Lloyd Ernst has had a distinguished career in the IT industry as an internet pioneer and entrepreneur over the last three decades.
Lloyd has worked for a number of industry heavyweights including Apple and Microsoft. He also founded PowerUp and WebCentral, which at their peak, were Queensland’s largest ISP and Australia’s largest web hosting company. After exiting WebCentral, he saw an opportunity to redefine the outsourcing industry and drive innovation in the sector. In 2009, he founded Cloudstaff (then known as SinoCode), an outsourcing company driven by innovation and technology.
Pioneer in the IT industry
When Lloyd co-founded WebCentral, he set the standard for web hosting in Australia. When he exited the business, it was Australia’s largest web hosting company, with over 60,000 hosting accounts under management and annual revenues of more than AU$ 40 million.
An innovator himself, Lloyd was the first in the world to provide Microsoft Exchange in a hosted ASP environment, for which he received the Global Hosting Partner of the Year award from Microsoft in 2004. This was the first time the award was won by a company outside the United States.
In 2003, WebCentral signed a record-breaking deal worth AU$20.3 million with Queensland’s Department of Education, the largest public-private partnership in Australia, and the largest Sun implementation in the world at the time.
In 2004, WebCentral was sold to listed company FTR, which valued WebCentral at AU$45 million. The company was subsequently purchased by Melbourne IT.
In 2005, Lloyd joined the board of PIPE Networks which listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in May 2005 (ASX:PWK). Within 3 years, PIPE Networks deployed over 600 km of dark fibre, built Tier 1 Data Centre Facilities and constructed the first competitive submarine fibre optic cable linking Australia to the US via Guam.
Asia and the future of outsourcing
In 2005, he formed Sinocode in China, a business that specialised in software development and QA outsourcing. As the business grew, he identified the Philippines as an obvious choice for expansion.
In 2010, Cloudstaff was established in Clark (Philippines) with seven employees and provided services and support for Sinocode. Lloyd quickly recognised that there was a great demand for the services Cloudstaff offered, and soon the two companies merged.
Cloudstaff has doubled in size year-over-year. Cloudstaff currently employs around 1500 staff and has eight offices in the Philippines (Clark, Makati, Ortigas, and Cebu). The company provides an incredibly diverse range of skilled staff for companies all over the world. Tasks performed include accounting, estimating (for construction and building), drafting, engineering, animation, video editing, treasury management, marketing, property management, media production, programming, software QA, and specialised back office support (real estate, medical, accounting, personal assistants, etc).
Lloyd has always been at the forefront of technological developments and from the very beginning, he has ensured that all of Cloudstaff’s systems and infrastructure are completely scalable and accessible with one goal in mind — to provide seamless integration between the technology and the people who use it.
In line with his commitment to technology is the Cloudstaff Ecosystem — a network of integrated applications that are designed to help teams work more efficiently and provide managers with greater transparency. The Cloudstaff Ecosystem is developed by Cloudstaff’s R&D and Software Development teams. The Ecosystem maximises efficiency, improves communication, and provides detailed reporting which results in productive staff and informed managers.
As a technology visionary, he has driven the development of tools like Botley, an automated enterprise assistant. Although Botely is still in development, it is currently helping staff to access the tools and information they want using a natural language interface. Lloyd understands that AI is critical to the evolution of the outsourcing industry and is committed to creating the tools for the future.
Committed to education
Lloyd is a dedicated advocate of education. This is demonstrated by his commitment to many of the local education facilities and the provision of free (or subsidised) training programs for staff. He is also involved with the Young Presidents’ Organization, a US-based initiative that promotes learning through the exchange of ideas and shared learning strategies.
The next big thing
With his roots in IT, Lloyd is continually at the forefront of the latest technological developments and is committed to exploring their potential to advance the industry. He believes that technologies like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the BPO and Call Centre industries in the near future.
As he has done for over three decades, Lloyd continues to see advances in technology as opportunities and fully embraces this evolution to drive positive change in the industry.