VSN announced the appointment of Aaron López as Managing Director a few weeks ago. The company incorporated an executive with vast experience within the company, as well as a deep knowledge of the sector. After these first weeks in charge, we asked Aaron López about the main challenges that VSN must face in the future and the opportunities opened by the Broadcast and Media vertical of Valsoft Corporation.
How has the company changed since you joined?
Aaron López: First, I want to thank all the people who supported me and trusted me for this new role, I’m feeling the pressure and responsibility and I’ll do my best. Answering the question, I can say VSN has significantly changed in the past ten years since I joined. I can’t highlight one specific area that changed or improved a lot, as I think the entire company improved daily.
For example, we didn’t have 24/7 client support ten years ago. All our products were desktop based and now are web-based. We didn’t have any professional certification and now we have several such as ISO9001 or 27001 Quality and data security. Another example; we were implementing 20-30 projects per year and now we are deploying more than 100 per year. Our technology is in more than 100 countries, and we attend to and support more than 200 clients worldwide. Summarizing, I’ll say that the company is different in size, methodology, product, and customers, and, in the end, in every aspect from when I joined.
You’ve been working as COO since 2014, What has changed in the day-to-day management?
Aaron López: Transparency and trust with all employees. In the past, we told all the employees and managers what to do daily without any data, context or explaining why we were doing things that way. Now, we have changed the approach, avoiding telling them what to do and giving them enough context, direction and strategy for the company and, thanks to that, they can make the best decision on their own. Let’s say now they can understand the why and then make our vision possible.
Some might be afraid to make mistakes, but we always tell them that the mistakes are to learn. With those lessons, the company will be stronger. The errors are not from one person; they are from the team, from the entire company. If there was a mistake, it was because the context was wrong, and we need to improve some processes. Or maybe the strategy was not clear enough. But it’s never because an individual employee fails.
To accomplish this, all the employees receive all the data and context frequently. For example, we are doing a monthly call with all employees in the company, sharing the financial status, strategy and goals. We also resolve all the doubts they can have during these sessions. Now, the entire company is focused, responsible and participating in the vision for the coming VSN.
Which are the main future challenges for the company?
Aaron López: Speed and scale up the business. With speed, I mean that the current society wants everything immediately, and in this competitive industry, you must be the first to have a feature, to deploy a system, etc. For this reason, we modified our products to make them more flexible and extensible. In this way, we are committing to parametrization for our customers but in the fastest way.
In addition, we want to be able to deliver our technology to more customers. For this reason, we must scale up our internal resources, business, and processes to deliver more projects per year. One solution could be to offer all our solutions on-cloud in an easy and fastest way, but without losing any benefit. We are doing it with our VSNCrea cloud initiative. Now, any company can use our VSNCrea platform as a service hosted by us, but also manage their media files on the cloud, or on-premises in a hybrid mode. The customer can choose between these two options, and we are extremely happy with this innovative project.
Another important topic is security. We are investing a lot in this matter; we want to transmit to our customers that with VSN their data is safe and secure.
How do you manage to be aware of everything that’s happening around the company?
Aaron López: Relying on the team we have. I have been working with most of them for at least five to eight years and I trust them. I know they will come to me when they need me. Our synchronization is crazy. Sometimes, it’s even a bit scary and rare, because before I ask for something, it’s in my inbox. I’m always joking with them about stopping reading my mind.
I’m thrilled to have them on board because they know how I think and how things should be done. We just need a 30 min call every week with each of them to update the status of each company’s area. We just need this short time because all the data and information are centralized and shared with the rest. This way, we can see the daily evolution of the business from Tech, Customer Care, Sales, Marketing…
It has been more than a year since Valsoft Corporation acquired VSN, how was the process of integration?
Aaron López: It was inspiring and refreshing. After ten years of doing things in a specific way, when an outsider appears, teaches and shows you how to do it differently, it’s a change gamer. Now we are seeing the company as if we never saw it before, with immense growth potential. Let me add here, that after we finished the process of integration past January, we are now seeing the results and they are exceeding all our expectations. We never imagined where we are today.
In the last months several companies arrived in the Broadcast & Media portfolio, like Woody and M&I, what opportunities do they bring on?
Aaron López:We are increasing the Media and Broadcast vertical companies as a Group. Thanks to that, we can deliver better products and solutions for our customers. For example, thanks to IN2IT from Woody Technologies, our VSNExplorer suite can have better ingest tools to ingest media from everywhere; files, cameras, smartphones, live feeds, or directly from social networks.
With M&I, we will be able to deliver a better-integrated solution for news environments, including, if needed, radio and audio, thanks to Nimbus and Omniplayer solutions. We are excited about this, and our customers will love the synergies and experiences between our products and sister companies.
How many trips did you make in the last few months?
Aaron López: Ups… to be honest with you, I don’t remember exactly how many… I was in Mexico, Amsterdam and Tunisia in the past two months. But let me say I’m not traveling as much as I was before the Pandemic. I’m happy that society learned that we don’t need to travel for everything because now we can do many things remotely with the technologies we have. For example, during the most challenging time in the Pandemic, we deployed VSN systems 100% remotely with incredible success and high customer satisfaction.
But to be honest, I was missing the face-to-face meetings with customers or colleagues, this is something we can’t lose, but we should learn how to balance in an appropriate way.
Finally, I want to ask you a challenge and a wish that you hope to comply?
Aaron López: Challenges a lot, but just one wish: keep growing as a team. I’m not the company. The company is the amazing team we have, they did, and they are making our vision possible.
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