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The 2020 State of the Unicorn Address

By | Insight, News

Hello. I’m Jason Fordu, the founder and CEO of Calyx, and welcome to our twenty-twenty State of The Unicorn Address. The purpose of our announcement is to tell you about our accomplishments over the past year, and our plans for the year ahead, both of which are tied to our mission —  to create a better way for you and your organization.

Before I begin, I’d like to address the extraordinary times we’ve been living through recently. We hope that you and your loved ones and your work colleagues have remained safe and healthy during the lockdown and the past few months. We wish to extend our condolences to the families of the 200,000 lives that have been lost here in the U.S., and to the 1,000,000 worldwide. We’re grateful for our ability to weather this storm with you, look forward to the day when a vaccine is available, and normal life can return for us all. But until this day arrives we will continue to do our part to keep you and our employees safe.

A Calyx Milestone: 15 years

This year marks a milestone for Calyx as we celebrated our fifteenth year in business. Many years ago when Calyx was a little upstart out of a garage, I could not have imagined all the wonderful people I would have the privilege to work with and know. People like you, and the incredible team here at Calyx who have dedicated themselves through their hard work and efforts to create our shared vision; which is to ensure happy customers and become the leader of advanced IT solutions to businesses. I have received fulfillment and happiness throughout our shared time together, and I want to thank you for your continued business and support of Calyx as we continue to grow and evolve.

Year in Review

I will start with a review of the past year’s highlights. In response to increasingly more sophisticated cyber threats, we incorporated a next generation security platform. This includes cloud-based software that incorporates advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, combined with a dedicated security team that proactively monitors the Framework environment. This is a powerful solution to combat both existing and future threats to you and your business. To further protect you, we incorporated multi-factor authentication, also known as 2-factor or MFA, into the login process for all machines here, and for any customers who wish to have this technology as part of your organization’s login process.

We fully integrated a cloud-based file sharing system into your Outlook email and file sharing systems, called ShareFile, so you can share data from within and outside your organization easier and safer. We added new monitoring and reporting technologies that automatically test the Framework environment every 5 minutes on uptime availability, the average login times for every Framework desktop, and our overall platform performance. We will begin sharing this new information with you shortly on a monthly basis.

We’ve added several great new team members this past year, starting with Anthony Ruff, who adds a wealth of knowledge and experience to our engineering team. Steven Tyler is part of our tier 3 support team, and handles our most complicated support issues. Mike Micalakis and Mike Kalep are part of our Tier 2 support team and responsible for escalation when required. And Eric Winter is the newest member of our tier 1 support team. On behalf of Calyx I’d like to say how grateful and excited we are for these new team members to join the Calyx family, and we hope you enjoy getting to know all of them as we have.

The Year Ahead

There are five areas to talk about for the year ahead: technology, support, customer experience, marketing, and finance. 

Finance

Due to the economic uncertainty as a result of Covid, all price increases for 2020 have been eliminated. All recent and new investments planned are tied to one of our two promises to you. The first is our product promise, which is to provide you with technology that is easy to use, always available, highly secure, and well-performing. The other is our support promise, which is to provide you with the best people, using the best tools, who serve you with care, friendliness, clarity, and speed, in helping you with your needs.

Technology

I’m excited to announce that the fourth major build of Framework since 2015 was recently completed by our engineering team. This is a completely new build of every aspect of Framework, done with the latest versions of software, on the newest infrastructure and technologies that are presently available. So what does this mean for you? First, we’re maintaining our vision to deliver tomorrow’s technologies today. Second, to increase speed and performance by using some of the best processors and memory available. Third, we’ll have more control over this environment, which enhances our supportability. Fourth, Framework 5.0 will include the newest variants of software such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange, 2019 Server and 2019 SQL. Fifth, we can realize hybrid cloud. We view “Hybrid” as a mix of premise solutions, private cloud, and public clouds. This ability will enable Calyx more flexibility and breadth of the solutions we can deliver to you, while still keeping it safe and easy to use. Lastly, there will be new capabilities when using graphical intensive applications such as web browser videos and remote meetings services such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams — all within your Framework Desktop.

Support

Over the past year, Jenn Layport was elevated to our support manager. Her job is to guide the team on a daily basis, coach and reinforce our service promise, core values, and our mission and goals. She provides individualized training to our support team members, and acts as an escalation point on more complicated issues and requests between the support personnel, engineering team and our new customer experience team.

Customer Experience

To increase our communication, planning, and reporting to clients on a consistent basis, we have created a new Customer Experience Team, led by Walt Ely and Tom Clause. Every client will receive a monthly report informing them of our work, including items such as ticket trend data, our platform performance, average login times, and any recommendation from our engineering team. In addition to the monthly reporting, the Customer Experience Team will work with you to establish a meeting schedule — one that’s based on your needs and preferences. During these scheduled meetings, they will review our reporting data with you, discuss any current or past service events, and ask for your feedback on what’s working or what’s not working. Your feedback will be provided to our entire company for continual service improvement, and any future planning initiatives as a result of your discussions will be provided to our director of Engineering, Antonio Sweeney. Tom Clause is creating a new community for any clients who wish to join. This community is a forum to meet and collaborate with our other clients more easily, and to gain value from one another through experience sharing and learning.

Marketing

We will expand the content of our monthly newsletters to include more tech tips and tricks to help educate and train you and your organization. Information about our industry, more news regarding Calyx and our team members, and things we’ve learned or found to be a value that we want to share.

In closing, there are several areas we are focused on, based on our product and service promises, our mission to create a better way for you, and our goal to ensure happy clients. We’re very excited for the year ahead and we hope you enjoy the value we’re creating for you. If you have any questions about any of the topics I’ve addressed here, please reach out to me or any of our team members to learn more. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you, and on behalf of everyone here at Calyx, we are grateful for your business and continued support.

Kind Regards,

Jason Fordu
Chief Executive Officer

Creating a Better Way Through the COVID-19 Crisis

By | Blog, Inspiration, News

Wow.

A month ago we would have never predicted the situation we’re all in with the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly the streets and offices are empty. Classrooms hold only echoes of their usual inhabitants. And our favorite bars and restaurants are doing all they can to serve loyal patrons from a distance.

That’s what the powers that be are urging us to do. Distance yourself from other people. Social distancing. I suppose it’s a good enough term for drawing back from everything familiar, everything comforting, everything routine. How else do you put a spin on a new way of encountering the world when it’s the opposite of your instincts and usual way of navigating your days.

But it’s the way it has to be right now in order to preserve what we can for our families and customers. And we’ll comply because the stakes are so high. But, I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t end there for us. The underlying code of our business is to “find a better way” and that’s what we intend to do now and long after this pandemic is behind us.

We’re patterning after what national and local officials have determined is the better way for Americans right now. Who would have ever thought that cities becoming ghost towns is a better way? But it is. And can it be a better way to ground airlines? Yes. And dare we say it, can it be a better way to limit toilet paper purchases? You bet.

But the American spirit remains strong. We see it in musicians playing soothing music at their front doors so their neighbors can be transported to other places in their minds if only for a little while. It’s in caravans of teachers driving through local neighborhoods so that they can see their students waving from their front yards and the students can see love, dedication and some sense of security in those familiar faces. And it’s in checking on neighbors to see what you can do for them because they may be hesitant to ask. Those are all better ways of living and probably things we should have been doing anyway.

Maybe the goodness will continue. Who knows what will happen from this point on. But one thing is for sure. For the first time ever in our history, we are all the same—people who share the same fears because of a universal risk. This disease has become the great equalizer of our population. We’re all at ground zero.

But that won’t last. There will be a way out of this. A better way to live and interact with the world. But for the time being, we have put some things in place to support our customers.

We are here to help. This is always number one with us. Let us know what you need and we’ll find a solution.

Our workforce is working remote. We’re in different places but we’re all connected. And our same phone and email support process is in place. Call or email at any time and we’ll respond.

We’re teleconferencing. We can still meet with you but for now we’re doing all meetings via Zoom. We can stay in touch without any health risks for customers or employees.

We have more payment options available. The world is topsy turvy right now so we wanted to provide some payment flexibility that may work better for our customers. We’re offering electronic payment options such as ACH or wire transfer. We can work with you on setting up an electronic process in place of checks as needed at your request.

If you need additional assistance or a better way of doing something, please reach out to us so we can work with you. Rest assured, we will continue our overreaching strategy to find a better way for our operations and customer solutions.

This disease will not stop us. It’s forcing us to look at things differently and somehow that part of this nightmare sits well with us. Because it takes people who can find different perspectives and vantage points to make viable changes. To find a better way.

Calyx Recognized as a 2019 Weatherhead 100 Award Winner

By | Blog, News

Calyx is proud to have been recognized by the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University as a winner of the 2019 Weatherhead 100 award. This award is a recognition of an elite group of companies who are the best example of leadership, growth and success in Northeast Ohio. Qualifications for consideration of the highly coveted award include being a for-profit, independently owned business residing in one of the 16 counties of Northeast Ohio, and growth in net sales from at least $100,000 to at least $1,000,000 over the past five years.

Calyx deploys enterprise IT solutions to small and mid-market businesses. With proven processes, people, technology and support, clients are empowered to work with less risk, hassle and disruption.

Calyx CEO, Jason Fordu said the team was “elated to be recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in Northeast Ohio, especially among such highly respected companies. This honor is a real testament to the commitment of our team to create better ways for our clients to work and prosper.”

Weatherhead 100 awards were established in 1988 by the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, considered among the pre-eminent authorities on the recognition of entrepreneurship.

Calyx will celebrate this outstanding achievement with other fellow Weatherhead winners at the spirited black-tie award ceremony on December 12, 2019.

Calyx is a 2019 NorthCoast 99 Award Winner

By | News

Calyx is proud to be recognized by ERC as one of 99 great Northeast Ohio workplaces for top talent. This is the second time in as many years that our organization has received the NorthCoast 99 Award.

NorthCoast 99 is an annual recognition program and event in its 21st year that honors 99 great Northeast Ohio workplaces for top talent. “More than a business award or event, NorthCoast 99 is a yearlong research project ERC established to help employers make a difference in the lives of people working and living in our 22-county region,” noted ERC senior vice president Carrie Morse, who has overseen the program for the last 17 years.

NorthCoast 99 winners participated in a rigorous application process that asked for detailed information on how their organization addresses top-performer attraction, development, and retention in five distinct areas: organizational strategy, policies, and communication; recruitment, selecting, and onboarding; employee well-being; employee engagement and development; and total rewards.

“We’re truly honored to be recognized by Northcoast 99 as one of the best places to work in Northeastern Ohio. We’ve been very intentional in developing a culture that promises both challenge and opportunity,” says Jason Fordu, CEO. “Our entire team deserves the acknowledgment, because they don’t settle for status quo. They’re always looking to create a better way. They make Calyx who we are.”

“We’re thrilled to recognize and celebrate this year’s NorthCoast 99 award winners! With unemployment at a 49-year-low, the benchmarks for attracting, engaging, and retaining employees are higher than ever. Year after year, winning organizations are raising the bar with increasingly progressive and groundbreaking HR practices and benefits that elevate the experience of their employees,” said Kelly Keefe, president of ERC.

The 2019 NorthCoast 99 Awards program is sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; CareerCurve; Cleveland Magazine; ERChealth; Gino’s Awards; Maloney + Novotny; Mark Wayner Creative; Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis; Oswald Companies; Staffing Solutions Enterprises; and Ultimate Software.

About Calyx

Calyx deploys enterprise IT solutions to small and mid-market businesses, delivering proven processes and the best technology and people to create greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

About ERC

Founded in 1920, ERC helps organizations make their workplaces great by providing expert people solutions that include training, consulting, research, and HR support services. ERC also sponsors the ERChealth insurance program in Ohio. Additional information about ERC and its services can be found at www.yourERC.com.

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Calyx Recognized Among Inc. 5000’s Most Successful Companies

By | News

We’re thrilled to announce that Calyx has been recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s Most Successful Companies in America, earning #5 for companies in the Cleveland Metro area, #26 in Ohio, and #1323 nationally.

Calyx redefines managed services with enterprise IT solutions for small to mid-sized businesses. With a complete ecosystem of enterprise-class IT-as-a-service solutions, from assessment and consulting to a fully-managed cloud environment, network and support, to business intelligence, Calyx empowers clients to work with greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

“Calyx is driven by our purpose to always create a better way for our clients. That requires us to show up as our best selves to anticipate their needs & respond with the best technology & support possible. Our values guide and anchor us. We challenge everything. We do what’s right, and we own it” says Jason Fordu, Calyx CEO.

Inc. is an American weekly magazine which publishes about small businesses and startups. The magazine publishes Inc. 5000, an annual list of the 5000 fastest-growing privately held small companies in the U.S. The list is a distinguished editorial award and a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurial leaders. The Inc. 5000 ranks companies by overall revenue growth over a three-year period. All 5,000 honoree companies are individually profiled on Inc.com. The top 500 are featured in the September issue of Inc. magazine, the leading entrepreneurial advocate for 38 years running. Inc. also ranks the fastest-growing companies by industry, metro area, revenue, and number of employees.