A Closer Look at Arizona’s Shifting IT Industry E40
Should we build out our internal IT department or work with a managed service provider? Should we onshore or offshore IT support? How can we attract qualified IT talent?
The July 2023 episode of the Arizona Technology Council’s AZTechCast podcast featured experts including Alex Cole, CEO of Cole Technologies; Will Davis, director, Data & Analytics at Slalom; and Jackie Shipley, chief people officer at AccountabilIT. These leaders joined Steve Zylstra, Council president and CEO, and Karen Nowicki, president and owner of Phoenix Business RadioX, in discussing tips for how to enhance your IT strategy and better prepare for shifting trends in technology.
In this hour-long episode, the panel of three experts defined information technology, emphasized the importance of having an IT department, team or resource on hand and debated the pros and cons of having an internal IT department and working with a managed service provider. Throughout this entire conversation, the experts shed light on some of the IT challenges they regularly see Arizona companies struggling with and discussed how our state can better train, recruit and retain highly qualified IT talent.
Cole Technologies is a managed IT service provider based out of Tucson, AZ serving businesses across the United States. They support business IT, Security, and Compliance under one umbrella even with complex security and compliance requirements like CMMC, FedRAMP, SOC2, and HIPAA.
Their background includes experience working with companies in healthcare, finance, defense contracting, and manufacturing.
Alex Cole is the Founder/CEO of Cole Technologies. He is an accomplished IT and cybersecurity professional with extensive expertise in leading the implementation of next-generation IT solutions. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills by successfully managing and delivering large-scale enterprise IT projects in the healthcare, defense, and manufacturing industries.
His recent accomplishments have included revolutionizing the way SMBs handle their IT and cybersecurity through compliance with industry standard frameworks including CMMC, SOC2, HIPAA, and RMF (Risk Management Framework). By implementing strategy-first, holistic IT + cybersecurity solutions, he has been able to drive innovation and efficiency reducing the time to value for an organization to just 30 days.
Currently, his primary focus is serving SMBs and enterprises with a strong demand for cybersecurity, IT, and compliance across diverse industries.
Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.
AccountabilIT is your all-in-one technology partner and leading managed security services provider. As a Microsoft Gold Partner and award-winning MSP and MSSP, they help you make the right technology investments and make the most out of that technology.
With their size and expertise, they hit a unique sweet spot that other providers don’t. You can leverage their enterprise-level operations and solutions while receiving tailored, personalized service from people who care about you and your business.
All aspects of your company—not just your technology—go into their partnership. To ensure your technology strategy is perfectly synced with your business strategy, they get to know your business at a holistic level.
Jackie Shipley has over 30 years’ experience in the IT industry and is currently AccountabilIT’s Chief People Officer.
She manages all aspects of human resources including benefit administration, payroll, recruitment, and most importantly employee relations. Her primary focus is employee satisfaction and retention.
She holds a BS in Business from the WP Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
Slalom is a purpose-led, global business and technology consulting company. Their purpose—to help people and organizations dream bigger, move faster, and build better tomorrows for all—guides everything they do. And their north star is a world in which each person has the opportunity to love their life and work.
Since the consulting business started in 2001, Slalom has grown rapidly to 13,000+ team members in eight countries and 45 markets. They have close partnerships with over 400 leading technology providers, including AWS, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Snowflake.
From strategy to implementation, Slalom’s approach is fiercely human. They deeply understand their customers—and their customers—to deliver practical, end-to-end solutions that drive meaningful impact.
Slalom operates on the model of local soul at a global scale. Their team members live where they work, and each office is committed to supporting their local communities – while tapping into the experience and expertise of a global organization. The Phoenix office has over 150 employees across the valley.
Slalom is honored to be consistently recognized as a great place to work, including being one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For eight years running, and a best place to work by the Phoenix Business Journal for the last five years.
Will Davis is the Director of Data and Analytics for Slalom’s Phoenix office. He leads a large and growing team that helps clients unlock the value of their data through analysis, visualization, and overall business strategy.
Will has been with Slalom for the last six years, and cumulatively has over a decade of experience in the technology consulting space, advising clients ranging from deeply impactful non-profits to Fortune 10 cornerstones.
Prior to starting his career in consulting, Will served as a Captain in the United States Air Force where he was a developmental engineer and mission manager for Satellite and Test Vehicle rocket launches.
Connect with Will on LinkedIn.
About Your Hosts
Steve Zylstra serves as president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, a role he assumed in 2007. He is responsible for strategy, operations, finance and policy development. Zylstra is a vocal spokesman for the value technology can provide in raising social and economic standards in Arizona.
Zylstra serves on numerous councils, committees and boards, was named “Leader of the Year, Technology,” by the Arizona Capitol Times, and “Most Admired Leader” by the Phoenix Business Journal. In addition, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science in technology from the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Ariz.
Zylstra earned a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering technology from Western Michigan University.
Karen Nowicki is a successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. Karen was crowned the first-ever “Mompreneur of the Year” Award in 2010 for the southwestern states. She was recognized for her leadership, business acumen, and work-life balance.
Karen has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room, and Mid-Day Arizona. She has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.
In addition to working with private coaching clients, Karen is also the Owner & President of Phoenix Business RadioX. The Business RadioX Network amplifies the voice of business – serving the Fortune 500,000, not just the Fortune 500. Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession, and community.
Of all the experiences Karen has had the privilege of participating in over her vast career, she shares that Phoenix Business RadioX is a pinnacle adventure!
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Bianca Buliga is a trilingual first-generation American of Romanian ethnicity. A marketing professional with experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, Bianca currently works as Director, Marketing & Communications for the Arizona Technology Council.
Previously, Bianca worked as Marketing Communications Lead at Proctorio, a learning integrity platform that offers remote proctoring software ensuring exam integrity for learners around the world.
Bianca also worked as Senior Marketing Manager at SEED SPOT, a social impact incubator that educates, accelerates, and invests in impact-driven entrepreneurs creating market-based solutions to social problems. In January of 2020, Bianca was selected as an awardee of the Mandela Washington Reciprocal Exchange Program and traveled to the African island of Mauritius to run entrepreneurship programming for 15 impact-driven ecopreneurs on behalf of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Bianca has also completed comprehensive consulting projects for IBM, ESAN Business School, and the Peruvian government, and interned at the Arizona House of Representatives and U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.
Bianca earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Northern Arizona University in 2014 and her Master’s degree in Global Affairs and Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2017. She is an avid reader, yogi, and world traveler always planning her next trip.
Connect with Bianca on LinkedIn.
About Our Sponsor
The Arizona Technology Council, Arizona’s only statewide organization serving the technology sector, fosters a climate of innovation to enhance technology in Arizona.
A trusted resource in strengthening Arizona’s technology industry, the Council proactively eliminates impediments that companies face, accelerates the entrepreneurial mindset in the state’s expanding innovation ecosystem, and works to create a destination for companies to be, thrive and stay.