An Insightful Conversation with Carrie Whamond, Founding Partner of Alternit One
Introducing the third instalment of our Top 100 Most Influential interview series, where we have the pleasure of speaking with Carrie Whamond, Founding Partner at Alternit One. Carrie shares her insightful perspective on the promising future of the IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) sector within the alternative investment industry.
Our objective with this series is to highlight the driving forces behind the thoughts and actions of our community’s thought leaders and key influencers while also delving deeper into the various service providers within the industry.
How does your company approach the challenge of balancing cost-effectiveness with high-quality service delivery?
Carrie Whamond: Cost is very much defined by the clients’ requirements, by the business milestones in their business that might trigger technology investments, by the requirements put upon them by regulators and investors and the firms desire to support their users in a chosen fashion. That said, all partnerships succeed based on good communication and collaboration. In working together to understand the compromise between function, cost and quality, the right balance can be achieved.
What do you see as the main challenges facing alternative investment-managed service providers in the next 5-10 years, and how does your company plan to address them?
From a technology perspective, the biggest challenge will not be a new one, rather the continuous evolution of the cyber security landscape. The way we work has changed, and consequently, the technology – from centralised locations, static infrastructure and fixed devices – to a completely decentralised working, application centric and serverless architecture. Meaning traditional infrastructure management, perimeter security controls, and monitoring are going to be insufficient to protect businesses. The windows of opportunity for cyber criminals are evolving with the technology shifts, and firms will need to bring a different set of cyber protection measures and behaviours to the table to deal with the newer threats that SaaS-based architectures and flexible working brings. We invest heavily in R&D and in our relationships with third-party security firms to ensure we stay on top of the changing landscape and recognise that working with partners will be pivotal to delivering a holistic cyber strategy to our client base.
How do you stay motivated and continue to grow both professionally and personally?
Everyone has different motivators and drivers – for me, it’s seeing the results of a job well done and consequently witnessing the successes of the team around me. It’s much the same in my personal life – my family’s happiness and personal growth are paramount.
Can you describe the biggest challenge that your company has faced in delivering managed services to hedge funds, private equity firms, family offices, and venture capitals?
People – finding the right people for our team. We are a diverse firm with clear commitments to both our clients on service quality and also to our people on development, progression and providing an enjoyable place of work. As we scale, ensuring we find highly skilled people who fit culturally with our incredible team has been and will continue to be a challenge.
How do you balance the demands of running a business with your personal life?
Covid fundamentally changed working practices in the technology industry. The ability to work flexibly has significantly moved the needle in balancing work/life. It means as a full-time working mum and a founder of a 24x7 business, I have far more flexibility to prioritise the needs of each as and when needed. However, it is too easy to slip into “never switched off” from work and from time to time (we all) have to make a conscious effort to disconnect and do something more relaxing.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this industry?
Network, network, network. It’s a small niche industry and your personal and professional growth is very dependent on the growth of your networks and the learning you’ll achieve from widening your horizons within that network. Once you’re confident in your industry knowledge, then work on being an expert in your field.
How has your company adapted to changing client demands in recent years?
Our entire business was founded on the basis of a paradigm shift in the regulated space technology strategy from private cloud/local infrastructure to public cloud/SaaS-based services – we continue to evolve to embrace change within the technology operating model as newer, more performant technology becomes available that will support our client’s ability to work effectively and efficiently.
How does your company differentiate itself from other managed service providers in the market?
That’s a subjective question. Value is very much in the eyes of the beholder – every MSP has its own cultural values, operating model, and service ethos – and each client must choose which firm forms the best fit to their own. Be that based on low cost, technology design or more modern measures such as ESG or business model.
Can you discuss any recent partnerships or collaborations that have helped to enhance your managed services offerings?
Partnership is the entire ethos of A1 – all our service offerings are a collaborative journey. We own no platforms or technologies – rather we select the best-of-breed technologies that will deliver the best results for our clients and design, build, and run those on their behalf. Therefore, our partnerships with vendors like Microsoft, Palo Alto, our security advisors, and a whole range of SaaS providers are central to all our service offerings.