Chief Executive Officer of OpenColo
Sally Simkiss, Chief Executive Officer of boutique data centre firm OpenColo, has over a decade of experience in executive positions within the data centre industry. She graduated from Trinity College Hartford in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies, focusing on Art History and Political Science.
This led her to become involved in the art auctions industry. “I sold antique paintings, first at a gallery and then as a consultant advising on fine art auctions,” Simkiss says. Her first executive role came in 2003 as the CEO of Energy Group Networks, a dedicated server, colocation and media stream hosting company. She is now also the Chief Executive Officer of OpenColo.
Creating a company culture of honesty, hard work and respect
Talking about her role, Simkiss explains: “I've been with this company since its founding 18 years ago. Open Colo is a small privately held company. As CEO my role is to work collaboratively with my partners to create a company culture of honesty, hard work and respect. Together we decide on and implement strategic plans and goals and to address issues quickly when they arise.”
Maintaining a close customer relationship as well as teamwork is of utmost importance to Sally. “As a small business, management is not only involved in “big picture” plans but with day to day interactions with our team and with customers. I believe sales, customer service and teamwork require essentially the same skills regardless of the industry, primarily good listening and communication skills,” she says.
Sally has two daughters, and bringing them up made her realise something. “Raising two daughters taught me that each person is unique. It is my responsibility to understand and work with different needs, personalities and work styles to help each employee and customer be successful and meet their own goals,” comments Simkiss
What is a boutique data centre?
Discussing the client base of a boutique data centre, Simkiss says: “We are a little unusual in that we do not have any one target customer. We have small streaming customers that pay a few dollars a month as well as large enterprise corporations with sizable colocation footprints in our space. Every customer gets superior customer service. We designed our data centre for maximum flexibility in order to serve the needs of any customer.
Talking about the boutique data centre, she adds that “the four partners were involved in every decision and design element incorporated in the facility, from the power deployment to the battery and generator selection to the design of the interior and outdoor spaces,” Simkiss said.
The next 12 to 18 months look to be very exciting for Open Colo. “Our next major project will be building out Pod 2 either for our own use or in collaboration with a larger enterprise customer who wants a fully custom design,” Simkiss said.
She added that the company is also implementing platforms for improved customer experience, including a “new website and streamlined ordering system with instantly deployed servers. Next on the horizon is updated audio and video streaming offerings.”
However, the main focus is on doing what OpenColo knows. “That said, we aren’t trying to offer every new service, disrupt anything or change the world. We are focused on what we know and do best - running a first rate, reliable and secure data center and providing collocation and bare metal servers,” Simkiss concluded.
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“Sometimes automation is seen as a panacea. We see it as one of a number of solutions, not a silver bullet.”