Tech Talk with Pierre-Luc Charbonneau
Pierre-Luc has over 15 years of experience in Computer Networks. As the director of pre-sales engineering and special projects at Fibrenoire, he designed state-of-the-art connectivity solutions for medium and large enterprises. For the last years, he has been working with customers to optimize Network and Application performances.
Can you tell us more about the products offered at Obkio and how they can help Canadian businesses?
The product is a solution/software that we developed that is dedicated to IT professionals. So it’s for all business sides. It allows clients to manage a little part of the IT on their side. So maybe if their business is a little too small to have an IT team, this product is perfect for them.
There is a software agent that is going to generate some scientific traffic and it will do a measurement of traffic flow between the agents. It will give clients a lot of visibility on the performance of the network. Small businesses are going more and more into the cloud, so there is less infrastructure from inside the business. Therefore, people don’t have the visibility between users and infrastructure in the cloud. It helps by bringing visibility. The ultimate goal is to help them with making strong business decisions and solving problems.
One thing that sets Obkio apart from other companies offering similar services is its overall simplicity. Can you tell us how Obkio managed to make the app so simple?
The user interface for our solution is an application which has been designed for cell phones first. We also offer a web version but our competitors have some really really complex solutions. So our priority from day one has been to create an application with the goal of overall simplicity.
Having the right technology has a huge impact on a company’s productivity. Why do you believe that is?
Most companies now in 2018 believe that the productivity of the company is based on the staff. However, something that is a little bit more challenging for some to understand is that the productivity of the employees is often based on IT tools. If IT is slow and not productive, the overall productivity of the company will suffer.
How do you believe having the right technology tools can help with the growth and success of Canadian SMEs?
SMEs must be really good in their niche and excel in their core market. So if the tech is not great, they will be looking for new projects. Before Obkio, I was in the same business for 10 years and I was in the project for creating the new software that would be launched. The new tools were so easy to integrate. The software market has been booming for the last several years. The company must use simplicity and good tech to empower its clients to reach their goals. Otherwise, another company will be able to do it and knock you out of business.
What advice would you give to small business owners when it comes to IT solutions?
Get some help! That’s the best advice I can give to entrepreneurs. Don’t be afraid to get some trusted advisors. The IT market is growing so fast and you’ll need to get help from a consultant or a third party. In IT, you won’t be able to do everything in-house, because there’s so much to do. Before going to market, make sure to establish a strong network of trusted advisors so you put the best product on the market.
When you’re in the process of making your IT architecture, and can’t measure the results, it must not be a good solution. Be patient before going to market to ensure you have the product you want to display to your customers.
Can you tell us about some of the accomplishments that Obkio has had on Canadian SMEs?
We’re a very young company, founded in 2018 and our Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was launched in July. Our biggest accomplishment has been our time to market and that we already have customers that are really enthusiastic and really like our product. Customers loved our first idea and they already appreciate how useful it is to them.
You have over 15 years of experience in Computer Networks. How do you believe your past experience is helping you in your current role at Obkio?
Understanding the customer “pain point” is essential to building solutions that are going to be a pain reliever in the customer’s day to day job. Because it all starts from the customer’s pain point and then you plan around that.
Where do you see the company going 5 years from now? What is the overall goal of Obkio?
We hope that the solution becomes an indispensable tool for IT professionals. In our first year, our road map is already full for the next 18 months. We know exactly where we’re going. The priories might change a little but the development of the solution is quite clear for us. The 5-year vision is quite far but this is where we want to be in the future – we see tens of thousands of agents spread across all the continents.