…call attention to that a little bit.

Jonathan Lerner [00:26:42]:

Yeah, we’re fortunate. We’ve got almost 1600 customers now over 30 years. And to, that theme of doing hard things, I think for us it’s an advantage of being 30 years because we’ve lived through some of the pains of escorted journeys, right. And we’ve helped evolve relationships and value for customers and we measure success. I think we talked about this in our last call in quantifiable and qualified benefits for customers. We stick around and we actually measure the benefits to the customers. But increasingly, each of our four COEs comes into the conversation more and more, Jeff.

So every one of our customers is doing something in security. Every one of them is doing something in cloud. Each of them is looking to embrace this workforce modernization and the realities of collaboration in a digital age and in a post-Covid age. And then lastly, our modern infrastructure, which has been, as we grew up as a reseller, adding services ton, we continued to really embrace all the way from premises-based data center all the way through to those migrations and transitions to cloud. And it continues to give, I think, us an advantage we’ve lived through. What does it take to escort journeys and build?

Jeff Ton [00:28:02]:

Yeah, well, InterVision itself has transformed. Right? So when you think about our customers needing to transform, it’s one thing to talk about it, it’s quite another thing to have done it. So you’ve got maybe some of the battle scars from the transformation, but you’ve also got the successes and the lessons learned.

We’re running out of time here. Jonathan and I want to touch on two other things, and you briefly mentioned these things during our conversation today. And the first one is customer expectations. When you think about 2024, what demands do you see coming from the customers to an MSP…to InterVision?

Jonathan Lerner [00:28:54]:

Yeah, I think my comment was the focus on business outcomes versus just the next-gen technology. Right. And I think this is that dynamic, really anticipating it and responding to the line business and it coming closer together around justification of investment and innovation and the cost of same being greater than the cost of change. I still love that tagline because I think it forces us to ask good questions and to be curious and insightful around what is driving enablement of strategy. And it’s a blend of efficiency, which is doing the right things at scale, and effectiveness, which is doing the right things. And those have to come into alignment.

So I think that from a customer expectation, they should be expecting more from us, more meaning more insightful conversations around testing their strategies and embracing this faster-occurring dynamic of innovation cycles and shortening compression cycles around innovation and technology and challenging us to come with layouts for how do we tie investments in innovation to strategy? And that’s that key element is strategy. Understanding the customer, taking the time to come equipped not just with good questions, but knowing the answers and having understood from the time we’ve spent with some of these folks up to 30 years what that strategy is and how it’s evolved and providing the on-ramps for new elements of technology or process onto that superhighway that continues to add lanes in itself, right, as well as off ramps.

Because sometimes when is it time? What’s the economic trigger? How do I look at my cost of change versus cost of same on for instance, on-premises workloads? What are those that we prioritize? And to your point, where do we monetize the data and how do we put it in the right hands so that we’re helping to drive insight and that drives to strategy. Enablement to strategy. I think that’s from a customer expectations in 24 it’s more faster, right. But it’s that consistency of come equipped to help advise before you’re diagnosing change before you’re prescribing the change. You have to work on the diagnosis of the pain or the opportunity around the strategy before you’re actually prescribing the remedy. And I think a lot of us were comfortable in iterative technology. Introduction here’s some new features, right? This is the next-gen of what you got. It’s no longer acceptable, frankly, to show up and say, let me talk to you about features and functions of tools.

MSPs have to show up differently. Our teams are being challenged to leverage some of those same tools to understand the customer, those same gen AI tools to create new content to boost employee productivity to know their customers better and embrace their ability to actually influence strategy. I think that’s a big customer expectation. We’re going to see through some of these introductions in technology and the ability to influence process that way.

Jeff Ton [00:32:43]:

I wish our listeners could have seen your face, Jonathan, when you talked about our customers challenging. Yeah, it’s like, bring it on. Right. We look forward to that challenge because first of all, we’re ready. And second of all, it helps us grow as we learn more. It hearkens back to a conversation I had with Saam Fouladgar. I know you know Saam quite well…from InterVision.

He had the same message for his clients. Challenge me, bring me questions, bring me problems, and let’s talk about those, let’s understand them as you describe before you.

Jonathan Lerner [00:33:27]:

I think what Saam, sorry to step on you there. What Saam does really well is when he addresses challenges at the customer side. Right. He talks from core competencies backwards. So for us it means starting with managed services and working backwards and understanding. And he does a great job of this. What are core competencies? What are differentiated, unique things that this strategy requires us to do as a customer. And he steps in the shoes of the customer and then that makes him more capable of saying, if it’s not core, then let me lead with what we excel at as our core.

Because if it’s our core competency and it’s not your differentiator that’s driving revenue, that’s driving change, that’s driving your strategy, then outsource it. Right. And we start at managed service, at costly, complex non-core, and we make the technology work for them, beyond the POCs, beyond the pilots, beyond having stuff to put in.

We look at data readiness, we look at the business case, the resources, the expertise, and the industry-specific applicability, and build from there. And I think he does a really good job. And that’s where you want to be selling from. Right. That’s fun. It’s challenging, it engages your heart and your mind really well. And I think a lot of us take a lot of pride in how we do that with our customers.

Jeff Ton [00:35:01]:

I totally agree.

Well, the last topic I want to touch on is about collaboration and partner strategies. And I thought about having you name off some of our notable partnerships. But that’s always dangerous, right? You leave one out and all of a sudden you’ve got some hurt feelings. So rather than that, I want to talk about InterVision’s approach to collaborations and partnerships.

Jonathan Lerner [00:35:28]:

Sure.

Our team does a phenomenal job of doing the research from marketing to our innovation factory. We look at leading trends, leading providers, and innovative OEMs, and we’re committed to providing ton two in every tier, in every solution tier that we serve. So we are proud of the fact that our top ten partners represent more than 80% of our revenue. Right? So, while we are a multi-solution provider, we do lead with certain partnerships, and those continue to follow our partner for life, customer for life, and employee for life doctrine. Our mission is around how we create and support these for-life initiatives.

And I think that I mentioned our SCA, our strategic collaborative agreement with Amazon, for instance. We really do a lot to try to tweak out that. And one, what do we each bring and then what’s the and one of the joint partnership with the magic element of the customer and understanding strategy.

Right? So from a partnership strategy, we’re always on the button to look for the next thing. It’s really important that we stay hyper-focused, and connected, whether it’s through our relationships with Gartner and Forrester and all of the think tanks, or through conversations with you, Jeff and your podcast members, because they bring the problems, the challenges and the opportunities that we have to look at and solve. And that helps us always reexamine and explore the relationships we have are those continuing to be top two in every category.

So it best allows us to serve our customers. And in many cases, they are like a lot of these partnerships we have, are 29 to 30 years old, and we like they have kept up with the times, and they continue to innovate as well. So I’ll drop a few names. Right? I mentioned Amazon, but we’re really thrilled about our partnership with Cisco, with Palo Alto, with Juniper, with NetApp, with Arctic Wolf in the MDR space, with Microsoft and with Fortinet. They couldn’t be stronger and they couldn’t be more collaborative.

And Tony, our head of partnerships, Tony Bailey, talks about reciprocity is the ultimate gauge of the reality check. And with each of these, we feel like we do achieve reciprocity. What we expect of them, they expect of us. Whether it’s from creating top-of-funnel or knowledge sharing that we pass and embed into our solutions, like RPaaS, like ConnectIV CX, we embed that into our solutions. I think it makes us better; I think it makes us more consistent, and it makes us more future-proofed. So we’re not ever compromising on I want best of suite, but maybe I’m not getting best of breed. And I think that’s a realistic. Again, expectation for 2024 is don’t compromise.

Look for partners that embrace that fully, that keep you innovating and keep that cost of change greater than the cost the same.

Jeff Ton [00:39:05]:

I love that, Jonathan. Partnerships have always been so important. InterVision did an event here in Indianapolis where I sit, gosh back, I think it was in November, and it was about that partner ecosystem. It was InterVision, Arctic Wolf, Aruba and AWS coming together to talk about what’s the value that we provide to the value of this partnership, and why should the customers care? At the end of the day, why should they care? And I think you touched on it with your quote from Tony. It’s reciprocity, it’s helping each other, but it’s that knowledge sharing, and it’s really bringing the client into the partnership as well. And that’s one of the unique things that I’ve seen is we’re not afraid to sit down at the table with everybody, including the client, and hash things out. And I think that’s one of the differentiators that I’ve seen out of.

Well, and we are at time. And as always, when you and I get going, we could talk all day, but I know you’ve got other appointments, Jonathan. And so I want to wrap up with our traditional call to action. What are one or two things our listeners should go and do tomorrow because they listen to our conversation today?

Jonathan Lerner [00:40:33]:

Well, it’s a great question. I know you’re going to ask me this every time, so I reflect on and I’ll tell you out of my book because we have our kickoff coming up and I’m challenging our business leaders to look at their people as we continue to say we’re a people business. Right. Knowledge workers. We need to encourage them to expand their learning, to embrace change. Right. But as leaders, we need to look at our people. Human skills are going to be essential as we continue to look at augmentation and automation and themes like Gen AI.

Right. So I think even one of our players in our industry, WWT, said that businesses are more likely to have seen profitability of more than 25% over the trailing three years because of investments in upskilling, reskilling initiatives in their companies. So I think going into 24 with more curated teaching experiences and more focused content for development of role, I think that helps close skill gaps. It meets the needs of the organization and it engages our people. An objective one in our OKRs of next year is to fully engage our employees because they ultimately serve our customers. Right. So I think that would be an ask of everybody listening, either as an individual participant, a knowledge worker, or as a business leader. Look at your people, assess how they’re going to either uptick their skills, leverage and adopt these new productivity, efficiency and effectiveness enhancing tools for themselves, bottom up and for their customers.

I think that’s a very worthwhile and compelling investment that companies need to make.

Jeff Ton [00:42:25]:

I think that is a huge theme. Sorry I cut you off.

Jonathan Lerner [00:42:29]:

I just was going to say I.

I had one other. It was just look beyond your current competition. Innovation is driving new best practices, but also new competitive offerings and opportunities. So if you’re benchmarking the same folks you used to, or if you’re just saying, you know what, I only benchmark myself because I’m a day one organization and I don’t want to look out. I think that there’s tremendous value in challenging the status quo, in looking at world-class across industries and across competition, because they’re coming. And this compression of innovation, this compression of industry-focused opportunities around offerings and services, is opening the door to new entrants, right? Be it new skilled workers or new companies or 30-year-old companies that are emerging and are investing in the right areas of growth on behalf of their customers. So I’d say, again, not what I want to be doing, recommending to my competition that they look beyond their competition. But I think it’s a fair challenge that every one of us needs to embrace is look beyond today’s competitors.

Jeff Ton [00:43:47]:

Yeah, I like that. Because sometimes the innovations come from the adjacent areas, not directly in the vertically aligned areas.

Jonathan Lerner [00:43:59]:

Absolutely.

Jeff Ton [00:44:00]:

Jonathan, thank you so much for carving out time. I know this is a holiday week, and I appreciate you setting aside some time to talk with our listeners today.

Jonathan Lerner [00:44:11]:

Always great to talk to you, Jeff, and enjoy your New Year’s. And thank you for the opportunity to speak to your listeners. Congratulations on the success of the podcast and I look forward to the next time.

Jeff Ton [00:44:22]:

All right, thank you so much to our listeners. If you have a question or want to learn more about any of the things that we talked about today, visit intervision.com if you’re interested in the show notes. They’ll provide links and contact information, but the InterVision website is filled with information about a lot of what Jonathan talked about today. This is Jeff Ton for Jonathan Lerner. Thank you very much for listening.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:44:50]:

You’ve been listening to the Status Go podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or get more information at intervision.com. If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, find InterVision on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Thank you for listening. Until next time.

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