A look back at 2018: A year of brilliant growth and adoption

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Umbrellar Connect

As 2018 draws to a close, our team came together to celebrate our year of success. Here are some snippets of feedback from our key Team Leaders, as they reviewed Umbrellar's challenges and progress to date, and reflected on what's to come for 2019.

Take five minutes to hear from Michael Foley, Umbrellar Group CEO, Owen Swinson, Partner Ecosystem Manager, and Sunny Lahkiyan, Enterprise Services Manager.

2018 can be encapsulated in two words – growth and change. The team had a largely similar perspective when reflecting on ‘people, progress, and technology’. 

Michael – “We have brought Umbrellar Cloud and Synapse Search to market, implemented new technologies, and executed on the first big wave of migrations that will see our Online brands consolidated to the ‘Big 4’. This massive work programme has touched virtually everyone in the business – our processes, and certainly the systems, and platforms that support our technologies”.

Owen –  “2018 saw Umbrellar granted CSP Indirect status from Microsoft, enabling Umbrellar to resell Microsoft’s cloud solutions to the market. This exciting development for Umbrellar has seen us build out a new team, with a new focus, processing business in a new fashion through our network of partners. Our Enterprise Services engine will rev up next year bringing on more customers including partners and building innovative solutions to what our customer requires”.

Sunny – “This year has been a time of personnel change within the Cloud Group, especially within the Enterprise Services Team. I have been able to secure some great talent and with a full contingent we are more than ready to smash our goals in 2019.”

The team at Umbrellar are big believers in reflecting not only on accolades but on the challenges faced. We asked Michael, Sunny, and Owen to consider the biggest challenges their teams faced this year and how they succeeded in overcoming these.

Sunny and Owen – Both delved into business structure and direction, where they have each worked to provide clarity to their individual processes. One such challenge for Owen has been to “build a robust partner channel while retaining focus on our legacy business”.

Michael – “The biggest challenge has been the balancing of the imperative to get our business properly set on its course for the future, with the need to maintain our operational business. This balancing act has meant that our people have had to manage on the knife edge of project work and ‘BAU’. This is no mean feat in an ‘always on’ business like ours.”

2018 has been a year of big moments. We asked the team to describe their most memorable highlight – hard to do! 

Michael – “The year will always stand out as a year in which Umbrellar people across the board really stood up and were counted. ‘ve worked in a lot of much bigger organisations that simply would not have been able to drive the kind of change programme we’ve taken on.

At our FY19 Kick-off event in March, we all did some work as a team on defining the behavioural attributes that would stand us in good stead going forward. Based on the 15 values developed by the All Blacks to reestablish their culture after it went astray in the late 1990s – early 2000s, the work we did ended up being distilled into the five attributes that we live by – essentially each of us being; (1) Team Players, (2) Good Citizens, (3) Self-Reliant, (4) Results-focused, and (5) Resilient and Adaptable.

The highlight of the year for me is seeing these attributes put into practice in some form or another by virtually everyone in the Umbrellar team. Without this we simply would not have achieved the amazing things that have been achieved this year.”

Owen – “As part of our customer facing team, I really enjoyed our many customer events including our partner Breakfast Series, Umbrellar Live, and Collaborate”.

Sunny – “Finding out recently that we had secured a particularly big business deal. The work the team put into making it happen was great to be part of”.

As the team reflected on 2018, I also felt it was important to consider the upcoming year. Our interviewees put on their future thinking hats, here are their predictions for 2019.

Sunny and Owen – Both expect market growth and a rapid scaling of business. “Our Enterprise Services engine will rev up next year bringing on more customers including partners and building innovative solutions to what our customer requires.”

Michael – “The year ahead is incredibly exciting! 2019 is our year of growth – where we turn our energies to taking the best advantage of all the good work that we’ve done to position for the future. It’s often easy to be feeling pretty flat at this time of year – especially after the big year we’ve had. I’m hoping that everyone will return from a well-earned breather with friends and loved ones having reflected on where we’ve come from and to, and energised to be part of the next chapter in our great New Zealand business story!”

2018 has been a great year for the Umbrellar Team and we would like to thank you for being part of this success. We wish you a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the new year!

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Umbrellar Connect

Umbrellar Connect is the leading multi-media hub for New Zealand's tech innovations. We keep you informed on the need-to-know impact stories, the trends shaping our world, and the tech enabling us to go further.

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Get the Cloud, Done Right. Umbrellar Powered by Pax8 is New Zealand's prime Professional and Managed Cloud Services specialist. Recently acquired by Pax8, we're transitioning into something "harder, better, faster, stronger" (thank you, Daft Punk!). Watch this space!


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