Alberto Da Anunciacao started his career as a Network Engineer over 25 years ago building the next generation IP backbone for one of the major Telcos in Canada. Although the World Wide Web was still in its infancy, and commercial products and services were also in the early stages, security was already an issue, as the Internet brought about globalization and tore down barriers. It became more normal for consumers and businesses to want to be connected around the world. 

“The dot-com era ushered in the first wave of digital innovation and transformation – both startups with unique business models and established organizations wanted to know how to best innovate their business models around the web,” said Da Anunciacao. “Today, with organizations accelerating their digital transformation amid the pandemic, the digital age is truly upon us.” 

With this data explosion, data becomes the new infrastructure virtualized and available in a multi-cloud environment and information security is more important today than at any point in the past. 

Meet Alberto Da Anunciacao, Chief Infrastructure Officer of Aptum Technologies, Vanguard Game Changer for the Aug/Sep 2020 issue. 

What is your responsibility in your organization today?

As Chief Infrastructure Officer, I have the responsibility to ensure that our customers have a rock-solid foundation for their critical data and business applications. This means delivering uptime, scalability, and availability 24/7, 365 days a year on Aptum’s products and services, and doing so securely.

What was your most challenging moment?

Although there are many, the foremost challenging I had recently was joining Aptum during the pandemic only a few months ago. As a result, instead of starting in our offices, I started in my office at home. I realized that although we’re all navigating this challenging period, the people are what hold us together. As a global organization, I took it upon myself to embrace technology to the fullest extent to develop relationships and stay connected. Today, I video-call my leaders almost daily and stay in touch with our employees through all-hands video calls. Relationships and what they represent have not changed despite the pandemic – they are critical to our success; trust and respect transcend pandemics.

What is the one thing that has you most fired up today?

The Tech industry has been contributing to the fast pace of human evolution and prosperity. Technological advancements have sparked progress and innovation resulting in a world where businesses are constantly faced with expanding volumes of information, punctuated by ever-changing customer requirements and expectations. I’m thrilled to be helping organizations maximize the value of their ‘data as infrastructure’ as data can generate important new business insights, boosting operational efficiencies and directly improving revenue. I am incredibly excited about the potential of technology to drive new business models and vastly improve customer experience all while lowering costs. This creates a massive opportunity for our industry to help customers on this journey.

What is the best advice you received?

That a person’s emotional well-being at home and in the workplace are predicated by a strong sense of purpose. Next to physical health, a sense of purpose is the single most important determinant of a person’s happiness. I enjoy helping people find their purpose and helping them connect the dots. 

What is a habit that contributes to your success?

I am privileged to be in a leadership position that as part of my day to day role, it is important to always look for opportunities to bring down siloes, improve communications and ultimately build trust and respect for each other.

What people or organizations do you believe best embody the innovation mindset?

Elon Musk. He sets audacious goals and, while imperfect, achieves incredible things like a new mass-production car company – a feat that hasn’t happened in 100 years. It’s not a typical car company but a software-defined car company that measures and analyses data in everything they do. Self-driving vehicles seemed impossible just a few years ago; now they are literally at our doorstep. Even more remarkable given the incredible pressure of naysayers who said it could not be done.

How is your organization changing the game within your industry sector?

At Aptum, we realize that data is the raw material that will helps organizations meet 21st-century challenges — to reduce friction in our economy, increase sustainability, and create opportunities to innovate. This means our data infrastructure is as important as our physical infrastructure. A strong data infrastructure will increase interoperability, collaboration, efficiency, and productivity in public and private sectors, nationally and internationally. Having the right conditions for data will reduce transaction costs, grow supply chains, and inform citizens. A coherent data infrastructure should be a baseline condition for a healthy, progressive society, and a competitive global economy; that infrastructure should be determined by how a company is capturing, managing, and using its data to make smart business decisions. As we’ve seen in our industry, it’s common for companies to go the opposite way and try to come up with quick fixes to manage their growing data requirements. However, businesses should identify their data workflows and find the best place for those workflows – whether it’s in the public cloud, a private cloud, in a co-location site, or on-premise.

We know organizations want to maximize the value of their data and need advice on how to build a solution suited to meet these 21st-century challenges. At Aptum, we’ve built a team that has the experience and expertise to help our customers construct agile, managed, secure, low latency, hybrid infrastructures, based around their data requirements to help them be successful. 

What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your industry sector?

The battle between security, compliance, and innovation is always a challenge in our industry. There continue to be new innovative digital initiatives launched regularly to establish pathways to new revenue, enhanced customer experience, and tap into new market opportunities. Organizations must take necessary steps to protect data and other IT assets and keep compliant with regulations as a result. At Aptum, we have an innovation team that is focused on these aspects in the context of a business’ security – finding innovative ways for storing, moving, managing, protecting, and securing data. 

How has innovation become engrained in your organization’s culture and how is it being optimized?

Customers have accelerated their digital transformation plans and are engaging to develop solutions to their business challenges. They are moving at a speed that is unheard of and our job is to bring the expertise and sweat the details to ensure that it achieves their desired outcome.

We can’t ask customers to digitally transform if we don’t do it ourselves. To that end, we have been incredibly focused on simplifying our business and maximizing automation to make introducing innovative products and services more straightforward with less risk. It has allowed us to quickly deliver no less than seven major product releases to the market without a single customer service impact within the past year.

We provide hybrid infrastructure solutions to support customer critical data and applications, but it goes beyond that. We’ve progressively moved further into helping companies with their digital transformation strategies – becoming more agile, software-defined, and data-driven. We help our customers leverage the private and public cloud through our Hybrid Cloud Managed Services supporting big data, AI, and ML applications.

What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

The biggest wave of change, now accelerated by the pandemic, is the move to digitally transform businesses and with it, managing and protecting these complex environments becomes critical. The explosion of data requires a robust infrastructure that goes beyond storing and managing. The infrastructure needs to adapt, scale, and grow while remaining available and completely secure. As the value of data goes up for an organization, it becomes a target for cyber-attacks.

A data-centric approach allows for analytics to improve tenfold with technologies like Data Lakes, AI, and Machine Learning. That is the future. Real-time deep learning insight on your customers’ needs and your value proposition to them.

What is your parting piece of advice?

Companies that harness and embrace digital transformation will out-maneuver and differentiate against their peers that do not. It is a harsh reality but a very clear and present one. One way to get mobilized is to engage in the community and embrace partners that can help you on this journey.