Online Tech: Setting Sail: How Online Tech Sets Its Course for Success

Yan Ness, CEO
Since its beginning in 1997, the cloud has established itself as one of the most rapidly growing trends in IT. It favors CIOs and CFOs everywhere in the pain-points that it addresses, whether reducing the cost of ownership or dramatically improving the agility of entire companies in the market. Incorporating the cloud is virtually becoming a staple in the modern business, and as a result multiple companies strive to expand and revolutionize the concept. Among them is Online Tech, a company that barely offered cloud-related services four years ago. Today, with five data centers, 120,000 square feet and two clouds, 60 percent of their sales revolve around this momentous trend.

“In our organization, just using cloud probably doubles or at least triples the pace at which we do new things,” explains Yan Ness, CEO, Online Tech. Ness is offering a different cloud, one that’s more secure, compliant, and easier to maintain. For starters, Online Tech rejects the standard approach of layering security over the cloud. Instead, they bake security into the cloud, and rely on enterprise class infrastructure to troubleshoot many resiliency issues at the lowest level. Perhaps as a nod to the recent Ashley Madison scandal, their cloud has a focus on compliance, so that customers can determine who is accountable for what, as well as who is indemnified by who.

With Online Tech’s hosting and hybrid approaches, customers can avoid rewrites and keep their legacy systems, lengthening product life and development cycles. It’s these benefits that favor CIOs and CFOs everywhere. This is done through collocation—what Ness calls “the cloud experience of the data center option.” Customers buy 10 racks when they need them and go up or down depending on what’s required—their OPX is higher but their CapEx is virtually nothing. With their five Midwest-based data centers, Online Tech runs their servers in a way that utilizes load balancing and other tools for an uncommon level of resilience. Rather than ordering two stacks of equipment, a customer can order one full stack and bill it over to another cloud when they need it. Customers are essentially able to use Online Tech’s entire infrastructure in their cloud experience.

In our organization, just using cloud probably doubles or at least triples the pace at which we do new things

How are these services possible? Online Tech has created a strategy where they change priorities every 3 to 4 years. For the cloud, they’ve basically created a series of tools and components that can be assembled into recurring revenue and charged as a managed service that they run reliably. They ordinarily reject deals that demand they step out of the box, instead relying on a clutch of capabilities that allow them to map the services their customers need to operate with different processes and workflows. They sell direct and consider themselves a colocation and dedication server company—an approach that has allowed them considerable growth so far.

Online Tech is also one of many companies that are reaping the awards of a DevOps approach. Combined with a scrum approach, they’ve set two road maps for themselves—one in disaster recovery data protection and another in security—that will once again allow them to thrive in a continually changing business climate. “We have a five year strategic plan that every single person in the company knows. On that plan is the number of customers we’ll have in 2020, the size of the company, all of our financials, our core values, our purpose, our key performance indicator—every single employee in the company knows that,” explains Ness. True to their strategy, Online Tech currently projects that, in three years, 20-30 percent of their revenue is going to come from a product or service they don’t currently offer.

Online Tech

Ann Arbor, MI

Yan Ness, CEO

A provider of enterprise-class cloud IT solutions that protects the firms from redundancies, risks and compliance issues