To commemorate our 10 year anniversary, Freeit Data Solutions, President & CEO, Wayne Orchid did an interview with Austin Business Journal reflecting on our highlights, learnings, and growth over the last decade.
First question, and I know you must get this a lot. Is the company called Free-IT, or Freeit? And how did you come up with the name?
Our company is called FREEIT, one word, pronounced “Freeit” (not Free-eye-t). Yes, we get it a lot! Funny story, but my business partner was Macedonian and spoke German, and wanted to name the company after the German word for freedom, “Freiheit”. Obviously, that would have been disastrous! But I liked the idea of centering our brand around freeing up companies’ time, reducing costs, and creating operational efficiencies with modern IT solutions. The value of freedom is not only reflected in the technologies we leverage, but also in the diversity of our employees and company values.
What exactly does Freeit Data Solutions do?
We are an IT solutions and services company. Our expertise is helping companies modernize their datacenter infrastructure. We provide services and solutions around datacenter security, data protection, and disaster recovery. Essentially, our goal is to help companies better store, protect, and manage their data. Our customers range from small banks that are looking for a disaster recovery solution, to large cities that are looking for better ways to protect and manage their data.
The IT industry changes rapidly, how has Freeit changed over the last 10 years?
When I started Freeit the “cloud” that everyone talks about today was just getting started. Many of the technologies we take for granted today, like virtualization, were still in the adoption phase. The pace of growth in technology is astounding, and we have adapted by hiring amazing engineers and partnering with world class technology companies. In essence, we are driving the change in the evolving IT landscape.
Over the last 10 years we have grown our data protection and cybersecurity business as this has become even more critical for our customers. There are a lot of what we call “bad actors” in the world – and our job is to help organizations protect themselves with our solutions. There is a lot of uncertainty today that customers have over whether to move all of their IT operations to a “cloud”. We have developed a practice to help our customers navigate this new world of on-and-off premise datacenters. We have become experts in cutting through the uncertainty and offering modern and creative solutions so organizations have a roadmap on how they can manage their IT operations. We are constantly evolving.
Tell me something about the company that hasn’t changed in 10 years.
Our focus on customers has never changed. It is our number one core value – Customer Focus. You cannot commoditize this and be successful today, even as some of the technology is commoditized. This is a large part of the Freeit DNA.
What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned from Freeit?
When I first started Freeit my focus was on solving customer problems. Like many business owners, revenue and growth was important in getting started. But early on, I recognized the necessity for core values. One thing I would tell anyone getting started in business is to identify what you stand for and what your company is about. At Freeit, our core values are Customer Focus, Initiative, Personal & Professional Growth, and Community. This is bigger than IT solutions, it’s about real human growth (not just revenues and profit). I have been most amazed at how powerful this is to the employees, and how this really sets our company apart. It’s so basic, and yet it’s so often missed in larger companies.