by Centroid

Centroid Systems is recognized as one of the “10 Most Trusted Managed Cloud Service Providers Making a Difference in 2023.”

CIOViews featured Scott Whitley, VP of Sales, and Jim Brull, SVP of Sales/Marketing and Managing Partner, on the cover of their June 2023 magazine edition, “The 10 Most Trusted Managed Cloud Service Providers Making a Difference in 2023”!

Centroid is proud to be recognized for this achievement. Being among this list means our passion and success are transforming the future of service providers.

Read the story below or with the digital magazine to learn how Centroid’s relentless pursuit and transformational services have empowered our customers to achieve ultimate cloud success.

Link to Digital Magazine

Scott Whitley, VP of Sales, and Jim Brull, SVP of Sales/Marketing and Managing Partner at Centroid Systems believe that transpartent and a relentless pursuit of helping our customers succeed are among the core values that have helped the firm foster and ensure a culture of integrity for 25 years.

Helping Customers Simplify Their Cloud Journey

Centroid provides comprehensive cloud services for customers by helping them simplify their cloud journey. According to Jim, the idea that seeded the inception and vision of the company was that they saw a gap in the industry of enterprise workload experts and wanted to provide a deeper level of services to customers that were not just niche focused.

“We do this through planning, moving, and managing enterprise workloads across the major hyper scalers. As of today, industry analysts estimate that only 30% of workloads have been moved to the cloud, so there are a lot of journeys to be made,” he observes.

Centroid has three tenants to its services: Digital Transformation, Consulting, and Managed Services. Its Digital Transformation team assists customers with cloud strategies, building cloud-native applications, and implementing SaaS.

Its Consulting services team comprises services such as architecture design, cloud deployments, cloud migrations, performance tuning, and more. Lastly, its Managed Services team provides fully comprehensive services to maintain applications, database technologies, and infrastructure on-prem and in any cloud environment.

While Centroid has services built around all the major hyper scalers, some of its largest differentiators are around what the firm is doing with OCI. It currently has the most consumption and most amount of customers consuming OCI in North America for Oracle.

“We have seen such a benefit to our customers with OCI adoption that Centroid offers their own unique purchasing vehicle for Oracle’s cloud that provides all the benefits of buying through Oracle direct, just without a financial commitment,” says Scott.

He notes that most of their customers are already in large purchasing agreements with various technologies, so it was important for Centroid to help them adopt OCI with as few risks as possible. “A lot of our success is derived from the fact that our expertise spans beyond Oracle, allowing us to keep our customers successful in whatever direction they are headed,” says Scott.

Jim notes that one of Centroid’s main differentiators is they have a deep understanding of enterprise workloads; the applications and technology their clients need to run their businesses. “No one goes as deep or has more expertise in enterprise workloads than Centroid. Our customers help us with our go-to-market and our value proposition. Many of our customers say we go deeper and have more expertise than the OEM themselves. This is a testament to our delivery teams,” he affirms.

Becoming One of Oracle’s Largest Cloud Service Providers in North America

Centroid’s core is built around Oracle applications and technologies and anywhere they run. Over the past few years, its customers have started to embrace what Oracle is doing around the cloud. OCI is built differently than the other hyper-scalers and have done some interesting architectural engineering that allow low-latency applications to move to the cloud, that customers did not consider before.

“We have seen customers make large impacts on their OPEX and thus impacting their EBITDA by making the jump. Currently, that partnership is our number one focus as we are seeing the positive impact it is having on the early adopters. As I mentioned before, we are extremely confident that OCI will make a large splash in the marketplace, that we made a commitment for our customers,” says Scott.

Centroid’s customers can now experience programs such as Cloud Lift Services and Oracle Support Rewards, but on a purely consumption-based pricing model, without sacrificing discounts or having the burden of a financial commitment.

“We’re constantly working with product management at Oracle to see what’s coming down the pipe and how we can help our customers meet their business needs,” Scott explains. In addition, in the last 10 years, Centroid has built a strong go-to-market relationship with Oracle and become one of their largest Cloud Service Providers in North America.

“We started the company implementing Oracle ERP systems and expanded our services across Oracle Applications and Technology. It is estimated that 70% of all companies have some product of Oracle, and this is one of the reasons we focus heavily on Oracle, besides it being some of the best products in the world. We invest heavily in this relationship as do they, and it has been a rewarding one,” says Jim.

Building a Team that Values Honesty and Puts Customers First

Scott notes that Centroid’s customer base has expanded extremely rapidly over the last few years. The firm has been very strategic in hiring sales executives that all have a common DNA of doing whatever is possible to solve their customer’s needs. However, that would mean nothing without a rock-solid delivery team to back them up.

“When I came on board at Centroid, they already had great services, they just needed to get it out to market at a larger, more strategic scale as quickly as possible. The philosophy I held on my first day is still the same. We focus on correct hires and not numbers,” Scott insists.

Centroid has just built a dedicated presales team of engineers to allow delivery to focus on more net new capabilities with the changing market, and to allow its customers to access solutions as quickly as possible. “What keeps me up at night is not that we can’t deliver, but how do get ourselves in front of more customers that need it most before they make technology decisions that lock them into the wrong solution for years to come,” says Scott.

He also notes that one of the things Centroid looks for in its employees is that they have similar work ethics and professionalism across the organization. “We like to say, embedded in our DNA is a relentless pursuit to help our customers succeed’,” he remarks.

“Being honest and transpartent is built in our DNA,” Jim concurs. “One of the benefits of not being a direct vendor is that we’re not married to a specific product. We often find that vendors have amazing solutions but are not always the right fit for their customers. This may lead to unnatural business practices to close a deal.”

Centroid’s team has an advantage in that they focus on the business problem and impact that the customer is looking for and then bring in various technologies and delivery specialists. “It’s a more natural flow than trying to push something onto a customer. Luckily, we have an amazing delivery team behind us that helps us do what we say we are going to do. If we can’t do something, we’d rather find another partner who can help or walk away. Failed projects are worse than saying no,” Jim maintains.

Scott offers some profound words of advice for aspiring salespeople: “Listen, learn, understand…then find the solution. We’ve gotten into the habit of instant gratification. We have X that solves Y! Buy Z and your business will explode! It’s very common in the marketplace to overinflate value. Be honest and overdeliver. Your career will explode by simply not overselling. Customers usually see right through that every time.”

Scott also points out how they’ve strived to build a completive team that celebrates each other’s success. “Every single one of us on my team likes to win. But winning for us is exciting because of the impact it has on our customers. Usually, our customers are just as excited when we get a project approved as we are.”

“One cannot just be in an employer/employee relationship. You need to have some degree of personal relationship and care for each one where you can,” adds Jim. “Our vision of pursuing our customers’ success at all levels keeps employees, as well as management, focused on what our purpose is.”

Scott also explains that the impact they have on their customers’ business is usually around solving long-time problems that have been accepted as status quo. “So, when we win, we truly are making a difference. I think we all share the motivation that comes from doing good, and luckily there’s a lot of good to do in the technology industry,” he observes.

Helping Customers Overcome Their Challenges

Scott recalls how COVID did a lot of unnatural things to the industry and market. Some customers were bleeding financially, while some were struggling to keep up. “As things settle down, it seems that we’re in a period of rightsizing. Every C-level person I talk to is asking us for a financial analysis of their environment,” he remarks.

Centroid’s clients are looking at financial creep from cloud deployments and business practices, or even just strategies to get away from inflation from software that they’ve owned for years. While some are bracing for financial uncertainty, many realized that maybe they weren’t as efficient as they could have been before 2020 and are pushing to change that.

“Centroid has been extremely successful in these activities,” Scott observes. “I believe at this moment in time, our role is to listen, construct, and act. Every customer is experiencing something unique, but we have been able to help them overcome their challenges.”

Scott also notes that customers today are overloaded with content and messaging now more than ever and that he can’t imagine what tools like ChatGPT and AI selling will do to that.

“Pair that with the fact that a lot of companies are now fully remote and the space is challenging. Building genuine trust is challenging. That’s why we must have expert sellers because customers are looking for experience and not someone pushing a product anymore. They want honesty, intelligence, and most importantly, to be heard,” he maintains.

Scott observes that since Centroid is involved in large transformations across the country, they’re starting to find a real craving for face-to-face meetings and whiteboard sessions again. “While you can do a lot over a camera, you often get locked into a small amount of time to solve a large problem,” he remarks.

Jim observes that the past five years have seen a shift in the type of services that customers need from the marketplace. Centroid pivoted five years ago and that investment and effort have been paying off.

“We continue to look at what we offer and we’re making sure we’re providing our customers what they need while they have multi-cloud platforms,” he says. “When I look back from the early days when a project finished, that usually paused a customer relationship in services. But today with Cloud, the services don’t end. We like this model much more as it keeps us at the hip with our customers, and we can provide them much more value this way.”

A Shared Passion for Solving Customer Problems

Compared to most of his peers, Scott’s career journey was somewhat unorthodox, as he started in the music industry supporting country artists as a manager. “That led to being exposed to a variety of challenges, personas, and strange dynamics that the average Joe doesn’t ever have to deal with,” he remarks. “When you take a deeper look, it’s similar to the technology space. In music, the only way to survive is to adapt in the ever-changing market.”

Scott notes that technology is adapting so fast now, especially in the cloud space, that you have to be able to look at the ten-thousand-foot view but execute on ground level, and both the music and technology industries align in that.

“I jumped into tech when I decided to start a family, as music can be demanding 24/7. After spending a short stint at Dell, I found myself in the Oracle space which naturally made sense to me as it was more solution-focused and solving customer problems on a deeper level,” Scott recalls.

That was really what drove him to Centroid, as not only were they solving customer problems, but also led the charge in the partner world to drive the new potential for customers with Oracle. “We’re directly impacting the companies we work with positively daily,” Scott declares.

While he’s responsible for revenue growth in every aspect of the company, Scott sees his current role as having two parts – customer education and support. The former is important because companies are going through a lot of changes right now, and the more leaders are empowered by what’s available, the better decisions they can make for short-term and long-term success.

“The second is support, support, support. I’m daily looking at our internal workings to see how we can build better internally to support our customers externally. Growth is great, but only if it’s sustainable. I have amazing people around me, so I know we have no limits,” Scott declares.

Jim, on the other hand, started at EDS as a Systems Engineer, after completing his MBA, and then spent the early part of his career as an Engineer and Consultant in a position that helped shaped his career. “I eventually took over Sales and Marketing and the relationship with Oracle. I could not imagine doing anything else and love the evolution of technology,” he insists.

Jim reveals that his current role did not exist five years ago, so he grew into a role that was created out of necessity, as the company kept growing and maturing. “I’m focusing on strategy, looking for the next service offerings, relationships with Oracle, Industry Analysts, and many of our customers,” he says.

Jim recalls that in the early days, they wore many hats – they consulted, did sales, did marketing and program management, as well as entire back-office functions. Today, the team has matured quite a bit and has put in place building blocks that they continue to build on each year as they grow.

We see the next 2 to 3 years continuing at a rapid pace of growth and not slowing down. The service needs are changing, but the demand for cloud services is not diminishing,” he remarks.

Building a Salesforce to Expand Across North America & Beyond

Scott believes that the future of Centroid is very bright indeed. The firm is working on developing capabilities around the entire journey to SaaS for its customers and expanding its salesforce at a rapid pace. Their delivery teams are constantly hiring and training talented individuals.

“We can feel the swell of Oracle technology adoption across the globe. While we’re US based, we serve a lot of global businesses and deployments. I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. If sales are not leading the way in that growth, then I’ve done something wrong at that point,” Scott remarks.

Jim notes that the team at Centroid constantly looks at new needs from its customers and speaks to industry analysts to make sure they change pace where needed. He points out that Centroid’s organic growth has been quite positive over the last three years, and they don’t see it stopping, so they’re looking at more acquisitions along the way that will help achieve the firm’s expansion in North America and other geographies.

“We’ve evolved into a full-service firm and see that the need to have multi-cloud capabilities are essential. We’re looking at expanding into new service offerings across North America and expanding into new geography for more delivery of our existing services. We’re staying focused on our core offerings of enterprise workloads that customers need to run their business and adding in adjacent offerings that complement the core,” says Jim.