The Best Path Forward for Any Modern Business


NterOne is in a unique position. Founded 15 years ago as a global IT learning center, we’re a solutions provider, enabler, developer, and technology partner. As such, we have a wide variety of customers with a range of needs and expectations. We’ve been around this long and have grown because we genuinely listen to our customers, adapting to their needs and making recommendations and solutions that support their environment and operational motions.

But not every company NterOne works with achieves the same level of success. We’ve seen some customers grow dramatically while others tread water. There’s no silver bullet; it’s all about finding the right approach.

NterOne is a global technology, training, and consulting firm. We help create transformational learning solutions for the average person's limited time, providing enablement programs for organizations, self-paced online courses, private on-site training seminars, Cisco Program Accreditations, software, and consulting solutions. Regardless of age, size, or industry type, every business faces similar challenges. Today, we find that companies want help in three major areas:

  • Infrastructure Flexibility and Agility
  • Sustainability
  • Security

Address Resource Scarcity by Being Flexible and Agile

Flexibility and agility are at the top of the list for good reason. We’ve fielded several curveballs over the past few years, and everyone is dealing with resource problems. Nobody is immune from resource scarcity and the need to modernize in ongoing ways—and if you think you are, I have bad news for you. Whether you’re seeing resource concerns around capital, equipment, or something else, things will get worse before they get better if you don’t find a way to stem the tide.

Brands in every industry have tried to address resource constraints differently, such as through multiple reorganizations. But increasingly, companies are trying to address unexpected obstacles by creating more adaptable and flexible systems. Doing so means balancing system requirements of quality, speed, and costs. (Most people strive for two out of three, then try to mitigate the rest.)

Successfully creating an agile business is a top-down motion.

Successfully creating an agile business is a top-down motion. It’s not about seeding an idea and hoping for a trickle-up effect—it’s about working with people to move the needle. Rather than making increased agility a problem for engineers, I’ve found the most success when working alongside people and standing shoulder to shoulder with them. It makes me a better leader, helps me understand their problems, and allows me to create solutions to become more agile together. Achieving agility isn’t just about employee buy-in; it’s about adapting your managerial structure so the agile mindset extends to everyone.

Make Sustainability a Top Priority

This collective push for flexibility and agility has been huge, and another similarity I’ve seen among my customers is a renewed focus on sustainability.

Sustainability isn’t new, but it has shot up our collective list of priorities. Today, sustainability in IT is no longer optional, so much so that if you’re not on board, you’re probably losing revenue. Potential business partners are now keen to know your sustainability practices right out of the gate, where these things weren’t part of the conversation a decade ago. Many RFPs now require some information about your sustainability processes and compliance requirements, so not having anything to share can put you much lower on the list than competitors with a more robust plan.

Sustainability in IT is no longer optional. If you’re not on board, you’re probably losing revenue.

I can’t tell you how many business leaders I’ve talked to who have pivoted their focus to sustainability. I’ve spoken to executives in dozens of industries who all say the same thing: sustainability is critical, and in business, it’s here to stay.

In some ways, this intense focus on sustainability in IT isn’t that surprising. Along with the shifting conversation around climate concerns, there’s also been a shifting conversation about the cloud. Major events like the pandemic have changed our expectations about work, resources, and technology, so it’s no wonder we’re pushing towards a sustainability revolution involving all of us, not just some.

When you read about the 620,000-square-mile pile of floating garbage in the ocean, for example, it’s hard to know what actions you can take to mitigate or solve the problem. IT has already found ways to recontextualize what we’re doing with legitimate ways to help. Having less space in our data centers or adopting on-demand consumption models can feed sustainability in multiple ways. If I’m a business owner, I no longer need to spend $25 million on a space that contributes enormous amounts of emissions. We’re empowered to be more considerate about our collective footprint, and the shift to cloud is part of this overarching sustainability story.

Become More Proactive About Security

Naturally, we can’t talk about the cloud or much of anything for that matter, without talking about security.

Security has become a serious challenge for vendors and service providers, yet some of them have been playing catch up for a very long time. It’s no longer acceptable for businesses to be reactive, and being proactive with security means investing in comprehensive infrastructure management, security tools, and process. Long gone are the days where networking companies just sell boxes. Instead, they’re selling end-to-end solutions and business outcomes, changing their strategy to be more proactive around security and adopting solutions that allow them more control over access and segmentation. 

The more companies can train their people on the front end of any solution, the more they can reach their ultimate business outcomes.

Even then, becoming proactive about security isn’t just about getting a top-notch security solution. Instead, it's about investing in the proper training to put that solution to its best use. The more companies can train their people on the front end, the more value they get out of their solutions. This is what I've spent the past few years rallying NterOne around because it’s one of the greatest differentiators between businesses that grow and businesses that stay stagnant.

Our Cisco Connection

NterOne has been linked to Cisco from our inception, and today, we use our ClearConnect platform to enhance Cisco training for our customers. But that's not our only point of connection. NterOne also has five Cisco partner designations, including being a Platinum Learning Partner, a Mentored Install Network Training Partner (MINT), and a Digital Solutions Integrator Partner.

We’re a long-time Cisco partner because we’ve seen how they respond to market shifts by building robust portfolios that include infrastructure management and security tools. Cisco's made a significant change in their strategy over the years to be more proactive around security, and we've invested in a lot of those security products.

We educate teams on many technologies, and we've seen how well Cisco has adapted over time. They’ve become much more than a networking company, recasting themselves as a provider of comprehensive security and cloud products. They’ve also created strong partnerships with big players like AWS and Azure, and those integrations have been a big win. The businesses that are striding ahead are taking these end-to-end solutions into account when revising their strategy.

What Successful Companies Do That Unsuccessful Ones Don’t

We’ve seen that successful and unsuccessful businesses typically share the same goals. But what separates them is more than becoming more flexible, secure, or sustainable—it’s also how they get to the finish line.

Just think about the prevalence of “shelfware.” You might purchase a massive enterprise agreement that comes with a suite of 10+ products, although you’re only using two or three. What’s the value in renewing or extending that enterprise agreement? Where you can approach solutions as an “all-you-can-eat” consumption model, there’s more freedom and flexibility to create a custom solution that works best for your specific business and goals.

This trend compelled NterOne to create training that drives the adoption of all-you-can-eat solutions. You may not use everything on day one, but the more training people receive on solutions, the more value you’ll get out of them. They also become champions of that solution, which better drives adoption and renewals.

And this is all done without losing sight of a singular goal. Why are we becoming more agile, more sustainable, and more secure? So we can offer better services to our customers. The most successful companies maintain an obsession with the customer and the customer experience (CX). Rather than saying, “We want to make X amount of money this quarter,” or “We want to have X number of customers by the end of the year,” the most successful businesses ask, “How can we delight our customers?” And time and time again, they’re the ones who will win.

Maybe you occasionally sacrifice a bit of margin when you obsess over the customer, and I’d be lying if I said otherwise. But when you focus on CX, you play the long game rather than the short game, and the rest will follow. It’s not intention, it’s action. And if you’re not moving towards a customer-obsessed business model, you’re already falling behind.

It All Comes Down to the Golden Rule

We all learned the Golden Rule as children: “Treat others as you want to be treated.” I’ve built NterOne around the Golden Rule, investing in people rather than just selling a product or service. Every day, I envision myself in the place of the customer and strive to provide the service that I would want. Years ago, I referred to this as ”360 degrees of customer focus.” Frankly, I don’t know how else to do business. 

If you’re not moving towards a customer-obsessed business model, you’re already behind.

When we put ourselves in their positions as a partner rather than a vendor, we win. And odds are, if your business follows the Golden Rule, you can win too.