Welcome to The Cloud Lounge!

In this Episode 0 which serves as the trailer, Zeshan Randhawa, Business Transformation Practice Lead and Mat Burke, Sales Director at Softlanding discuss what this podcast is about and why you should listen to it.

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Hello everybody, you’re listening to the Cloud Lounge podcast. This is the special episode zero which serves as the trailer where I can explain what we’re doing here, why you should listen to our show. This show is brought to you by Softlanding, a leading provider of IT services in Canada and a Microsoft gold partner when we’ll get into that a little bit more a little later on. So let’s first start with talking about the voice you’re hearing right now. So my name, I’m Zeeshan Randhawa and I’m the Business Transformation Practice Lead at Softlanding and I’ll be your host for the Cloud Lounge podcast.

I’m speaking to you from Vancouver, BC and I’ve got a kind of a little bit of an interesting background of how I got started in technology. That was about 19 years ago where I got started in technology, about halfway through my degree, I was like, you know what? I’m a little tired of just studying, let’s try to get out there. And so halfway through my degree, I got out there and and got a job as a developer, finished up my my bachelor’s and still continued on as a developer and eventually got a little tired from being behind the scenes and that’s when about 14 years ago I thought I’d try the consulting world and first shot I interviewed with Softlanding and the rest is history. Being a Business Transformation Practice Lead. He’s got me involved in a lot of strategic planning projects, technology, road mapping initiatives, identifying opportunities. Also inherently I have to keep on top of technology and the trends of technology and the trends of the workplace as well. And really that’s the lens that I’d love to bring to this show. But enough about me, I want to kind of for this first episode, I want to give you an understanding of who’s Softlanding is the kind of work we do and basically get an understanding of the types of topics and conversations you’ll find here and to help me with this, I have Mat Burke with us.

Mat, do you want to quickly introduce yourself?

Thanks Zeshan. It’s a pleasure to be here in the Cloud Lounge and I do appreciate getting to be your first interviewee though I have a suspicion that it’s so that you can say that all your next interviewees are better than your first one. I’ve been here at Softlanding is the sales director for the last 4.5 years. It’s a really great place to be. My team gets to spend a lot of time with with our clients, which of course is the reason that our whole company exists For the last 20 years. And I think that’s enough about me. So Softlanding has been around about 20 years and in our core we’re a Microsoft consulting and managed services partner and we have staff across Canada now from Quebec City to Victoria on the west coast and what we really focus on is client scenarios where somebody’s got a big juicy technology problem and there is a way to leverage some collection of Microsoft technologies to make that business problem go away or be transformed or whatever the outcome is. And it’s something that we’ve got lots of experience with and working across a whole bunch of industries and we’re about 90 people and we have a lot of fun.

You know, and it’s not just for your good looks that I invited you here. I know you’re in a very unique position where you get to see this bird’s eye view of everything that’s happening at Softlanding with the clients, we deal with what you’re seeing coming down with trends and expectations from the clients that we work with as well. So I’d love to just get a little bit of a synopsis from you. You know what Softlanding is all about, the type of work we’re doing out there in the field as well.

It was very pithy to say that the first few months of the Covid era lead two years worth of digital transformation happening all in this very compressed span because of the forcing function that having all these people suddenly work from home and all of these industries being overturned led to. Now what we’re thinking very deeply about is what’s the digital transformation that’s going to rapidly happen as people come out of this Covid lockdown era. We know that it’s not going to go back to the way that it was, we know that there’s going to be more people working remotely, there’s going to be people working from different places. We also suspect as an industry that there’s going to be a number of people leaving their roles and going to new companies, there’s going to be quite a bit of upheaval to come. And so we’re thinking deeply about how we ourselves and our clients can get ready for this change ahead. For me personally, what I have been thinking a lot about lately is that this is the end of the water cooler conversation. That is the main driver for cultural and organizational integration and osmosis of innovative ideas because people aren’t going to have those water coolers, even people who are who are working hybrid office hours, they might not be in there in the office at the same day as all the people that they used to be in there with. So how do the people in IT, how do the people in HR, internal corporate communications, how do they now formalize all of those informal patterns of culturalization and ideation that used to happen previously at these water coolers. So we’re spending a lot of time on new technologies like Viva, which has the ability to be bringing people together in a more connected fashion. We’re seeing a lot of clients taking this time to reinvent what their intranets look like and thinking through document management and records management and adding an extra data governance so that people can be accessing data from anywhere in a very safe and contained way. Whereas previously they might only have been able to access those things from in their  data centers. And those data centers themselves for a long time, we held onto the idea in our industry that the data needed to be close to our users because it had to be low latency, had to be safe in our data centers. Now we’ve got these users working from everywhere. Now having those on premises data centers has become a liability. Now we need our data close to the internet where it can be accessed safely from everywhere. Where people like Microsoft or the other big cloud providers can be investing their billions of dollars in security protections that we ourselves can’t do. And so we see this trend now where people are investing in reinventing old things like intranets they used to be doing, speeding up things that they maybe pay service to before like being a cloud first organization and we see organizations emptying out their data centers and these big these big drives from modernization. Then, the last thing that we’re seeing is a big focus on enabling those end-users to make use of all of this technology. The stayed measured approach of releasing things in the old model, especially the public sector clients has been blown up and now everybody’s getting access to new fancy technology at a pace and cadence that they’ve never had before. And the way that they’re used to getting that technology was through formalized training programs and a measured schedule and now they’re getting it as it’s coming and we need to be thinking about how do we enable these people who are used to being told how, you know, through a training program, how to use these technologies now, it needs to be discoverable to them. We need them to become champions of using the tools to engender a bunch of digital change. So we’ve got some change champions functionality that we’re rolling out with clients and adoption and change management program.

I’m gonna stop there Z and thanks for giving me the opportunity to shoot my mouth for a minute.

I love it. And I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hear from Mat either. And he will be joining us in future episodes and future future sessions as well. But what I do want to kind of switch to here is, you know, you might be asking yourself why are we launching another podcast about the cloud or on the cloud. Well, sit back and relax and you’ll kind of find out what our train of thought is here. The cloud lounge podcast is really meant to be a monthly conversation. You know we’re going to try to keep it pretty concise 10 to 20 minutes kind of maximum and really focused on cloud technology and really honing in on how that cloud technology can really help businesses shape their digital future in all kinds of ways. Right by building better strategy, identifying technology goals, developing new products and services and to be anticipating risk and frankly at the end of the day through all of that hopefully creating a better workplace. So the idea is not to make this a theoretical kind of endeavor theoretical talk but really give you examples of real change that we are helping our clients with or we’ve seen out there in the field as well. So we’ve got a great set of guests already lined up that I’ll be interviewing kind of as we go through these sessions as well. And it’s gonna range from technology experts to IT Professionals people that again are on the ground that work with these technologies that have implemented this change within the organization.

So while there are a lot of a lot of shows on technology, we wanted to create a show to bridge the gap between business and technology and tackle these topics based on true stories and experiences and what you can kind of expect from us is the ability to share what we’ve learned as an IT service provider with the expertise of our consultants, with the experience of our clients and really based on the technology expertise that we know and live and breathe as well.

Well, that’s it for the first one. So thanks for listening to the Cloud Lounge podcast. Be sure to rate and review us on your favorite podcasting app as well as subscribe to the show so you get the latest episodes and information as soon as they launch. Also, you know this isn’t just a one way street. We’d love to hear back from you and get your feedback on topics you’d like us to cover. Specific areas you’d like to us to explore as well and how you can give us that information. How you can provide that feedback to us is via our email address and that’s simply podcast@softlanding.ca. We look forward to hearing from you folks and we look forward to providing you some great content coming up. That wraps up this episode. Thanks again for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.


Written By:


Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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