Sister act: flying the flag for diversity in tech

Having driven her IT firm Xalient to No 40 on The Sunday Times 100 list – of which Vodafone Business is an event sponsor – founder Sherry Vaswani is now hoping her success will inspire other women to join the industry.

Sherry Vaswani had been thinking about Xalient, a developer of software that enables staff based anywhere to securely access systems and collaborative working tools, for three years before she was able to turn her vision into reality.

Vaswani, above, was restricted from starting a new business under a non-compete clause imposed after selling her previous company. She waited less than a day after it expired before incorporating Xalient in 2015.

“During that period, although I was working in a non-competitive sector, I stayed in tech,” says Vaswani, 49. “I spotted a trend for companies moving their applications to the cloud, and more people working remotely, both of which needed to be done securely. Network security is my area and I could see it would be transformative.”

She wasn’t wrong. The surging demand for greater digital security amid the growing threat of cyberattacks and the rise of home working has pushed Xalient to annual sales growth of 84.45 per cent over the past three years. Coupled with revenue of £26.3 million in 2021, that growth saw Xalient ranked 40th in The Sunday Times 100 list of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies, of which Vodafone Business is an event sponsor.

‘This was a chance to build a business that’s a really credible alternative to the sector’s big boys’

Vodafone Business also helps companies grow, and recently launched Vodafone Pulse Connect. It’s a flexible mobile, broadband and cloud calling package with just one bill that lets you add or remove users and tailor services to each employee, so you only pay for what you need.*

And Vodafone Pulse Connect also helps protect companies. Its plans include Lookout Security for Small Business**, providing mobile security and identity protection. The broadband package includes Cisco Meraki’s security and wi-fi device, which updates automatically to ensure you’ve got the latest protection, prevents unauthorised employees from accessing your network, and protects against malicious files; as well as Cisco Meraki Smart Cameras to deter criminal activity, detect threats and provide useful insights into on-site behaviour.

Xalient now employs 180 people in four countries – Britain, the United States, India and Romania – and continues to expand its workforce, with a particular eye on the US, where Vaswani sees the greatest potential for growth. Xalient caters for large global corporations that need to connect their network users and devices to apps and data, securely and efficiently.

“These companies were all very frustrated with the large outsourcers and traditional players who were dominating the network security market but were not very agile and not very focused on the customer,” Vaswani says. “So I thought, this is a chance to build a business that is completely going to challenge that norm and be a really credible alternative to those big boys.”

‘Showing that women can be leaders in the tech business can have a huge impact’

And with hybrid working becoming the norm, companies will need to continue to secure their networks to accommodate remote workers while remaining resilient to cyberattacks.

“Network security approaches used to assume users sit in offices and that you firewall the office, or that you’re logged on through a VPN tunnel and therefore you’re secure,” says Vaswani. “Even pre-Covid, that was an issue. There were big high-profile malware security incidents that proved this approach was not robust enough.”

Xalient takes what it calls a “zero trust” verification approach to securing a user’s devices, which reduces the risk of hackers penetrating a company’s systems. Covid accelerated a trend for home working that was already gathering momentum, increasing an already pressing need for businesses to ensure they have their cyberdefences in good shape.

“Businesses should be very concerned about cyberthreats, especially those companies that are a bit behind on carrying out their assessments,” says Vaswani. “I think large businesses have been concerned for a while, but medium sized businesses are realising they are targets just as much as the large ones. Every business knows there is a threat there.”

As well as focusing on the US market, which accounted for around half of Xalient’s revenue in 2021, Vaswani is looking to invest in more talent and innovation to ensure the business remains at the forefront of network security.

All Xalient’s new products are given female names such as Wanda, Iris, Sona and Martina, reflecting Vaswani’s belief in the importance of increasing diversity – especially the representation of women – in the technology industry.

“I have more of a stage than I realised,” she says. “I recognise there’s an opportunity to help with bringing more women into tech and creating a more diverse society.

“I didn’t used to think that was something I could affect, but I now realise I can. This helps bring the best people into your business. Showing that women can be leaders can have a huge impact.”

How do we move from network observability to proactive monitoring? It has been a challenge for most network teams for decades. One of the problems network teams face is the vast volume of data they deal with and the lack of time and skills to interpret it.

Two decades ago, that data was generally contained, with the majority of traffic understood by network teams. Today, the explosion of cloud apps and remote working has made understanding traffic a significant challenge. It is not just the volume of data but the complexity of that data that makes the challenge hard to overcome.

Stephen Amstutz, head of strategy and innovation at Xalient (Image Credit: Xalient)
Stephen Amstutz, head of strategy and innovation at Xalient

So, where do we start? To find out, Enterprise Times talked with Stephen Amstutz, who’s the head of strategy and innovation at Xalient. Amstutz believes that the move to software-defined networking gives us a chance for greater observability of data. He talks about the gains from having greater granularity into how applications are consuming the bandwidth.

But this is not just about utilisation. Amstutz says, “Not only are we getting utilisation statistics, but we’re also getting all of the metadata that goes along with that, so we know what applications are being used and consumed, and we know what users are consuming those applications. We’re able to much more effectively understand how the network is being used.”

That understanding allows an organisation to set its Quality of Service metrics to prioritise key applications. It also highlights where legacy applications are still in use. A critical area when companies are moving to the cloud.

To hear more of what Amstutz has to say, listen to the podcast here: Can AI get you from network monitoring to proactive observability? – (enterprisetimes.co.uk)

Our meet the team blog series highlights the amazing people behind Xalient. This week we met with one of our Programme Managers, Martin Burke, to learn a little more about him and his role at Xalient.

To kick things off, could you tell us about your career background? 

I have over 25 years of experience working in technology and professional services and have had the great privilege to work for some large managed providers in the public and private sectors.

My early career started as a Technical Consultant, where I was an SQL DBA and Microsoft Certified Engineer. I then moved into Networking Solutions and, over time, to Project Management – where I honed my skills in Customer Delivery.

I have since managed various projects, programmes, and professional service teams, that have enabled me to develop my skills and knowledge, I pride myself on my ability to work with any customer to achieve the best possible outcomes.

What is it that attracted you to Xalient? 

I heard of Xalient in its earlier days through close colleagues as a young, ambitious, forward-thinking organisation willing to take risks to win in the market against the larger MSPs, Putting Xalient on my radar for a possible future career move, and luckily that opportunity came up this year – which I jumped at the chance!

What’s the first thing you do when you start your working day?

I’m very privileged to work from home, allowing me to have a good work/life balance most of the time. Usually, I start my day with a pot of coffee, a quick walk with the dog, check my emails, and then see my daughter off to school. I then sit down at my home office, ready to start the day.

I think it’s important to maintain some boundaries when working from home, so I ensure I have my dedicated work area, which helps me switch off at the end of the day.

And what does the average day look like for you? 

As a Programme Manager, much of my time is spent managing customer expectations. It takes the form of many communication channels to continuously try and maintain good communication with our internal teams and customer stakeholders, intending to finish the day having made steps forward in delivering our objectives and ensuring that everybody is informed and working on the same priorities.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I would think a lot of people would describe me as a self-starter, strong, independent, who knows what is required to get decisions made quickly. I hope my colleagues appreciate my role as the conduit to our customers, trying to get the best outcomes at all times to deliver on time and budget for their desired quality outcomes.

What do you like most about your job?

I am proud to be part of the Xalient team. Xalient does an excellent job of delivering quality outcomes, and I enjoy our ability to support our customers through change. I feel I have the right level of autonomy to get the job done.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I spend most evenings on our sofa or out at the cinema watching the latest horror movie with my wife, Helen. On weekends I enjoy getting out and spending time with my family doing various sports, including scuba diving, canoeing, mountain biking and archery.

In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Over the past 12 months, I realised happiness and a good work-life balance is key. It’s important to enjoy doing the job you do and doing it well and waking up on a Monday morning raring to go! Since joining Xalient 5 months ago, I have had a real passion for working again.

Are there any products, gadgets or apps you can’t live without?

I think I’ve been privileged to have lived in the technology era and seen the birth of the Internet and mobile phones. It’s incredible to see where we are now with everything you need on a smartphone or on a watch! I’ve always enjoyed being at the forefront of gadgets and tech. However, I’d have to say I think I could live without social media. Talking to people is an art we are losing as time goes on. That said, I don’t think I could live without my sporting equipment either. Not being able to get out for a mountain bike ride or go canoeing would be challenging for me.

Who/what inspires you (work, personal or historical)?

Entrepreneurs fascinate me by being bold and brave enough to risk and gamble their own money on their ideas and sometimes win and sometimes lose, but learn from it and do it again. I can think of a number of these people that most of us would probably quote as inspiring Gates, Branson, Musk etc. and our very own CEO, Sherry Vaswani.

What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

I frown a lot, not because I am cross but thinking!

Tell us something people might not know about you. 

I’m dyslexic, and whilst I find it very frustrating sometimes, it’s also been a bit of a superpower.

In my earlier career, I hid it a lot from people, but now I have a different perspective, as it gives me a different perspective that adds colour to the team.

Over the past decade, the shift from a traditional IT infrastructure to cloud-based computing has been rapid, with many companies embracing cloud migration. In the coming years, cloud services will dominate – they are already quickly overtaking on-premise in-house traditional IT systems as a reliable, scalable, cost-effective IT solution. Here we look at how cloud transformation can help address some of the challenges businesses face when entering the early stages of growth and scalability.

One of the most significant benefits of cloud transformation is the flexibility it offers businesses, particularly where hard-earned growth is just beginning to take off. Traditional IT infrastructures endure challenges that can be extremely costly in time and money as the company grows.

Let’s take an example; as the number of employees increases, so does the volume of traffic on the network and data usage. With a traditional IT infrastructure, the only alternative solution is to rent or purchase additional hardware, which can be costly in terms of the initial acquisition and ongoing maintenance costs. The on-demand space of cloud computing has virtually unlimited storage space and server resources, meaning it is infinitely scalable, so you can scale up or down depending on the level of demand.

Moreover, it is more cost-effective than traditional IT infrastructure due to payment methods for data storage services. With cloud-based services, you only pay for what is used – similar to how you’d pay your utility bills, and the decreased downtime means enhanced workplace performance and increased profits in the long run. Cloud also allows businesses to support a hybrid working environment, where applications are available from anywhere, and employees can be as productive from the train as they are at the office.

However, the move to the cloud isn’t without its challenges.

Infinite scale brings with it multiple security challenges. As each new virtual server or appliance is deployed, with potentially critical data stored, how do you ensure that access to that data is correctly managed? How do you ensure that the correct security policy is applied to every new cloud workload? With cloud applications inherently accessible from anywhere, how do you police an equally infinite security perimeter? How do you monitor performance and ensure user experience on a platform you no longer manage?

How can a cloud security platform help you transition to the cloud?

A cloud-native platform can scale with demand and is consumed by businesses in the same predictable model as any other SaaS or cloud product. It can provide all of the benefits one would expect from a cloud service; centralised management, resilient architecture, global coverage and consistent application of policy, whether the workload is on-premise, cloud or SaaS-delivered.

As with many cloud services, time to value is short, allowing you to deploy quickly and reap the benefits immediately, providing secure access to your cloud workloads from day one, and releasing your teams to concentrate on the task at hand – migrating everything else.

Internet Access secures access to the Internet, whether the user is on-premise or remote working, with policy managed and delivered centrally, but service provided using a distributed cloud model to maximise performance and user experience – secure your perimeter at cloud scale.

Cloud Security Posture Management can help you to understand how your cloud platforms have been (and should be) deployed to ensure that your move to the cloud isn’t exposing security flaws, and Private Access enables you to minimise your attack surface and move towards a Zero Trust architecture for access to your cloud applications.

A Digital Experience solution provides detailed information on the end-user experience, delivering support teams deep insight into cloud-delivered applications, so they can pinpoint issues quickly and resolve them as quickly as possible – ensure your users thoroughly enjoy the benefits of the cloud.

Click here to find out how Xalient can help to deliver your transformation.

Written by Stephen Amstutz, Head of Strategy and Innovation, Xalient

In today’s world, the volume of data and network bandwidth requirements are growing relentlessly.  So much is happening in real-time as businesses adapt and advance to become more digital, which means the state of the network is constantly evolving. Meanwhile, users have high expectations around applications – quick loading times, look and feel visually advanced, with feature-rich content, video streaming, and multimedia capabilities – all of these devour network bandwidth. With millions of users accessing applications and mobile apps from multiple devices, most companies today generate seemingly unmanageable volumes of data and traffic on their networks.

Networks are dealing with unmanageable volumes of data

In this always-on environment, networks are completely overloaded, but organisations still need to deliver peak performance from their network to users with no degradation in service. But traffic volumes are growing, and this is bursting networks at peak hours, akin to the M25; no matter how many lanes are added to the motorway, there will always be congestion problems during the busiest periods.

As an example, we’re seeing increasing need for rail operator networks to handle video footage from body-worn cameras, in order to cut down on anti-social behaviour on trains and at stations.  However, this directly impacts the network, with daily uploads of hundreds of video files consuming bandwidth at a phenomenal rate, yet the operators still need to go about their day-to-day operations while countless hours of video footage are uploaded and processed.

This is a good example of where AI and ML can and is helping organisations take a proactive stance on capacity and analyse whether networks have breached certain thresholds. These technologies enable organisations to ‘learn’ seasonality and understand when there will be peak times, implementing dynamic thresholds based on the time of day, day of the week, etc., as a result.  AI helps to spot abnormal activity on the network, but now this traditional use of AI/ML is starting to advance from ‘monitoring’ to ‘observability’.

So, what is the difference between the two? 

Monitoring is more linear in approach. Monitoring informs organisations when thresholds or capacities are being hit, enabling organisations to determine whether networks need upgrading.  Whereas observability is more about the correlation of multiple aspects and context gathering and behavioural analysis.

For example, where an organisation might monitor 20 different aspects of an application for it to run more efficiently and effectively; observability will take those 20 different signals and analyse the data making diagnostics with various scenarios presented.  It will leverage the rich network telemetry and generate contextualised visualisations, automatically initiating predefined playbooks to minimise user disruptions and ensure quick restoration of service. This means the engineer isn’t waiting for a call from a customer reporting that an application is running slow. Likewise, the engineer doesn’t need to log in and run a host of tests, and painstakingly wade through hundreds of reports, but instead can quickly triage the problem.   It also means network engineers can proactively explore different dimensions of these anomalies rather than get bogged down in mundane, repetitive tasks.

This delivers clear benefits to the business by reducing the time teams spend manually sifting through and analysing realms of data and alerts.  It leads to faster debugging, more uptime, better performing services, more time for innovation, and ultimately happier network engineers, end-users and customers. Observability correlation of multiple activities enables applications to operate more efficiently and identify when a site’s operations are sub-optimal with this context delivered to the right engineer at the right time. This means a high volume of alerts is transformed into a small volume of actionable insights.

Machines over humans

Automating this process, and using a machine rather than a human, is far more accurate because machines don’t care how many datasets they must correlate. Machines build hierarchies, and when something in that hierarchy impacts something else, the machine spots certain behaviours and finds these faults. The more datasets that are added, the more of a picture this starts to build for engineers who can then determine whether any further action is required.

Let’s touch on another real-life example. We are currently in discussions with a large management company who own and manage petrol station forecourts. They have 40,000 petrol stations, and each forecourt has roughly 10 pumps, equating to 400,000 petrol pumps across the US.  Their current pain point is a lack of visibility into the petrol pumps and EV chargers connected to the network.  As a result, when a pump or charger is not working, they might only become aware of this following a customer complaint, which is far from ideal.

The network telemetry that we are able to gather, and that behaviour analysis, means we could provide business insights, not just network insights. We could see if a petrol pump stops creating traffic, which triggers a maintenance request to go and fix the pump. This isn’t a network problem, but the network traffic can be leveraged to look for the business problem. This is a use case for fuel pumps and EV chargers but imagine how many other network-connected devices there are in factories or production facilities worldwide that could be used in a similar way.

Getting actionable insight quickly

This is where our AIOps solution, Martina, predicts and remediates network faults and security breaches before they occur. Additionally, it helps to automate repetitive and mundane tasks while proactively taking a problem to an organisation in a contextualised and meaningful way instead of simply batting it across to the customer to solve. Martina discovers issues with recommendations around tackling the problem, ensuring that organisations always have high-performing resilient networks. In essence, it essentially makes the network invisible to users by providing customers with secure, reliable, and performant connectivity that works. It provides a single view of multiple data sources and easily configurable reporting so organisations can get insights quickly.

Executives and boards want their network teams to be proactive. They won’t tolerate poor network performance and want any service degradation, however slight, to be swiftly resolved.  This means that teams must act on anomalies, not thresholds, to understand behaviour to predict and act ahead of time. They need fast MTTD and MTTR because poor-performing networks and downtime impact brand reputation and ultimately cost money! This is where proactive AI/ML observability really comes into its own.

 

We are working with the Product and Process Innovation project (PIPA) as part of our MARTINA expansion. The PAPI project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, in partnership with the Northern Powerhouse, and delivered by the University of York.

 

We’re incredibly excited to announce that we have won MSDUK’s 2022 High Growth Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year.

MSDUK champions the best of British Ethnic Minority Businesses. The awards recognise Xalient as an enterprise within the MSDUK network that has achieved the most growth despite the unprecedented business environment and acknowledges our CEO and founder, Sherry Vaswani, as one of the most inspiring ethnic minority entrepreneurs from across the UK for her poise and determination to succeed.

Speaking on the wins, Group Chief Executive Officer Sherry Vaswani said: “MSDUK does a first-class job in shining a light on ethnic minority-led businesses that may have something unique to offer given their diversity – innovation, agility, expertise, to name a few.

Their work in helping open doors for young entrepreneurs and guiding them on how to succeed with large corporates is much needed and brings a whole new approach to improving the diversity in supply chains.

We’re so proud to have won MSDUK’s 2022 High Growth Business of the Year award for the second year. This awards evening has been a terrific night of recognition and celebration of the great technology, science, and research in diverse organisations within the UK impacting the world.

It is also a great privilege to be awarded Entrepreneur of the Year. It would not be possible without the support of our amazing people, customers and partners. I would like to thank them for their continued support in helping us grow and achieve success and my congratulations to all the nominees and winners.”

The awards were part of a three-day programme of events as part of the MSDUK 2022 Conference, culminating in a Business Show at the QEII.

Xalient has been Lot 2 approved and will deliver SaaS applications which are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud.

We are proud to announce today that we have been accepted and approved on the Government G-Cloud 13 Framework to deliver SaaS applications which are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud.

The G-Cloud-13 Framework provides cloud hosting and software services and associated support services to UK central government departments and all other public sector bodies. IT solutions and consulting providers must apply and be approved to be accepted onto this framework. On 9th November, G-Cloud 13 will replace G-Cloud 12 and will continue to provide cloud hosting and software services, together with associated support services to the UK central government departments and all other public sector bodies.

“We are delighted to be approved on the G-Cloud 13 Framework and look forward to helping organisations on their digital transformation journey.  As public sector organisations grapple with the volatile economic environment and strive to automate and digitise more of their infrastructure, demand for greater network bandwidth is rising, but so is the cyber-threat environment.  Our security-first approach to networking and intelligent suite of AI-powered network monitoring and secure network access tools means we can deliver both speed and consistency of deployment, as well as the security, visibility and functionality organisations need,” comments Sherry Vaswani, founder and CEO, Xalient.

The UK Government G-Cloud is an initiative to simplify procurement of IT services by UK public-sector bodies. The G-Cloud consists of a series of framework agreements with suppliers, from which public sector organisations can buy services without needing to run a full tender or competition procurement process. Additionally, it provides an online store allowing public sector bodies to search for services covered by the G-Cloud frameworks.

The G-Cloud 13 agreement introduces the following changes from G-Cloud 12:

  • improved terms and conditions, with greater inclusion for the provision of day rate cloud support services
  • inclusion of the latest procurement policies, including social value and prompt payment
  • introduction of a fourth Lot to complement Lot 1, Lot 2 and Lot 3 for further competition for Cloud Support Services for larger, more complex requirements.

The benefits of the G-Cloud framework are many and include:

  • access to multiple suppliers and cloud services, including a high number of SMEs
  • quick and easy route to market
  • access to the latest cloud technology and innovation including:
  • cloud migration planning
  • Set up and migration
  • security services
  • quality assurance and performance testing
  • training
  • ongoing support

Our meet the team blog series highlights the amazing people behind Xalient. This week we met with one of our HR Officers, Jarah, to learn a little more about her and her role at Xalient.

To kick things off, could you tell us about your career background and current role at Xalient? 

I started working in the Hospitality industry when I was a teenager. I studied hospitality management and worked in hotels for several years before moving to the UK. When I was approached by a recruiter about an HR position four years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I am thrilled I made the jump. 

I started at Xalient on a temporary contract to cover paternity leave, and luckily they could offer me a permanent role as an HR officer. My primary responsibilities are improving our companies’ policies and procedures and ensuring we remain compliant. I also really enjoy working on projects like our Culture and Inclusion Program, the Green Team and being on the CSR committee.

What is it that attracted you to Xalient? 

What attracted me to Xalient was the culture and the people. It was really important for me to work for a company that values its employees, especially as someone working in HR.  

What’s the first thing you do when you start your working day?

It’s pretty much a shower, breakfast, and out the door. I do enjoy listening to a podcast on the way to work.  

What do you like most about your job?

My head is always full of ideas. I like that at Xalient, I get the opportunity to explore new ways of working and improving the workplace. 

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this?

I would start a doggy daycare and be surrounded by dogs all day. Or, more realistically, I would probably work in a hotel or do something in events. 

In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Like many others, I can spend hours mindlessly scrolling through social media. So, I try to take regular breaks by deleting the apps for a few weeks or months. That way, I can be more present and focus on doing things I actually enjoy. 

Who/what inspires you (work, personal or historical)?

My parents always encouraged me to find a job I love and not focus on money or status. It took a few tries, but I think I’m doing pretty well.

What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

A picture of me was once displayed in a museum as part of an art exhibition.  

Our meet the team blog series highlights the amazing people behind Xalient. This week we met with one of our Security Support Engineers, Marius Dinu, to learn a little more about him and his role at Xalient.

To kick things off, could you tell us about your career background and current role at Xalient?

Before Xalient, I worked with Okta Support for around four years, so it naturally made sense to work within a Cloud Security Engineer role here at Xalient.

What is it that attracted you to Xalient?

The Xalient culture and the people working here are fantastic, making the role more appealing.

What’s the first thing you do when you start your working day?

I ensure I have a big cup of coffee next to me throughout the morning.

And what does a day in life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I usually start the day by organising the tasks for the day, selecting the top 3 most important, and focusing on those before getting to anything else.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I think they would say I’m outgoing, sociable and very funny (my words, they wouldn’t probably admit it)

What do you like most about your job?

The relaxed environment allows me to thrive and be productive every day.

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this?

Probably caring for otters at the zoo!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like going for a swim, watching or playing football or playing video games.

Are there any products, gadgets or apps you can’t live without?

It has to be my AirPods. I can’t go anywhere without my music.

Who/what inspires you (work, personal and/or historical)?

I’m trying my best to take inspiration from everything around me, not just from a particular source.

What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

I can understand different languages (more or less) without knowing or speaking them.

Our meet the team blog series highlights the amazing people behind Xalient. This week we met with one of our Solutions Architects, Paul Orange, to learn a little more about him and his role at Xalient.

To kick things off, could you tell us about your career background and current role at Xalient? 

I left university and started working at the Co-Op in Manchester analysing utility bills for the Co-Op estates. This led me to a different job as a telecoms analyst at another company before I started to work for ‘Thus’ in Scotland as part of the telecoms and networking pricing team. Thus was purchased by Cable and Wireless (now part of Vodafone), and I took a job there as a Trainee Sales Engineer. From there, I went to Orange Business Services via a few years at Global Crossing (which became Level 3, now part of Lumen). I was at OBS for ten years.

I’m a Solutions Architect here at Xalient, it’s a home-based role, but I enjoy coming into the Leeds office.

What is it that attracted you to Xalient? 

Having come from a huge Tier 1 global network and telecoms provider, I like that Xalient is a young, agile company. I see being ‘born in the cloud’ as a significant benefit when competing against some legacy providers in the market. We don’t have old infrastructure, such as an MPLS network, to keep supporting and paying for.

What’s the first thing you do when you start your working day?

Coffee and porridge. Check my diary to see what the day has in store. Stop the kids fighting. I might try and go for a run or cycle if it’s dry and I’m in the right mood.

And what does a day in life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent work day?

If I’m working on a live bid, my day will include:

  • Scoping and creating a Bill of Materials (BOM) for the prospective customer.
  • Completing RFP response questions.
  • Joining bid team calls.
  • Preparing internal sign-off documentation.

Once a bid is ‘won,’ I’ll work on Statement of Work (SoW) docs. Plus, there’s constantly training to do. I’m currently working towards the CISSP qualification.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I don’t know – you’ll have to ask them 😊

What do you like most about your job?

The best thing about this job is how varied the role is – I get to work on different opportunities, each unique. It’s essential to keep on top of technical developments, and training is key.

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this? 

Honestly, not got a clue! 

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I’m a season card holder at Manchester City, so every other weekend, I’m at the Etihad Stadium plus, I try and get to as many away games as I can. I also enjoy mountain biking and try to get out on my bike a few times 

a week.

In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits that have changed your life?

I’ve been trying to reduce my carbon footprint by travelling less by car – with my old role, I was away a lot flying and driving, so I’m glad that has reduced. 

Are there any products, gadgets, or apps you can’t live without?

I use a great app – ‘Komoot’ – for finding and following cycle trails and routes – I’d be (literally) lost without it.

Who/what inspires you (work, personal or historical)?

I always looked up to my Grandad – he fought for his country in the 2nd most dangerous role in the second world war – he was a pilot in bomber command (most dangerous: submariner on a U-boat). He worked hard so his family could have a good life, was great fun to be around, was always positive, and was a great human.

What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

My dad has a racehorse named after him (Mr Orange).