2016 has proven to be a year of great innovation, with digital transformation taking center stage regardless of industry. One of the areas where this transformation is coming fast and furious is communication, as collaboration is a key component in much of the change taking place. One company with collaboration at the fore of its operations is ABP Technology. It keeps a laser-like focus on IP technology and utilizing solutions that are interoperable, open and offer value via integration.
ABP will join other industry leaders at the communications and business transformation event of the year, ITEXPO. In advance of the event, ABP Marketing Coordinator Ashley Grabowski spent some time with TMC to talk shop. Find the complete interview below.
How have technology changes over the past 12 months helped businesses grow?
The most significant impact for business may be the reduction in cost and increase in variety of IT solutions through cloud architecture and SAAS opportunities. It’s hard to ignore the explosion of IoT and the opportunities new solutions in this space offer businesses on the operations side.
What does the term Collaboration mean to your business?
To ABP, “collaboration” is everything. It’s a huge reason why we call our customer base, (made up of resellers, integrators, managed service providers, IT professionals, government entities and so on), “Technology Partners.” We view our customers as exactly that: our partners and their customers are partners in Technology; we know that our Partners will not always simply tell us exactly what they need, nor can we simply tell them what they need to order without knowing background and details. To get the solution for any project right, ABP has multiple positions internally to meet the collaboration needs of any Partner and for projects of any size – from Inside Sales to Subject Matter Experts and Project Managers. We believe that technology not only opens doors for collaboration, remotely and directly, but rather demands it.
What elements of Unified Communications are most useful for your company?
Being a specialty distributor of everything Unified Communications (UC) and IP Technology in General, ABP knows that all elements are useful in UC – the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. At ABP we carefully select all building blocks in our portfolio and therefore offer our partners peace of mind with each element they buy from us. Our energy when engaging with our partners goes into helping partners finding the right application and overall solution.
On a different level comparing last years with today, we’ve found that the recent developments in Video Communications are revolutionizing the way SMBs perform business not only remotely or with their partners but also increasing internal efficiencies and making work more social and enjoyable.
Are you leveraging big data/analytics to operate more efficiently?
We have always prided ourselves on being a data driven company and have been very analytic long before the term “Big Data” was coined.
How can artificial intelligence best be used in business applications?
Deep learning can be used for trend analysis in almost all businesses and on many different levels but due to a high cost of setting up analytics requires a minimum size to be deployed cost effective.
Content marketing has become a hot topic recently. Have you defined a content marketing strategy and how has it helped you build your business?
Absolutely! This is just one of many areas that ABP has set itself apart from other distributors since we opened our doors in 2001. We create relevant and engaging content including everything from newsletters and emails to events and webinars, to actually empower and help our partners get more business rather than just regurgitating and passing on information from manufacturers. Our content marketing isn’t just about relaying updates or information, but about helping partners learn new skills and business opportunities as well. We believe in focusing on the WHY a product is relevant and on teaching our partners how they can extract value for their clients and for themselves by focusing on solutions.
How will augmented/virtual reality by used in business environments?
This is an interesting question but we have not dealt in this space yet so we have not much to contribute in that field.
How have the growing number of high-visibility security breaches impacted your outlook on security? Which breach is of greatest concern? Data and Network Security are finally getting the visibility and attention they need. Companies need to start changing their attitude to the issue and accept the fact that there is a potential for a serious problem and after that they can start taking steps that will lead them to build a more secure environment.
Have you increased your investment in security technology in the past year? Are you likely to increase you security spend in the next year? Why or why not?
ABP focuses on IP Network security training our reseller partners in the use of our DrayTek Router line. We educate our customers on using DrayTek’s VPNs, VLANS and DOS features everywhere they can to provide a safer environment to their customers.
To what extent are you leveraging APIs to enhance business opportunities?
We believe in the phrase “API’s are the currency of the future”.
What percentage of your workforce would you consider mobile? What technology decisions have you made as a result of your mobile workforce, to ensure they have the tools they need to remain productive?
100 percent of our workforce have access to mobile tools and, in case of inclement weather, could work
To what extent are you using cloud services in your daily business processes?
All our daily business processes are in the cloud.
Has your use of cloud-based resources increased over the past year? Do you expect to make more use of cloud computing in the coming year? Please elaborate.
Every year more of our processes are cloud based. Today almost all our business services are offered over ABP’s cloud bases applications.
How are you handling shadow IT in your business?
It’s our world – We wish everyone had the skills J
How has the growth in the managed services market impacted your business?
Many of our old resellers have since morphed into managed service providers and constitute a large percentage of our customer base.
Is the cloud / MSP model a realistic one for reliable IT security?
If done correctly, with care, and the necessary tools - without a doubt. We believe that Cloud and MSP models are opportunities to open doors for businesses, not close them because of fear. But with that said, those who provide such services have to stay at the forefront of technology and invest a lot in staying there. This is a market that grows quickly – which is a good thing! ABP being a value-added distributor knows that anything that adds value (like an impenetrable server, low hack rate, etc) above and beyond what your competitors are doing is a way for Technology Partners to succeed and excel in this space!
What are your thoughts on containerization technology as an alternative to traditional virtualization? Higher portability of technologies like Dockers makes “containerized” solutions universally applicable. They can run on a disconnected solid state appliance just as well as on an Amazon AWS server. “Containerized Solutions” are Great Building Block for today IP Technology Specialist.
What emerging technology has the potential to have a disruptive impact on businesses in the coming years?
AI and speech recognition combined with big data will make a huge impact in the next years. It’s hard to assess its full impact and speed at this time. The real question long-term is will this lead to more vacation or to fewer jobs? It’s key that we make the right policy decisions as a society so we can adjust to these trends so that technology we continue to be seen as a blessing and doesn’t extinguish its own fire or uses up all oxygen.
How has your business’ product development evolved over the past year as a result of emerging technologies?
We have changed our organization from a product centric and logistics based company to an information and communications-centric business that handles with physical goods and services.
Are channel partners keeping up with the latest trends and developments? Is more education needed and how can they better leverage the latest technologies to grow?
Our reseller partners are our livelihood and we take the word partner very serious. We see our mission in helping our technology partners grow and are determined to provide the best level of education and training to help them succeed in keeping up with trends and developments.
What will you have on display at your booth and why should attendees make it a point to visit you at your booth?
ABP will have a range of sellable solutions more than products on our booth. Our vision of the reseller of tomorrow is that he is his customers Partner and Consultant. To help them offer value all our solutions have been selected carefully to offer a best of class service level and unique value proposition so that our reseller partners can make money when selling them to their customers.
What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO 2017?
Seeing our Partners learning and sharing with them. Connecting with new and existing partners alike … as well as scoping out the newest and upcoming trends and talent in the industry.
If you haven’t already, book your ITEXPO trip soon; it will sell out. The event will serve as a resource for all those in the communications space. See you there!
Edited by Alicia Young