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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Mike Toplisek, EVP, Product and Marketing, EarthLink (Part 4)

Posted on Sunday, Aug 19th 2012

Sramana Mitra: So, it’s a technology-enabled solution. It’s not a people-empowered service; it’s software as a service.

Mike Toplisek: That’s right. It’s about empowerment. We’re driving more toward that. We have a business with an existing cost structure that enables us to provide human touch as needed. We’ll service our customers in the way that they want to be serviced, but more and more, the way they want to be serviced is by being empowered to make the changes without having to deal with a human touch. That is where most of our investment and research & development are going, into that MyLink control panel.

SM: It’s obviously music to the ears of the small businesses that are consuming your services. They reduce the hassles, the overhead, and this is happening all across the software-as-a-service domain. Small businesses of today are able to access technology at a furious pace, everything from CRM to ERP to every part of the organization has plenty of software as a service available. But as a result, there’s a fair amount of automation and de-humanization going on that is playing havoc with the employment seed, right?

MT: It is, and it isn’t. There’s a flip side to everything. Absolutely, there’s a lot of automation, less need for human interaction. So, on one hand, that takes away the need for some employees in some small businesses. But it also enables businesses to compete and allows them to compete more fiercely. I think it’s helping to foster an environment that’ll be stronger than ever for startup businesses and small businesses to grow because of all of this technology.

SM: Yes, I fully agree with you on all of that. It’s not a criticism, just an observation that there is an increasing amount of automation going on. It’s part of the environment we are going through right now.

MT: Yes. If you think about the automation that’s available to small businesses today and the technology that’s available, that’s beauty of it. I don’t think most of them could have afforded the staff to bring some of that to bear anyway, so it’s allowing them to operate more competitively. In a lot of cases, we hope the need for more employees grows as their businesses grow.

SM: I fully agree with you. I think the ability of small businesses to afford technology solutions has gone up dramatically because of the software-as-a-service or cloud services model.

MT: Yes.

SM: Thank you, Mike, for taking the time to talk with me.

MT:  I’ve really enjoyed this. Thank you, Sramana.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Mike Toplisek, EVP, Product and Marketing, EarthLink
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