Derek Lohman is the Cisco Prototype Lead at World Wide Technology. He brings more than 20 years of IT experience in sales, engineering and consulting and has been working on collaboration solutions for WWT for 10 years, largely in the customer collaboration arena.
Q&A with Derek Lohman
- Tell us about your background and how you got into technology.
- I originally started selling PCs at a small electronics store in the early stages of MS-DOS and Windows 95 era. Customers would bring the PCs back to the store for repairs, but we didn’t have a service department to help with “out of warranty” systems. Something just clicked with how the systems worked and I started doing repairs myself. The company ended up developing a service department as my repairs started to interfere with the selling aspect of my job.
From there, I became a certified HP engineer performing service calls on computers, printers and networks across the Midwest. As the technology improved, I become more involved in larger networks, point of sale systems and satellite banking communication. Networking became a real passion of mine and I started to pursue one of the hardest certifications to achieve in the industry, the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) designation (CCIE #12010).
During my studies for the CCIE, Cisco acquired a company called Selsius. Selsius had a product which allowed a company to carry voice over a network using IP packets, eventually becoming Cisco CallManager, which eventually became Cisco Communications Manager.
I have been working for the past 15 years on collaboration solutions for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies around the world, assisting them with technology and business workflow solutions.
- What is your role at WWT?
- The Cisco Prototype Lead role is primarily focused on proving out application integrations with many of the solutions provided by Cisco. These complex solutions will typically cross technology boundaries incorporating: enterprise networking, mobility, security and collaboration. One of the main aspects of the role is to work closely with customers to prove out business value, as well as the technical integration points.
- What innovation is happening in technology that has you really excited?
- Technology solutions are really starting to cross boundaries. A business used to have separate individual budgets for voice, video, network and storage, but now it’s exciting to see customers reap the benefits of consolidated solution sets around workforce transformation, customer experience and the digital branch.
- Describe a recent interaction with a customer that led to solving a problem.
- A retail customer was looking to extend their sales from licensed contractors to the “do it yourself” consumer. Their current model of working with customers was by appointment only which limited the scale of customers visiting showrooms. Collaboration solutions were presented using the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) that would allow the customer to help consumers using a smaller pool of centralized experts. Once the solution was presented, the customer started to develop their own use cases to pursue additional lines of service revenue.