Q&A with Al Frisby, Head of Product, Iken

3rd December 2019
by Sara Peake

Al has been the Head of Product at Iken for the past year. He comes to the role from a background of Product Management and Product Marketing in software, web hosting and media organisations.

1. To what extent is technology the only answer to all our work challenges?
As someone coming from a technology perspective you may, understandably expect me to believe that it is the answer to all our challenges. But, I don’t believe that technology on its own is the solution or indeed the only solution.
For me technology is something that can enable us to solve a problem that forms a broader challenge for an individual, group or organisation. One of the aspects of my role is to analyse what those constituent issues are so we can ascertain whether the use of or adapting technology is the answer.
At times, the solution can be looking at a process that is followed, whether it can be adapted or whether someone who faces a similar challenge has already solved it in a different way.

2. What is the Iken Digital Strategy?
The Iken Digital Strategy is centred on providing solutions to clients wherever they may be on their own digital journey. Our approach is to enable and support clients on that journey and not to dictate a set methodology. We help clients to work more effectively through technology that interfaces with existing tools ensuring they maximise their investments in technology.
To achieve this strategy our team are constantly assessing how the digital landscape is changing, how this influences our client base along with looking ahead at how Iken can evolve its portfolio to best fit these ever-changing requirements.

3. What are the technical trends you are seeing in your client base?
Iken have a broad customer base with over 200 clients from Police Constabularies and Local Government to multi-national Insurance companies. However, one common trend that we are increasingly seeing is a move towards consolidating where services are hosted.
Many of our clients are increasingly looking towards platforms such as Microsoft Azure to leverage infrastructure and maintenance cost savings. There is a growing move towards Microsoft Office 365 and Google G-Suite email and productivity tools. Which is why we have invested heavily in developing full Iken product integration with both Microsoft Office 365 & Google G-Suite.

4. How do you advise people to get ready for these trends?
The Iken team from the support organisation to the Account Managers and product teams benefit from seeing a broad spectrum of clients and their respective technological approaches. Therefore, we can often provide valuable insight into how other clients have evolved with Iken. It’s important that clients know they can reach out to their Iken Account Managers to talk through the changing landscape and what that means for them.

5. What are the typical challenges & considerations your customers are facing?
For our Public Sector clients, the familiar challenges remain the same i.e. high volume and an ever changing workload. The pressure on expenditure is still one of the main challenges where efficiencies can be both identified and addressed. Often our clients face challenges around physical desk space and the accompanying pressure to encourage home working along with ensuring the IT infrastructure can enable clients to effectively do so.

6. As a technology partner how do Iken support clients?
We support our clients primarily through our Digital Strategy and ensuring that we can support their requirements irrespective of where they are in their digital journey.
We provide support and guidance to clients on specific challenges that they have, or questions that they require answers to. Through our Account Managers, User Group events, Support Desk and Support Portal we ensure clients have easy access to get the support they want.
Our product portfolio is always evolving to ensure that as needs and technology changes, Iken changes with them. Our clients can always access & download the interactive roadmap on the Support Portal so they can see how the Iken portfolio continues to evolve to meet their requirements. We provide feedback and pose questions to clients to ensure that they have a complete view of the landscape when planning.

Thanks for your time Al

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