December 06, 2019
When I first started as Content Writer at SquaredUp, one of my first projects was an interview with the new COO and CPO we’d hired, Tim Critchley and John Shaw. I was really happy to join SquaredUp then, and six months in, I'm glad to say that I’ve grown even more fond of the company and its warm culture. We’re growing really rapidly now, with a new office floor, 39 new starters since January 2019, and now a new Chief Technology Officer – Rich Jones!
Rich brings with him a wealth of experience and we are excited to have him on board. Read on to get to know Rich and his aspirations for SquaredUp.
Chief Technology Officer
Lydia: Hello Rich, and welcome to SquaredUp. How have you found your first week?
Rich: Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful, thank you! It’s getting better each day as I grow more familiar with who everyone is and exactly what SquaredUp do. I’m also loving the general vibe of the company.
Lydia: That’s great to hear! What was it that compelled you to join our company?
Rich: There are a good number of reasons. First and foremost is the company’s loyal and growing customer base. We’ve got lots of reference customers and our Net Promoter Score is exceptionally high even by Apple’s standards!
Secondly, I think SquaredUp has a big opportunity in what is fast becoming a hot space. To be really successful, companies need to be in the right place at the right time and I feel that’s the case for SquaredUp, especially due to the IT revolution that's been brought about by cloud computing. While the shift to the cloud has been gradually occurring for a number of years, most companies don't immediately think about monitoring - it's often retrofitted a short while later. That retrofit is now happening and we're seeing a lot of new cloud monitoring products appearing, especially for the big three in public cloud – AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). As a result, there is a real opportunity for SquaredUp to become the number one product for application monitoring dashboards.
My third reason would be the culture of the company. SquaredUp seems to have struck the perfect blend of informality while being very professional. Informally professional! Often companies trade one for the other but SquaredUp seem to have got this spot on. I picked that up at my interview, it was something I noticed straightaway.
Last but not least SquaredUp is an organically grown company. It's a very ambitious company but has always funded the realisation of its ambitions through its own continued success. That’s a breath of fresh air for me as my last two companies have ended up private equity owned or VCT funded (a form of publicly traded private equity).
Lydia: Great reasons. What do you hope to bring to SquaredUp, in light of your previous experience?
Rich: I've had nearly 25 years of experience across on-premise, physical & virtual appliances, cloud-hosted, and pure SaaS software deployment models. I think this experience lends itself well to SquaredUp's current, and more importantly future position. A big part of my experience was helping a small UK scale-up company grow from being a bit smaller than SquaredUp are today, to being (through acquisition) a significant division of a large US tech company. During this journey I got to experience all stages of the product lifecycle, and in my technical roles during this period I learnt what worked and what didn’t, especially when making the more strategic architectural and build/partner/buy decisions I became responsible for.
Along with this experience I’ll bring a lot of enthusiasm – I'm very excited to be a part of SquaredUp's own scale-up journey as we evolve our offerings from a mature on-premise SCOM product to serving the broader application monitoring dashboards market. Naturally that market is becoming more and more cloud focused as the applications being monitored are themselves moving to the cloud.
Lydia: Do you have any specific plans for SquaredUp’s scale-up?
Rich: Yes, definitely. I'd like to help take the company beyond Azure into multi-cloud or even cross-cloud application dashboards. And for this a SaaS distribution model makes most sense as with SaaS we can greatly improve and simplify the customer experience (CX) where customers have absolutely nothing to deploy, nothing to install, and nothing to upgrade! The quicker we can simplify that CX and expand our offerings to include all clouds, not just Azure, the quicker we’ll achieve the scale-up that SquaredUp deserves.
Lydia: Big plans! In this vision do you foresee SquaredUp having multiple separate products or a single multi-platform product?
Rich: Good question. To start off it will continue to be separate products for SCOM, Azure and then AWS, as we have a big gap to fill – right now we can’t serve customers on AWS and that’s a gap we need to fill quickly. We will start with a SaaS offering for AWS but over time we’d like to extend that so that customers can also build dashboards for Azure and other tools and platforms through the SquaredUp SaaS platform as well. This has many benefits for both our customers and the company.
We can definitely improve upon what we have today though, and we plan to continue to improve the technology stack we use in our products and to harmonize and build on a common codebase even if customers are then deploying differently – e.g. for our SCOM customers the product will likely always run on premise as a server. Harmonizing like this is an investment, but it will make us more efficient and let us deliver innovations to our customers more quickly in the end – no engineering team wants to maintain multiple products with different technology stacks – and it would be very costly to do so.
Lydia: Very exciting stuff ahead! To end off, can we have one little fun fact about you?
Rich: When I was a young teenager, I delivered Bonnie Tyler’s milk! (she was holding out for a hero when I came along 😊)
Lydia: What a brush with fame! Great stuff, thank you very much for your time Rich.
Find Rich’s full bio here.