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Sherry Vaswani

Xalient:Pioneering Innovations in Network Transformation

In the realm of technological advancement and network optimization, a burgeoning industry is paving the way for innovative solutions to connectivity challenges. This industry is characterized by its commitment to enhancing security, efficiency, and adaptability in the digital landscape.

A prominent player within this sphere is Xalient, dedicated to revolutionizing network connectivity and cybersecurity technologies, empowering global brands to navigate the complexities of modern business with confidence. Founded in 2015, this company has emerged as a beacon of innovation, harnessing transformative technologies to empower enterprises worldwide.

Central to this company’s success is its visionary Founder and CEO, Sherry Vaswani. With a steadfast dedication to customer-centric innovation, Sherry epitomizes the ethos driving this company’s dynamic approach to network transformation. Under her leadership, the company has established itself as a trailblazer in the UK market, consistently pushing boundaries and pioneering new solutions to meet the evolving needs of clients.

Let’s delve in to learn more:

Can you provide an overview of your company’s core mission and values and how they align with fostering innovation?

Xalient helps users and devices connect to applications and data, securely and efficiently.

We combine transformative identity, software-defined network, security, and cybersecurity technologies with intelligent managed services, underpinned by innovative AIOps technologies, to help the world’s top brands become more adaptable, resilient, and responsive to change.

Driven by a passion for putting customers first, our forward-thinking, results-driven approach provides the foundation for secure network transformation. We help our customers optimize cloud-based application performance and provide a dependable and positive experience. That’s why the world’s top brands choose Xalient to help them innovate, differentiate, and accelerate their business.

Founded in 2015, our commitment to entrepreneurial innovation and a set of core values, collectively known as ‘Xalient’s DNA,’ has been instrumental in driving our success. These values guide everyday behaviors and are deeply integrated into all aspects of our organization, from role descriptions and progression paths to individual and team awards and our entire performance management system.

What do you believe sets your company apart as one of the most innovative in the UK market?

At Xalient we challenge conventional thinking and pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technological advancement, discovering ingenious new ways to solve our customers’ problems so they can achieve a competitive advantage.

Xalient was ‘born in the cloud’ where rapid deployment and remote management of new software-defined networks, cloud-driven security, identity, access, and communication solutions are the norm. However, with innovation at the forefront of our approach, seeking to provide visibility and predictive monitoring, Xalient, in partnership with the University of Bradford, created our ground-breaking AIOps platform, MARTINA, which provides an exceptional ability to observe, predict, and resolve issues throughout the network, from users and devices to apps and data. MARTINA is transforming the way organizations deal with complex landscapes and the ongoing threat of cyber-attacks. Addressing challenges like these through our own innovation is exactly what Xalient does best and makes us a natural choice for forward-thinking global enterprises.

How does your company prioritize and encourage a culture of innovation among employees?

At Xalient, we pride ourselves on having a diverse team of employees, all of whom are passionate about what they do, always keen to challenge conventional thinking, and, most of all, care about delivering business results for our clients.

Our employees don’t just skim the surface, they immerse themselves in the complexities, nuances, and innovation in technologies, offering unparalleled depth of knowledge to pursue new initiatives and accelerate digital transformation.

In 2022, we further reinforced our strong cultural foundation by introducing a Culture and Inclusion (C&I) Programme. This initiative aimed to strengthen company-wide alignment, fostering long-term success by unifying employees around our purpose, values, and a sense of belonging. This dynamic program consolidated values, career development, diversity, inclusion, well-being, and communication activities, ensuring a holistic approach to employee engagement.

At the core of our success lies the Culture and Inclusion Champions – employees chosen for their advocacy skills, ability to listen, and capacity for driving positive change. These Champions facilitate two-way communication, complemented by regular company meetings, team briefings, and social events.

We aim to make Xalient a fantastic place to work. The C&I program ensures a healthy, skilled, and engaged team that upholds Xalient’s high standards of client service and fosters continuous employee growth.

Our recognition as a Sunday Times Best Place to Work in 2023 speaks volumes about the success of our inclusive efforts. However, it’s not just about accolades; it’s about the positive impact on social responsibility, feedback quality, suggestion recognition, and manager relationships, as reflected in our Vibe feedback scores ranging from 7.9 to 8.7/10 for a relationship with a manager, 7.7/10 for happiness 8.3/10 for a relationship with peers and 8/10 for personal growth.

How does your company stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies to maintain its position as a leader in innovation?

We rely deeply on understanding our customer’s requirements and speak with them constantly to understand their challenges while remaining abreast of what solutions and technologies are likely to emerge. This is evidenced by the fact that while Xalient was established as an SD-WAN company, we identified the need to develop a more holistic understanding and expertise around end-to-end security and connectivity. This led to the creation of our Zero Trust framework and consequently led to our expansion into Identity and Cybersecurity.

It is through the constant feedback we receive from customers that we are able to stay ahead both in our strategic partnership, the technologies we specialize in, and the developments we look to bring into our AIOps suite of technologies.

How do you foster collaboration and cross-functional teamwork to fuel innovation within your organization?

Xalient’s leadership remains steadfast in cultivating a workplace where employees are inspired to thrive. We prioritize transparent communication through regular monthly ‘all hands’ and quarterly ‘town hall’ meetings, fostering a culture of openness and collaboration. Feedback is actively sought and utilized, both through these forums and the Office Vibe monthly survey, providing a comprehensive understanding of team engagement.

Providing the right tools is crucial for job satisfaction. Whether working from home or in modern office spaces designed for creativity and collaboration, we ensure our team has the necessary equipment. Using cutting-edge technology like Teams and SharePoint fosters strong teamwork while prioritizing cyber protection through regular training to keep everyone safe online.

Guided by six DE&I commitments of respect, creativity, excellence, belonging, health, and collaboration, we strive to create an environment that goes beyond policies, making inclusion a lived experience.

Beyond the confines of our internal operations, our ESG commitment propels us towards social and charity activities that underscore the power of teamwork. Virtual events, thoughtfully crafted for remote workers, seamlessly facilitate collaboration and foster camaraderie. Our digital hub, powered by Microsoft Teams, serves as a tie for communication, housing our comprehensive intranet and Culture & Inclusion program resources.

What role does leadership play in fostering innovation within your company, and how do you encourage a culture of experimentation and risk-taking?

The leadership team at Xalient has an important role in driving a culture of innovation and remains steadfast in cultivating a workplace where employees are inspired to thrive. Our commitment to leadership development is exemplified by the introduction of the STAR Manager program, a new initiative for 2024, focusing on training managers to become effective leaders. Recognizing the importance of coaching and mentoring skills, we have invested in a six-month training program for our first-line managers, dedicating one hour per week online. This investment is not just in their professional development but also aims to enhance their ability to coach and mentor, ultimately contributing to higher retention rates.

Leadership visibility is key at Xalient, with board members personally involved in every new hire to ensure cultural fit and demonstrate a commitment to our values. Weekly recognition of individual and team achievements fosters pride within the organization, and the Career Hub provides ongoing learning opportunities tailored to individual needs, fostering a strong learning culture.

Our Mentoring Programme, involving senior leaders, is an integral part of employees’ career paths, contributing to senior and management appointments being filled internally.

The leadership team’s passion, support, and encouragement significantly impact employee morale and motivation, reinforcing our commitment to living Xalient’s values every day. Our CEO serves as a role model in the industry, championing diversity and acting as an inspiration to all.

In the latest Office Vibe survey, leadership scored exceptionally well, with ratings of 8.7/10 for the relationship between employees and their managers, 7.4/10 for the quality of feedback from managers, 7.4/10 for recognition, and 7.0/10 for overall engagement. These figures are a testament to the effectiveness of our leadership in creating a positive and inspiring workplace culture.

How does your company measure the success and effectiveness of its innovative efforts?

We are continually innovating our solutions and capabilities to be at the forefront of technological advancement and discovering ingenious new ways to solve our customers’ problems so they can achieve a competitive advantage. As such, we measure our success and the effectiveness of our innovations by our customer’s success as we recognize that their success is our success.

What advice would you give to other companies striving to enhance their innovation capabilities and be recognized among the most innovative in the UK?

Start by listening to your customers. They have challenges that require innovative solutions to accelerate their growth and achieve their objectives. It is through listening to our customers that our Xalient offerings, such as our AIOps solution, MARTINA, have adapted and evolved to meet the changing needs of our customers and address the challenges that businesses are facing today.

How do you ensure that your company remains agile and adaptable to changing market conditions and customer needs in its pursuit of innovation?

Being an entrepreneur, I understand the need to be agile and adaptable to changing market conditions. Although Xalient has expanded into a global organization with over 300 employees, we continue to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset of adapting, evolving, and innovating to meet the changing market conditions.

Can you discuss any future innovation strategies or initiatives your company is planning to implement to maintain its competitive edge in the UK market?

We are constantly evolving and looking at how we can implement innovative strategies to maintain a competitive edge. We acquired two companies last year in the identity space (Grabowsky and Integral Partners) and this has evolved not only our offering but also our global footprint. Our latest advanced module in our intelligent AIOps suite, MARTINA Predict (2.0) is just about to launch and a significant new capability in this version is its groundbreaking event correlation which enables MARTINA Predict 2.0 to identify links between different sources of identity, network, and security information and predict faults. By correlating context from multiple domains, MARTINA Predict 2.0 not only has the ability to spot anomalies, but it can subsequently build them into MARTINA so they can be automated. Based on MARTINA’s AI learning capability combined with Xalient’s dedicated data scientists MARTINA Predict 2.0 can forecast the future, identify issues before they happen, and compare real-time telemetry.