By Convergent AV
Looking after a five-year strategy of office and IT services, and managing technology across 80 offices is the challenge Ashley Azzopardi relishes in his role as principal services architect (Office Infrastructure) at Red Hat®, a global software company providing open source software products to the enterprise community.
Azzopardi surveys the event space and priorities for each service, flagging up risks and opportunities. If AV needs to be updated, he redesigns it working with AV service teams and partners to achieve it.
Personally, he is a rugby player, coach and enthusiastic fan of the sport.
“At Red Hat, we help more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies solve business challenges, align their IT and business strategies, and prepare for the future of technology,” Azzopardi stated.
“The deployment of technology in offices that we build, renovate or relocate, not only can reinvent how our clients communicate, but it also impacts what we do,” he added. “This includes anything that is IT related or that goes into an office such as printing, live event services, video bridging, conferencing and infrastructure including low voltage cabling standards. We work with our teams to future-proof AV applying the output of development and innovation from Red Hat labs across North America, Europe and APAC.”
Simplicity and modularity
When Red Hat’s Facilities team used to be responsible for AV, the job would be handed to a specialist integrator. However due to the complexity of some systems, solutions could be expensive. “For example, we once had to borrow a programmer from another corporation to fix a simple problem in our office because we couldn’t find an integrator with the appropriate knowledge,” said Azzopardi.
“Then, AV got incorporated into IT and we standardized it because we found that often older equipment was too complicated to integrate into our standards and support.”
Speaking of the simplification that came with standardization, Azzopardi notes that was achieved because the company updated its global standards to new switchers and scalers. “We gave our new partner one of our designs and asked them what they could do. They immediately sent a scaler and switcher and a receiver. I didn’t have to explain what the technology did to our team or even read the instructions. We simply put them in the rack and we had the room up and running within 20 minutes. It performed flawlessly, enabling us to focus on other things.
“Today, we have standardized our AV solution. Every new office has the new standard infrastructure and we’re replacing some older, outdated systems as well. The new standard has improved the bottom line in terms of productivity, and it has dropped the cost of building, renovating and rebuilding AV in our offices by approximately two-thirds worldwide. With these efficiencies, we can also add more AV in rooms. Our internal customers are happy because the AV does what it is supposed to do.”
Red Hat: today, tomorrow and beyond
A goal at Red Hat is to make everything an automated service so that customers receive their expectation of how their office should operate.
How is the IT market different in the U.S. from Asia and Europe?
Generally people in every market want simplified systems. They want to connect to a room and just know that the technology does what it should and works the same in any Red Hat supported office. We have a huge remote workforce and sales and solutions workforce that are in regions and countries worldwide.
Who has been your biggest influence?
When I took on strategy, we used service management frameworks to design, transition and deploy. It was Jim Palermo and Mark Grey at Red Hat that helped me to define how the services side should work and taught me how to be successful in strategy design and our customer-centric focus. We treat it like a retail service that is sold to customers.
What has been the biggest career challenge?
When I started at Red Hat we had 4,000 employees. Today, we have more than 10,000 associates. As you get to this size, it can get tougher to communicate change to all your colleagues. We’ve created influence groups to spread information virally.
The migration from AV to IT is still a big challenge. None of the AV technology that we purchase today is anywhere near what it should be from an IT standpoint, so there’s exciting times ahead as it advances!
Kramer DIP−20 4K@60Hz (4:2:0), HDBaseT transmitter
Kramer VP-440 Scaler/Switcher
Kramer TP-580Rx/Tx Extra Range Extenders
Kramer Galil Speaker line
Kramer 900 series Audio Amplifiers