Operations Perspective: Culture and space are critical to Scale Computing’s success
Operations is a role function often played by founders and CEOs until their companies get so big they can no longer manage those day-to-day functions. An operations manager or COO often steps in to execute the CEO’s vision and make it a reality. Sometimes that vision is to move your office location halfway across the city, which is what Scale Computing did last year.
Cassie Gilford is the director of operations for Scale Computing. She joined the company eight years ago and today is responsible for manufacturing, logistics, and product launches worldwide. Cassie was met with a big assignment when she learned of Scale Computing’s move to The Union 525, a scale-up tech campus made for fast-growing companies.
Cassie GilfordDirector of Operations
Cassie cut her teeth on operations management from her past career in politics. She managed volunteer coordinating for election campaigns, as well as fundraising events and other similar activities. After a conversation with Scale Computing’s leadership, Cassie saw plenty of alignment with the company’s need for operations and her skill set.
When Scale Computing started planning to move, they had 45 employees and were looking for a new space closer to downtown that would also give them room to grow. “Our team had started searching for a new office a couple years ago,” Cassie said. “We toured some properties, some spaces around ExactTarget, for example. But most were too big or didn’t have a specific component our business needed.”
With their manufacturing and shipping of physical products as well as data management, Scale Computing needed a place that would allow them to house product and servers to run their business. With plans to hire more employees and continue growing, they’d also need flexibility, which was proving tricky to find downtown. “Leases for corporations in buildings can be ten years long, and we’re still figuring out planning for company growth five years out,” Cassie said.
The company was introduced to The Union 525 through its founder, who had worked with Scale Computing CEO Jeff Ready at another Indy tech startup, SmartFile. When Cassie visited the space, she knew it was perfect for what her company needed. She then worked to build buy-in from other employees.
Cassie teamed up with Dusty Koekenberg, Scale Computing’s Director of Marketing, to form a company culture team that then gave tours of the prospective space to their employees. “Who we are in our space reflects who we are as a company,” she said. As employees began buying into the space, the company signed their lease and joined the Union 525 family.
While Scale Computing moved 45 desks and all the accompanying furniture, there were other considerations, too. Because of how integrated technology is to their business, Cassie had to approach their move with tactical planning. For example, ten racks of servers needed to be shut down in a systematic way and then relocated. Teams had to work in shifts on a weekly basis, creating backups and sharing space to make it work.
“Groups of sales engineers needed to move their data on the weekends because they were demoing the product,” Cassie recalled. “And the quality assurance teams worked with the engineering team to move in the middle of the night.” By the end of the move, Cassie said, the company had experienced no downtime — a result she credits to careful internal planning and teamwork.
Scale Computing has been in the Union 525 for one year now, and Cassie reflected fondly on how that year has gone. She especially enjoys the continued camaradiere between all the building’s tenants. “The Union is a unique group,” she said. “It’s a giant building filled with people just like you. If you see someone in the hallway, you can start a conversation much more quickly than you’d think. That’s something we would have missed had we moved by ourselves.”
That culture is vital to Scale Computing, and is present in everything they do within their space. From cooking and Nerf gun competitions to parties and game night (involving the occasional VR game), enjoying their work matters to their employees. Cassie believes the space they’ve found enables them to have fun, and though they’re quickly filling up that space with new employees, they maintain their culture, which is Cassie’s number one requirement for judging a company’s success.
For more thoughts on what to look for in an office space, check out Pondurance’s story about their move. You can also learn more about Scale Computing by visiting their Tech Directory page or featured company story.