We talked to Alex Gambotto of The Missing Link about helping businesses achieve more by transforming their IT and this is what he had to say.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded The Missing Link?
Alex Gambotto: I started as an account executive working for The Missing Link. My business partner and I bought the company we worked for from our boss in 2002. We have grown it substantially into what it is today; one of the most awarded IT companies in Australia. We have three divisions: Infrastructure, Cyber Security, and Automation. The Missing link has been listed on the AFR Fast 100, BRW Fast 50, Westpac 200 Businesses of Tomorrow, and we have won almost every other industry award.
I wouldn’t say I like talking too much about myself, but I am a passionate leader and enjoy the IT industry. My involvement in the industry was recognized by the ARN, who inducted me into their Hall of Fame; it is an award I am extremely honored to have received.
How does The Missing Link innovate?
Alex Gambotto: The one thing we are not guilty of is saying is: “we do it this way because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” We are continually pushing the boundaries of the Australian IT landscape.
We were one of the first IT integrators to start a dedicated Cyber Security division. Since then, global political unrest and an increase in cyber-crime have meant our clients have relied on us to keep them safe.
Looking forward, we identified that our clients are looking to boost efficiencies more than ever – the latest technology available to do that is Robotic Process Automation. So, we opened up our Automation division. The fact that a bot can do pretty much any process-orientated task quickly and better than any existing staff member will change the way we work. Our clients are already telling us that those same staffs are now freed up to do more interesting and profitable work, meaning they are more engaged, and ultimately the businesses bottom line improving.
How has COVID-19 affected your business, and how are you coping?
Alex Gambotto: COVID did not affect us much because we had already implemented secure remote working for our business and our clients. The only real difference for us was that all staff need to work from home simultaneously, but we efficiently managed that.
As far as our business is coping, we are busy and growing as we have done for the last two decades. The immediate demand we see is obviously in video conferencing and chat platforms. They have made an enormous positive impact already on our client’s businesses. The continued adoption of cloud technologies and VDI has also boosted the need to work remotely. Cyber Security is on a solid growth curve as well.
How do you look after your employees’ mental health as The Missing Link?
Alex Gambotto: There are four main areas we focus on our employee’s mental health.
First is our inclusive culture. We pride ourselves on our company culture that celebrates and recognizes the diversity and how it can enrich our environment and strengthen our business and relationships. With 25+ different countries represented in our business, we are among the most inclusive Australian IT industry teams. A real mixing pot of races, ethnicities, genders, sexuality (LGBTIQ+), and political views. Importantly our culture empowers all staff to have a voice, where feedback and ideas are encouraged and rewarded. We also have plenty of staff events every year; they are loved by most, with attendance often at the 80 % level, which is incredible for a company our size (all the events went ahead over COVID but were virtual instead). Feeling cared for and the ability to be heard in our fast-paced industry is essential for mental health.
Secondly, it is cultivating a respectful and positive workplace. With an ‘Anti-Discrimination, Harassment, and Workplace Bullying Policy’ in place, we take discrimination, harassment, and workplace bullying very seriously. We ensure all our employees, customers, and partners are treated with the utmost respect. We believe everybody should have opportunities to voice their thoughts, opinions, and concerns freely without judgment.
Thirdly, we scrapped the notion of 9-5 work a long time ago, allowing most of our staff to work where and when they choose. The focus was to put them into completing tasks or goals rather than just working hours – lifting staff engagement and positivity.
Finally, we have six monthly one on one check-ins with all staff and their managers. We talk to them about how they are going work-wise, talk about their career progression, and any other issues (personal or otherwise) they want to raise.
In summary, we aim to boost positivity and engagement while also offering support and inclusion.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Alex Gambotto: Every successful business owner has to make difficult choices. I am lucky enough to run a business that has grown in revenue for many of its 23-year history, so my difficult decisions have been more about growth and innovation rather than downsizing and staff cutting.
I like to say, “A budget is something we go without to stay within,” sometimes this means I am up late at night wondering if I have made the right decision. However, the lesson learned for me is about trust. I have an incredible senior management team, with some of the smartest, most talented people I know. So, when we lay down a strategy, I have learned to trust in that strategy and my staff’s focus to execute it. We always seem to get there in the end!
What is your competitive advantage in the technological landscape?
Alex Gambotto: We are the only business we know of in Australia with specialist divisions in IT Infrastructure, Cyber Security, and Automation.
We help clients migrate to a “Modern Workplace,” enabling staff to work where and when they want. Increasing engagement and, therefore, productivity.
Cyber Security is always a risk and, sadly, is becoming a more significant risk every day. Our client’s anxiety over an attack is reduced because they know they are well looked after, and if a breach does happen, they know we are well-positioned to handle it from our SOC.
With Automation, productivity, accuracy, and mindset shift are the most significant value adds to our clients. Our RPA bots quickly and accurately automate many tasks for our clients, while staff members who used to do the jobs are now growing as employees and providing value elsewhere in the business.
Overall, we offer the complete package, so our clients don’t need to form 3 different relationships and know we have their back no matter the IT business challenges they face.
Your final thoughts?
Alex Gambotto: It has been a very tough year for many businesses, and I feel for them. I’m glad we were well-positioned to handle COVID, and I’m very proud of our staff; they adapted, and we didn’t even have one day of downtime for any staff member during the rapid shift to working from home. Again our clients were brilliant, they worked with us during the transition to work from home, and we had very few issues. We are now working towards the future with our clients, with most of them chasing reliable infrastructure, continually improving their security posture, and looking for enhanced productivity and processes with Automation.