Sparc Lights a Spark

Providing a spark to the technology community of Charleston, South Carolina is exactly what Sparc is doing. This three-year old privately held company is more than technology, however, as it is introducing a whole new culture to business and other institutions. With a mix of software products and services for government and business, Sparc helps its partners rethink and re-engineer their processes and, in turn, the way they do business.

Walking the walk as a technology company, this company’s physical infrastructure reflects its open culture. That there are no offices is typical of today’s high-tech start-up, but Sparc takes this a step further, as many people do not even have desks. Sparc’s staff discovered that collaboration was sometimes easier sitting around a folding table. At the same time, the culture is one that encourages working wherever it makes sense at any given time; hence, Sparc employees will often be found at home or other locales.

Central to fulfilling Sparc’s nomadic culture is the idea that the company’s computing power lives in the cloud. As Ted Behling, Senior Linux Engineer said,

 “Everything we do is in the cloud. If you were to go back and look in our server room, we have no servers. Everything is done over the Internet with VPNs.”

The connection to the Internet is the lifeline of Sparc’s business and reliability is one of the reasons Sparc chose Home Telecom as its broadband, fiber connection. Another reason Sparc chose Home Telecom was its responsiveness, both in terms of supporting the ongoing service as well bringing fiber to its telecom room when no one else would, as Behling stated,

“When we came to this building, Home Telecom was right there and brought us our fiber in two weeks and we were online with an extremely fast and reliable connection.”

Behling explained that a requirement for expansion to a second building was that it also be located on the Home Telecom fiber network.

Ultimately, the technology that Sparc is deploying for itself and its clients is about breaking down the barriers that prevent people from maximizing their potential. Randy Chitwood, Chief of Staff for Sparc summed up the philosophy of how they empower their people,

“We want to always put people first……..respect for the individual… ….we give people the latitude to think…..we expect for people to be self-organizing and to find their own solutions for problems…… We [the management] call ourselves the senior support team.”

Proof that Sparc’s approach to its culture is working are indicated by both its growing sales expansion as well as its 2011 award as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina.

[Note: Thank you to Home Telecom for their commercial support of Viodi in the production of this video].

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