Featured Interview | Xavier Mesrobian of Skkynet

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Xavier Mesrobian is Vice President Sales and Marketing at Skkynet Cloud Systems.

 

Xavier Mesrobian, Skkynet

PostedMonday, June 13, 2022

  • Q
    If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self just getting started?
    A
    I would say, "Spend more time listening, and less time talking." And really, it comes down to customers will really tell you what they need. But you must be able to listen and just let them talk. So, I have this saying now that I use in the back of my head and it says, "Just shut up. Don't say anything. Let the customer talk."
  • Q
    Why did Skkynet become a member of CSIA?
    A
    CSIA members are our customers. We service the systems integrators with software tools, if you will, to make their jobs easier, make their customers happy and generate repeat business. We know where we are in the pecking order. In the simple terms, we need to make our CSIA members happy so that their customers are happy. My father used to say, "You're only as good as your customers tell you are." We know our focus, we stand by our systems integrators, we stand by our customers. We've had many situations where we've worked with large companies and say, "Well, your products not doing what it's supposed to do." And we take the position that, you know, we'll look, we'll investigate, we'll figure out what's wrong, 99.9% of the time, it's not our product. And when it is our product, it's usually fixed within hours. We'll have a separate build for you to often run and make it work. We don't argue. We just find, replicate, and fix. And so, we became a CSIA member, because you are our market. You are the people that we need to talk to, that we need to be connected to.
  • Q
    In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the automation marketplace today and in the future?
    A
    The biggest challenge, and I hate to sound like a broken record, is cyber security. Today, and in the future, our ability to control our infrastructure and control access to our company data is going to become a very critical piece of the business. In our space, it is a huge part of our business. We do exactly that. We keep the spaces clear. But I have to say that I believe it's just going to get worse. Because as we open firewall ports, as we try to get data out, as we get lazy, we're going to create attack surfaces. And you know these costs, they're not small. When a company gets hacked, it's not a small issue. They're either going to pay a ransomware or they're going to choose not to do it and it could cost them millions of dollars.
  • Q
    What's unique about how you approach a project?
    A
    Skkynet's approach is very different. We partner with the systems integrators; we partner with the customer to provide a solution that best meets their approach. Our approach to any project is that the focus must be on secure by design. As opposed to other products that build, they'll build a product and then after that, they'll say, "OK, well, if you want the security, you have to buy it." We go, "You know what? Before we do anything, there's two things we have to look at. One, it must be very easy to use for the end user. Because the easier it is to use, the faster it gets implemented, the easier it is for them to use the product. But the other thing, it has to be secure." If I'm moving data from an operations network to a DMZ or to an IT department, I don't want to have any attack surfaces, I don't want to have to be using multilayer of security to kind of prevent somebody from breaking into IT. I want the solution to be locked down hard and secure. Because at the end of the day, if it's locked down hard and secure, it's easy to use in its performance. Then your project, well, the SI's project will garner more activity and more projects. So, we understand that we must have a reliable product that you can promote and work with so that you have happy customers.
  • Q
    How has Skkynet grown or changed in the past year, and what do you expect for your company in the next 12 to 24 months?
    A
    Anybody who's lived through this pandemic knows that there's been a lot of radical shifts in this market. And so, we can go down the list, you know, in terms of the last 24 months; remote monitoring is no longer a want to have, it's become now a core requirement in many systems. We've seen a huge push, and I can't tell you how big but it's massive, to the cloud. More and more customers are now moving their critical infrastructure into a managed environment. Many years ago, Oracle said, "No one's going to move to the cloud. No one's going to put their customer information, which is their solid gold, into a cloud." And today, it's unlikely you're going to find anybody with a CRM system in house. We're going to see the same thing in this industry. The industry is moving to managed applications running in cloud servers because they're cheaper to run. The industry has really put a strong push on software as a service. And when you put this whole concept of moving away from perpetual licenses into more of a service license model, I think that's a challenge for the systems integrators. Cyber security: I don't think I have actually now had a single day, in the last two weeks, where I didn't hear about a cyber attack on a company. Cyber security is taking center stage. It used to be that cyber security is an afterthought. But today, every large company has a individual whose only role is to protect the organization for cyber security. On the short-term list, and the one I think that will create the most challenges for our systems integrators today will be Microsoft security patch on DICOM. It's very specific. But as an industry, we've worked, you know, 20 years with DICOM. And come July, DICOM will no longer exist. So, any of those systems out there that are using it, they must come up with a solution. And then we've seen a phenomenal increase in predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. It's not new. I mean, it's just a new brand of name that we have, you know, we've taken this, this thing that we've done in industrial automation for 20 years, and we've called it something else. But we've been predicting what's been going through our networks for years, we're just doing it more efficiently today. The machines are faster, disk drives are cheaper, everything seems to work better now. And so, we can do things that we couldn't do in the past. That too, is a huge opportunity for the systems integration community. To be able to reposition yourself, not to do it, but to reposition yourself to provide those services. Because there are a bunch of companies out there that are happy to work with you. You create an artificial intelligence around, you know, the production of something.
  • Q
    Do you specialize in any industry, product, or discipline?
    A
    One of the beauties of our product is that we are industry independent. We're agnostic. We connect to everybody. We connect to anything. In terms of our discipline, we do have a discipline. Our products, although they're agnostic from an industry standpoint, we're extremely disciplined on security. That's one of the key fundamental pillars of our product. But in fact, our software is not only used in industrial automation, but it’s also used in the financial commodities trading market. And you think about how could those two possible markets be connected in any way? And that is real-time data. The core of our product is the data hub. The data hub is best known for connecting desperate systems securely. Whatever a client needs to connect to a remote facility or aggregating data or publishing data to a cloud or a central location, you know, whether that's a database or historian, we offer the most secure mechanism to get that data to where they need it. Whether it's oil and gas or minerals in mining or financial or machine builders, our products are really designed to get that information when you need it most. And that can be the leak detection system, for instance. So, the sooner you know that there's a leak, the sooner you can turn off the pipeline.