Big Data

Next-Gen Data Center Support; Interview with Chris Adams, President & CEO, Park Place Technologies

Park Place Technologies

As President and CEO of Park Place Technologies, Chris Adams is an architect of leadership, innovation and change. Since being named CEO in 2019, Chris has set a new path for growth and customer excellence. He is committed to extending the traditional strengths of Park Place in maintenance and support to meet changing needs of customers in an era of digital transformation. To that end, Chris is leading the category development of DMSO (Discover, Monitor, Support, Optimize), a new approach to bringing order to managing an organization’s critical infrastructure while eliminating chaos and accelerating business transformation.

Chris joined Park Place in 2006 as CFO and his most recent role was COO, where he oversaw global operations, information & technology, new product development, international expansion and all mergers & acquisitions activity. In this interview with TechBullion, Chris will be sharing with us, more information on his mission at Park Place Technologies.

Please tell us a little more about yourself?

I’m Chris Adams, President & CEO of Park Place Technologies. I’ve held several roles at the company since joining in 2006 and am so incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in serving the needs of the IT sector since then. I came on with the company as its CFO, and had the pleasure of working right alongside many of the people who founded the company in 1991.

I transitioned to Chief Operating Officer in 2012, dedicating myself and my teams to global expansion, new product development and mergers & acquisitions.

In 2019, I started my current role as President and CEO, overseeing our partial sale to a new private equity firm, continued M&A activity, and accelerated innovations in the managed services area. My focus to date has been on Park Place’s proactive/automated discovery, monitoring, support and optimisation services.

In simple terms – what does Park Place Technologies do?

We are your IT team’s trusted infrastructure partner. We dramatically reduce chaos and streamline the monitoring and management of IT environments through a unique portfolio of solutions and services. Park Place drives Uptime and empowers IT teams to think bigger by consolidating services, automating processes, optimising performance, increasing agility, creating cost efficiencies and expediting mean time to resolution.

How is your business a customer-first business?

Park Place is constantly striving to bring innovation and integrity to the IT infrastructure management industry. By “integrity,” we mean honesty. It’s time for vendors to be truthful with customers about the real cost of data center hardware equipment, service plans and the root causes of inefficiency. It’s time for vendors to offer flexible contracts that put the customer’s needs first and offer tools that bring order to an increasingly complex IT landscape.

Integrity, in a more literal sense, also means integrating disparate vendors, solutions, and data into one place, making it easier for customers to make smart, future-focused decisions for their businesses.

Park Place has differentiated its service through customer experience tools such as the Central Park customer portal, which allows asset sorting, real-time ticket monitoring and the ability to add and delete contracted items; the PPTech Mobile app, which allows access to the Central Park portal via any mobile device; a tracker  that offers real-time tracking of engineers and parts; and our First-Time Fix Guarantee, an industry exclusive that ensures the best support experience for our customers. With First-Time Fix, if a return trip is needed to correct the same issue on the same device within five days, clients will be credited for one month of maintenance and ParkView monitoring on that device.

How have the needs of your customers evolved over the past few years with the rapid evolution of digital transformation efforts?

Today, IT needs to do more than just keep the lights on — it needs to optimise available resources to add more value and do more with less as the enterprise undergoes digital transformation. IT leaders need a partner they can trust to navigate this complex landscape and to fulfill their potential as drivers of innovation within their organisations.

IT leaders need peace of mind that their infrastructure is running smoothly, so we ensure maximum Uptime. We also simplify their workflows, reducing the amount of time it takes to identify the root cause of an issue, and even mediate problems altogether before they happen. We are that one partner they can turn to no matter what problem or question they have — the company they can trust to be accountable for a job well done. Through our platform, customers get a holistic view of their infrastructure through a single pane of glass that allows for greater productivity, greater efficiencies, and partner consolidation.

Future business growth is also a huge opportunity for us to support our customers. We provide the analytics and intelligence that help IT leaders need to plan for these changes and respond with agility to changing market and customer demands. We call this “future proofing.” We work hard to make sure our customers stay ahead of the technology curve.

Over the past few years, we have driven our own positive change in the IT services industry as well. For one, we developed an approach we call “Discover, Monitor, Support, and Optimize,” or “DMSO”, which fuels our ability to provide the breadth of services we offer at our exceptional level of service and reliability. We are setting a high standard for the industry to provide world-class support quickly as issues arise, and optimise for future business needs.

Park Place Technologies is a global company, does your service differ in various parts of the globe? How do you keep this uniform, or do you take a different approach in each region?

At our core, we’re proactive, identifying problems quickly – sometimes before they even arise, and resolving them before they impact a customer. With ParkView Hardware Monitoring, we’ve found that we’re able to fix problems on the first try 97 percent of the time. This translates globally.

When customers partner with Park Place, they don’t just gain a team of a few local experts — they have direct access to a vast global support team with an always-evolving breadth and depth of knowledge to solve any problem and future-proof their systems. Our global, multilingual 24/7/365 support team serves our customers anytime they need us, in 170 languages.

As companies expand around the globe, data centers have become more complex to maintain, more expensive to operate and more difficult to standardise across time zones, continents and cultures. Your business may be based in North America, yet your data centers could be in countries all around the world. What happens if you have an IBM issue in London, a Hitachi problem in Wiesbaden, an Oracle crisis in Singapore and a Dell situation in Sao Paulo? Is your IT team forced to interact multiple times with multiple OEMs in multiple time zones?

We are able to offer service in 6 continents and 154 countries. This encompasses more than 50 OEM brands, which facilitates infinite combinations to ensure our customers have access to smarter data center support, for virtually any equipment, virtually anywhere.

How has the pandemic impacted your ability to service customers?

The global coronavirus pandemic revealed gaps in data centers’ business continuity planning. Faced with a rapidly changing and enduring worldwide crisis—which confounded preparations designed primarily for isolated, short-term emergencies—IT leaders have come to realise the “new normal” will remain a moving target for months to come. Our supply chain remains unaffected. Park Place Technologies’ plans are intended to permit the continuation of key business operations during most types of disruptions by resuming mission-critical operations, usually within the same business day as the disruption. Park Place Technologies maintains back-up capabilities in alternative locations and remote support options. We are working with field engineers and parts delivery firms to ensure continued service.

Park Place is taking every measure necessary to prevent customer impact during this event. We strive to maintain all service-level agreement commitments for hardware maintenance; however, if an area is deemed high-risk or under quarantine, Park Place may make the determination to service the customer remotely and drop-ship parts as required. We’ve also alerted all staff to be prepared to service customers through alternative means if travel or site visits become impossible or inadvisable.

With the string of acquisitions Park Place has completed over the past few years, how do you ensure that you’re consistently delivering the same level of customer support as your company grows? Essentially, how do you scale your customer-first model?

Park Place Technologies opted to swim through the crises caused by the pandemic, acquiring Curvature in November 2020. It was a bold move not only as our largest acquisition to date, but it transformed us into the world’s largest third-party data maintenance company – doubling the number of employees and revenue. Navigating the move virtually meant managing communications through all touchpoints to keep the remote workforce aligned and onboard. There were webinars, podcasts, town halls, training videos and email communications all designed to bring the whole enterprise along for the journey.

At the best of times, M&As can be fraught with uncertainty – even in normal scenarios the process can be tenuous once everything is complete. Personal interaction is an essential part of integrating sensitively and efficiently following an acquisition. Creating a cohesive culture remotely can be tricky when teams can’t meet face to face – but it’s far from impossible. Getting it right impacts the level of productivity, job satisfaction and in turn, vital business activities.  The acquisition brought together two industry leaders and helped us further our mission to maximise Uptime for our customers around the globe.

What do you think keeps CIO’s and IT professionals up at night these days?

In this pandemic era, there is not a single CIO or CFO out there who isn’t scrutinising their company’s spend. Fortunately, data’s role has exploded in the business world and is favorably impacting the situation. To properly assess a company’s financial position, a CFO needs to be able to effectively access data. The key is to take a large amount of information and narrow it down to action items. Effectively harnessing important data can be an issue, so there is an increasing collaboration between CFOs and CIOs as IT formats data in ways that are most helpful to finance.

One strategy I consistently employ with our CIO, which has been extremely helpful during this crisis, is a regularly scheduled, detailed review of all ad-hoc expenses across the company. We proactively look for technology items that should be aggregated or are not compliant with our standards – an area that requires CIO input and experience. Communication and collaboration with the CIO is also critical when working on business cases for development projects; it helps us validate the financials of a project. A working knowledge of the ever-changing standards in technology protects financial projections and budgets.

What advice would you have for those that are growing and need more IT support? What mistakes should they look out for?

The reality is that there has never been a more compelling argument for digital transformation, as the world works and plays online while pondering an even more hybrid future. Businesses continue their digital transformation journeys dependent on data that resides on-premises, in public and private clouds, on devices at the edge and within networks and operation centres. Our new remote working realities have added further complexity to digital environments – and managing them has cost and labour repercussions.

The concept of infrastructure continues to evolve radically as businesses embrace digital transformation. But in a market where data centre and network maintenance is expected to exceed $185 billion annually, it’s time for the industry to address servicing digital IT infrastructure in harmony with third-party maintenance. With the evolution of the new market category, Discovery, Monitor, Support and Optimise (DMSO) – set to be worth $228 billion annually by 2023 – this is truer than ever before.

In the digital age, it is imperative that companies invest in predictive maintenance and strategies; in our always-on society, downtime is sacrilege. Identifying and addressing problems before they happen is key to maintaining the competitive edge.  Gaining insights through automation and analytics saves time and money, streamlining operations and ultimately enabling businesses to shift precious capital towards innovation, putting them on the cutting edge of their industry. This makes IT infrastructure a strategic business asset. The pandemic adds a fresh urgency to this awareness.

It is clear: Businesses can no longer ignore the opportunity to maximise uptime, create cost efficiencies, enable greater infrastructure control and visibility, and enhance asset performance through support. It’s sink, or swim – and the ripple effect is being felt at the top level in all markets.

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