World class end-user experience and technology in focus for our new CTO

18-01-2018

– The cloud and cloud services will become more and more dominant. However, the absence of physical servers and other infrastructures means that knowledge about technology will become even more important. It will be more about utilizing technology commercially for the benefit of customers and users, and less about running operations that will get automated.

Says Sven Ole Skrivervik, Basefarm's new CTO as of January 2018. A lot has happened since he wrote his first code and got his bachelor in computer science at the University of Bergen in 1989.

Les pressemelding: Sven Ole Skrivervik ny CTO i Basefarm

 

 

Technologically curious

– No matter what positions I have had within management, sales and customer service, a deep curiosity for technology has been my foundation and motivation, says Skrivervik.


"The curiosity and in-depth interest for technology has been my foundation, no matter what position I've had within management, sales and customer service."
Sven Ole Skrivervik, CTO Basefarm


The Skrivervik name is inseparably linked to the development of the Norwegian IT industry. As a student, Skrivervik worked part-time at the University's IT department and at Skrivervik Data. It was founded by his brother Helge, but Sven Ole eventually got a key role in the business as well.

He went straight from student life to full-time employment in 1989. During the first two years, he established and managed the company's office in Bergen. Then, throughout the next two years, he was in charge of the company's entire software support division. From there, he went on to manage all the consultancy activities until 1994, leading the presale operations until 1996, and becoming the product and market manager for server, storage and operating systems.

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“Basefarm was something for me”

– I was contacted by a recruitment company. Even though the originator was initially anonymous, I quickly realized based on the tasks which company that was behind the inquiry. It would be a change for me after several years in telecom. However, when such an interesting company contacted me, I concluded that this was something for me.

That perception is shared by Basefarm's CEO Fredrik Ohlsen.

«I am pleased to have Sven Ole Skrivervik on board and look forward to develop tomorrow's solutions for business-critical IT operations with him.»
Fredrik Ohlsén, CEO Basefarm

Ohlsen and Skrivervik share many thoughts about the development within this field. In his 2017 Christmas greeting to all of Basefarm's business relations, Ohlsen wrote about the importance of embracing change. Ohlsen has launched two major development projects in the organization.

In one of the projects, Ohlsen deals with Basefarm of today, and aims at competence building, automation of routine tasks and technological innovation. In the second project, he has put together a team of employees who are encouraged to think freely about what Basefarm will look like in the near future.

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Knows Basefarm

– Basefarm's technological world and business areas are not unknown to me, he smiles.

He has met with Basefarm and its management many times throughout the years, including staying in touch with the entrepreneurs Bjart Kvarme and Grethe Viksaas, with the latter also from the time before Basefarm.

– Basefarm has shown strength from the very beginning. The company is a clear success story and is frequently present in the media.

Nor is Skrivervik an unfamiliar name in the media. He has been an active participant, commenting on technology news, acting as the end user's spokesman, debating with the Post and Telecommunications Authority, and sharing news related to the businesses he has been active in.

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Big data before the term was invented

Among them is Kværner, who helped, as an IT manager to provide information from a variety of Norwegian and international sources for a tool that would improve shipyards's role in negotiations with their suppliers.

– It was actually a kind of Big Data experience. We made a tool that was far ahead of its time – and we failed to get conservative shipbuilders to use it. It was the secretaries who used computers in those environments in the early days!

From 1999 to 2003 he was a key player in the development of Sun Microsystems Norway, a company that was more or less synonymous with internet development. He was responsible for product sales and marketing, including partnerships and media contact. Keeping in touch with partner organizations and the media is also something that excites him in his new job.

In the ISP launch BlueCom, Skrivervik was responsible for establishing a national communications infrastructure behind a DSL deployment in the Norwegian market, before moving on to Catch Communication and Ventelo Norway through acquisitions. A part of his resume is also Entrepreneurship in Xperion, Director of Technology and Customer Service in the Basefarm provider Proact IT Norway from 2008, and CTO in Telio Telecom / NextGenTel from 2013, focusing on mobile services development.

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Moving up the value chain

– I am convinced that Basefarm will gain importance even higher up in the value chain. Looking into the future, we see artificial intelligence, Big Data, cloud-based storage, processing and services, and development processes that run continuously from developers to production multiple times a day. In order to exploit this, while ensuring safe and secure operations, customers need a sparring partner with strategic, technological and practical expertise. They find this in Basefarm, says Skrivervik. He adds:

The acquisition of *um makes the potential even more exciting.

Before accepting the job, he also noted that the telecom industry, which he was a part of, increasingly outsource core systems to companies such as Basefarm.

– We are talking about what by definition is ICT businesses. The fact that they outsource, emphasizes a very important thing. For Basefarm's customers it is all about winning the competition for customers, and not about the technology and its operation in itself.

As a technologist, he will not be lonely at Basefarm. He will get more than 500 technology-interested colleagues.

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Going in-depth

– One important task for me will be to deliver both to those responsible for operational activities from Basefarm's own infrastructure as well as cloud suppliers. As a leader, I like to study the organization and the tasks my colleagues work with, and I like to go in deeper to get past the hype and obtain solid insights. I like to challenge my colleagues and find good answers together, so we can be effective sparring partners for others and make the right decisions.


“I like to challenge my colleagues and find good answers together, so we can be effective sparring partners for others and make the right decisions.”
CTO Sven Ole Skrivervik, Basefarm


He explains that an in-depth interest for technology and a sense of its commercial use is essential for a CTO, sometimes in surprising ways, such as when a world-leading processor manufacturer puts management solutions on devices that do their jobs in an old-fashioned and unsecured way.

– Sometimes you get really surprised, he says. – But without insight there's no surprise. Then serious flaws can slip straight through.

Skrivervik wants to have extensive contact with suppliers to create an understanding of Basefarm's needs in the short and long term. It is about basic things like power consumption and high efficiency, it is about getting the right solutions and it is about delivery terms. It is also about latency and edge computing. The CTO does not see any disadvantage with Basefarm's new multimillion data center being located close to a market with 1.5–2 million people and an unknown high number of IoT and machine users.

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Strategy and profitability

– The core of profitable IT operations is having available capacity, but not too much. Next, profitability is important for the economic conditions we can offer our customers and our ability to move forward and look for new opportunities.

– Strategic work related to this will be important in the job. All the providers I meet as a CTO will provide excellent, forward-looking solutions. My job will also be about maintaining an overview of this and actively participate in the evaluations of where we should go next.

Personally, he likes things to happen. He acknowledges that he has kept a high pace throughout the years, and that he can become impatient sometimes. – Especially when it comes to dealing with government agencies, I have learned to breathe calmly, he says.

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