Meet Kenny Kinley – Reimagining Technology in a Post-Pandemic Workforce

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The Advertising Review, one of the best Business Advertising Magazine that provides the latest news in advertising, business, marketing, startups, technology and finance, selected Kenny Kinley, President and CEO of Edafio Technology Partners to share more about Arkansas’s largest full-service technology provider and what it means to reimagine technology in a post-pandemic workforce.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

Our team has done amazingly well during the pandemic. We went from a predominantly in-office model across our three locations to an entirely home-based model in the course of just a couple of days. There were some challenges for a few of our associates, but most of us made the transition very well. Several of our associates tell us that they are much more productive working from home, so I believe this transition and the learning we’ve gained from it will help us long-term.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

I studied to be an accountant and completed my CPA certification, but my first job out of school was with a technology company. I was very fortunate to work for a great organization that put me on a leadership track very early, so I have benefited from being in various technology leadership roles for over 25 years. My accounting background —in addition to many great leadership mentors — has helped me advance my career. I joined Edafio Technology Partners in 2010 to help start a sales team. We were a very small company back then, so seeing it grow over the last ten plus years has been an amazing ride. I was named President/CEO in January 2020… a crazy time to step into the role, but we have an incredible leadership team that has helped our company navigate through the pandemic.

How does your company innovate?

Our primary source of innovation has been the talented and innovative technical associates we hire, motivate and retain. Fresh ideas and new ways to help our clients run and protect their business consistently come from our associates. The most interesting part of this for me is the level of innovation we see from our entry-level associates. Whether it comes from people we have hired directly out of college or even from our college intern program. We are continually amazed by the technical depth of these young men and women and the quality of new ideas they generate to help us support our clients.

How does the Coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on our clients’ businesses… so it has had the corresponding effect on ours because Edafio exists to serve those clients. Several of our existing clients had financial struggles stemming from the pandemic, and this resulted in delays or cancellations of projects, in addition to some clients needing to reduce the size of their support agreements. Another challenge we encountered was on the new client acquisition front. Many companies did not have the desire to evaluate a new technology partner during the pandemic, so our new business pipeline slowed considerably. Other negative effects came about through delays in the supply chain for receiving hardware, like PCs, servers, and storage for our clients. The hardware shortage has been a global issue, so delays and shortages have impacted us and other businesses. 

I should add that not all of the pandemic impact has been negative. I mentioned the extent we have learned to work remotely, which has brought new flexibility. It is also important to acknowledge that our clients have encountered new operational, security, and communication challenges due to the pandemic, including many issues that technology can help to solve. Given that we are committed to being an indispensable partner, client problems represent new opportunities for Edafio to help solve. 

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Like most companies during this pandemic, we had to take a hard look at all of our expenses given the business impacts I described above. We were fortunate to retain all of our associates, so I am incredibly proud of that choice. We did have to make some expense adjustments around things like marketing and training, but those were not hard choices if it meant retaining our team. We learned through the small sacrifices the importance of adaptation and resilience, and we also have newfound gratitude for the value of our work and the importance of our human relationships. 

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

In January of 2020, we adopted the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) methodology from the book Traction by Gino Whitman. I can’t overstate how great this has been for our company. With all the distractions and my transition to a new role, this system helped us stay focused on the right things and gave us all a common language and methodology for leading, running, and growing Edafio. It would have been really easy to get distracted last year without a system and framework that made the whole organization more disciplined, goal-oriented, and results-driven.  

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

There are many capable technology companies in Arkansas, and we typically compete with companies like PCA, Mainstream, and Quadrivium. Our size is one competitive advantage: we are the largest managed IT services company in the state. And size and scale are essential to supporting a large number of clients across various industries. We have also found a competitive edge in our model, which is to be on-site with clients as much as possible … at a time where most companies in our industry want to do remote-only support. We strive to be an extension of our client’s business, and it is difficult to deliver on that in a remote, reactive model. Being on-site, putting the client first, and demonstrating our personal commitment is core to our company, and it is how Edafio helps our clients run, protect and grow their businesses.

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