CIO Spotlight: Anthony Quon, Vultr

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? “…focusing on IT lifecycle management, processes to control technical debt and automation will be some of the main initiatives driving IT investments.”

IDGConnect_ciospotlight_suppliedart_anthonyquonvultr_1200x800
Vultr

Name: Anthony Quon

Company: Vultr, a Constant Company

Job title: CIO

Date started current role: June 2005

Location: New Jersey

Anthony Quon brings over 20 years of experience in the hosting and telecom industries, Quon manages the daily infrastructure operations and worldwide deployment strategy.

What was your first job? My first professional position was at Telcordia Technologies as a Systems Administrator. During the 9 years I was at Telcordia, I took on several additional positions which included Systems Architect, Software Architect, Oracle DBA and configuration management.

Did you always want to work in IT? Absolutely. Since an early age, working with different technologies have always been a passion of mine. As a teenager, whether it was building my own computer or going to computer shows with the latest Computer Shopper in hand my passion has always been within IT.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s in Electrical & Computer Engineering.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. My career path has always been focused on making sure to take IT positions that allowed me to stay ahead of the technological curve. While I have always stayed the course within IT, a good number of years ago, I did in a sense take a “detour” by moving into management/leadership roles with my tenure as the COO of GameServers.com and more recently the CIO of Vultr.com,  a Constant Company. 

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? As CIO of Vultr.com, a Constant Company which provides infrastructure as a service in 17 locations globally, IT investments are often separated between our Corporate IT and our global infrastructure initiatives. 

For Corporate IT, continuing to find the right digital transformation tools has always been important especially at the time of this writing where COVID-19 has dramatically changed how our workforce conducts business. For this coming year, we are anticipating a shift back to normalcy which will require proper planning as the workforce heads back into the office.

For our global footprint aligning business initiatives with our IT investments will be important. As we introduce new cloud products, being able to build and scale up will be crucial. Additionally, as we continue to scale, focusing on IT lifecycle management, processes to control technical debt and automation will be some of the main initiatives driving IT investments.

What are the CEO's top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? We have quite a few exciting initiatives for this coming year which will require the company to substantially grow its global footprint. Focus will be to ensure we can properly scale our infrastructure in a secure and cost effective manner.

Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include? It’s difficult to answer the question on what should and should not be part of a CIO’s responsibility. With technology changing so rapidly and digital transformation tools replacing previously on premise solutions I feel the underlying responsibilities should be extended to adapt to this evolution.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasise customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? Being a technology company at heart, we are by design continuously pushing digital transformation. Vultr’s core mission statement is to help businesses simplify the deployment of infrastructure. We are able to leverage our automation and analytics tools on top of the more common digital transformation tools to help provide best in class customer experience and operational efficiency.

Describe the maturity of your digital business. For example, do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? Having measurable performance data against all IT services is a must for any organisation. Being able to have a defined set of KPIs throughout an IT organisation removes bias and quickly reveals any weaknesses that should be addressed. On a regular basis, a review is done flagging KPIs that do not meet/exceed a defined threshold.

What does good culture fit look like in your organisation? How do you cultivate it? We love to see candidates and current employees exhibit a few key qualities. We look for qualities such as positivity, being self-motivated, and being collaborative. 

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? The roles where we see the most challenging to fill would be for our IT / Corporate security and business analytics positions. 

What's the best career advice you ever received? I have been fortunate to have had many great mentors over the years. Advice that resonated with me the most is to make sure to surround yourself with great people and be as transparent as possible. 

Do you have a succession plan? If so, discuss the importance of and challenges with training up high-performing staff. At a company level, we are strong believers of promoting from within. For all of our key roles, we have a primary and a backup lead.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? Technology changes constantly, it’s imperative to stay ahead of the curve and make sure to surround yourself with a great team.

What has been your greatest career achievement? For me, the greatest achievement isn’t any one particular thing. Instead, being able to leverage my skill set while in a leadership position and being able to take concepts to market is much more satisfying than any one achievement.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? With Covid, within our industry, we have seen a surge in demand which truly tested our ability to scale. Although the process that we have in place was able to keep up, there were outside supply chain constraints which required some creative solutions.

What are you reading now? I have not picked up a good book in a very long time. I typically spend time reading anything that I find interesting online.

Most people don't know that I… Most people don't know that I am a total foodie. You'll never catch me vacationing at a destination without good eats.

In my spare time, I like to…I like to play video games… even though “kids these days” runs circles around me.

Ask me to do anything but… Ask me to do anything but go fishing, tried many times but fishing takes a special kind of patience which I do not have. However, I will be the first in line to try the catch of the day.