Alex Brown, 10th Magnitude CEO, and self-described “Chief clutter cutter,” is all about helping clients get stuff done. “I’m focused on our clients and their business goals. We are setting the agenda for how the cloud drives innovation for our clients, and I am excited by the part we play in their success.” 10th Magnitude is a leading Azure development consultancy. They migrate existing applications to the cloud and create cloud, hybrid and mobile applications for large enterprise and SMB customers. 10th Magnitude has worked with Azure since its launch: shifting systems to Azure IaaS and leveraging Azure PaaS to develop highly secure, innovative, custom applications.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you elaborate on how you’ve managed to create, prove and succeed with a new business model using a new technology?
Alex: After years in the tech industry capped off with several years in data center solutions, I could see the shift to the cloud coming. I could tell that companies were going to buy and consume technology in a new way, and that firms serving those clients would need a new revenue model to thrive in the new consumption model. Because shifting to cloud changes an organization’s needs, we had to adjust our consulting and delivery methods to mirror those changes. Rather than a traditional large-team project approach, we are using smaller, agile teams that can deliver smaller-scale, longer-term value streams throughout the project lifecycle and beyond.
To succeed, we also had to find innovation-focused customers interested in being early adopters. Over the past three years, cloud technology has matured and with that came an increased understanding of what it can do for businesses. As a result, our market has opened up and we were poised to capitalize on that shift with our refined revenue and delivery model.
BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you think that you’ve been able to become a market leader, in a highly competitive industry in a relatively short period of time?
Alex: Focus, focus, focus. Out of many cloud platforms, we picked one, Microsoft Azure, to align ourselves with. We became the acknowledged experts in that platform, and we remain laser focused as market adoption of our platform accelerates. Our focus has paid off not only with customers but also with our partners at Microsoft, who have nominated us to a specialized advisory board on cloud. We are able to provide “from the trenches” information and advice on how to best evolve the products. It’s exciting to be a change agent for cloud, a technology that is transforming the industry.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s one marketing strategy that’s worked really well for you?
Alex: We have had great success using inbound marketing driven by website content and thought leadership. As a small company with limited resources, we needed a program that would drive the biggest impact with the least resources. We use Hubspot, which is basically a website analytics tool combined with a content management system that allows us to blog, optimize our SEO, do email marketing and promote our company via social media. We also have a variety of customer offers to introduce potential customers to our services, and we use blogging, speaking opportunities, article writing and other content generation activities to help drive traffic to the site.
BusinessInterviews.com: How do you think that cloud is fundamentally changing the ways businesses buy and use technology to go to market and innovate? How do you see this trend emerging in the coming years?
Alex: The cloud has enabled companies to undertake projects that were previously perceived as risky and expensive. Now, with little risk and little up front expense, businesses can prove out whether their idea will generate the desired results. The cloud has changed the equation: the risk of standing still has increased and the risk of innovating has decreased. As more and more companies are able to execute against their ideas, innovation levels will continue to accelerate, and those who don’t innovate will be under increasing competitive pressure. In addition, we will begin to see an increase in the network effect: as more data becomes available through the interconnected cloud, combining, analyzing, delivering and reselling that data in interesting ways will proliferate. The next challenge will be making that data meaningful and relevant so that customers will pay to access it.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to a small business contemplating migrating over to the cloud?
Alex: Run, don’t walk to embrace the cloud. Figuring out how to get to the cloud will simplify your life and lower your expenses; and the cost of waiting continues to increase. If you are concerned about security, don’t be: most industrial strength cloud providers maintain a much higher level of security than any small provider can offer on their own. It’s certainly important to care about security, but that is typically a red herring: most business people really struggle with a perceived lack of control. Don’t allow those unfounded fears to prevent your business from accelerating at the same rate as your competitors.
BusinessInterviews.com: How did it feel to have TEDx validate your theory on business innovation?
Alex: Awesome. It was incredibly gratifying to hear someone so eloquently describe the concept I had been trying to communicate to the market for so long. As a result, I have borrowed wonderful sound bites from that TEDx presentation to help me to communicate my ideas more effectively. Plus, anything that helps me spread the gospel of the cloud is a win-win in my book.
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