On his first day as the CIO of enterprise video communications firm Zoom, Harry Moseley had to relocate to working out of a hotel in Manhattan as he found the power out at his New York home following a strong Nor’Easter storm.
But thanks to Zoom’s real-time video conferencing and collaboration software, he was able to keep working remotely so long as he could find a working power outlet. With Zoom based in San Jose, Calif., Moseley will be regularly working remote, but not always out of his home office. Formerly the CIO of KPMG, Moseley will extend his role with Zoom into evangelist territory. He’s not shy of asking some of his peers to fire up a Zoom session to chat.
“I’m connecting with our enterprise clients and their CIOs,” he says. “CIOs are a cult unto ourselves, we like talking to each other and talking to our peers. So I’m an advocate for the company.”
Speaking in Toronto at the Gartner CIO and IT Executive Summit just 10 weeks into his new role, which started in early March, Moseley describes the early phase of what many CIOs would frankly consider a dream job. When CIOs at legacy enterprises talk about mastering change management so they can turn their teams into lean machines, they’re talking about a desire to reach the operating state that Zoom already has. After spending his early days with the company listening, learning and in internal meetings with business leaders, Mosely says he wouldn’t change a thing.
“The last thing we want to do is change the culture. IT’s a very collegial environment and very collaborative,” he says.
Zoom was founded in 2011 by Eric Yean, formerly one of the founding engineers on the WebEx team at Cisco, and has only had a product in the market for the past three years. The conferencing software is catching on pretty quickly, and the company has already scaled to 1,000 employees. So you might call it a growth environment.
“This is not a hockey stick, this is a rocket launch,” Moseley says. “Now we have to improve the company for the long term.”
Moseley sees his colleagues as partners and considers it important to establish a connection to understand their issues and challenges. The organizational structure is still fairly flat, despite the larger head count, and Moseley’s teams are focused on providing internal IT and security. That’s separate from the actual development of the client-facing service Zoom offers. Moseley and his team have a responsibility to support internal needs, which currently includes 12 data centres and another four that are under construction.
Building data centres in the era of startups leaning on public cloud for infrastructure may surprise some, but Moseley says this is part of Zoom’s secret sauce. It does use cloud services, but all the connections between video chat participants are made in Zoom’s colocation facilities, where it runs its own hardware and controls failover routines. Zoom’s modus operandi is avoiding any interruptions to a call. Recordings of Zoom calls are stored using external cloud services, which the user can control.
“The traffic routing is really important,” he says. “You have to think about network latency, bandwidth utilization, and all those factors.”
Unlike WebEx, which was created in 1997 for desktop sharing, Zoom is built for video first, Moseley says. It’s interoperable with other enterprise collaboration software including Skype for Business. Zoom is device agnostic so that its links enable participants to join a video session from any device they happen to be using. It offers a full stack of collaboration tools as well, from conference rooms, to webinar tools, to API plugins, to desktop sharing, and even whiteboards.
“You can whiteboard from your iPhone,” Moseley says. “I can whiteboard while I’m walking my dog.”
Talking to client CIOs has already opened Moseley’s eyes to how Zoom is being used in useful ways that the company didn’t imagine. One client in Philadelphia used Zoom for internal meetings – even when all the participants were in the same physical space – just to have the recording and digital transcript that the software automatically creates. Zoom’s engineers designed that feature as a way for people absent from meetings to catch-up, but this client found it was a way to be freed from notetaking.
After 10 weeks, Moseley seems comfortable enough in his role and with his new employer to take on the competitive collaboration software market. He’s seen the software change for the better already, adding new features like a “lobby” outside of a meeting room so those trying to join a full room can somewhere to wait instead of bouncing, or unintentionally kicking someone else out. And there’s a lot more to come.
“We are doing what others are only talking about,” he says. “By the time they’re able to provide what we’re currently doing, we’ll be even further ahead.”
So long as you can plug in somehwere.