Did you feel that? It’s the rumble of moving vans ambling into the Beehive State.
According to the latest data, Utah’s population growth is up 15 percent, making Utah first in the United States in cumulative growth. And it’s safe to say the tech scene contributes to much of that growth.
In a recently published “Cyberstates 2021” report by CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the information technology industry and workforce, Utah’s technology-related employment is projected to grow more than any other state over the next decade. The report estimates that Utah’s tech occupation growth should jump by 27 percent by 2030, with Nevada ranking second at 24 percent and all other states below 20 percent.
Utah has nearly 8,200 tech businesses, and the tech sector has a direct impact of $20.1 billion, or 11.5 percent of the state economy. That percentage is the ninth-highest among all states. And the estimated median wage is $77,492 for tech workers, which is 82 percent higher than the median wage for all occupations in the state.
With Utah’s vast talent pool, resources, business-friendly climate, business culture, and diversity of thought, it’s no surprise that tech companies pull up stakes and expand their business to Utah.
We understand the appeal. Mainly because it’s local companies like Simplus, Ancestry, Pluralsight, Qualtrics, and others, who helped to build it.
I had the chance to sit down with Ryan Westwood, CEO of Simplus, to discuss how Simplus has contributed to the local economy as a leading business at Silicon Slopes.
Clint Betts: Ryan, Utah’s job growth has been incredible. How have local technology companies contributed to this?
Ryan Westwood: Tech companies in Utah have been doing an incredible job at putting more high-value, well-paying technical positions into the local economy. Tech workers in Utah have a median wage that’s 82 percent higher than that of all occupations in the state, which means these are desirable positions that attract more and more top talent to the area.
CB: Simplus has had a spectacular rise as a prominent tech company based in Silicon Slopes. How has Simplus contributed to the local economy?
RW: Simplus has been adding jobs to the local economy since the very beginning. While we are a remote, global company, a large percentage of our top talent is Utah-based. We are continuing to grow at a rapid pace—we have hired over 50 people so far this year with an expectation to hire even faster. What’s more is the compensation for those Salesforce-certified positions will be at least $100,000. Simplus has a vision to become a billion-dollar company, and we can’t do that without building up our talent pool right here at HQ in Salt Lake City.
But more than just adding an abundance of jobs to the local tech market, we’ve also made significant investments in retaining those employees with rewarding pay and ongoing professional development incentives. In the early days, when Simplus made the decision to focus solely on Salesforce, we had some employees who had been focused on our former lines of business. We remained committed to them and kept them on payroll until we were able to secure them with other valuable jobs in the Salt Lake City tech market that fit their skill sets—even though our company strategy was becoming more focused. Today, we have salary increases or bonuses for certifications in a variety of Salesforce areas, such as developer, architect, consultant, and project management. We’re invested in each individual’s journey to improve professionally because, not only does it improve our own internal talent pool to serve our clients better, but it creates new opportunities on an individual level and adds to the health of the local Salt lake economy. We are creating highly skilled, technical talent.
CB: Simplus was acquired by Infosys, a global India-based firm. How has Simplus retained its local culture and continued investment in the local community?
RW: Simplus has been uniquely fortunate in our acquisition by Infosys. We are completing a reverse integration with Infosys, meaning Salesforce resources at Infosys are folding into Simplus—utilizing our existing methodology, processes, and overall culture. We’ve been able to retain who we are while still expanding rapidly into a global Salesforce service provider with more resources than ever before. Additionally, we are still investing heavily in local initiatives with Silicon Slopes and are running a panel at the upcoming StartFest! We see so much growth potential for the Salt Lake metropolitan area to continue growing our presence as a tech hub, and we’re excited to be active supporters.
CB: What can other local companies do to follow the same trajectory that Simplus has had?
RW: One of the most critical things we did to grow so rapidly and successfully at Simplus is that we focused on our niche early on and became the best at it. Quote-to-cash technology, specifically Salesforce CPQ, was young when we zeroed in on our focus and began providing those valuable expert consultative experiences to clients. This gave us a valuable differentiation and a way to attract not only loyal customers but also critical talent. Our CPQ niche has since grown, and we provide services encompassing the entire digital transformation journey, but having that niche early on was the momentum that kept us growing so well.
Additionally, one of the core values at Simplus from the start has been stewardship: we are leaders in compassionate service to each other, to our communities, and to our clients. This principled way of doing business has allowed us to foster very strong relationships with investors, partners, and long-term customers who now look at us as their go-to transformation guide. We work with many of the largest companies here in the local community and help to grow their businesses, as well. Because we are always looking out for each other and keeping our values at the forefront of everything we do, we’ve been able to grow sustainably and quickly.
Simplus is a global leader in Salesforce Quote-To-Cash. Since 2014, our focus is to provide expert Salesforce-based services with a diverse team of multiple specialists. “Simplus has highly skilled experts across the board, and we leverage each of them to create tailored teams for each customer,” explains Ryan Northington, President at North America Simplus. “They’ve encountered a variety of pain points and questions before and are ready to address unique situations, using their experience, with custom plans of action and deployment schedules.”
From building a system that custom-designs sheds to designing an app that tracks a life-saving vaccine, we’ve worked on a variety of projects that required extensive experience navigating the Salesforce ecosystem.
Employee-Centered Work Model
Although Simplus is an influential Utah-based employer, they use a remote work model to support a global employee base, which include 800 employees worldwide, 17 nationalities, and 20 languages on four continents. This enables us them to access talent where they live without having to relocate their families. The work environment also contributes to employees’ work/life balance and productivity.
Support a Positive Work Culture
Recently ranked as one of 2021 Best Places to Work by Comparably, Simplus believes the employee is a company’s greatest asset. Their commitment to creating a personable, progressive, welcoming, and fun work environment is something they take seriously.
“The people you bring into your business are the ones who will foster a great culture and help it grow,” says Joe Carr, Simplus Recruiting Director. “So it’s important to make sure you consider staff variety and soft skills when you hire new team members and to make a deliberate effort to understand each employee as an individual.”
Despite the rapid growth, Simplus believes everyone has an important role to play in the company’s success. The work they do matters. That collective approach to innovative problem-solving carries over to the partnerships we’ve forged with other companies to ensure our customers get the best possible solutions to help their business thrive.
A company built on a foundation of trust, transparency, and integrity will naturally transition into a solid company culture. As Ryan explained
A company built on employee-centric principles and expertise isn’t anything sexy and new. For the handful of local companies, who homesteaded the Utah tech industry, it just makes good sense. As Silicon Slopes continues its upward climb toward SaaS domination, we welcome companies who bring with them new ideas. As for us, we’ll stick with the tried and true formula that connects community, game-changing talent, and a committed drive toward scalable solutions for our customers.