Blog

  • IT Leader Spotlight: Barry Steinberg, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

    IT Leader Spotlight: Barry Steinberg, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

    February 5th, 2020
    Read More

    The High Availability, Inc. team has worked with a lot of incredibly talented IT professionals over the last 19 (almost 20!) years. To celebrate our customers and their achievements, we will be highlighting a CIO from our network each quarter!

    For our second IT Leader Spotlight, we had the opportunity to sit down with Barry Steinberg, IT Director at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

     

    Q: Where did you go to school? And, what did you study?

    BS: I attended North Texas State University and UT Arlington, earning a B.B.A. in Management, followed by an M.B.A. in Information Systems at Pace University in New York.

     

    Q: Did you always want to work in IT? What sparked your interest?

    BS: My father was a Data Processing Manager in the toy, plastics, and consumer goods industries.  Sometimes as a (very!) young kid, I would go to work with him and was fascinated by all the various computing equipment; back then, we’re talking about keypunch machines, tabulators, collators, sorters.  Program logic was handled by a wiring “plug board” and database information such as product inventory, sales transactions, etc. was stored in trays of punched cards.  The early IBM mainframe computers eventually replaced these machines tape drives.  Anyways, I was hooked.

     

    Q: Tell us about your career path…

    BS: I was hired by Ross Perot’s Electronic Data Systems (EDS) after college and worked as a programmer analyst writing COBOL and OS/JCL on IBM mainframes.  I also worked in the marketing support group, which was responsible for responding to federal, state and local government services contract RFPs.  I then spent a few years at American Broadcasting Companies as a business systems analyst before becoming the IT Director at a Wall Street law firm.  During my time there we implemented an early document management system on Wang computers and networked PCs; that stint also included my first large office move.  My next position was at a firm in northern NJ, where my team was responsible for all network operations, business and productivity applications, user training and support.  After 9/11, I took some time to complete my MCDBA and PMP certifications before arriving at my current firm in 2003.

     

    Q: Tell us about your organization…

    BS: One of Delaware’s largest law firms, Young Conaway counsels and represents international, national and local clients, handling sophisticated advisory and litigation matters involving bankruptcy, corporate law, and intellectual property.  The firm also guides regional businesses and individuals through a myriad of employment, personal injury, real estate, tax, estate planning, environmental, and banking issues.  I report to the COO and lead a 10+ person team responsible for 24x7x365 network operations, data security, application software, e-discovery, A/V, and client services technical support.

     

    Q: What technology or business initiatives will be most important in driving your IT objectives for the next year?

    BS: Over the last few years, our efforts have focused on implementing and supporting upgrades of many of the firm’s business and desktop productivity systems.  At the same time, we also upgraded most of our Data Center and network infrastructure and strengthened our data security posture.  This year, our priorities include expanding our mobile device application portfolio and continuing our information governance and security awareness initiatives.

     

    Q: What does a typical day look like for you? How do you keep yourself productive?

    BS: I spend time each day addressing issues of immediate concern to senior firm management, IT team members, and our attorney and administrative user community.  Most days also feature a mix of projects, operations, and user support meetings.  A typical day might also include discussions with outside vendors or with internal customers reviewing resource requirements, schedule constraints, etc.  I routinely move between strategic, tactical, and operational roles as the work requires Whenever possible, I try to communicate, coordinate and/or delegate and then get out of the way and let people do their jobs.

     

    Q: What roles or skills are you having difficulty filling – if any?

    BS: The firm is fortunate to have a mature team of outstanding technology professionals, so filling open positions has not been much of an issue over the past few years.  When in need of specific technology project skills, we reach out to trusted partners such as High Availability, Inc.

     

    Q: What advice would you give aspiring CIOs?

    BS: Spend time learning the business, the industry, and building relationships.  Sharpen your writing and listening skills and seek out speaking engagements.  Look for opportunities to provide guidance and give credit to others.  Share your strengths and allow others to share theirs with you.  Tackle failure with a commitment to future success.  Under-promise and over-deliver.  All very cliché, but true.

     

    Q: What is your proudest professional accomplishment so far?

    BS: I currently work with the best technology team that I have been associated with, meeting the ever-demanding service needs of a premier law firm while helping each of these IT team members achieve their individual professional goals.

     

    Q: What has been the most meaningful aspect of your engagement with High Availability, Inc.?

    BS: Starting with their role in standing up and hosting the firm’s disaster recovery solution, our engagement with H.A. has grown significantly over time.  As new technology needs have arisen, H.A.’s engineering services, sales, and support teams have contributed significant project expertise and guidance in achieving successful outcomes for the firm.  An outstanding technology partner!

  • Customer Spotlight: Marlin Capital Solutions

    Customer Spotlight: Marlin Capital Solutions

    February 4th, 2020
    Read More

    The High Availability, Inc. team has worked with a lot of incredibly talented IT teams over the last twenty years. To celebrate our customers and their achievements, we will be highlighting one of our customers each quarter!

    For our second Customer Spotlight, we had the opportunity to sit down with Craig Green, Assistant Vice President Enterprise Infrastructure at Marlin Capital Solutions. 

     

    Q: What is your role within the organization? 

    CG: I am the Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Infrastructure

     

    Q: Tell us about your organization… 

    CG: [Marketing] Since 1997, Marlin has been a nationwide provider of equipment and software financing, specializing in providing innovative financing solutions for small businesses. We finance a wide array of commercial equipment across many different industries. To round out our financing solutions, we also offer working capital loans for any type of business need such as expansion, inventory, staffing, and more. 

     

    Q: What is your #1 product/service/offering? 

    CG: [Marketing] Marlin specializes in a fast, easy process to obtain financing, whether it’s equipment financing or a working capital loan. 

     

    Q: What do you wish the other departments at Marlin Capital Solutions knew about your department? 

    CG: That IT does more than just support tickets, major projects are being worked on all the time.

     

    Q: What is the most important thing you are working on right now? 

    CG: We are currently implementing a new Unified Communications platform companywide.

     

    Q: What are your team’s greatest strengths? 

    CG: I consider Marlin’s IT teams greatest strength to be its dedication and understanding of the business. Also, doing a lot with a little. We are not a large IT department but find ways to produce quality large amounts of work each year.

     

    Q: What are your top 3 IT initiatives over the next 12 months?

    • Salesforce implementation across several departments
    • Unified Communications system implementation
    • Cybersecurity initiatives

     

    Q: What is the biggest challenge your team is currently facing? 

    CG: Keeping up with all the new cybersecurity threats.

     

    Q: When did you start working with High Availability, Inc.? 

    CG: We started working with H.A. in March of 2013.

     

    Q: Why did you pick High Availability, Inc. as your trusted advisor? 

    CG: Prior experience working with HA at my previous company.  Their technical knowledge is the best I have ever experienced compared against any other vendor.

     

    Q: In what areas has H.A. helped transform your business? 

    CG: Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, Enterprise LAN/WAN Networking, Security and Storage.  The rapid rate at which we grew our environment call for some major changes and HA was there with us every step of the way.

     

    Q: What do you predict your team will be working on in the next 3-5 years? 

    CG: Over the next 3 to 5 years, we will continue improving our networking infrastructure, cybersecurity, and cloud-based initiatives with the help of HA.

     

    Q: Describe your H.A. sales rep in three words – be nice! 

    CG: Steve Eisenhart is honest, knowledgeable, and customer-oriented. 

     

  • 10 Vendor Events You Should Consider for 2020

    10 Vendor Events You Should Consider for 2020

    January 9th, 2020
    Read More

    10 Vendor Events You Should Consider for 2020

    January is always a busy month. Between the post-holiday rush and attempting to get back into the swing of things at the office, it can seem overwhelming! However, the month of January is critical for setting up your 2020 schedule, which is where vendor events/tradeshows come in. Since we know you are most likely swamped with 2020 planning initiatives and attempting to clean out your inbox, the High Availability, Inc. team has taken on the task of sifting through the top vendor events you need to consider for your 2020 schedule.

    *listed in order of occurrence

     

    1. NVIDIA'S GPU Technology Conference
    • March 22nd - 26th | San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, CA

    Why you should attend...

    • 600+ sessions on dozens of topics
    • Hands-on training facilitated by Deep Learning Institute certified instructors
    • "Office Hours" with NVIDIA engineers and researchers

                        Click Here for more information

     

    1. Dell Technologies World
    • May 4th - May 7th | The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

    Why you should attend...

    • Hands-on training facilitated by Dell experts
    • 300+ sessions with multiple tracks, including; Technology, IT Leadership, Emerging, Trends, and much more...
    • Dell always has great entertainment. While we don't know who is set to headline this year, Dell has previously hosted Sting, David Blaine, Gwen Stefani, Weezer, Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons...

    Click Here for more information

     

    1. VeeamON
    • May 4th - May 6th  | ARIA Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV

    Why you should attend...

    • 50+ sessions with multiple tracks including; Vision & Strategy, Cloud-Powered, Architecture and Design, - Operations & Support, Deep Tech, and much more...
    • Access to VCME training
    • Veeam booked the Drai nightclub for their infamous VeeamOn party!

    Click Here for more information

     

    1. ZertoCON
    • May 18th - May 20th | Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, FL

    Why you should attend...

    • Hands-on labs led by Zerto experts
    • Form a hacking team and participate in Zerto's second annual "Hackathon"
    • Specialized "Women in Tech" networking opportunities

    Click Here for more information

     

    1. Cisco Live
    • May 31st - June 4th | Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

    Why you should attend...

    • Opportunities for 1:1 guidance with Cisco experts
    • 1,000+ sessions focusing on the Cloud, 5G, WI-FI6, and much more...
    • Participate in hands-on training and certification classes
    • The musical act is still TBD, but in previous years Cisco hosted the Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, Aerosmith, Sam Hunt, and many more!

    Click Here for more information

     

    1. Palo Alto Ignite
    • June 1st - June 4th | Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX

    Why you should attend...

    • Opportunities for 1:1 guidance with Palo Alto experts
    • Access to certification exams

    Click Here for more information

     

    1. Nutanix .NEXT
    • June 30th - July 2nd | McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

    Why you should attend...

    • 100+ sessions focused on hyperconvergence, hybrid cloud, DevOps, automation, security, and much more...
    • Access to certification exams
    • Impressive speaker line-up, including;
      • Luvvie Ajayi, Award-Winning Author, and Digital Strategist
      • Mike Rowe, Executive Producer, Host, and Best-Selling Author
      • Simon Sinek, British-American author, and motivational speaker

    Click Here for more information

     

    1. Microsoft Inspire
    • July 19th - July 23rd | Las Vegas, NV

    *Very limited details available, but this is one you don't want to miss!*

                        Click Here for more information

     

    1. VMware's VMworld
    • August 30th - September 3rd | San Francisco, CA

    Why you should attend...

    • Numerous session tracks including Cloud, Networking & Security, Digital Workspace, Emerging Trends, and much more...
    • Access to certification exams
    • One of the biggest shows in the industry....with 21,000+ attendees, 230+ sponsors, and 86+ countries represented...you definitely won't be bored!

    Click Here for more information

     

    1. Kubertetes's KubeCon
    • November 17th - 20th | Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Boston, MA

    Why you should attend...

    • Over 10,000+ attendees
    • 35% developers attendees
    • 77% technical attendees
    • 100+ sessions, including technical classes, deep-dives, case studies, and much more...

    Click Here for more information

  • High Availability, Inc. Hosts Star Wars Movie Premiere

    High Availability, Inc. Hosts Star Wars Movie Premiere

    December 30th, 2019
    Read More

    Earlier this month, High Availability, Inc. welcomed customers and partners alike to the Movie Tavern in Collegeville, PA, for an advanced screening of Star Wars: The Return of Skywalker. The annual movie premiere has been a cornerstone event for High Availability, Inc. since 2012. It's a chance for the H.A. team to thank customers for their business during the past year and allows for everyone, even our partners, to kick back and relax.

    "A lot of our customers love Star Wars! We are thrilled we get the chance to offer our customers the chance to see the film early and escape the end of the year rush. This event is a great way to kick back and relax," said Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager for High Availability, Inc. "The event produces the ideal blend of industry happenings, education, and fun," Thompson added.

    However, the event wasn't as relaxing for our speakers! H.A.'s infamous "Ignite-Style" presentations took place before the film on the big screens. Speakers from NetApp, Cohesity, Nutanix, Zerto, Zix, Duo, Palo Alto, and High Availability, Inc. had to perform a fast-paced powerpoint presentation with "The Rise of..." built into the title to pay homage to the film's title (The Rise of Skywalker).  Each speaker had only 5 minutes to present and had to utilize 20 slides – no more, no less. The slides were timed to advance every 15 seconds whether the speaker was ready or not.

    "The Ignite format is super challenging for our presenters, but the presentations always turn out incredible because the speakers put so much thought and time into them," explained Victoria Clery, Office Manager & Marketing Specialist for High Availability, Inc. "Plus, the audience tends to pay attention to the presentations since the format is so fast-paced!"

    The most talked-about presentation of the evening, which was delivered by Bob McCouch from High Availability, Inc., entitled "The Rise of the Internet," highlighted tech advancements in correlation to Star Wars movies. McCouch, a Principal Technologist for High Availability, Inc., discussed everything from the age of research, to first domain names, and the mobile revolution!

    In short, the High Availability, Inc. movie premiere was an enormous success! Thanks to all our customers and partners for participating in the event.

  • Backing up NAS Workloads with Cohesity

    Backing up NAS Workloads with Cohesity

    November 15th, 2019
    Read More

    In our data-driven world, Network Attached Storage such as SMB, CIFS, and NFS tends to account for a significant part of storage infrastructure.  The so-called "unstructured data" continues to grow at a rapid pace.  According to Wikipedia, Unstructured Data is defined as "Information that neither does not have a pre-defined data model or is not organized in a predefined manner."  It's a rather vague term, but in my mind what this really means, is all the stuff that we collect in our home directories, folders, and department shares.  It can range from text-heavy documents, spreadsheets, pdf files, audio, video, analog data, and the list goes on.  Regardless of how it's described, it's your data, it's still important, and needs to be protected.

    Cohesity's DataPlatform and DataProtect software includes NAS Data Protection that addresses this very need.  It provides full data protection that can backup and restores at the file level or entire volumes.  This software from Cohesity uses a simple policy-driven protection scheme and is very easy to set up and manage.

    The first step is to "Register Storage Array" as a source.  In my case, I am using a NetApp cluster.  Simply add the admin interface IP (or hostname) and corresponding credentials and wow, that was easy it's registered as a target.

    Once this is complete, Go to Sources in the GUI and you will see the NetApp listed with cluster name.  Click on the name and you will then be able to see and browse all the objects on the cluster.

    Again, for me, I have an NFS share in my "prod_svm" that is called Data_Share which I am looking to protect.  I click on "protect" and select that particular share and then create the protection job. One thing to note is that you can select the entire thing and have it auto-protect all volumes.  In this particular lab, I do not want to protect the VMware NFS stores…. just a particular volume with unstructured data.  My NAS policy is complete, and I let it begin to process and run.

    The job completes successfully, and I now have a backup of all the data on my NAS share.

    Now let's say, for instance, I lost a very important file.  It's not in the local NetApp snapshot, it's been corrupted for a while…. choose your scenario.  At the main Cohesity UI, I can pick "Recover" and then "Files and Folders" and with a simple query, all my files are listed that we're backed up.  With Cohesity's search function, it's very easy to search for names or types of files to restore.

    In this example, I've lost "file005.bin" and so with a single mouse click I can then download the file and keep on working.

    Of course, it doesn't have to end there with a local copy.  With Cohesity, it's possible to add external targets to easily replicate the data to another site or archive it to another NAS, and of course, send it to the cloud as well.

    Now imagine, if you will, that we had some catastrophic event that caused both of my controllers in the NetApp to crash, burn, or self-destruct.  Wouldn't it be awesome if I could just mount that same data volume on my backup device and have users access it there?With Cohesity, I can recover that entire volume as a "Cohesity View" which in simple terms is nothing more than a NAS mount for CIFS and/or NFS.

    With a few clicks, I now have my volume that was backed up to the Cohesity, running on the Cohesity DataPlatform with a usable mount point.  I can hop on over to my Linux box and mount this as an NFS share and keep on working.

    So…. take some time and investigate this next generation of backup technology.  The Cohesity DataPlatform and DataProtect software offer a simple and convenient way to protect unstructured data, especially in a NAS environment.

  • Customer Spotlight: Listrak

    Customer Spotlight: Listrak

    October 18th, 2019
    Read More

    The High Availability, Inc. team has worked with a lot of incredibly talented IT teams over the last 19 (almost 20!) years. To celebrate our customers and their achievements, we will be highlighting one of our customers each quarter!

    For our first Customer Spotlight, we had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Lechlitner, Listrak's Director of Information Technology...

    Q: What is your role within the organization?

    DL: I am the Director of the Information Technology department.

    Q: Tell us about your organization…

    DL: Listrak Inc. is a privately-held digital marketing SaaS company.  As an established leader in the multi-channel marketing industry, Listrak works with more than 1000 retailers and brands to accelerate growth, drive engagement, and deliver significant incremental revenue.  Fueled by artificial intelligence, actual human intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics, the Listrak platform boasts a comprehensive set of marketing automation solutions to reach and retarget customers throughout their lifecycle with optimized email, SMS/MMS, and mobile push messages.  With Listrak, retailers gain more than just a technology platform; they are opting into a long-term partnership with retail marketing experts who will become an extension of their team to help execute and meet revenue goals..

    Q: What is your #1 product/service/offering?

    DL: Cross channel marketing and analytic tools for eCommerce companies are core to Listrak’s service offerings.

    Q: What is the most important thing you are working on right now?

    DL: My department is working on deploying a full Docker Containerization solution to our environment.  We are constantly growing our customer base, which means we are also expanding our footprints in our datacenters as well as in AWS.

    Q: What are your team’s greatest strengths?

    DL: I contribute a large part of my team’s success to their technical knowledge and dedication to Listrak.  The IT Department has very little turn-over, so my engineers are not only highly experienced in the various operating systems, back-end applications/databases, and infrastructure, but they also understand how those pieces interact with our SaaS platform.

    Q: What are your top 3 IT initiatives over the next 12 months?

    DL: The top 3 IT initiatives over the next 12 months are:

    • The top initiative for the next 12 months is to continue to grow, mature, and utilize our containerization environment within the Listrak platform.
    • A second initiative for the IT Department is to move additional services to an active-active design regionally.
    • The third IT initiative in 2020 is to continue to expand our environments in both our SaaS and Corporate sites – due to business growth.

    Q: What is the biggest challenge your team is facing currently?

    DL: The biggest challenge for Listrak’s IT department is to embrace emerging technologies while supporting legacy solutions.  Both of which play key roles in our environment.

    Q: When did you start working with High Availability, Inc.?

    DL: I brought High Availability, Inc. to Listrak nine years ago, but I had worked with H.A. at a previous employer for at least 10 years prior to that.

    Q: Why did you pick High Availability, Inc. as your trusted advisor?

    DL: I chose High Availability, Inc as Listrak’s trusted technology advisor for many reasons.  They are extremely responsive, whether they are asked for a quote or technical feedback.  Their prices are very competitive, and their engineers are among the best I’ve ever worked with.  

    Q: It what areas has H.A. helped transform your business?

    DL: H.A. has helped Listrak in a number of areas as we went through rapid growth.  Their engineers became an extension of the Listrak IT staff until we could bring the necessary technical skills in house.  Listrak is always researching and testing new technologies, and we’ve found H.A. to be an early adopter of the new technologies we are considering.

    Q: What do you predict your team will be working on in the next 3-5 years?

    DL: I anticipate over the next 3 – 5 years that IT departments will continue to mature their DevOps roles and will need to further embrace software driven infrastructure solutions.  The lines between the software development teams and infrastructure teams will become less rigid.

    Q: Describe your H.A. sales rep in three words – be nice!

    DL: Steve’s the best!

  • High Availability, Inc. Wins CRN Triple Crown Award

    High Availability, Inc. Wins CRN Triple Crown Award

    October 15th, 2019
    Read More

    High Availability, Inc. Wins CRN Triple Crown Award
     
    Award Program Recognizes Exceptional IT Solution Providers

    Audubon, PA, October 15th, 2019 - High Availability. Inc, announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has recognized High Availability, Inc. as a 2019 Triple Crowd Award winner.

    CRN Triple Crown Award winners rank among the largest IT solution providers in North America in terms of revenue on the Solution Provider 500 list. They are also among the fastest-growing organizations in the channel today on the Fast Growth 150 list and have made the Tech Elite 250 list by receiving the highest-level certifications from leading vendors. It is a great accomplishment for a solution provider to earn a spot on any of these lists, so being named to all three deserves special attention.

    “We are honored to be a CRN 2019 Triple Crown award winner for the second year in a row,” said Steve Eisenhart, Chief Executive Officer of High Availability, Inc. "This is an award we strive for each and every year as it requires us to focus on revenue, growth, and technical capabilities. Our continued investment in both existing and new employees, strategic partners, new and emerging technologies, and our Cloud and Managed Services Division have helped elevate our business to the next level and put us in a position to achieve Triple Crown status. We are thrilled about where we are as an organization, and we are confident in acquiring the Triple Crown rank for three years in a row come 2020!” Eisenhart concluded.

    Now in its sixth year, the Triple Crown Award recognizes solution providers that outshine their IT channel peers. It is awarded to the top solution providers in North America based on revenue, growth, and technical expertise. 

    “Triple Crown Award winners have pulled off the trifecta — they’re among the top solution providers in North America according to revenue, have experienced substantial growth over the past year, and are committed to building and maintaining the technical skills needed to provide customers with the highest level of service,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “We are honored to recognize these solution providers as Triple Crown Award winners for their exceptional achievements across the IT channel.”

    This year’s Triple Crown Award winners will be featured in the October issue of CRN Magazine and can be viewed online at www.crn.com/triplecrown.

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions, while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

    ###

    Media Contact:

    For more information about High Availability, Inc., please contact Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager, at (610) 254-5090 ext. 256 or lthompson@hainc.com

  • IT Leader Spotlight: Harvey Guindi, Health Network Laboratories, LP

    IT Leader Spotlight: Harvey Guindi, Health Network Laboratories, LP

    October 11th, 2019
    Read More

    The High Availability, Inc. team has worked with a lot of incredibly talented IT professionals over the last 19 (almost 20!) years. To celebrate our customers and their achievements, we will be highlighting a CIO from our network each quarter!

    For our first IT Leader Spotlight, we had the opportunity to sit down with Harvey Guindi, CIO of Health Network Laboratories, LP....

     

    Q: Where did you go to school? And what did you study?

    HG: I studied Computer Science at California State University, Fullerton.

     

    Q: Did you always want to work in IT? What sparked your interest?

    HG: Very early on in life, I knew I wanted to continue to work with, study and use computers and technology in my career.  Though how I started and ended up is very different.  My first introduction to computers was on an Apple IIe learning BASIC programming in the computer club in my Junior High School. I was hooked from that point, I spent as much time learning and getting access to computers, including joining the computer club and even taking summer school computer and math classes.  Initially my interest was in playing and creating games.  I remember using computer magazine that published BASIC code and writing that into the computer to create a game, and later I created some of my own programs and simple games.  My dream was to ultimately study computer programing to design and produce my own games, I wanted to be the next Richard Garriott (Lord British from Ultima / Origin fame).  Once I started school and entered the school of engineering in the Computer Science department, I quickly realized no one was teaching anything about creating games or interactive experiences, it was one accounting, HR or database type assignment after another, switching from Assembly language, to ADA, to Pascal, to C, etc. just learning data structure and other logic principles.  This was disheartening as I realized college had no mechanism (at that time in the early/mid 90s) for an electronic entertainment computer science program.

    Even in school (in my first year), my talent was immediately identified, and I was recruited to work for the Dean of the School of Humanities to Design, setup, and support social science research computer labs.  I was the only freshman that was also a staff member of the school. I worked to support graduate students in their use of computers and statistical software tools.  I created programs for accessing the shared computer labs that were sold in the school book store as well as provided personal support for the faculty across the entire campus.

    When I finished school, I took a job as a junior engineer with a company that wrote custom printer drivers for Windows. My task was to identify defects and bugs and provide patch updates.  I did this for a few months until one of the main support people went on maternity leave, as I was the most junior person in the company I was placed on the support lines to take her place.  My troubleshooting and support abilities were beyond anyone else in the group, and even when this person returned I was asked to stay in the support role, which was not something that was going to move me forward, so I left.

    Since then I have taken progressive roles in the IT (operations/infrastructure/network) roles, especially as open systems and networks took off (first with Netware, then NT, etc.)  I built upon each successive role to achieve technical lead status, to team lead, to manager, director, and ultimately CIO.  My background in both development, support, networking and architecture along with the leadership skills I have built, have given me a unique perspective and have been the primary purpose of my continued success, bridging both the technical and the business side of the role of a CIO.

     

    Q: Tell us about your organization…

    HG: Health Network Laboratories, LP is a regional diagnostic and anatomic pathology healthcare provider.  We serve 30+ hospitals and over 10K unique clients in the PA and NJ markets. I have been with HNL for six years in the CIO role. I lead a team of 50 that covers everything from Helpdesk, Enterprise Architecture, Clinical Applications, Project Management, Client solutions, Engineering, and Information Security.

     

    Q: What technology or business initiatives will be most important in driving your IT objectives for the next year?

    HG: Most important technologies that will drive our objectives are those that optimize, automate, and ultimately positively impact our customer experience.  I have started an initiative within the organization that looks at every project backwards from how it can positively impact our customers.  Some of the technologies that will be of focus this year include: Expanding our use of RPA (Robotic Process Automation), Ai (specifically in chat/self-service/scheduling bots), including omni-channel call center solution and mobile applications.  One of the most impactful design approaches is based on EDA (Event Driven Architecture), we have moved away from transactional or batch-based data focused integration to a more demand (and predictive) event-driven model.  The idea behind this is to use every application, every tool, every data element as a “sensor”.  So one example is the kiosk we have in our patient service center where customers sign in.  If we watch these and see that there are five or more sign-ins in a five-minute window, we take that even and send a dispatch alert to the nearest mobile phlebotomist (using their field service tool) to have them go to the location to provide additional support to maintain our 15 minute service time window.

     

    Q: What does a typical day look like for you? How do you keep yourself productive?

    HG: A typical day for me includes many meetings; it is an integral part of a CIOs role, which is to communicate, both tactical and strategic planning and vision with leadership and frontline staff.  I look for opportunities that can positively impact human experiences both for our internal and external customers.  For example today I learned of a manual process that was fine when it dealt with 5-10 items per day, that queue has grown to 50+, this spawned an investigation that highlighted a potential for integration and automating that task.  I look to free humans from mundane tasks so they can increase and magnify their role and contributions.

     

    Q: What roles or skills are you having difficulty filling – if any?

    HG: We are often challenged with finding individuals who look past their defined job descriptions and have a desire to contribute well beyond a specialized task.  When we have such individuals on our team, we are adaptable, which is far more beneficial and valuable than being efficient because you can be efficient, but when that process or task is no longer needed, and you can’t change, you become a liability vs. an asset.

     

    Q: What advice would you give aspiring CIOs?

    HG: Any aspiring CIO needs to have a solid technical foundation and a deep desire to understand and become authoritative in the business process for whatever industry they are in.  You can’t just have one or the other and be as successful as your organization needs you to be.  I would also suggest my three simple rules as outlined in this article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-three-simple-rules-effective-leadership-harvey-guindi/

     

    Q: What is your proudest professional accomplishment so far?

    HG: My proudest professional accomplishment has to be the people I have helped lead and develop and the success they have achieved.  I have been blessed to have a tremendously loyal and hardworking team, and to me a team’s primary definition is that each person looks out for each other, this spirit of freedom and responsibility and the culture we have developed and how it has permeated from within the IS team to other areas has to be one of my the greatest accomplishments.

     

    Q: If you could go back in your career or your current role – would you have done anything differently?

    HG: I don’t think I would go back and change anything really in my career, those difficult and challenging times I had to go through to learn a specific skill or leadership trait.  We have to have some failures and be able to learn from them to achieve growth and improvement.  If I could take some learning back, I would definitely have looked to spend more time developing relationships earlier, especially among my customer base, to be more deeply entranced in any and every aspect of the business I was supporting vs. sticking just to the technology space as my primary domain.

     

    Q: What has been the most meaningful aspect of your engagement with High Availability, Inc.?

    HG: My most meaningful engagement with H.A. has to be around our exploration and discovery of what HCI (Hyper Converged Infrastructure) solution we should make part of our next large data center and cloud hybrid strategy, this was a large task that would have long-lasting impact, H.A. was patient, authoritative and supportive of our immediate need and our overall strategy bringing additional experts outside the company to focus on key areas we needed to be successful.  That is the mark of a true partner, someone who listens so well they become someone that works for your organization without you directly paying them; that is H.A. for us!

Join the High Availability, Inc. Mailing List

Subscribe