Dave Sevigny is the founder and chief operating officer of a company that’s been known as DMD Data Systems, but recently rebranded under the new name, Volta.
The company offers IT services, data center solutions, and managed services. Tom Martin talked with Sevigny about his business.
Q: Tell us about the rebrand from DMD to Volta?
A: We decided to make a change because the name of the company really didn’t relate that much to some of the things that we were doing and felt like it was time to make a change. We were really looking for some new energy and something that might move our customers more along the path of where we’re going with our business.
Q: And, why Volta?
A: Volta has a couple of connotations, one of which is the battery. Alessandro Volta was the inventor of the battery back in the 1800s. And we actually do some of that type of work, so that was interesting to us. And the volta is a turning point in a poem, particularly a sonnet, where you start to get resolution to a problem. Our company and a lot of our customers are at a turning point.
Q: Tell us about your customer base. What industries do you serve?
A: Our customers are generally larger clients that have some sort of IT staff. Typical clients for us in this region are LFUCG, UK Health, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the lottery, a lot of public sector customers.
We actually have spread our business out into the region and we have customers in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania. And some of our named customers are Under Armour and Urban Outfitters.
Q: Are IT strategies undergoing a lot of change?
A: Yes. IT strategies that have been in place for the past 20 years are starting to be reevaluated. A lot of our customers are moving toward an either managed service or cloud implementations. They generally are looking more at utility-based models where you can buy only what you need in order to satisfy a need.
Q: And this makes it possible for that client company to go out of house rather than having to have their own in-house division?
A: Yes. A lot of technologies nowadays are more complex at times and you don’t necessarily have all the technical skills in-house to implement a particular solution. So, clients will tend to look to vendors to support them for solutions that are not necessarily in their wheelhouse.
Q: And what kind of cloud services do you offer?
A: We are an AWS or Amazon partner. Amazon provides infrastructure services to a client so that they don’t necessarily need as much hardware and software on-site. They have things up in the cloud. The things that we do for them primarily are services to help migrate a customer into the cloud environment.
Q: You have other services in the cloud that you offer, too. Could you tell us about those?
A: We have backup and recovery and disaster recovery services that we provide through various partners of ours as cloud services. We also work with several different software vendors some of which provide security service.
There are a lot of players out there and our job is to help a customer mitigate what’s good and what’s maybe not so good.
Q: What sort of challenges do you encounter?
A: I think the things that typically keep customers up at night are if they have a critical system and they don’t necessarily have a hundred percent redundancy for that critical system, that’s when our customers have the biggest stress. When we get the phone call at 11 p.m. or midnight on a Friday night because they’re doing something and a critical system just went down and they haven’t been able to get it to come back up and they don’t necessarily have a default system.
Q: What key trends are you looking at? What’s going on in your industry that really interests you?
A: There’s a move to managed services for clients that don’t necessarily have all the talent in-house. We’re a small company, so we’re not going to have everything for a customer, but we focus on more pinpointed cloud solutions that would really help our customers the most.
Q: I know you have a very strong interest in giving back to the community by, among other things, helping small businesses grow. What are you doing in that area?
A: I’m the chair of Commerce Lexington’s Business Owners Advisory Board. The board helps provide small business owners with much-needed direction and guidance as it’s a service of Commerce Lexington. I’ve extended that into some peer groups that I’ve been working with and also spending time with individual small business owners on an ad hoc basis for particular projects.
Q: Can you give us an example of businesses that you’ve worked with that have used the application that you provided?
A: Sure. One of the businesses that I worked with I helped them put together a longer-term plan. Then we took that long-term plan and we focused on their 90-day plan because that’s the key to the “Entrepreneur Operating System,” a book by Gino Wickman.
Then we took his management team and each person is given goals and direction for that quarter. The key to the whole strategy is that there’s a 90-minute meeting once a week with all the players to pretty much iron out all the issues that you’re having in achieving your quarterly goals.
Q: We hear complaints about meetings, but in this context it would seem to be a great opportunity to bring people out of their corners and get them to communicate where otherwise they might not.
A: It’s very interesting for my accounting people to hear what the sales issues are and vice versa. And it’s very interesting to see how sometimes they can actually help solve a problem that’s not theirs and vice versa.
Q: What is the future looking like for readers and listeners who might be interested in careers in data technologies?
A: Well, what I’d probably say right off the bat is not to be afraid of it. I think most of all, it’s great to get an education. Certifications mean a lot to us in our industry, so we’re always looking for people that may be certified in a certain technology, but most education is normally provided by your employer, so it’s going to be some sort of specific application that they want you to be very deep on or some sort of products that they want you to be deep on. So, I wouldn’t worry that much about the education piece because good employers are providing great education to their people.
Q: So, if you have innate talent you can have hope that an employer will help you bring that to full blossom?
A: Absolutely and it doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 30, 40 or 50.
Tom Martin's Q&A appears every two weeks in the Herald-Leader's Business Monday section. This is an edited version of the interview. To listen to the interview, find the podcast on Kentucky.com. The interview also will air on WEKU-88.9 FM on Mondays at 7:35 a.m. during Morning Edition and at 5:45 p.m. during All Things Considered.