Joseph Vijay, APC by Schneider Electric’s former general manager of channels, alliances and operations in the Pacific region, has taken on CEO duties at IT electrical services provider Intelli-Systems.
The move sees Vijay – who previously held local leadership roles at NTT and Harbour MSP before heading to the vendor side of the channel when he joined Schneider in 2018 – return to his roots as a partner player in the local channel ecosystem.
Based in Melbourne, Intelli-Systems is an APC by Schneider Electric premier partner and a Schneider Electric authorised reseller, as well as being an Eaton authorised ‘power advantage’ partner and a Vertiv ‘diamond’ solution provider.
The company, which also claims a Sydney presence and a national reach, is a specialist in critical infrastructure uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems.
With Intelli-Systems being an important Schneider Electric partner in the local market since its inception in 2018, Vijay had known the company’s directors and co-founders, Glen Montgomery and Luke Jacker, for years before they approached him about potentially joining the company.
For Vijay, who left Schneider in August to prioritise looking after his family amid the depths of the pandemic, the opportunity was one he couldn’t resist.
“The business is at such an important phase of its journey,” Vijay told ARN. “Intelli-Systems has secured an impressive customer base, with recurring business with a number of them. And they’ve been doing some innovative work around collaboration and partnerships.
“For me to have this opportunity to come on board and build upon what they’ve already done as a team, I’ve always wanted to come back into a business of this size. I always wanted to come back to a business that was going through that process and to hopefully lead it.
“When Glen and Luke approached me about this role it was music to my ears,” he added.
Both Montgomery and Jacker have worked for APC by Schneider Electric over the course of their respective careers in the IT electrical services space.
Together, the pair have built a solid and successful business with Intelli-Systems. But Montgomery and Jacker, both with technical backgrounds, recognised that bringing on additional, non-technical skills could help the company take its next step in terms of growth.
“When we started the business, we had big visions and big goals and, as that progressed, we were very fortunate to have had quite a bit of success,” Montgomery told ARN. “We also identified that there were areas where we could find the right people to support that growth.
“Surrounding ourselves with people that could fit those roles was really important, and getting the culture right was really important.
“We wanted to find someone that had the culture that we really felt was at the core but had the experience of a more ‘academic’ background, as well as the experience of being with a company this size and bringing it to the next level,” he added.
A contributing factor in the decision to bring on someone like Vijay arose from the strategic shift the company needed to take after the onset of COVID-19.
“The customers changed quickly, it was a dramatic change to our turnover,” Montgomery said. “We were heavily in the transport industry and when COVID hit, we had one option: to support our people.”
So, the company looked at how it could grow despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. The business stabilised and had some small wins. Once that happened, the leadership team began thinking about how to do business in a way that might require elements that were outside of what was possible with its existing skill-set.
“Glen and I are technical people,” Jacker said. “We’re all technical people and we needed someone else to help us focus our strengths on where we needed to go. You’ve got to surround yourself with people who are better than you.”
For Vijay, with a professional history steeped in sales leadership, the opening was there for the ex-Schneider executive to bring those skills required to build out the parts of Intelli-Systems that the company needed to grow even further as the country emerged from COVID-19.
And he’s already talking the talk.
"Intelli-Systems has built robust foundations and great services and a customer focus that seemed to hold them in good stead, even through some challenging years,” he said. “There’s a huge potential in the market.
“From the data centre perspective, there are opportunities, particularly with organisations needing to become much more environmentally conscious – we’re getting more serious about how we manage social responsibility.
“So how can Intelli-Systems be a part of that and leverage the knowledge and the teams we already have, how can we use that to spur accelerated growth?” Vijay said. “We don’t want to fall into the trap of being reactive.”
From Montgomery’s perspective, he’d like to make sure that, going forward, his company is maintaining its quality and that its team can have more stability, with workloads that are more manageable.
“And by doing that, it may be a case of streamlining our service offerings rather than reacting to a solution, which often takes a lot more work,” he said. “We’ll really focus on what our key offerings are and let it evolve from that under Joseph’s leadership.”