In IT, resource optimization is the foundation of efficiency and innovation. Balancing infrastructure, people, and processes is crucial for IT organizations to thrive and provide consistent value. How can IT leaders ensure that every resource is utilized to its full potential? How do the principles of modern infrastructure align with human capital and streamlined processes to ensure that IT departments are agile, robust, and forward-thinking? My interview with Copado COO Sanjay Gidwani will answer these questions.
Before we dive in, can you share your backstory with us?
I’ve often said that I embrace the fact that I am a part of the “Oregon Trail” generation. The rise of personal computers and technology at the intersection of our lives in my formative years has really shaped who I am today. My parents contributed to this by supporting my interests. I remember when they brought home an early Apple computer. I was fascinated by what you could do with it.
This was a key driver that led me to DePaul University in Chicago, which not only helped me gain an appreciation for the complexities of delivering enterprise applications but also personally grew by meeting my wife, Karla. We have been married for 15 years and have two amazing daughters, Asha and Karina.
Professionally, my time at Model Metrics and Salesforce helped me accelerate my career growth because it helped me realize that you can have the best technology in the world, but if it doesn't solve a problem and is not usable, it will not matter.
Let’s talk about how you optimize IT Resources. How do you assess the current state of your IT infrastructure? What metrics do you use to measure its efficiency?
Copado utilizes a modern approach to corporate IT tools. We are 100% SaaS-based and, therefore, do not rely on traditional IT Infrastructure. This allows us to be dynamic in our approach to IT and work remotely without barriers. Many of the metrics common to traditional infrastructure do not apply. Our success metrics are based on satisfaction with the technology experience and support provided to our staff.
How do you prioritize and allocate resources for hardware and software upgrades to maximize performance?
What we are focused on from an IT upgrade perspective is security. We value security for our customers with our hardware and software. If we have to take a bit of a performance hit because we need further evaluation of the security impacts, we are ok with that. I know some companies that do not provide laptops for their employees, and I believe that puts customer data at risk.
What security measures are in place to safeguard your IT infrastructure while optimizing its performance?
We have strong identity and access control. This serves double duty by protecting our critical infrastructure from threat actors and tightly regulating who can make changes to production. Furthermore, by standardizing on a specific platform, we can use native tooling to help safeguard infrastructure. Finally, logging used for monitoring gives us an additional layer of security.
What strategies do you use to foster professional development and continuous learning within your IT team?
We are always empowering our team to pick up new skill sets. We recently had a helpdesk agent support our platform team, which works on Salesforce. This allowed our helpdesk agent to learn new technologies and build his skillset around Salesforce. He eventually got his Salesforce admin certification and is now interested in more areas of the platform.
The way that we foster continuous learning within our team is by giving people unique problems to solve and something different to work on every few months. That may be a new domain area or a new technology. It helps our team grow their career and exposes them to something different.
Can you share examples of how cross-functional collaboration has contributed to resource optimization in your IT department?
One of the early decisions that we made at Copado was that Salesforce would be a primary platform in how we manage our business. To make that happen across teams, we needed to make sure we had the buy-in of the business leaders. We knew this approach would ensure we prioritized the resources that could make the biggest impact on the organization, so we created a cross-functional team to discuss and prioritize.
I believe the key to success is the culture created by the leader to empower a team to make the right decisions for the business.
How do you ensure that your IT processes are aligned with business objectives and contribute to overall organizational efficiency?
Within IT, we have a team responsible for business architecture. This includes Business Analysts (BAs) and Functional Architects. BAs represent the business and work very closely with our stakeholders to gather requirements and understand the needs of the business. This structure helps us maintain alignment between stakeholders and business objectives.
We have recently established a bi-weekly steering committee with key business stakeholders across our departments, such as Sales & Revenue Operations, Finance, Customer Success, Alliances, Support, and Product.
This helps us align with our business objectives by understanding what the needs of the business are. We also have a roadmap that we maintain and share with the business quarterly. More recently, we have been able to communicate any changes to the roadmap monthly.
What are your five tips to optimize IT resources through Infrastructure, People, and Processes?
1. Understand what the business is trying to achieve. This should go without saying, but in my experience, IT teams are fascinated by the technology and not what the business needs are. The more you think of yourself as a facilitator to the business goals, the more effective you will be with IT resources, infrastructure, people, and processes.
One thing I like to tell the team is that we are here to service the business, and we need to take ownership of their goals and metrics.
2. Create a small surface area for productivity. Business groups love tools. They are always looking for something that can help accelerate what they are being asked to do, which is a great thing. However, the more tools you have, the larger the surface area you need to manage, which drives up cost through management and more skill sets.
Build a plan with the business on 3-4 key platforms that you can use to cover 80-90% of what the business needs. You can always fill gaps with smaller tools or custom integrations.
3. Work smarter with the people you have. The current trend of AI gives us a great opportunity to democratize the specialization of roles. Think about how AI can extend the strengths of people in the business. At Copado, we have integrated some AI offerings into our work. It has helped us deliver more efficiently.
4. Measure the happiness-to-adoption ratio. I have said this before, but if the users are happy and adopting, that is the optimal scenario. Surveying users about their happiness with regard to a tool or software gives comfort that not only is the tool working, but people find it an asset to do their job.
5. Empower your team. To successfully empower the team, leaders must let their people take ownership of activities. They might fail, but that is where leaders need to help support and provide feedback. When ownership is established, we can see the magic happen through teamwork.
Teamwork is built on the trust that each team member has in their colleagues to fulfill their responsibilities. This confidence allows everyone to concentrate fully on their tasks, secure in knowing that others are doing the same. As a result, team members can immerse themselves in their work without concern over the performance of their peers. This culture of mutual trust and focused effort is key to making the most efficient use of resources, infrastructure, personnel, and processes.
How do you adapt your IT resource optimization strategies to accommodate technological advancements and industry trends?
We must continue to evaluate the trends to ensure we are continuously optimizing. We believe AI is a key component to support our teams in eliminating manual and mundane tasks. Our goal as a company is to ensure we have the human brain focused on the most complex problems.
Optimizing resources, infrastructure, people, and processes is not just about technological advancements but also about fostering a culture of trust, continuous learning, and cross-functional collaboration. Sanjay's insights from his journey before and leading up to Copado highlight the significance of aligning IT strategies with business objectives to drive efficiency and innovation.