October 03, 2019
MEET 1901 GROUP: James Christopher
Executive Vice President, Operations and Engineering
”We are bringing change to an IT services industry that has operated the same way for a very long time and in the process we are creating career opportunities for some really great people and providing valuable services to our customers – so it’s all very exciting.”
– James Christopher
What do you think gives 1901 Group the advantage in Cloud migration?
Our experience, our people, and the fact that we continue to innovate and invest in our platform. We solve tough challenges associated with migrating complex mission workloads to the cloud, which goes far beyond re-hosting and re-platforming and involves the redesign, refactoring and redevelopment of legacy applications so that they operate within the cloud. We continue to invest in our standards, methods, tools, and techniques which we apply to cloud engagements, and we use a factory approach to the way we structure our teams, break down work, and infuse quality into our work products. Achieving scale in this manner includes heavy use of technology and automation, but also the way in which we identify, hire, train and retain our team members.
What industry trends do you see for Cloud over the next 5 years?
We expect that one of the biggest trends will be the on-going migration and establishment of mission workloads within the cloud for customers who traditionally used the cloud for development, test and non-mission system hosting. In addition, the expansion of multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud solutions across the enterprise will allow customers to optimize workloads based on cost, performance and feature benefits of a particular cloud solution, and in some cases provide cross-cloud redundancies. Open source in the cloud will continue to gain momentum as customers tire of expensive proprietary solutions, rigid enterprise license agreements and vendor lock. There are also technology specific trends that will continue to gain traction such as low code, containerization, serverless, and micro services solutions.
What does “success” for the company look like to you?
1901 Group was founded with a vision of success based on transforming an industry and creating careers for people in areas with an affordable cost of living and a high quality of life. While we continue to strive towards these goals, I can say for certain that our vision has been realized. We are part of a major shift of the way in which IT services are procured and consumed by customers, and the shift to cloud has further fueled the appetite for remote managed operational services. What’s most rewarding is the ability to give back to a community in which I was raised, to help grow a local economy, and to provide hundreds of people the opportunity to create a lasting and meaningful career in IT.
How has your company vision evolved from Day 1 to Today?
The company has evolved but our vision remains the same. Our business began with a focus in the education, state and local government markets. We pivoted in 2012 to focus more on the federal market, as we saw opportunities to achieve our vision and effect change on a broader scale. Since that time, we have invested in our platform, people, and our customers to scale our business and create leverage through process, technology and collaboration, while remaining focused on the vision of transforming the way that people think about IT and the delivery of IT services. A critical element of our success to-date is staying true to our vision, as opposed to settling to become solely a labor hour-based IT services contractor.
What past experiences in your personal or professional career influenced you the most to be in the role you are today?
I spent over 15 years in federal IT contracting within the D.C. area prior to joining 1901 Group. I was very familiar with the business development and growth approach that most IT companies employed, and I had experience running sizeable organizations. While I was happy to have these great experiences and opportunities in industry, I became bored with the standard on-site labor-based delivery models and the “innovative” technical approaches that provided a narrative that supported a lower priced bid – but not a sound method to achieve savings and improve performance. I also become frustrated by the constraints present within the D.C. labor market and knew that we were close to a tipping point in the industry. It was refreshing to see how 1901 Group was the only company thinking about how to solve these complex problems at scale, and I am excited to have the opportunity to play a role in something so transformational.
James is the leader of the company’s Operations and is responsible for the successful development and delivery of 1901 Group’s services. James brings over 25 years of industry experience to 1901 Group and previously served as a corporate executive in both small and large companies focused on delivering Information Technology business solutions and managed services.
As the leader of service delivery, James leverages his experience in growing organizations and delivering high value technology services and solutions across a spectrum of customers in federal, state, and local government; retail and commercial; and higher education markets. He is responsible for the development, engineering and delivery of 1901 Group services, to include those delivered from our 24×7 operations center in Blacksburg. James is a proud alumnus of Virginia Tech where he received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is a lifelong Virginia resident
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