UK’s leading Managed IT Service Providers
Derby is world-renowned for its capabilities in Engineering and Aerospace. It is also home to one of the UK’s leading Managed IT Service Providers, GCI, who has one of its 8 regional offices tucked away in the old mills in Darley Abbey.
In its heyday the mills at Darley Abbey were seen as a beacon for progressive thinking. The mills helped boost efficiency and productivity for the flint, corn, leather, paper and cotton that were produced there in the 18th and 19th century. The shadows of commerce long gone, now provide the rich tapestry to new innovation and new technology in the form of Managed IT Services.
Industrial Revolution to Technology Evolution
Things have come full circle. From the Industrial Revolution right through to Technology Evolution, these old mill walls have been home to both and it’s a fitting base for GCI’s Derby operation. One of 8 regional offices, GCI’s Derby office provides national reach, local presence, and experience honed by 30,000 technology related projects over the last 15 years.
Mainframe to Smart Generation
So, let’s set the landscape. Every 10 years or so there is step change in technology evolution. In the 70’s we had the mainframe computer, the 80’s heralded the arrival of the PC, and in the 90’s we saw the arrival of the wibbly wobbly web (WWW) that connected PC’s the world over. It’s at that point that a transformation began. Step forward another decade into the era of Cloud computing, the Smart generation and applications, applications, applications. A record 350 million smart phone sales last year says it all!
The Consumerisation of IT
But, there’s another aspect too. Not so very long ago we had better IT at work than we did at home, but then it flipped. The agility that became the norm at home (connect to anything on any device) wasn’t mirrored at work. Businesses were slow to transform, but that transformation is now accelerating and is being fuelled by the pace, energy (and indeed impatience) of the Millennial generation.
DIY Versus DIFY
Simply put, when it comes to IT and Communications, businesses have two options – do ‘IT’ yourself or have somebody do ‘IT’ for you. Actually, there’s a third which is a bit of both. A hybrid model. The DIY model is an interesting one though. Increasingly, the grown-up thinking is that the routine parts of IT and Communications are effectively a utility (like gas, electricity and water) – a pay as you go or pay per user per month model. Increasingly the trend is towards DIFY over DIY.
Where’s the Benefit in Managed IT Services?
Ask any CFO what’s at the top of his agenda and it will be around managing cash. Ask any CEO and it will be around building competitive advantage. Collectively it’s about increasing profitability, reducing cost and improving efficiency. And, in a nutshell, that’s what Managed IT Services helps to deliver – better ways of working, improved collaboration and enhanced productivity based on a contemporary technology portfolio delivered ‘as a service’.
What About an Example?
OK, here’s a couple to start. Traditional telephone systems (PABX) are being replaced by VOIP / Cloud options. More simply, voice communication is becoming just another per user per month application (not a tin box bolted on the office wall). Similarly, server rooms are being virtualised in the Cloud (giving limitless storage and computing power ‘on demand’). None of this is a surprise. In a utility-based world, having on-premise IT equipment is akin to having a water purification plant in your business to provide water… or power generating equipment on-site for electricity. The capex model is increasingly difficult to justify.
Trains, Planes & Automobiles
So, here’s another example. The melding of voice and data communications into Unified Communications suites (UC) is an area that’s exploding. Skype for Business is one of the leading solutions. Imagine you’ve 10 staff from 10 offices that need to meet only once a week. That’s a lot of trains, planes and automobiles. And, at £200 per return ticket (a rough guess) it totals a staggering £104,000 pa. Skype for Business, combined with the latest Smartboards, provide an immersive HD experience for a fraction of that price. That’s progress.