IT By Design’s Sunny Kaila: Train AI Like You Train Your Dog
‘AI cannot replace your job as you use your associative thinking. AI cannot create the connection. Look at AI as your dog and the way you train your dog, then train your AI that way,’ says IT By Design’s Sunny Kaila.
As the technology landscape rapidly evolves with more AI built into every day IT processes, IT By Design’s Sunny Kaila still believes talent is at the heart of everything.
And an organization’s talent must train the AI.
“AI cannot replace your job as you use your associative thinking,” Kaila, founder and CEO of the Marlboro, NJ-based master MSP, told CRN. “AI cannot create the connection. Look at AI as your dog and the way you train your dog, then train your AI that way,”
That’s why companies still must lead with a people-first mindset and still focus on talent, he said.
The new talent operating system in Team GPS, IT By Design’s performance management system, will help an organization’s talent-first mindset. The software tool includes enhanced strategy and goal capabilities, ensuring employees on why their work matters and the impact it has on their organization’s growth. The tool also offers performance reviews, employee scorecards and one-on-one meetings.
To further assist MSPs with talent, IT By Design launched its BOT model: Build, Operate, Transfer, and Talent Pods, which will enable MSPs to add overseas talent that is fully trained by IT By Design. This allows them to scale up profitability and security while using offshore talent to monitor networks 24/7, 365 days a year.
“We will fly to those countries and build the NOC for MSPs,” Kaila (pictured) said. “We’ll hire people for you. We’ll train them with our MSP Learning and Development Division and we’ll onboard them. And it becomes an extension of your team. Not only does it create jobs, it’s economical for the MSP as they cannot create more wealth without expanding their talent.”
CRN sat down with Kaila at ITBD’s Build IT Live conference in Orlando, Fla. last week to discuss talent initiatives, why he thinks AI isn’t taking jobs and what’s to come for IT By Design.
What's your secret sauce to finding talent?
It’s culture. We don’t only do it on the walls and on paper, we do it at the heart level with our people. Every Friday morning I do a session with my team on health or their career or their relationships. Every week we do yoga meditation. I brought in my sleep doctor. We focus on our mental health. Every team member at IT By Design has a life plan. They put together how they want to live life and their bucket list items. We support that by bringing in resources and experts to support their life, not their paycheck.
We are doing it very intentionally and making so much progress. The secret sauce is basically life by design. For our team members, supporting their life by design plan builds culture.
What is the biggest mistake vendors or MSPs make when it comes to the talent search and maintaining talent?
It’s an afterthought. They’re normally worried about sales and marketing teams and how to win more customers. They don’t have the structure and strategy in place to have the right talent. They always have to have a people-first mindset to understand what they’re team members needs and wants are and add value to them.
How does talent play into the growing AI landscape?
AI cannot replace your job as you use your associative thinking. AI cannot create the connection. Look at AI as your dog and the way you train your dog, then train your AI that way.
Is IT By Design implementing AI into its products?
Yes. Some team members’ job duties will change but they’re training the AI. Other stuff that they don’t need to do will be outsourced to AI. We created Career By Design for every team member where we brought in AI experts to train them on what they need to do to keep their job with AI coming. You have to upskill yourself and learn what AI can do and what AI cannot do.
Why launch the talent operating peer groups?
With over 20 years of IT By Design experience in terms of talent, we’ve made a lot of mistakes. We learned a lot and we want to share with this community what we have learned in terms of building our company based on talent. Anything that you do, and your mindset is people first and pay it forward, you say, ‘What have you learned? What best practices can you share? How can you simplify it and share it with the community that you care about?’ I wanted to create a talent-thinking tool for MSPs, so the talent operating system is a framework that helps MSPs think about their talent in terms of attracting talent, hiring talent, developing and leading talent.
IT By Design also now has a BOT model: Build, Operate, Transfer. Tell me more about that.
When I was an MSP in New York City in 2007, we were less than 10 people and there were not many service providers out there where I could go to for a quality 24/7 NOC [network operations center]. The BOT model is where people don’t have the superpower of building a global talent capability, so we are building the talent part for them. The number one challenge for MSPs is to find a NOC at night and on weekends. So we have people in India, Philippines, South Africa and Costa Rica.
We will fly to those countries and build the NOC for MSPs. We’ll hire people for you. We’ll train them with our MSP Learning and Development Division and we’ll onboard them. And it becomes an extension of your team. Not only does it create jobs, it’s economical for the MSP as they cannot create more wealth without expanding their talent.
Where does IT By Design stand in terms of M&A?
I don’t want to sell. I’m too young to sell. This gives us a purpose, so as far as I can see I want to continue that. We are open [to acquiring] anything related to a talent platform. I want to be known as talent. If someone is having talent problems, in any shape or form, I want them to think Sunny. I want them to think IT By Design.
What’s to come from IT By Design in 2024?
The highest impact that I want to make on the channel is solving their talent problem, and that talent can be AI talent, cybersecurity talent or cloud talent. My commitment to the channel is that I’m going to give them the system and the frameworks to solve their AI, cybersecurity and cloud talent problems. People are having a hard time managing productivity. People are working remotely and the leader doesn’t know what everyone is doing. The need is to clearly define the criteria and then have a rhythm on a quarterly basis or monthly basis to measure and have that conversation or what’s working, what’s not working. The scorecard piece in Team GPS helps them do that. There is a one-on-one meeting mechanism that helps them with the rhythm and it connects with their goals and strategy of the business.
We are bringing in, on top of that, the talent operating system framework. Using only the tool is not going to do it. If they use the tools and they use the system, they can solve their talent problems.