Digital highway: Superloop founder Bevan Slattery on providing the tools to meet the needs of an ever-connected world
With businesses increasingly relying on cloud data storage and interconnectivity, there is a growing need to provide the infrastructure to meet their requirements. Bevan Slattery, founder and executive chairman of Superloop, says it’s a sector in constant flux with a growing need for talent.
What does Superloop do in Hong Kong?
Superloop provides secure, high-speed connectivity services to major enterprises and telecommunications companies. Some of the world’s largest enterprises, carriers and cloud providers use our network to interconnect their critical infrastructure.
What trends have you seen shaping the industry for connectivity services both globally and in Hong Kong over the last few years?
We’ve seen significant growth in the size and speed of connectivity requirements. We are also seeing a trend towards connecting to both public and hybrid cloud environments in data centres and major cloud on-ramp services such as Amazon Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute and Google Cloud Connect. Additionally, we are seeing enterprises being more mindful of security and reliability. With the amount of data growing rapidly, and more and more day-to-day operations running in the cloud, security and reliability are becoming very important to businesses.
How are these trends affecting the way that tech professionals in this sector work, particularly in Hong Kong?
The biggest trend we are seeing is the move to internet protocol from the old legacy telecommunications services is continuing very quickly. Tech professionals need to understand this environment. The other big trend is software-defined networking. As networks become more automated, network professionals will need to be more proficient programmers and developers. On the sales side, people need to understand more about IT rather than just straight networking.
What are the current recruitment challenges for a company like Superloop when looking for tech talent? Is there a shortage of suitable people?
Finding the right people that fit our culture is always a challenge. On the technology front we are looking for people with skills in multiple areas. Building and operating networks obviously, but also with some experience in programming and software development. Salespeople and operations people need to be nimble and able to translate to customers the benefits of moving to a more cloud-connected environment.
What makes a great tech professional in this sector? What sort of skills and characteristics make people stand out?
It’s a bunch of things really. But great tech professionals have outstanding customer focus, are passionate about their work, curious by nature, and are team players. Curiosity will always feed the need to learn and improve and, in this industry, that is really important. At the end of the day, we are here to service customers and that’s what is most important.
What are the most essential formal qualifications that tech professionals need to succeed in this industry?
In our business, none really. I know that may come as a surprise. We have some of the smartest people in the industry and more than half of those don’t have a university degree. Too often, companies overlook the smartest, most passionate people due to corporate policy. But if you want to work for a more “formal” IT services business, then probably a computer science, engineering or business degree would be best.
Can you outline the path your career took to get to your current role?
I worked for five years in various levels of government before starting my own business at the age of 26. I have been operating my own businesses ever since then.
What is the hardest part of working in this sector? And the most rewarding?
Hardest? The continual and rapid change in technology. Most rewarding? The continual and rapid change in technology.
Is a good work-life balance possible for professionals in this line of work?
Yes. We all go through periods in which we work long hours on important matters but nothing is as important as family.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Digital highway.