Q&A with a Game Changer Series: MicroStrategy
This is part of our Q&A with a Game Changer series, where we talk with CIOs and other IT leaders who are determined to identify ways in which technology can drive their organizations’ futures. Our first conversation is with Roshan Popal, the VP of IT & Chief Information Security Officer at MicroStrategy, a Washington D.C.-based enterprise business intelligence firm.
Tell us about MicroStrategy, its history and offerings?
MicroStrategy is a global enterprise business intelligence firm based in the D.C. area for almost 30 years. Beyond business intelligence, we’ve ventured into the identity management and security spaces with our Usher product.
What drew your organization to Fuze?
When we looked at our internal communications, we wanted to take a holistic approach. We had a number of systems in play and we wanted to consolidate our vehicles for communications, so we decided to consolidate our voice system as well. Our CFO comes from a large telecom company with a strong MIT technology background. He tapped trusted colleagues from other companies and they suggested that we look at Fuze.
So you were looking for a solution that could integrate into what sounds like a very complex company infrastructure?
Yes, extremely complex. It required us to look at our supporting infrastructure and see how we could improve, and so we made a decision to move to the cloud. We looked at our European infrastructure, which ran on an MPLS network, and thought that as we “SaaSify,” why do we need to have these complex, expensive networks? Are we moving very large files back and forth? The answer was no.
So we went with Fuze and deconstructed the European MPLS ecosystem. We reduced cost by 90 percent, saving the company millions of dollars, and we increased bandwidth by 400 percent. Now, if somebody picks up a phone in Spain and calls the U.S. on my Fuze network, they don't have to worry about that link between Spain and headquarters. We don't have to deal with that because Fuze is dealing with that.
What other benefits did you get out of the Fuze platform?
I would say in addition to consolidation and cost savings, mobility would be a big thing. MicroStrategy is huge on mobility. Our consultants and users travel a lot and people weren't using the traditional handsets. Fuze provides us the ability for our users to have their phone number at home, on their laptops, on their desktops, on their mobile devices, even on their company-issued tablets if they want.
Fuze also has an API for us to take data, put it into our MicroStrategy business intelligence, and make better business decisions. We can see who's using what buckets of data, who's making more calls, and we can identify our cost per employee. We can slice and dice that information as we wish and tie it into our systems.
Last but not least, Fuze Rooms. If our CEO wants to be able to quickly start a meeting with one click, there should be little to no friction and it should be very intuitive, and that was his experience. He opened the app on his iPad, created a meeting, and spoke to us while we were at headquarters and he was in transit.
If he needs to talk to a sales director in Europe, he simply clicks a button. If he’s in a car or he's on a boat, he gets a face-to-face video call with a few easy clicks. We don't have to worry about, "Please enter your access number now.”
How would you characterize your relationship with Fuze overall?
The relationship has been fruitful for us, so much so that we're actually deploying our first office with the assistance of Fuze!
Were there any challenges that you met along the way in making these adjustments? How did Fuze stack up?
There's always hesitation when it's out with the old and in with the new, but the feedback has been positive. People are able to browse faster, download faster, and connect to systems faster. There were some challenges in vetting providers, but one thing that helped us pick Fuze was their global footprint and integrated Collaboration solution. There are obviously competitors in the space, but we looked at others and they just didn't have the same footprint and we had to purchase an add-on solution for Collaboration.
Fuze also stood out because it’s built from the ground up. When everything is in one solution, you can take advantage of the synergies in audio, video, and collaboration. You have one company to reach out to in terms of support, and you're confident that they're working on elevating their product’s maturity at every level.
A technology and security executive with a proven track record of service delivery and information security risk mitigation. Mr. Popal is known for building, developing, and leading high performance IT and security teams across global SMBs and large enterprises. Utilizing his strong business acumen and broad technical knowledge, he strategically aligns IT and security services for organizational success. A global leader with love for people, the environment, and focus on providing a benefit to humanity.
Mr. Popal currently serves as the VP of Corporate IT and Chief Information Security Officer at MicroStrategy, a business intelligence & analytics firm with headquarters in the D.C. metro area. Prior to MicroStrategy, he led the global IT & information security teams for Cigital, Inc., a global software security firm focused on “Building Security In.”