The Bridge Podcast with Chris Cannon from the Cannon Group

Author: Scott Kinka

 

This episode of The Bridge was a special one. First, because it was in person. I don’t get to do a lot of those. And second, because it was with one of our own from Bridgepointe. My guest today is Chris Cannon, founder of the Cannon Group, recently acquired by Bridgepointe Technologies.

Chris is now serving as the managing director of Lifecycle Services for Bridgepointe. Cannon Group is a 20-plus-year-old MSP which focuses on technology, expense management, mobile management, transition projects, and strategic sourcing.

Like most of our episodes, we started talking about their business during the pandemic. They have an inbound contact center for mobile support that needed to be transitioned. They were already on Teams and Teams Voice, so that transition was seamless.

What was not seamless was Chris’s work. He lives only a few miles from the office but he found it easier to work there. He sort of walked around in a surreal, dystopian future, empty office.

One thing that didn’t transition was the mobile deployments out of the business. Mobile staging needs to be done in person. Chris shares a great story about the original convenience store chain, that we hear in the east know very well; Wawa.

For those of you who don’t know, Wawa is a convenience store, sandwich shop, and gas station combo, all over the place. And they’re a customer of Cannon Group. They moved from an iPad based, for doing the online ordering, to a 4,000 iPad rollout, basically overnight. As the mobile desk for Wawa, the Cannon team was receiving, unboxing, staging, applying screen protector test, and then putting the iPad back in the box and shipping it. This was an all-hands-on-deck, with everybody that could be involved from the company working through that.

This again challenges that definition of essential. That’s become a theme through some of our past episodes on data centers and things like that where there are workers you wouldn’t normally consider to be essential. However, these were people literally provisioning the tech necessary for people to be able to order food during the pandemic. I’m not sure it gets any more essential than that.

From there, our discussion dives into discussing the supply chain. People struggled to get laptops and as a mobile support organization, Cannon was getting calls for laptops, because customers were trying anything.

Interestingly, mobile devices weren’t a problem during the pandemic. And it was because we were in an iPhone refresh cycle at that time. New devices were dug into the return to work. We dug into what that means.

We also talked about work-life balance, culture, committees, type job markets, online, happy hours, and what worked and what didn’t work.

Finally, we talked quite a bit about the economy, the looming recession and the macroeconomic environment that we’re walking into. Chris shared his point of view based on hard data.

He shared some of that research at our tech summit in September, that tech budgets will remain firm during the recession, but that money will move over towards more efficiency and cost containment types of initiatives. He also pointed out that there’s usually room in an IT budget if properly managed.

However, the reality is that expense management is not a job that IT people focus their time on. Tech leaders simply don’t have time to focus on something like mobility. Mobility brings savings every year on new plans if properly done. What happens is that it’s low on the list and even businesses that have formal procurement teams who are supposed to be focused on that are not mobile plan experts.

That’s definitely something to think about as you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to fund your IT initiatives in a compressing economy right now. To learn more listen to my discussion with my friend Chris Cannon, Founder and CEO of Cannon Group here in Philadelphia, and now the managing director of Lifecycle Services for Bridgepointe Technologies.

ABOUT CHRIS:

I like to think I’ve had great success helping large organizations and senior IT executives drive efficiencies that have led to exceptional results for over 30 years. Essentially, we help them do more with less. But what I am most passionate and proud of is the company and staff I have built at Cannon Group.

Our mission statement is “Building long-term relationships with clients by over-delivering on value and exceeding their expectations.” I feel we do an amazing job at that, and it’s reflected in the long tenure of our client relationships. Clearly, our staff is doing something right.

My role has evolved into one that focuses on client satisfaction and new solutions we can offer that provide great value and the long-term vision of the firm. Most importantly, I am also focused on motivating and empowering our team by providing a supportive work environment that encourages a healthy work-life balance. It’s a challenging role that I have welcomed and has paid off–this past year we were recognized as a 2018 Top Workplace by Philly.com

My expertise includes: Information technology, telecom strategy, contract negotiation, cost containment, vendor management, new product innovation, business growth and partner alliances.

CONTACT CHRIS:

Web
LinkedIn

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