How Huddle Stayed Ahead of the BYOD Curve : Q&A With Andy McLoughlinNovember 08, 2013
by Kristen Nicole
Some of the most fascinating stories in BYOD are from those companies that embarked on a cloud-ready journey before the mobile era truly took hold. One of those early visionaries is Huddle, a company that’s thrived in today’s consumer-driven workplace.
In today’s CEO Series we hear from Andy McLoughlin, the co-founder and EVP of Strategy at Huddle. He shares his company’s mission that’s enabled Huddle to stay focused in a rapidly changing world, as well as thoughts on how the cloud can empower organizations to work more efficiently.
Finally, Andy shares some great tips on investing in the tech market, the personal and professional impact of his international perspective, along with the apps, like Dashlane, products and people that make him a little bit smarter every day.
In a world where it seems everyone, Microsoft to Samsung, is looking to provide socialized file-management solutions for the BYOD crowd, what’s been Huddle’s secret to longevity and profitability?
A focus on revenues and building a product suited to the enterprise has meant that we’ve been able to successfully build our business when other less-focused competitors faltered. By choosing to focus only on mid-market and enterprise-scale organizations, we can deploy our resources – both technology and commercial – in a far more efficient way than a company trying to build for everyone.
You recently teamed up with Centrify to support single sign-on capabilities for your enterprise suite. What’s been Huddle’s partnership strategy, and how important are open standards and APIs to your long-term success?
In a similar vein to our overall product development strategy, we deeply engage with a number of partners based primarily on customer demand. We recently partnered with all of the major SSO providers (Centrify, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity) as we were seeing huge demand from the enterprise for better connectivity to Active Directory. While we had our own AD integration, working with these vendors – many of whom are already installed at the customer base – makes life easier for the customer and us.
Having a rich set of open APIs is absolutely key. Traditionally, knitting several systems together is an expensive and time-consuming job, but well-documented REST-based APIs mean that we have been able to work with dozens of other software vendors and deliver high-quality integrations in days, not months.
The government shut down as well as site issues with the new healthcare web portal has many wondering what can be done to make such a large organization more efficient through technology – in your experience, how can the cloud enhance a company’s productivity?
The traditional organization is beginning to disappear and employees no longer work at a fixed desk from 9am until 5pm. Modern organizations realize that a huge percentage of work now happens across the firewall with the entire enterprise ecosystem of customers, partners, and contractors, on-the-go using employees’ mobile devices and from non-office locations. Trying to envisage any of these modern scenarios without the cloud is impossible. It provides the flexibility and agility required by today’s workforce and enterprise-grade cloud services meet the security requirements of the IT department.
LEARN FROM THE BEST
As a self-proclaimed small time investor and someone who’s successfully launched a startup, how would you advise an individual looking to invest in the tech startup scene?
Firstly, don’t expect to make a quick buck – there are dozens of easier ways to make money than early stage investing! However, if you’ve run a startup, you can leverage your domain knowledge and experience to pick out the quality companies. AngelList is an amazing resource for connecting startups with angel investors and you can filter companies by geography, sector and stage. The very best companies will have plenty of offers of cash so you’ll have to convince them why you can bring more than just money to the table.
What are 8 things that make you a smarter individual?
I couldn’t live without my iPhone – even before you’ve downloaded any 3rd party apps, having access to maps, email and my calendar is absolutely invaluable. It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago we would print out maps and a daily schedule!
Of course, the real genius of iOS and Android are the app stores. In addition to our Huddle app (of course!), I use Evernote to help me remember the minor details that will one day be very useful.I use it for everything from meeting notes and names of movies, to jotting down inspiration that comes to me in the middle of the night.
One of the few drawbacks of the millions of apps we use today is having to remember millions of passwords. Dashlane is a password management app and digital wallet I was recommended a while back and I simply couldn’t live without it now.
I pride myself on local knowledge – being able to find and recommend the best bars and restaurants gives me a kick. Most of this knowledge comes directly from the Yelp iPhone app. In San Francisco many places have thousands of reviews so it’s easy to gauge what’s truly great. Foursquare is also a great tool for recommending local spots.
Living in London for many years provided an international view that even a city like San Francisco can’t match. Millions of people from hundreds of countries, working in dozens of industries, help you to remember that not everyone in this world thinks like we do in California – remembering this helps us make better products.
My parents are very different people but equally inspirational. My father spent his life as an accountant and frustrated entrepreneur and instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in me at an early age. My mother is incredibly creative and has a wonderful sense of design and aesthetic. I think that the combination of these traits really shine through in everything I work on.
Traveling to tech hubs worldwide – whether I’m in San Francisco, Berlin, Dublin, London or Istanbul I’m always blown away by the innovation, great ideas and entrepreneurs I meet. It’s great to share ideas with innovators!
Lastly (and obviously) I use Huddle every day to work with my teams across the globe. We use it to share and collaborate on content like press releases, product release plans, graphical assets and functional specifications. Workflow and task management helps us keep everything on track. Everything is version controlled and audited, and it works seamlessly across the web, my Mac’s desktop and my iPhone and iPad.