The new COO at ScienceLogic has more than 25 years of enterprise software experience. (Courtesy Don Pyle)

Position: Chief operating officer, Science Logic, a Reston-based IT company that monitors the networks of corporations and government agencies to ensure they run efficiently.

Pyle has more than 25 years enterprise software experience, having been an executive vice president at Infoblox, chief executive at Netcordia and Laurel Networks, and vice president of North American sales at Juniper Networks.

Had you always known you wanted to run businesses?

Absolutely. My father not only ran one business ,I think at one point, he ran four of them at one time. People didn’t even think that way back in the ’60s and ’70s. He was certainly ahead of his time. There was no thought in my head that I would not be involved in business and I wouldn’t run a business. It was just second nature.

How did you end up in the software industry?

It’s a higher margin business than the hardware industry, which over time has tended to commoditize itself. The true value is in the software that runs in hardware. Our iPhones are obsolete by the time they ship the first one.

What are your goals for ScienceLogic?

How people are operating their networks and what they’re doing with their networks is changing. The industry is going through a transition of where both enterprise customers and service providers are building these things called clouds, and it’s really just another way to say it’s a shared infrastructure between customers and their data.

If [companies are] moving to this cloud that is now part of the service providers’ public infrastructure, but they need to see it and manage it like it’s all one network, that’s a huge opportunity for us.

Today everything runs over the Internet. [Data] is typically stored at a service provider’s location as either part of a virtual network or part of a cloud infrastructure. That’s certainly an area for growth for us that companies are making this huge migration from running their own networks to having the service provider run all of their network or a part of their network.

I understand one of your goals in your new job will be to expand the company globally. How will you do that?

Within the sales and marketing reign is also channel management and business development, which includes both expanding our footprint globally through partners that could resell our products as well as technology partners that we could align our go-to-market strategies with. I think part of that is expanding our physical presence outside the United States, and we’ll continue to make those investments where there’s opportunities outside North America. Pursuing some of the largest GDPs globally is what we’ll be focused on.

How have you evolved as a leader?

It’s just a maturing process is probably the best explanation. Certainly the more you’re exposed to different areas of the business you have a much broader perspective of how the engineering process affects the sales process which affects the marketing. It’s all interrelated. I would say as my leadership style has evolved it’s just a better understanding of each of the functional areas of the business and a better way to articulate that to people who work for me that there are those interdependencies. You both have to execute your part of it as well as support how others execute their part.

What was the most difficult lesson you learned as a leader?

Probably the hardest part of the business is we’ve gone through some technology cycles of downturn, [some caused by economic circumstances and others by overly optimistic expectations] I think you learn a lot more in those periods of time where the business is not growing at 100 percent year over year and how to manage through some of the challenges, be they financial challenges on how to fund your business as well as the personal challenges of how to right-size the business to the economic conditions. We’re very much conditioned over the last 30 years in technology that everything is growth and up and to the right. I certainly learned a lot more during the painful periods and those times that it wasn’t growing up and to the right.

What’s the best advice you’re received in your career?

Probably not only advice that I’ve received but I’ve repeated and given is that the work that you do today isn’t necessarily for the job that you have today, but it’s building a body of work over a period of time, over a career. That’s what gets you the next job. It’s not the next sale or the last thing that you engineered. It’s really a longer term continuum of why people would recruit you to your next position.

— Interview with Kathy Orton