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11 September 2017
| Jason Mcgee-Abe
Tony Rossabi joined TierPoint four months ago as EVP and chief revenue officer, so Jason McGee-Abe caught up with him to find out his immediate goals in the role and how he aims to grow revenues at the US company
I first met Rossabi at our Miami-based Metro Connect event
in February this year. It was a busy event and he was
constantly in meetings or on the phone, but I managed to
squeeze in half an hour into his schedule. We spoke extensively
about demand for hybrid-multi cloud and digital services. A
month or so later though, a source tipped me off that he had
left Digital Realty and was set to embark on a new venture, one
which we announced at ITW in May.
At the time, Jarrett Appleby, COO of Digital Realty, said
about his departure: "He was ready for change, he has left to
pursue other interests and we’re moving forwards."
It certainly is an industry of change as August has seen
Digital Realty announce that Appleby will step down from the
company, effective 15 September, "to pursue other
Rossabi has grabbed the opportunity to help drive
TierPoint’s growth in the industry with both
hands. He spent time integrating himself into the firm, going
to the grass roots to "understand the environment by visiting
every region and meeting our teams in operations, engineering,
field services, and sales". He did so to identify which areas
"need to be supplemented or augmented and, more importantly, to
spend regular time with our customer base".
"The main areas of focus for me have been to immerse myself
with the organisation, help develop a course of action
– both organisationally and our go to market strategy
- and the company’s new business plan," says
Sales and service
Rossabi’s set himself timeframes for these
areas: "the immediate, which is the first 90 days; the interim,
which is until the end of the year; and the long-term, which is
2018 and beyond."
A big remit of his new position is obviously being tasked
with overseeing revenue growth, alongside managing the
day-to-day operations of the firm’s sales
organisation and contributing to strategic planning, so I ask
him what types of areas he’s looked to address to
"Investing in our future and a significant net expansion of
human resources that will help us further enhance service to
clients and continue delivering a superior customer
experience," says Rossabi. TierPoint announced in early August
that it is actively recruiting nearly 20 new positions in sales
leadership, support, and related functions. All of which will
ultimately report to Rossabi.
"What we realised was the sales team was too small and we
needed to further develop it to accelerate the success already
achieved in winning trust and confidence of a growing roster of
Among other positions, the company is recruiting three
seasoned executives with deep industry experience, each to lead
one of three divisions, covering the Western US, sales
operations, and strategic sales. Sales SVP John Holland, a
TierPoint veteran, will continue to lead the Eastern US sales
Rossabi says that all this should be "up and running by
December". "We’re hiring some very senior
executives, alongside support functions, but we want to get it
right so we’ll spend time finding the right
people," he says. "I’m a big proponent of finding
the right people as opposed to just filling positions."
New revenue streams
Rossabi adds: "We’re continuing to invest in
additional resources for renewals and a strategic accounts
"This is an area that maintains our base revenues whilst
simultaneously growing new revenues. So we’ve
developed a team to focus on renewals and we’re
also hiring a dedicated person to bring carriers into our
The majority of TierPoint’s customer base today
are mid-market enterprises, but "there’s a great
opportunity for carriers to come in and offer diverse routes in
and out of our facilities and offer their services which both
parties, carriers and enterprises, will benefit from".
"We’ve traditionally been focussed on
mid-market enterprise but we’re growing to expand
into three focal areas," admits Rossabi. "These will be for
over-the-top (OTT) providers, large enterprises and
"We’ll continue to maintain our traditional
focus but we’re going to develop these three
specific business areas over the next six to eight months.
We’ve developed a team that’ll be
solely focussed on strategic business and as I said
we’re in the midst of hiring for those roles."
Amid video streaming, virtual reality, driverless cars, and
the internet of things (IoT), data centre capacity demand is
set to surge. Media and content companies will all need
capacity in a growing array of secondary markets, so I ask
Rossabi what how TierPoint’s strategy will evolve
to address and support this need. "We’re well
positioned with respect to our facilities in those edge
markets," he says. "What we need to do is to continue with our
outreach to develop our communities of interest. IoT, media and
content will continue to grow at a rapid pace."
The question’s a timely one because
he’s just read an article on the front page of the
New York Times’ business section, which talks
about this area. "The article is not IoT but content-specific
and tech firms are making a push towards TV," he explains.
It’s targeting companies developing their own
content. This is where a huge opportunity presents itself. "We
want to capture that, avail ourselves of it and showcase that
our facilities within these unique markets are well-positioned
to carry that traffic. By bringing the carriers in and
developing relationships with these specific providers is how
we’re going to capture the market."
Estimates put TierPoint revenues at around $370 million per
year and "growth has been on par with our expectations". "We
have a healthy run rate and, with respect to our sales group,
we continue to see a significant number of new logos and new
monthly recurring revenues. We’re very pleased
with where we’re headed.
Opportunities and challenges
"Our customer base is reasonably interested in growth
outside the US and we have begun to explore partnerships," says
the Rossabi, who has 20 years’ experience in
driving growth and innovation for tech and telecom
"As we continue to receive more and more requests for Europe
or other parts of the world, we will explore.
We’re in conversations with a UK-based provider
that has quite similar services to what we provide. At this
juncture we haven’t finalised this but
we’re definitely exploring how we can support our
customers’ needs outside the US."
The data centre market continues to grow and prosper at
record levels and most of the public real estate investment
trusts (REITs) are recording exceptional statistics in growth.
There are public cloud players out there, but Rossabi says
"there’s a definite need for the all-encompassing
data centre and hybrid IT provider".
"Our suite of services is quite
extensive in terms of security, hybrid IT, and our managed
services. We have a robust offering and it will enable us to
spend more time with OTTs and carriers. We’re
flexible in terms of the offerings we’re able to
provide and tailor to our customers’ needs."
Rossabi says it’s imperative to keep in mind
traffic that’s passing through its data centres,
cloud or managed network services, contains critical data. "So
we’re continually analysing traffictrends to help
keep building scalability and enhance trust with customers with
leading-edge tech to support all their needs.
We’re prepared and ready for exceptional
TierPoint has over 40 data centres in 20 US markets, but
what’s in store for the company over the next
year? Rossabi says there are many plans afoot, including a new
state-of-the-art data centre opening in Broken Arrow, Tulsa -
its fourth facility in Oklahoma. "The Tulsa data centre is key
to our growth within that specific region," says Rossabi.
TierPoint has partnered with Dallas-based Compass
Datacenters and it envisions the new facility, which will
have approximately 60,000 sq ft of total space, will be
completed later this year. "At the end of September,
we’re also about to complete an expansion of our
Tier 3-certified Nashville data centre." TierPoint is certainly
earmarked for growth and it was recently included in
Cloudscene’s Q2 top ten US data centre operator
leaderboard (see page 59)."