Video profile: Behind the scenes at Akamai

When it comes to corporate practices at Akamai, the Cambridge, Mass., content delivery and cloud services provider, CIO Kumud Kalia has just one complaint: "We should tell people how cool it is to work here," he says. "I don't think we say it enough."

Technology is central to operations at Akamai, which on any given day streams between a quarter and a third of global Internet traffic; in turn, the company is heavily invested in its 144 IT staffers, says Kalia.

Kumud Kalia Akamai

Kumud Kalia, CIO, Akamai

"We want people to fulfill their career aspirations here at Akamai and realize their potential to the fullest extent," says Kalia, who was name a Computerworld Premier 100 IT leader in 2008. "We support whatever it takes to make people successful." To that end, IT staffers are encouraged to sharpen their skills on the latest technologies and take risks rather than play it safe. An IT-specific awards program recognizes individuals and teams who have gone beyond the call of duty.

Keith Hillis, director of enterprise risk and information security, wasn't looking to jump companies until a recruiter specifically mentioned Akamai, which debuted on Computerworld's Best Places to Work in IT list in 2015.

"I've always had a lot of respect for the company. That's what drew me to Akamai to begin with," says Hillis, who's been with the firm about three months. "What I like most about Akamai is the culture. It's a very scientific culture, it's very data-driven. There's not a lot of back-and-forth and politics; it's about making the right decisions for the company moving forward."

"The culture here is amazing, because we've somehow managed -- and I'm not quite sure how -- to keep that small-company feel even though we've grown from a couple hundred people to now what is thousands," says Kate Prouty, senior director of engineering, who joined the company a year after its 1998 founding.

"I know it sounds sort of corny, but it's really important to our executives that the people who work here really enjoy working here, that they have a full life, and that there's balance," says Prouty. "That's as important sometimes as their ability to do their office job."

Bike racks, light-filled common areas, arcade games, an on-site fitness center, company-only screenings of pre-premiere movies and unlimited vacation days are all designed to up the happiness quotient.

"We encourage our employees to do things to blow off some steam," says Kalia. "Most of the offices you'll walk around and find there are games or pool tables or Ping-Pong tables. Sometimes offices will challenge one another to some kind of tournament -- sports or an Xbox contest."

"One of the unique things about this company is you do feel like the executives care about making sure employees are having a good time and are fulfilled and successful," sums up Prouty. "It's something I really appreciate being here."

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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