Thirty years…it doesn’t even seem possible. In the technology space, age isn’t always a good thing – but ADNET Technologies has stood the test of time. When Ed Laprade and I co-founded ADNET in 1991, 2021 seemed far away. REALLY far away. Thirty years later, we’re still here, and I couldn’t be prouder. This November, ADNET Technologies celebrates 30 years. I’d like to share my perspective here on how digital transformation and thought leadership helped ADNET stay relevant, and on building our award-winning culture.
Staying relevant in a constantly changing industry
At ADNET, we’re constantly learning and evolving to match the changing needs of organizations we support. Change can be difficult, but it’s necessary to continue meeting the needs of clients, as well as for growth. The last few years especially have shown us repeatedly how imperative it is to make sure your business is relevant and continues to serve your clients. I’m a huge fan of reading and listening to podcasts, which are especially great if you’re “webinared-out”. However you like to learn, it’s important to stay informed about the changes in your industry that will impact how you do business.
Building a Best Place to Work
The ADNET team prides itself on having best-in-class services and skills, but our culture is what takes our work to the next level. Technology can be impersonal – there’s a perception that everything is just software and automation, robots and tools. I don’t believe that, and I never have. Tools and technology are essential for what we do, but we’re nothing without our team. Our culture makes ADNET who we are.
How did ADNET build a best place to work?
- Trust in our team. We trust our team members – they’ve earned it – and that empowers them to do great things for our clients. We give them the flexibility to work wherever they’re at their best, whether that’s our new state of the art offices or a location of their choosing. Our work-from-anywhere policy helps our team achieve balance while still serving clients.
- Prioritize wellbeing. Work life balance isn’t just a buzz phrase for us. It can be extremely difficult to strike a balance between the needs of clients and the organization and the personal commitments people make. That’s why we offer our team RTO – or “responsible time off.” This time can be used as vacation, personal days, space for appointments – whatever the employee needs to achieve balance. We also offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees who want to pursue services that will help them in their personal and professional lives.
- Benefits that work. Not everyone needs the same thing, so we offer multiple health benefit packages – including a fully covered option. We also give our team the opportunity to invest in a 401k with employer matching so we can help them prepare for their future.
- The right tools. Our team can’t be successful if they don’t have what they need to do their jobs. Making sure they have access to systems, applications, and technologies that work for them is essential. We’re a cloud-first organization, so our team can easily and securely access the systems they need from anywhere.
- A supportive culture. At the end of the day, no matter how good the coffee, benefits, or tools are – your team is what makes or breaks an experience. We encourage our team to collaborate and connect. Our employee portal also lets people submit thanks and kudos for each other, accolades for a job well done or a teammate lending a helping hand. ADNET encourages its team to pursue their passions and shares them in an Internal newsletter as well as our internal Teams channels. We offer training time and reimbursement, so our team can continually grow. There is a truly supportive culture at every level of the organization, and we help each other as much as we help clients.
Leading the way through Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is an overused term in our industry, and it’s often confused with digitization or digitalization. What digital transformation really means is that an organization is using technology, such as secure cloud platforms, to shape their business. It can be changing processes, enhancing the client or employee experience, or leveraging IT to deliver services or products differently. Digital transformation is arguably now one of the most important parts of your business strategy.
What does digital transformation have to do with ADNET’s continuity? It’s a new term with a specific meaning, but it has its roots in work we’ve been doing for decades. As an IT firm, ADNET has always leveraged technology and built its business around it. How can we adapt our business to fully utilize the technology we have? What should we invest in to help our team and clients? Much like staying relevant, digital transformation requires you to consistently evaluate your technology and whether it’s serving you. What worked five years ago may not be conducive to success or growth today.
If you want to set the pace in your field, digital transformation is key for your organization.
Thought Leadership is a Responsibility
Thought leadership is something I’m incredibly passionate about. At ADNET, we believe this is more than a marketing tactic – I consider it a privilege and a responsibility to share our knowledge with anyone who may benefit from it. That responsibility is why we hosted educational events like our WorkSmart conference for fifteen years. Our team also participates in industry and partner events, speaking to the local, regional and national business communities. ADNET publishes a blog we call “What We’re Thinking,” with original articles authored by a variety of team members with varied experience, perspectives and skills. In addition to fulfilling our duty to advise businesses on how they can achieve their goals, thought leadership has another benefit – it supports our mission to stay relevant.
Everyone has value to add and sharing experiences and what we have learned helps everyone grow and succeed. There’s no reason to keep this knowledge to ourselves – often we learn even more when we discuss things with others. Teaching can help you learn as well as it can help those learning from you.
There are various ways to get your thoughts on your industry out there. Here are my favorites:
- Speaking at community and industry events
- Authoring blogs
- Actively sharing content on social media
- Creating vlogs or other digital content
- Participating on boards, in chambers, and at networking associations
- Facilitating discussions between peers
Part of being a business and industry leader is being a thought leader.
On a Personal Note
Longevity is attainable in any industry with the right people, skills and passion – even in IT. On a personal note, I owe my profound thanks to the thousands of people who’ve been part of ADNET’s success in the past 30 years – our team members today and those who’ve been part of our journey in the past, and ADNET’s many clients and partners. To those first team members and clients in particular, the first to give us the gift of their trust based on nothing but our word that we’d do right by them, thank you – I’ve never forgotten what you allowed us to do.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t conclude by saying THANK YOU to my partner and co-founder Ed Laprade and to Cheryl Laprade for believing in this vision three decades ago, letting us start our dream business in your basement, indulging the many ideas that seemed…let’s say “ambitious” at the time, and for everything you’ve personally put into this dream of ours. 30 years later, we’re still here because of you.
I’m humbled and deeply grateful for the last thirty years with ADNET, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us.