Inside Illumio is a monthly series that highlights the exceptional individuals behind Illumio’s world-class products. Each post will take a peek behind the scenes to spotlight a member of our team. Come get to know us a little better and learn more about what makes Illumio’s culture so unique.
This month, meet Matt Parsons, Senior Director of Information Technology at Illumio. Learn how his two decades at not-for-profit organizations led him to Illumio, what projects his team is working on to speed up Illumio’s IT processes, and why his Zoom background is the 18th hole at Pebble Beach.
Tell me about yourself. What do you do at Illumio?
I lead the IT Client Services and Infrastructure Services teams at Illumio. We work to maintain an environment that fosters productivity in a safe and secure way. I’ve been in this role for over four years, and I’m proud of the work the IT team has done to help Illumio scale so quickly in that time.
IT can be an amorphous job – it’s constantly shifting and requires you to either adapt or become irrelevant. It’s my goal to build a team that can quickly transition and deliver in that shifting landscape.
What made you interested in working at Illumio?
I spent nearly 20 years in the not-for-profit sector before joining Illumio. I enjoyed my work in that environment because it challenged me to use my intellect to fill the gaps where resources may not have been available.
Living in Silicon Valley, I had always been curious about other industries. I decided to make the leap to tech and had the opportunity to meet Illumio’s current VP of Information Technology. He eventually recruited me to join Illumio and the rest is history! It’s been an amazing journey the last four years, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team.
What does a day in the life of Matt look like? What are you working on that excites you?
Every day I’m working on finding ways for our team to deliver solutions that fill a puzzle piece in the bigger strategic vision. Even a seemingly small pain point for end users can make a huge difference in the IT team’s efficiency and the company’s productivity.
For instance, we’ve been implementing some pretty advanced IT automations at Illumio to simplify on-boarding and application access requests. These processes used to take a few days, but we’ve now got them down to just a few minutes so that we never have to be in the way of productivity or growth.
As the Product team has changed and grown, we’ve found the need to move infrastructure to something that offers modern cloud connectivity as well as use services that go beyond power and rackspace. At one point, cloud was the technology that businesses were turning to for future growth. That ideology is now seen as quaint, if not common, among those lacking a future-looking focus for their business. Having a co-location that can be used to drive down development costs in a hybrid design is looked at as a must for the most profitable tech companies.
It’s those neat little things our team is delivering inside day-to-day operations at Illumio that really get me excited – being able to get out of the way of the business and let it move on its own quickly and reliably.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Illumio so far?
How to be a better leader and manager. The demands of leadership at Illumio are tough and fair which has fostered so much growth for me. Leadership is always pushing to see how they can better develop and strengthen the mettle they see in me.
They’re always following up with me to see how the team is doing, which I then pass on to my team. Does everyone feel included? Do they know that their role is vital to the rest of the organization? Do they feel like they’re doing well in their role?
The attention to detail and focus on growth by Illumio’s leadership has been vital to me and my team’s growth, success, and satisfaction in our roles.
What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I love to golf – and if you were to ask me in high school if I’d end up golfing, I would’ve laughed. But I started golfing because I wanted to connect more with my dad who is an amazing golfer. If you ever see me on Zoom, you’ll notice my background is a picture of the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. My dad holed out on that same 18th from 140 yards out which was an incredible day!
On a more nerdier side, I love gaming on my hand-built, water-cooled gaming rig. It has PMMA hard line acrylic tubing that I heated up and then bent into shape. It took a long time, but now that it’s done, I wish I would get another one and do it all over again. I really enjoyed building it.
See Matt's set up below – in Illumio orange!
Which Illumio core value resonates most with you and why?
Onwards, Together! Since day one at Illumio, this has been my North Star. IT is the platform provider for the org, and that makes cooperation critical to the success of the business. Through every change that Illumio has gone through, we ensure that the business continues to thrive.
What do you want people to know about working at Illumio?
Illumio’s core mettle is outstanding, tough, and resilient. It is not an “easy gig” – but then, if you are looking for “easy," Illumio may not be for you. The teams that have been here have been forged together with hard work, perseverance, and trust. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. It has raised the bar for what a team is capable of when pushing together to build a great business.