Aryaka CEO Matt Carter reflects on 2020; Looks forward to 2021
[Aryaka] How would you characterize 2020 for you personally and for the company?
[Matt Carter] On one hand, it was the best of times and on the other, the worst. As a company, Aryaka witnessed tremendous growth and unprecedented demand for our services given the mass migration of workers from the office to the home. This has been great for Aryaka from a business perspective and we took another step forward. That said, I have a tremendous amount of concern and empathy for those effected by the pandemic, social unrest, and the anxiety and depression resulting from the same or those facing the social isolation of working from home.
[Aryaka] Could you comment on the major business initiatives Aryaka launched during the year?
[Matt Carter] We have placed a concerted focus around growing our product portfolio given the proliferation in digital transformation initiatives companies are undertaking and the need for secure private networks. With more and more companies moving to the cloud, Aryaka’s role is to help those companies with confidence and competence to realize and grow their digital initiatives.
[Aryaka] Aryaka has grown its headcount across the company including at the C-level. What’s the rationale for this?
[Matt Carter] We’re growing across the board, aligning resources such as technical engineers and other technical talent to where the market is going. We’re also aggressively recruiting additional tech talent. We’re investing heavily as well on the HR side. It is imperative that Aryaka has a very competent and professional HR department, especially with employees working from home, to keep them engaged. We have a dual focus on talent recruitment and talent management, ensuring our current employees are happy, engaged and have the infrastructure they need to be successful during these difficult times. I extremely proud of Aryaka’s 93% employee satisfaction rating in a recent survey which further validates the investments we have made—and will continue to make—on behalf of our employees.
[Aryaka] What accomplishments are top of mind for you?
[Matt Carter] As CEO, I’m tasked with creating value for our shareholders and we’ve certainly exceeded on that goal. Despite the pandemic, social unrest, and other challenges 2020 presented, Aryaka had its best year yet as a company. I credit much of this success to Aryaka’s continued investment in our employees and the recognition that we are doing the right thing with a 93% approval rating from our employees and the designation of Aryaka as a ‘Great Place to Work-Certified Company’ for workplace culture. An engaged employee is—and will always be—a foundational cornerstone to Aryaka’s success.
[Aryaka] The pandemic changed the rules of the game. How did Aryaka adapt and its impact on culture?
[Matt Carter] The pandemic has challenged us all. One of Aryaka’s core strengths is our culture and how we connect, respect, and engage each other. That has obviously changed. No face-to-face interactions, monthly luncheons, holiday parties, etc. All of the things that make Aryaka unique and better. We’ve now had to move to engaging via a screen. I love meeting with our employees and customers. There is nothing like meeting in-person but I’ve, we’ve, had to adapt and are doing a great job at the same via platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
The pandemic has also sent our customers scrambling and they’ve called us in like the calvary to help them and their employees stay engaged and productive. We’ve met their needs and will continue to be there for them as we all navigate this new business normal.
[Aryaka] How is Aryaka helping its customers deal with the new normal?
[Matt Carter] We’ve helped our customers by being a good listener and fast executioner. There is obviously no blueprint for what we encountered in 2020. Our obligation was to serve as a real partner to our clients, staying closely connected and helping them think through and map out how to conduct business while maintaining some level of normalcy as we all adjust and adapt to this new normal.
[Aryaka] Security is a big topic in the WAN today and industry is talking about new architectures like SASE. How do you see Aryaka evolving?
[Matt Carter] Aryaka has been at the forefront of this issue for some time, employing a best-in-breed approach to security and partnering with all of the top vendors to integrate their features seamlessly into our architecture. We will continue to make this a major priority in 2021.
[Aryaka] What goals are you setting for the company in 2021? Do you foresee any changes in strategy?
[Matt Carter] In 2021, we will continue with the dual focus and investment in both our employees and our customers. We will seek to invest further in the HR tools and processes to keep Aryaka a world-class organization with a primary goal of investing in its employees. As the market continues to evolve at a rapid pace, we will continue to meet the growing needs of our customers by providing an unmatched integrated network security architecture. We will also continue to solidify our relationships with clients by providing unparalleled service and solutions, reaffirming their trust in Aryaka.
[Aryaka] Growth or profitability? Pick one for 2021.
[Matt Carter] We are focused on top-line growth. The market is growing phenomenally, and we are leading the charge. That said, Aryaka has the right fiscal discipline to manage the company for growth while delivering on profit.
[Aryaka] Any personal leadership lessons you would like to pass on to new CEOs?
[Matt Carter] It’s about people. The biggest challenge you will face is how to ensure alignment across your team. You can’t take this for granted. The CEO has to be intentional. To successfully deliver, requires collaboration, coordination, and a very intentional focus.