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50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2020

An Interview with Jim Liddle, Storage Made Easy Co-Founder and CEO: ‘Most of Our Employees Work Remotely, So It’s Key to Establish a System Where Teamwork and Communication Bank on Each Other, Sans Impacting Individual Efforts’

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“We have a bright dedicated team that strives to put the customer first. Customers recognize this during our team’s interactions with them.”

The cloud has transformed the data world and its usage by simplifying the technology and tools. The change isn’t only technical but cultural as well. Cloud provides a stronger, agile model to data citizens and application users to perform their tasks in a ‘just-in-time’ model.

While the cloud brings simplicity, legacy methods of data management are becoming irrelevant because they lack agility and scalability, and they’re bound by the restrictions of legacy technology. Many cloud implementations and migration projects suffer because those who implement them continue to rely on the legacy model of data management or governance.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Storage Made Easy(SME) — a company that provides a multi-cloud data management and data protection product called the Enterprise File Fabric™ that unifies on-premises and on-cloud company storage assets.

File Fabric provides cloud-like economics across a company’s storage portfolio unlocking the benefits and cost-efficiency of their data assets, whilst providing strict controls and governance for legislative compliance and security concerns such as ransomware attacks. Existing site-based storage infrastructures can be transformed into an on-premise private cloud, delivering a storage-as-a-service model to the company. Local storage can be connected to public clouds, expertly managed by File Fabric as a unified hybrid cloud storage platform.

The File Fabric solution offers a ‘blanket’ that companies can privately apply to wrap around all their data: on-premise, within a public cloud, or on a third-party software vendors’ cloud (SharePoint or Salesforce, for example). Customers can use the File Fabric for security, encryption, and control with a focus on compliance regimes such as GDPR, HIPPA, FERPA, and GBLA.

SME was incorporated in 2009 and is headquartered in Sutton, London.

Jim Liddle, Storage Made Easy Co-founder and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Please talk about your company’s successful journey in brief.

Storage Made Easy is what is referred to as a bootstrapped startup company, in that in the formation of the company my partner and I bootstrapped the company whilst the product was being built. Later, we took angle ‘friends and family’ type of investment, and only recently did we take on our first institutional investor. This has meant the company has slowly grown from one or two people to where it is now successful over 30 people multi-geographical team.

The product journey was very much focused on from its inception, on solving the core problem of how does an enterprise secure and present data from different sources to its end users, whether that is on-premises data or on-cloud data. Initially, the product supported very few storage products, today it supports over 60 including SMB/NFS, Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Google Storage, Cloudian, etc.

Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers from it?

Initially, every startup faces similar roadblocks such as economic instability, brand identity challenges, attracting customers, hiring talented staff, etc. There is no magic as to how to solve these challenges. If I have any advice to give it is, don’t be overwhelmed, have a plan, execute against the plan, and don’t be afraid to change it when it is not working, and most of all, keep going, don’t give up, no matter what challenges are thrown your way.

Q. ‘When people are having fun, they work together better and produce better work.’ How do you interpret this saying?

It is clear that we have inspired people at Storage Made Easy…and their productivity and happiness is influenced by our flexible work environment. A company’s culture has a lot to do with this. People are not inspired by fear or the fear of failing; ergo, a CEO’s job is to create a productive culture.

Q. Is your company a ‘leader or a follower’? Do you formulate your core values?

I think all companies are a little bit of both. Best practices and adopting ‘what works’ is endemic in most companies as the people within the company bring that from their past experiences. However, establishing the core values of a company is key to building a unique culture for your company.

Q. A good workplace stresses teamwork while still encouraging individual achievement and creativity. Does your company follow the same strategy?

We employ smart bright people who can work on their own or in teams. Most of our employees work remotely, so it’s key to establish a system where teamwork and communication rely on each other, sans impacting individual efforts.

Q. Trust is a difficult attribute to measure and a delicate dynamic to maintain. How do you maintain this with your employees?

Honesty is key in any relationship — be it among family members, employees, etc. Besides honesty, trust plays a vital role in building great work relationships. The key is to communicate, solve the differences, and move on. Communication bridges the gap.

Q. What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?

We have a bright dedicated team that strives to put the customer first. Customers recognize this during our team’s interactions with them.

Jim Liddle: A Trusted Leader

Jim Liddle, Co-founder, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Storage Made Easy. Before Storage Made Easy, Jim was European Sales and Operations Director for GigaSpaces after joining the company in 2006 to help expand its European operations.

Before GigaSpaces Jim was the European General Manager for Versata, a NASDAQ listed business process and rules management company. During his 6 years at Versata, Jim also worked in technical, product management, and product marketing roles.

Jim has extensive experience in Sales, Big Data, Middleware, and Cloud technologies and has a track record of successfully growing sales for high growth technology companies over the last 20 years.

“Our customers include one of the world’s largest social media companies, and also one of the largest global retailers, in addition to global Internet service providers, universities, and international government and governmental bodies.”