What are "Managed Services"?

20 June 2018

I had an interesting discussion with a client this morning about Managed Services. He is working with a supplier who say they are a Managed Service Provider, but was a little disappointed with the quality of service he was receiving. Specifically, he felt he was doing all the proactive work, and they only actually started to provide a service when he notified them there was a problem. It’s not an uncommon situation.

Maybe I’m old skool, but the term Managed Services should be treated with respect. For about 30 years, its been bandied around as mechanism to rebadge IT and Telecoms companies in the hope it will increase their multiple value at exit. The truth of the matter is however that many of the companies in the channel who started off as resellers have found it difficult to be able to offer true managed services because it needs to be fundamentally engrained in the culture of an organisation. And this is the problem – it you haven’t got the organisation and culture to support a Managed Service, you ain’t no MSP.

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Attention Crash, Filter Bubbles and JD Wetherspoons

18 April 2018

On the recommendation of a mate of mine, I am currently reading Eli Pariser’s “The Filter Bubble” book, an excellent insight into the way social media and internet based news are affecting our day to day lives. It’s not all positive.

The basic premise is really simple. If all of the information we consume is beautifully personalised to our wants, and not our needs, then we are only ever informed about things that we want to see. Our filter on the world therefore is restricted to what the organisations serving up our information think we want to see, specifically excluding anything that expands our mind or viewpoint. Eventually we will all potentially end up within a bubble, designed specifically for us, which actively excludes the broader world, to the detriment of society.

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Corporate Vendor Management

06 April 2018

One of the services Embedded provides is a liaison service between Resellers/Service Providers and large Corporate Vendors. Historically, this used to be provided by Vendor Account Managers, but as margins are squeezed and commercial models change, this role has fallen out of Vendor priorities and into “the abyss”. Any reseller wishing to maintain a relationship with, or even a vague understanding of, a Corporate Vendor will struggle without a decent liaison point and in many cases this has already disappeared.

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Mainframe - comeback time?

16 April 2018

Not sure if it’s the circles I’m frequenting, or a genuine phenomena, but is mainframe making a comeback? There seems to be a lot of press about it at the moment, as people re-centralise their IT into Data Centres, and the need for massive computation of data is required, it has gone from being the dead duck of the computing world, to potentially the next new retro-trend.

I went to university between 1990 and 1994 and was lucky enough to do a sponsored course that allowed me 3 days a week at IBM and 2 days a week at Uni. In my 3 days a week, I was 3rd line support for IBM’s National Office System (NOSS for short, I can’t remember the last “S”) which ran on its PROFS / VM operating system. It basically provided desktop services through a green screen terminal from a mainframe back end.

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What to do if your IT supplier gets acquired?

08 March 2018

With all the news around high street stores going wobbly, it’s inevitable that the broader business world will start to see changes in structures and opportunistic mergers, acquisitions or company failures will occur. In the IT space this has been happening for a number of years, with such a fragmented marketplace it is inevitable that companies will struggle, and others will thrive, but this change can mean disruption and pain for the client base.

The fortunate situation is that most IT or Telecoms companies that are acquired have ongoing revenues which, in most cases, are the reason why they are appealing for an acquisition from other players. Even if the business is really struggling, the lure of ongoing revenues and broader customer base is a good reason for a bigger more stable company to buy them. As a client therefore, your bills are the reason why your IT or Telecoms supplier might be acquired - which puts you in a great place to leverage the situation to your advantage.

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