Gone are the days when companies had to purchase physical storage devices and software on a CD-ROM. With software as a service becoming increasingly prevalent and the availability of secure cloud environments, businesses can not only make remote work easier, but also become more agile. If you have a busy season every year with higher data volumes and compute demands, a performance tuning project could offer a new level of scalability.
As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Nuckolls.
With over 15 years of experience in the IT channel, Kelly Nuckolls is a dynamic professional with an aptitude not only for the creative side, but also the business side of marketing strategy. Kelly’s background and experience prove expertise in strategically integrated services for technology solution providers that increase client and channel awareness and optimize revenue streams. She is well-versed in today’s IT challenges and has the ability to translate technical capabilities into ROI, including next-gen solutions such as automation, cloud and edge computing, cybersecurity and resilience, AI and machine learning. Currently serving as the Vice President of Marketing & Alliances at InfoSystems, Inc., she has been recognized multiple years on CRN’s prestigious Women of the Channel list, honoring outstanding leadership and vision in driving technology growth and innovation.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I began my career as a web designer, and from that time until now, I’ve spent my entire career in the channel. As my career evolved over the years, I have found myself in strategic marketing roles, fueled by experience I gained along the way in sales, brand management, and other related specialties. Today, in my role at InfoSystems, I am working alongside our leadership team to bring heightened clarity to our services, making sure current and future customers know what we offer and how technology solutions can make their lives easier and their businesses more secure.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Not really funny, but a mistake I continued to make for far too long was staying quiet for fear that I would embarrass myself… I doubt myself constantly, despite the knowledge and experience I bring to the table. Women in technology are always fighting for a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation. To gain confidence, I consistently stay on top of current industry events and news, competitive markets, and product releases. I now strive to be the first person to bring a new topic to a room in order to be heard — even if it’s unique and might cause a stir… I will learn from it. Others will too.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I constantly admire the dedication of my stay-at-mom friends. It is the most challenging and most impressive work that a person can do. As a working mom of two little guys, I can so easily see the many jobs this one title encompasses: babysitter, housekeeper, coach, referee, chef, accountant, interior designer, organizer, chauffeur, nurse, therapist, playmate, educator. There are no set hours, there are no vacations, there are no sick days, and your boss(es) are the most demanding of all.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
BOOK: The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking — This book breaks down in relevant day-to-day examples how the brain solves problems and comes up with new ideas. I’m a habitual box checker and love to work fluidly through projects as efficiently as possible — sometimes to the detriment of creativity in the solution or the process. This book was full of interesting ideas about creativity and tips and techniques for exploring, practicing, and challenging your typical intuition.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
InfoSystems celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. In fact, the year InfoSystems was founded was the same year that removable floppy disc storage ZIP drives were released to market. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t around at that time! But knowing what I know today, I can guarantee that InfoSystems has been a purpose-driven business from day one. Our founder and president is still involved in the business to this day, and although product and service offerings look much different, the core principles that drive us each day do not. InfoSystems was founded in effort not just to deliver world-class technology solutions to customers, but also to be a great place to work. As both of these things evolve, InfoSystems does, too. To be competitive in this market, as well as hire and retain top-tier talent who will deliver service with excellence, you have to be committed to developing a vision and ensuring everybody understands the role they play in achieving shared goals.
Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
We are focusing on cohesively integrating solutions from multiple OEMs to showcase fresh go-to-market perspectives and a comfortable, best-of-breed product sales strategy. It’s something I’m truly passionate about because it impacts so many people. When properly executed, solutions integration provides the greatest ROI for the client and all vendors involved.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is updating processes, operations, and tools with modern technology solutions that make work easier. At its simplest level, you could even consider implementing smart home solutions as a digital transformation. Ever set up an Echo Dot and a few smart plugs? You’ve gone through your own digital transformation!
At InfoSystems, of course, digital transformation is much more complex. The work we do involves transferring large volumes of data from traditional, on-premise storage systems into hybrid cloud environments. We’re helping integrate new technologies that enable businesses to automate repetitive tasks, minimizing the risk of user error and maximizing teams’ productivity.
The specific actions taken during a digital transformation vary depending on a business’s specific needs.
Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?
Any company can benefit from a digital transformation! The challenge is, many businesses feel overwhelmed about where to start. That’s where a trusted third-party vendor can be extremely valuable. We work hard to stay updated about the latest solutions on the market, and as a vendor-agnostic agency, we are able to piece together a plan that will work best for a customer.
If you’re reading this and considering undertaking a digital transformation for your company, a few good questions to ask to decide if it’s worth pursuing would be:
- Are there systems in place that cause frustration routinely when using them (think bugs in software systems, regularly using workarounds, downtime, etc.)?
- Are you doing things manually that could be automated — if you just knew how?
- Are your technology solutions noticeably outdated, but you are avoiding the headache of upgrades and data migration?
- Do you have modern data security systems in place?
A good IT and cybersecurity provider can walk you through a consultation to determine if a digital transformation project is something you should pursue, as well as how to ensure the most seamless transition.
We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.
There are so many ways digital transformation has done all of these things. Many of our client engagements are confidential, so I can’t speak to specifics. But I can say that when properly and successfully implemented, a digital transformation project can help teams work more efficiently, minimize the risk of human error, prevent costly downtime, and perhaps most importantly, protect all the people your business serves.
Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?
Anytime you are updating systems or migrating large amounts of data from one system to another, there’s bound to be a few challenges you’ll have to overcome. People worry about losing information, downtime/reduced productivity during migration, learning curves with new systems, etc. But with proper planning and project management, the vast majority of these concerns can be mitigated. That’s why I would always encourage business leaders to engage with a third-party expert for this type of project. Because we are guiding companies through digital transformation efforts every day, we know what to plan for and the best, most efficient way to implement new systems.
Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Streamline processes. AI and automation are the future of business — and they’re becoming more and more accessible to more and more businesses. If your company is handling manual, repeatable processes, I’d strongly encourage you to evaluate automation solutions like Red Hat OpenShift.
2. Upgrade to the hybrid cloud. If we learned anything over the course of the past year, it’s that the “office” as we know it is forever changed. As work becomes more flexible and remote, we’ll need secure ways to access data. The hybrid cloud is an excellent solution.
3. Become more nimble. Gone are the days when companies had to purchase physical storage devices and software on a CD-ROM. With software as a service becoming increasingly prevalent and the availability of secure cloud environments, businesses can not only make remote work easier, but also become more agile. If you have a busy season every year with higher data volumes and compute demands, a performance tuning project could offer a new level of scalability.
4. Consider cybersecurity as a business need. We read of hacks and data breaches in the headlines, but what many people don’t realize is that there are so many attacks we don’t hear about, right in our own backyard. As business becomes more and more reliant on technology, cybercriminals are constantly updating their strategy to prey on businesses large and small. If there’s one common thread seen in stories of hacks and breaches, it’s that cybersecurity was an afterthought. It’s much easier to prevent these events from happening than it is to clean them up.
5. Make sure your team is up to speed. In 2021, technology is integrated into essentially every component of business operations, and essentially every team member is tasked with managing some component of a business’s technology stack. Make sure to regularly train your team on topics like cybersecurity, and check in to ensure solutions are addressing the business need they were implemented to address.
In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?
At InfoSystems, we operate by the mantra: “Best idea wins.” This means that when making decisions, we’ll move forward with the best idea, no matter who suggested it. We are firm believers that in order to solve big problems for our clients, we have to create a culture of innovation for every member of our team. If you only ever hear the ideas of the loudest voices on your team, you’re missing that person who has tons of experience but doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up in meetings. You’re missing the new hire who has a great idea but worries if he or she is too new to be making suggestions. “Best idea wins” helps our team feel more comfortable sharing their ideas, and we’re all better for it.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.” — Michael Jordan
How can our readers further follow your work?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!