Confessions of an Entrepreneur: Technology Is a Differentiator, Even for Tech Companies

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Image credit: Washington University in St. Louis

Chris Kadel of Polaris Solutions shares his experiences leveraging technology for the good of his brand.

Offering customer software solutions for clients, Polaris Solutions is obviously driven by technology. As president of the company, Chris Kadel affirms that technology is an integral part of his day and critical to the company’s success. Recently, Business.com spoke with Kadel about the tech he couldn’t live without and which programs and tools give his company a leading edge over his competitors.

Q: What devices do you use daily?

A: Kadel utilizes the usual suspects day to day – an iPhone, PCs, even his Apple Watch. But it isn’t just his watch and smartphone that makes moving around easy. “I use my iPhone XS, Apple Watch and a combination of several desktop and PCs that are synchronized to enable frictionless location changing,” he said.

Q: What technology do you use to get ahead of your competition?

A: As software solutions developers, technology is common among Kadel’s competitors. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t tools that keep Polaris ahead of other software companies. In fact, he said, “if I had to filter down to what helps us get ahead of the competition, I’d have to say something as simple as our CRM (pipedrive.com), which I must say, I’m a raving fan of. It helps my go-to-market team keep up to date and personalize our communication outbound.”

Polaris doesn’t just get an advantage from its business software, though. Kadel states, “When we’re building software, we make heavy use of Microsoft’s Azure DevOps to relentlessly, continuously and quickly deliver value to our customers.”

Q: Is technology a significant enabler for your business?

A: Yes, answers Kadel emphatically, and technology goes far beyond business operations and into the realm of customer value. “When we’re building software for our customers, the ability to use Azure DevOps to transparently communicate status back to stakeholders while delivering continuously to a working environment … [it] was a game changer when these tools and process entered the market, and we’re very happy to be ‘all in.'”

Q: Has social media influenced your business at all, from internal employee policies to the way you promote your company?

A: Social media is important to Polaris, both as a promotional tool and for internal communications. Polaris uses social media to show off the expertise of the team. “We encourage our team members to have their own personal (and professional) brand publicly available,” Kadel explains. “We hope that by projecting confidently into the online world our skill and team, we will continually win in the marketplace.” More than that, though, Kadel’s team makes use of social media inside the company. “We have been fostering an internal social network through Slack, internal blogging [and] internal vlogging as well.”

Q: Have you had to adapt your business because of security concerns brought about by the increased use of technology?

A: Because of their industry, Polaris has always been information-security sensitive. In today’s world, that strong security base allows Kadel and his team to quickly adapt to new security concerns and changes. “Things like GDPR and other data governance compliance standards that [have] been encouraged and [are] now enforced by our customers has certainly validated that approach and encouraged us to keep innovating on security,” Kadel says. It isn’t always easy, though, and staying vigilant sometimes comes at a cost. “There often is a tradeoff between security and convenience in the world today.”