In the INAP Executive Spotlight series, we interview senior leaders across the organization, hearing candid reflections about their careers, what they love about their work and big lessons learned along the way.
Next in the series is Matt Cuneio, Vice President, Network Operations Center (NOC). He oversees our customer support teams, ensuring that our customers get top tier technical support. During his two-and-a-half-year tenure at INAP, he’s aligned all support employees to form team of roughly 95 members who support customers across all INAP products. This shift has yielded fantastic customer surveys and has put INAP on the map for top-notch service.
Read on to learn more about what makes Matt tick, and how he’s worked to shatter silos in order to build a stronger INAP.
The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
What do you think makes the NOC team successful?
Hustle! Customers want to be ‘happily uninvolved’ in their products and services. When they log on, they just want things to work. It’s really that simple. When that does not occur, responsiveness and crisp communication is the key to a good experience. I’ve been in the industry 20+ years now and what sets INAP apart is our product and engineering team. They work around the clock to ensure our platform is robust. When events happen, it’s all hands-on deck and we work together to drive resolution. We have industry leading ASA (Average Speed to Answer) times and our customer surveys reinforce our effort to be a ‘Best In Class’ support organization.
What do you love about your role in tech? What is the best part of being in the industry?
I love people, and I love having the ability to set people up for success. I’ve used this phrase over the years: Come, Grow and Go. I want people to come into the support organization. I want them to take advantage of the opportunity to crack into the industry, to learn technology and to grow their skillset. And then I want them to spread their wings and make a difference—make a difference for the company, their families, their community. Having the opportunity to lead in the technology industry is exciting and very rewarding.
Of all the qualities you possess, which do you think has the greatest influence on your success?
When I started at INAP, the silos that existed were extreme for a company of our size. I’ve been able to bring folks together. If I were to market my skillset as a leader and what I can do, it’s that I’m pretty damn good at bringing people together. The talent we possess as a company is unrivaled in the industry. We have some of the greatest engineering minds I’ve ever been around. Aligning all of this talent and getting everyone to pull the rope in the same direction is what we will do better than anyone in the days ahead.
What does a typical day look like for you?
One thing I tell our leaders is that the NOC life is a ‘lifestyle’. Last night I was on the phone with a customer at 9:30 and helped them work through their issue. It’s a 24/7/365 gig. There’s no walking away at 5 p.m. when you’re done with your last call. We have a great team, we have fun together and the feedback we receive from customers makes it all worth it.
What advice would you have for someone pursuing a career in tech?
Zone in on certifications. I talk to my kids about this, about getting their CCNA and the different technology tools that are available. There is a lot and it’s always changing, so if you can get in on the front end of technology, then that’s going to really benefit you.
And my other advice is to be a great teammate. If you’re a great teammate and you work hard and you give your best, it’s going to work out. I’ve seen it time and time again with people who have worked for me. It’s what’s worked for me personally. If you treat people with respect, if you hustle, if you don’t cut corners and do the small things right it will all work out. Pay attention to the details. If you focus on the basics, success lies ahead.
Who are some of the people that have mentored or been your role models throughout your career?
I love this question because I’ve been incredibly fortunate in this area. So many people to talk about, but I’ll keep it to two. Keith Hayes took me under his wing and gave me my first vice president role. I still talk to him often. He taught me those core principles of treating people with respect, staying grateful and having a servant approach in leadership. Greg Wood is another mentor who has had a lifelong impact on me. He really emphasized the relationship piece. He stressed that you can get things done by yourself, but you can get a lot more done as a team and with people aligned and all focused on the same thing. And he gave me a lot of great tools to do that.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?
People make the difference. Process, products, services are all critical to success. The foundation of delivering the business though all comes down to having the right people in the right place. Treating people with respect and encouraging them has a greater influence than constant criticism. Mistakes happen, and when they do it’s critical you address them head on. But an energized, motivated workforce can accomplish great things and that’s what we have in motion here at INAP!