Posts Tagged 'Merger'

November 23, 2010

Merger Anxiety

It seems like just yesterday I was writing a blog about my confessions of being a new Planeteer. After being laid off after 13 years with the same company, rumors of a merger were feeding my anxiety. I know change is inevitable, just like taxes and picking the slowest line wherever I go, but I was not ready for more shake ups just yet. I am still getting to know everyone and getting used to the company. I pride myself on avoiding office politics and gossip as much as possible, but the water cooler mongers were relentless! Should I look for a job? Will I be let go? Will I have to pursue the Wal-Mart greeter job that I am convinced would be stress free? The months since the announcement were hard. Our leaders did a great job of keeping us informed, but there was only so much information that could be shared. I continued as I always had, focused on my work and trying not to worry about what would come. There is a great saying, it is what it is. I could not stop this train and my freaking out would only bring stress to me and my family. So I took a deep breath and waited.

Last week when the signatures were in place and the “new world” was official, I found out that I was fine. My job was not impacted. I breathed a sigh of relief and immediately begin to wonder what was around the corner. It has been a hectic week. Some of my Planeteers have chosen to move on to other avenues, and some were informed they had to. With any type of business merger, there is always sorrow and joy mixed into your day. I am excited about the changes. The more I hear about what SoftLayer has to offer, the happier I am to be part of day one. The biggest focus was not to impact our customers and everyone has done a fabulous job. So as mail servers are merged and phone systems are integrated it is fun to get to know our new colleagues. We have come together as a team long before the ink was dry and I feel that each tomorrow will bring more and more excitement.

I will always think fondly of The Planet, but I will wear the SoftLayer colors with pride. After all, I have almost 12 more years to go!

-Tracy

November 17, 2010

SLAyers 'R Us

Mergers are a true test of a company’s mettle – the stress involved with working an integration process with the need to continue to drive the business is almost overwhelming at times (CBNO!). The activity that is going on around me at present is awe inspiring – everybody is pitching in to make this work. It is great to see that we are making it happen – just rewards for all the effort expended.

Mergers also mean change. And I don’t just refer to the fact that we are welcoming new colleagues to the SoftLayer team. I am also referring to the fact that we are changing how we do business. We are bringing together two different organizations and combining the best components of each to drive the most value for our customers.

This inevitably means that customers are going to see some change in how they interact with SoftLayer. For example, the portal is going to morph into something that is much better than what SoftLayer or the Planet were doing separately and new product additions will arrive by combining The Planet offers with SoftLayer’s automated (automagic from now on) implementation and service delivery. We think these things are big wins for the existing and new customers.

A tangible example that I can talk about now (we need time to get portals and new products to market!) revolves around SLAs. The new SLAs will work to the benefit of existing Softlayer and the Planet customers as well as new customers.

The SoftLayer SLA is improved upon by changing the SLA for hardware and hardware upgrades. The old world considered a 4 hour promise before credits started to accumulate; the new world moves that to 2 hours. In addition, service outage credits start accumulating after 30 minutes of down time versus 43 minutes under the old 99.9% uptime guarantee.

The Planet SLA is improved upon by introducing a hardware SLA across the board versus just for customers of a managed services product. In addition to the 100% uptime promise that we are keeping, we have erased the need for a customer to raise a ticket before the clock starts ticking. Once there is a problem, we start the clock running.

At the end of the day, the reason we have SLAs in place is simple. Service credits on next month’s invoice are of less value to you than the fact that the SLA is driving SoftLayer to deliver on a service promise. If it’s broke, we are going to fix it. Think of the service credits as a bonus – the real value is getting your stuff up and running again.

-Steven

November 8, 2010

Innovate or Die

Softlayer moved into a new complex (complex sounds better than building) in July. Like everywhere else, the building has its quirks – all part of what help the place feel like home. Those quirks have extended to how we have named the conference rooms throughout the building.

Being relatively new to the place, I take a certain amount of delight in discovering how each room was named. For example, CBNO translates to Challenging But Not Overwhelming, which is a mantra SoftLayer has adopted; Muenster is not named for the cheese, but for the Germanfest in Muenster, Texas that Sam and the SoftLayer BBQ team attend each year; and Jeep has its name due to the wide variety of Jeeps that are found daily in the SoftLayer parking lot. However, I think the most appropriate name has to be Sharkbyte. The reason is simple – Softlayer is an obligate ram breather.

The room features a stuffed shark that is mounted on the wall. The fish in question is a Bull shark, it is 7 feet long and weighed 200 pounds before it was caught off the Florida coast following a momentous struggle with SoftLayer’s CSO, George.

The urban myth goes that all sharks have to keep moving in order to maintain a flow of water over their gills or they risk suffocation. In reality this is true for only about two dozen of the 400 identified shark species. The species include the Great White and the Mako Shark. These species are called obligate ram breathers.

Like the Great White, SoftLayer is an obligate ram breather. The difference is that SoftLayer needs to keep innovating to keep thriving. Without constant innovation, we lose our competitive edge and risk falling back into a pool of ‘me too’ players in the market. The true test of this theory comes when we are faced with extraordinarily challenging times. The work to merge SoftLayer and The Planet is a great example of this. Innovation keeps coming even though everyone has been spending significant time focusing on how to deliver a seamless customer experience from day one. In the past few months we have partnered with Nimsoft to deliver a unique network monitoring solution to the cloud; a new customer driven firmware update tool has been developed and launched; ‘smarter’ signup forms that will have multi server sign up forms (among other things) are available and we have given customers increased network transparency. At Softlayer we simply cannot stop.

CBNO.

-@quigleymar

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