An Interview with Howard Trivett – Extreme’s Champion of the Quarter

Meet Howard Trivett of Maintel, Extreme’s Champion of the quarter

Why are you passionate about Extreme?

The strength and the adaptability of Extreme’s products make me a really passionate advocate. These solutions help address and overcome our customers’ challenges and requirements.

You’re a highly knowledgeable partner who helps customers get where you believe they need to go. What arguments do you usually find most compelling when positioning Extreme as part of Maintel solutions?

It’s about the adaptability and the ease of integration of Extreme solutions. With businesses increasingly moving applications into the cloud, Extreme’s approach to cloud enables organizations to have a central control pane that gives them visibility and control over all aspects of their networks, including wireless and switches. Another Extreme selling point is the ease of managing configuration changes that can be done on a wide scale and on a single portal.

With 20 years of experience in sales and business development in the IT industry, what part of the sales cycle do you consider to be your favorite?

Getting a good understanding of the customers’ requirements and finding a solution that addresses their challenges and fulfills their needs and budget is what really gives me a buzz. So the initial part of the sales cycle. It also includes understanding the potential business outcomes that result from deploying an Extreme solution. That means moving the conversation away from technology and talking about what those potential business outcomes are when investing in Extreme.

Tell us about how Maintel balances acting as a trusted advisor without allegiance to any one vendor.

As a business we always look at the best solutions available to us that will address our customers’ needs and requirements. In a project for a large retailer, we weighed the various options available. What Extreme brought to the table was an integrated solution that we could quickly and easily implement with the minimum of fuss, while also providing the customer with increased flexibility in terms of rollout, availability of hardware, and payment.

Last quarter brought another big win to your list of Extreme achievements ― a large,  network refresh for a major National Health Service customer in East Midlands. Could you walk us briefly through this interesting project?

Over the last 18 months we’ve been working with a large NHS Trust on a transformational project to refresh a lot of their end-of-life and end-of-support equipment ― including switches and access points. Part of the process we went through was having detailed discussions with the various stakeholders to get a better understanding of what the new switch infrastructure needed to look like and how best to secure devices connected to the network. Plus, it had to deliver a superior customer Wi-Fi experience. Since then, we’ve been in discussion with the customer around how we can prevent a connected device from getting access to certain areas of the network based on a new NAC solution. It  subsequently evolved into a new order.

What tipped the scales in your favor?

My wife is a ward manager at a different trust and during this process I was able to probe her to understand some of the key challenges she and her peers face on a daily basis. For example, doctors and nurses would prefer to use smart tablets to record vitals in real time, however due to a lack of Wi-Fi signal this was never possible, so it meant having to rely on paper and writing up notes on a centralized PC which was rarely available. It became clear that technology became the enabler to deliver superior patient care where consultants could roam around the trust and have a consistent experience to update their EPR systems.

For healthcare organizations, secure connectivity is of the utmost importance. As a  secure infrastructure specialist, what do you see as the biggest challenges your customers are facing today in their efforts to build and maintain a solid security posture?

The biggest challenge is maintaining data security. In healthcare settings, the privacy and security of personal data and healthcare devices is required by law. This sector has become a primary target of cybercrime. Several years ago, the security threat became all too real when the WannaCry cyberattack severely disrupted 80 hospital trusts and led to 19,000 appointments being cancelled. This situation underlined the need to have security and reliability at the forefront of the NHS digital transformation journey. As Elizabeth Giugno, head of category for cybersecurity at Crown Commercial Service (CCS), recently pointed out, the NHS sector has seen a significant increase in cyberattacks since the beginning of the pandemic.

How do you like to celebrate a big win? And conversely, how do you overcome a missed opportunity?

I’m not one for celebrating wildly but I do like to make a point of recognizing everyone who has worked on a project, even if it’s a simple pat on the back for a job well done or a beer or two for the whole team as part of a celebration. For business we don’t win, I look at where we went wrong and how we could have addressed the challenges for the customer differently and apply those to future customer opportunities.

From David Bowie to Ed Sheeran, from Kate Bush to Adele, Great Britain has produced some of the most iconic bands and artists in the history of music. Following our tradition of asking our Extreme Heroes and Extreme Champions from the UK which famous British act they would compare Extreme to, what artist would you choose?

It would have to be the Stones front man Mick Jagger for his amazing energy and flexibility on stage. If you are an Extreme partner and would like to become an Extreme Champion, visit our Extreme Portal.
About the Author
Kilynn Sommer
Vice President Global Channel Marketing and Partner Programs

Kilynn is a bilingual marketing leader with a proven track record of driving growth and organizational effectiveness. She leads our global channel marketing and partner programs.

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