Jay Wong is the owner of Xyber Solutions in Perth, Australia. This is the story of how he got started and built this company.
In the Beginning
Jay Wong graduated from university with degrees in electrical engineering and computer services, and being the quintessential geek, spent time on forums and playing with technology. Like most college graduates, he didn’t have much money. He asked himself, “How can I get my hands on the latest and greatest technology with no money, and make money in the process?”
A Light Bulb Moment
Jay had a light-bulb moment. His idea was to start a computer store. And he did. He financed it with his student credit card which allowed up to $3000 in charges. He used the credit card to buy products for his new store, and then paid it off each month to avoid the interest charges. This jump-started his journey into owning a retail business which gave him the opportunity to play with all the newest technology, hardware and software. This beginning was during the early 2000s when people were buying and building computers frenetically. The computer store focused on buying and reselling computer hardware.
Lots of Competition
More people started entering the industry, and profit margins became extremely slim. In such a competitive landscape, volume was the only way to make money. Then one day a customer came in the store to buy two computers. Jay sold them to the customer, and then the customer asked if they could be delivered. Jay thought, “why not?”
So they delivered the computers to the reception desk of the business. The woman sitting behind the desk asked if they could install them. Jay thought again, “why not?”
They agreed on a price, and that was the beginning of Xyber Solutions, working with businesses to provide a service, not just selling the computer as a retail store for hardware.
Is Xyber Solutions Strictly a Managed Service Company?
It’s hard for companies to transform completely into managed services. At Xyber Solutions, we are about 30 percent break-fix, 35 to 40 percent prepaid hours with a discounted rate, and the balance of it is 30 to 45 percent fully managed services. The transition to managed services depends on:
Xyber working with the client to ensure that they align with our values
The client working with us to see if Xyber is the right fit for their business
Jay Wong says that he wants to go to work every day with his team and clients and enjoy what he does.
Do you Specialise in a Particular Vertical?
Over the years, our company has gravitated to two specific industries:
Professional services companies understand the value of time. Therefore, Xyber can articulate technology as a driver of efficiency in their businesses. So for example,we can say “if you add this technology to your business, you will save an hour a day per employee.” Professional service companies understand the value of an hour which can then be multiplied by a week, month or year. By installing this technology, it will drive X amount of efficiency in their business. This is true of all types of professionals including doctors, lawyers or accountants. They can see the value of the technology in their business, and because they often bill by the hour, measuring efficiency using hours makes sense to them.
In Western Australia, most of the economy is driven by mining operations, and Xyber works with that mining vertical because it’s a vibrant, growing part of the local economy. The technology for computer services isn’t that much different for mining use. It is how Xyber tailors it for mining that makes it different. For the mining sector, Xyber Solutions can demonstrate how the technology will drive efficiency in the business.
Current Trends in Digital Technology
Jay believes that younger people, Millennials, are setting a trend by wanting to choose to work from somewhere specific, but are willing to work with customers across the globe at any time of day. Technology has made the world smaller. For example, Xyber has customers in Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong and Mongolia.
Access to data used to take time, but now things are almost instantaneous. People expect instantaneous results. Many of Xyber’s clients are moving to tablets, because devices are now just a vehicle to access data. When you’re looking for ways to grow your business, or if you want to sell your business, the pot of gold is your data. You work with your data, manipulate your data, and basically it’s how you work with what you have that’s got to be the key.
Eventually, your computer, your tablet, your phone, are all going to be disposable. They are your vehicles to get to your data. How you protect your data, how you make it resilient, how you manipulate it, and how you translate it to something meaningful. These are timeless. Data controls the world.
Hardware Standardisation for Easy Transitions
When you standardise with a manufacturer, there is a premium cost. However, standardisation allows us to ensure that when we transition a client we do so with as few problems or headaches as possible for them and for us. Standardisation of hardware also gives clients the ability to grow. When Xyber works with a vendor, we make sure that every piece of equipment is supported for the lifecycle, at least 3 years. It means that for every piece of equipment, Xyber gets support from the manufacturer for 3 years. And during that time, they can replace a motherboard without having to reinstall the entire operating system. A regular issue with motherboards is that their lifecycle is only about 6 months. If every time a motherboard needs to be replaced, the operating system needs to be reinstalled, and on top of that users have a new interface to deal with, then each time we service equipment really cuts down on productivity. So Xyber partners with Lenovo because we feel it is the best choice in our part of the world.
High-Quality Software Solutions to Secure Data
Software is constantly evolving, so Xyber reexamines our solution stack often internally, before recommending any changes to clients. As a business grows, the software changes. We practice what we preach, because we want to demonstrate how updates and new software make a system more efficient. Xyber uses ConnectWise, and Xero for accounting. We used to use QuickBooks, but Xero integrates with external vendors’ software, making it a better choice. Jay believes that every tool is only as good as you make it drive the business.
Xyber Solutions uses multiple layers of security to combat cyber crime. It’s in Xyber’s best interest for clients to have no problems with cyber security. Therefore, Xyber recommends a specific stack of software to run a business smoothly, effectively and efficiently. If the customer tries to change the software package to lower the price, Jay compares it to visiting the doctor for surgery, but asking the doctor to use a cheaper knife. In other words, if you want this level of service that Xyber provides, then you need to use the entire package of solutions. We believe that our recommendation is the best solution. We want to be the trusted business technology advisor so your business runs efficiently.
What Advice Does Jay Have for New College Graduates?
The hardest part of the business is that most IT people are introverts and have a hard time speaking to people about the business.
Get out there and build relationships. Network, join a social group. Create a network in your area which can be business-related. This will help build your confidence.
In your home study or office, write on a very big piece of paper in bold writing why you are doing what you’re doing. That way, when you’re in your deepest, darkest moments, banging your head on the table at 2 am, trying to solve a problem or overcome an obstacle or challenge, you can look at that piece of paper to keep yourself going. A lot of entrepreneurs give up, but this will remind you why you started.
Later on, when you look back on that challenge or problem, you will realise that those difficult moments are when you grow as a person the most.
What New Technology is Exciting Right Now?
Blockchain. It’s in its infancy. We’ve seen the result of what blockchain can do – Bitcoin. Blockchain is a platform for distributing secure ledgers. It’s amazing and will change industries. The way that people can build other systems around the use of blockchain technology will change the world. Blockchain is the biggest development in technology since TCP/IP, the fundamental behind networking and the internet.
What Technology Concerns You or Keeps You Up at Night?
Cyber crime. Hackers. It has changed from a hobby to a career, one that people benefit from with financial rewards. These hackers know your data is worth money to you. It’s becoming a type of organised crime. It’s becoming harder to stay one step ahead of them. The best practice is to educate the end customer to keep from clicking. Empower customers with knowledge.
To view a full interview with Jay Wong from Xyber Solutions by Doug Hazelman on MSP Voice, go here.
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