Born in the cloud
The team behind WeSafe had many years of experience in IT operations in large companies and found that it required significant costs and resources to launch various IT projects. The traditional way of working with IT focused on the needs and requirements of the supplier - not the customer. This became the basis for WeSafe: that the role of IT suppliers must change by reallocating time and money from operations to innovation and business value.
We talk to WeSafe's Peter Fritzon, Martin Liljenberg and Per Liljenberg, who tell us about the challenges and benefits of being "born in the cloud".
How did you perceive the cost of traditional IT and how did this affect customers?
Peter Fritzon, CEO of WeSafe
When we started WeSafe, the picture was very different from today. IT was rarely linked to other parts of the organisation, nor was the focus on function and business value. Back then, technology was at the centre and projects were often driven entirely by the IT department. The technology solutions provided by suppliers to customers were the same, regardless of the nature of the customer's organisation and its needs. The focus therefore shifted away from business values and became a matter of hygiene factors.
Many times we were surprised that companies did not fully know what solutions they had. It was generally accepted that people did not really "understand" what different invoices were about. To us it seemed very strange that customers were paying quite large sums for something they hardly knew what it was.
Per Liljenberg, Cloud Specialist at WeSafe, agrees and continues:
In the past, this has often involved proprietary solutions with many customisations where wrong decisions could be very costly. Or systems were chosen based on what IT platform was already in use in the business and what was easy for IT to maintain on existing servers. Not based on what the business actually needed. This was largely due to a lack of knowledge of the technology's capabilities and fear of making the wrong decisions, leaving the issue to the IT department.
How did you as an IT provider want to stand out from the crowd?
Martin Liljenberg, Technology and Development Manager at WeSafe:
Previously, the focus was on operations, security and networking - things that today are already built into most major cloud services. We saw an opportunity to manage such functions at scale and instead focus our role on providing knowledge and expertise to add value to business development. Our ambition was to offer IT in a new way, focusing on business benefits rather than technology, initially by replacing and developing basic functions that had previously resided on the customer's servers - email, file sharing and so on - and moving them to the cloud. Once we had moved the basic functions, we were able to put more focus on developing and streamlining processes and flows in the business by offering customers migration, from their own server solution to the cloud platform.
Per Liljenberg adds:
Many IT suppliers have not been sufficiently competitive. For example, in the past, if you were a local player offering hosting services in your geographical area, local customers would come to you. As a result, the focus on customer needs and business value has not been as strong as in many other industries.
We saw an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and that's why it's been our focus from day one. Both in terms of what services we offer and how we want to deliver them. For example, we noticed that many IT suppliers did not specify their invoices beyond writing "consultancy services", for example. This made it impossible for the customer to know what the supplier had actually done. So we chose instead to be very clear in specifying exactly what kind of work we had done.
What has been the big challenge along the way?
Martin Liljenberg, again:
The biggest obstacle initially was the scepticism we faced from customers. They in turn were influenced by the established industry, which argued that the cloud wasn't "secure enough" and that the only thing that was really up to scratch was traditional IT - without really being able to back up these claims with anything concrete. All cloud-related services were portrayed as more or less suspect - unless they added features that matched what the incumbents wanted to sell, in which case they were often fine.
However, our approach has always been that with the pace of change in IT, you can't invest in proprietary IT for general functions in the long term. It will hinder the company's ability to evolve. Proprietary solutions will never be able to keep up with the evolution of the major cloud services.
What has been the advantage of being born in the cloud as an IT provider?
Peter Fritzon concludes:
For us, adapting to new technologies has been easy from the start because we have nothing "old" to take into account. After all, things are slower if the business has focused on one specific business for many years and then suddenly has to adopt a new one. It is possible that we would have expanded faster if we had initially offered a mix of traditional and cloud solutions. But we chose to go all in on the cloud and it has paid off in the long run.
For traditional businesses, it is also a question of investing in employees with new knowledge and skills - something that is not always welcomed with open arms by existing staff. No one who works for us has an "old" view of IT or outdated knowledge and skills that they want to hold on to - the old mindset has never even existed in our business.
If we find new solutions and services that we believe will benefit our customer, it is our mission to offer them to our customers - however inconvenient that may be. By taking a forward-thinking approach, it is not the industry that drives us to change, but we who are part of changing the industry. Many traditional IT vendors have been more or less forced to deliver cloud services, whereas for us it has been the very origin of how we want to work.
Get in touch with us and together we'll make sure you don't become the "IT just works" kind of company, but one of the successful ones that sees IT as a core process that creates value through digital technology. Contact us!