People with Passion

November 27, 2012

by Steven Madick, Nexus Senior Director of Applications Engineering

I recently attended a technical conference and got into a rather animated conversation with another attendee regarding the problems she was having with her network.  After a few minutes, she kept trying to position herself so that she could see my name badge.  After she finally succeeded, she said, “Gee.  I’m surprised!  I thought you were a sales person.”

“Why”, I responded, “just because I’m passionate about what I do?”

“I guess so,” she said.  “I haven’t met many Sr. Directors of Engineering that cared so much about helping people.”

I thought that was a big compliment.  But it wasn’t a compliment that was just for me.  It was a compliment for the entire Pre-Sales Engineering team at Nexus.

Many companies believe that their biggest differentiator is their people.  We believe that as well.  But at Nexus, we go one step further.  It’s not just the people, it’s the people married to our best in class processes and procedures, an organizational structure designed to provide the best service to our customers, the latest tools, and lots of on-going training.

The People

We spend a lot of time at Nexus making sure that we find the “right” people.  In Presales Engineering, that’s doubly important.

Presales Engineers need to have a unique blend of technical training and expertise, business savvy, and a passion for ensuring that every solution we design and sell meets the needs of our customers’ businesses for today and tomorrow.  But that’s not all.  One of the unique traits we look for when hiring a Presales Engineer, is their willingness to share information and mentor other members of the Nexus team or customer.  We look for people who take pride in helping others – with technical issues and with business problems.  And, we want our people to be involved and active in their communities as well. We thrive at Nexus as we approach 100 Presales Engineers who all are committed to team!

The Processes

Our processes are designed to ensure that our engineers have the support they need, when they need it.  Whether it is to check a bill of materials against an original design or track a project from design through implementation.  Nexus makes sure that Presales Engineers can solve customer problems with solutions that work, backed by processes that don’t get in the way of getting things done.

The Organization

One of the things we’re proudest of at Nexus is that our Presales Engineers are just that – Presales Engineers.  They have one job, planning and design, and we believe that they do that job very well.  Additionally, each engineer is assigned to specific customers and prospects.  That means they’ll take the time to get to know their customer’s business from top to bottom before suggesting a solution.

The Tools

Whether it is the significant investments in network design software, social media applications, Business Video, untethered access to information or traditional infrastructure, Nexus is hyperfocused on providing our Presales Engineers the tools needed to build great customer solutions.  Our tools enable Nexus Presales Engineers to collaborate with our customers and other members of the Nexus team more effectively and design solutions that help our customers become more efficient – and profitable.

The Training

Training is how we keep our engineers fresh.  We don’t have a “Unified Communications” specialist, or a “Security” specialist.  Instead, we encourage our engineers to attain certifications from any or all of our partners’ technologies.  This helps them meet the Nexus goal of providing solutions, not selling technology to our customers, and ensures that there are a variety of career path options for them as they grow as individuals and members of the Nexus team.

The Presales Engineering team at Nexus is a passionate bunch.  We love to solve problems and collaborate with our customers and other members of the Nexus team, succeed.  But we couldn’t do it without the processes, organization, tools, and training that enable us to connect, collaborate, and create solutions that work.


Mitigating the Risk of Compressed Timelines

August 28, 2012

– by Dale Hardy, VP of Professional Services

Driving home from a customer meeting this afternoon, it occurred to me that more and more, it seems that nearly every project we do for our customers has a very short timeline or compressed schedule.  Once a company decides to move forward and implement a technology that will help them expand market share, reduce costs, or improve the productivity of their personnel, they want to reap those benefits right away.

When implementing technologies for our customers that touch nearly every area within their business like Unified Communications, data center automation, storage networking, or security, we think it’s important for our customers to understand the potential risks of a compressed implementation schedule (that go along with the rewards).  Short timelines often rely on everything going “just right,” and as we all know, there is a very good chance that something can likely go wrong.

Project success is much more predictable along with risk avoidance when there is sufficient allowance in the schedule for discovery, planning and testing. When time is short, we collaborate with our customers to assess the potential risks inherent with compressed timelines.  Then, we to put together a joint action plan that balances the business’ needs against the risks we’ve identified.  For some customers, that might mean that we meet the target dates for critical locations, departments, or applications while slightly delaying deployments to non-mission critical areas.  For others, it might mean deploying the solution to all locations, but limiting non-essential system functionality to ensure system stability.  In any case, we believe that the most important thing we can do for our customers is to meet their implementation schedule needs without disrupting their business. 

We think our honest approach is the best one for our customers and their businesses, and they do too.  We recently received letters from three customers who thanked us for “doing the impossible” – meeting implementation schedules that even they believed couldn’t be met.  In reality, nothing can displace thorough project discovery and planning; however, our team was committed to  exceed our customers’ expectations while mitigating the risk inherent within compressed timelines.

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