Steven Hsu wanted to build something special, and not only did he achieve that, he created something that was ahead of its time. Now, through his company NIRIX, he’s poised to unveil another technology evolution.
Hsu launched NIRIX in 2000 as an IT provider.
“Like most tech startups, my first office was in my basement,” says Hsu. “I had just bought a new house, so in a way, this business venture was a ‘bet on everything’ strategy. Not only did I have a newly acquired mortgage, this was during the bust of the dot.com bubble, and the fears around Y2K. Looking back, I was taking a huge risk, but I didn’t realize it then.”
Despite the risk, NIRIX’s IT solutions were so effective, he was able to hire his first full time employee later that year. By 2005 NIRIX was big enough to move into a commercial space. In 2011 NIRIX rebranded completely to offer IT cloud-based subscription based services.
“That required us to change our entire business and operational model. Broad changes had to be made across our entire product line, marketing, messaging, technology operations and finance. NIRIX moved from a fixed one-time revenue model to a monthly recurring subscription service model,” says Hsu. “We were pioneers in this regard because most businesses, at the time, acquired IT services and solutions as capital intensive purchases with 18-24 months of Return on Investment (ROI). Monthly fees or subscription services were not common in 2011, even though today, the majority of IT solutions and services are subscription based and treated as business operating expenses. Over the next eight years NIRIX transitioned successfully from 90 per cent one-time based revenue to 95 per cent recurring based revenue model.”
After being on the cusp of cloud service, NIRIX is ready to be at the forefront of the next technology revolution once again.
“We are a pioneer in technology and push tech to the limit. We are always the early adopters. What we typically invest in turns out to be the norm within a decade,” says Hsu before he introduces NIRIX’s newest product.
“From 2011-2020 NIRIX was an IT Cloud Service Provider (CSP) with seven cloud-based products. In our drive to continuously improve, innovate and deliver competitive solutions with compelling value, NIRIX will once again make another transformation in 2021. This is a transformation that will see NIRIX become a digital workspace company with the launch of our new product: oneWorkspace.”
oneWorkspace is a digital workspace platform designed for business. It goes beyond a paperless office with the flexibility of transforming your business into an operation where the entire workforce can access and work off a single centralized and unified platform remotely without the need for physical offices.
“NIRIX oneWorkspace allows you to work from anywhere, anytime, from any location and over any connection as if you were working in a controlled office,” explains Hsu. “The platform is perfect for the pandemic, but this innovation was not created as a pandemic response. We have had this in development for the last 10 years. We had a vision of the office of the future where people would work from the location of their choice – the mobile workforce.”
Once again, NIRIX’s vision was right on point. When the pandemic hit, their clients that were already on the successor of oneWorkspace and had no issues continuing operations. Others were quickly looking for solutions to build capacity and increase accessibility from the sudden and unexpected need to create a work from home (WFH) workforce.
oneWorkspace is a secured digital platform where advanced security mechanisms are deployed across the entire platform while ensuring ease of access. Hsu feels the transition to this type of workplace was already in play; the pandemic simply shifted things into high gear and created an urgency for digital workplace transitions.
“We do tend to be 5-10 years ahead of the market in terms of solutions,” says Hsu. “We must educate, promote and attract businesses to something that is innovative. We want to make sure we enter the market at the right time and help clients see the value in what we have created and the solutions that can be provided. The pandemic has accelerated the need and made the introduction and rollout of oneWorkspace a bit easier.”
Although oneWorkspace’s rollout was boosted by the broad and rapid WFH transition, Hsu notes that the journey is never an easy one.
“To innovate in technology, you have to be a visionary and a calculated risk taker. You have to have grit because your ideas are unproven. There will be a lot of criticism and challenges and you must move forward despite that – and that is far from easy. However, when I look back and see the hard work our team has put in and what we have built, and I know the end product will be used to improve our client’s day-to-day operations, I feel rewarded. Customers depend on our digital platform to ensure their businesses continue to operate.”
After exploring NIRIX’s solutions from 2011-2020 and now the latest product offering in 2021, many people are surprised to learn NIRIX is local to Edmonton.
Hsu smiles, “We opened and grew right here in the capital city. We are local. We are 100 per cent Canadian. We are a small business doing very big things.”
“Industries across the board are changing rapidly due to technology, due to innovation, due to how people’s behaviour has changed,” he continues. “No matter the industry it is important for businesses to be early adopters of technology and be willing to take calculated risks to be at the leading edge. Here in Edmonton, things are very vibrant and there are aspects of the city and province that are, from a tech standpoint, growing and changing. Over the next decade in terms of the young workforce coming out, we are looking for newer ways of working, new ways to improve things, and a diversification from such a heavy reliance on oil and gas.”
As the changes continue, NIRIX will be right there, ahead of the times, with the solutions that will keep business moving forward into whatever the future holds.
Hsu knows it is not just technology that is important to keep communities going. Giving back matters too. NIRIX is socially conscious, community minded, and is a supporter of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
In recognition of its progressive vision and products, NIRIX is pleased to have been recognized as a Technology Fast 50™ company, a program that celebrates Canadian technology and the entrepreneurs behind the products.
As pleased as he is with industry recognitions, Hsu is even happier to acknowledge his team, clients, vendors, supporters, and the business advisory group that he calls “a big part of the NIRIX family.”
From the early adoption of the cloud to the ahead-of-its-time development of oneWorkspace, NIRIX is a local, Canadian IT solution provider for business’ IT needs. Hsu and his company plan to promote oneWorkspace and enjoy the exciting product rollout while migrating and training clients on the platform.
“We also have plans to be more actively engaged on social media and have plans to drive substantial growth and adoption with transformation of NIRIX and the launch of oneWorkspace, our next generation digital workspace platform for business,” Hsu confirms.
As always, everyone at NIRIX will be thinking about the future – the future of tech, the future of business, the future of how we work, the future of WFH, and how NIRIX can provide the tools to keep enterprising companies ahead of each evolution.