With the on-going relevance of significant technology trends such as unified communications, cloud computing and Big Data analytics, decision makers are advised to take seriously proven expertise and not be swayed by high level techno-speak when it comes to service provision.

Experienced professionals in the global ICT managed services space suggest that the services industry is becoming increasingly competitive, fuelled by growing access to technology, the global focus on ICT skills development and solution development.

“The platform to deliver managed ICT services and advise clients on the best infrastructure management approach is wider than it was before,” says Robert Sussman, joint CEO of the Integr8 Group.

Integr8 is South Africa’s largest privately owned ICT managed services provider.

Sussman reflects on recent research, conducted by EMC, a business silo of global technology solution development and support company, EMC Corporation, and the company behind the international ICT industry exhibition, EMC Forum. The research found that information technology remains central to growth strategies amongst local decision makers, across a wide variety of industries and sectors.

“It is interesting to note that aspects like cloud computing and maintenance of existing technologies rank amongst the top priorities for local businesses. The integration of systems, applications and data is also considered highly relevant to business operations. With this in mind and given that we operate in a service-orientated market that demands reliability and relevance, a service provider has to have the technical capacity to meet all the requirements,” says Sussman.

By the term ‘technical capacity’, Sussman refers to the real technical expertise that resides within a service provider.

“The capacity to generate, sustain and deliver on professional services is where providers are differentiated in the market.  Consultation and enterprise support forms the nucleus of what we do and why we do it, we base our service delivery strategy on the increasingly significant role that our Nerve Centre® operation plays,” he adds.

Executive management at Integr8 also underline the significance of Microsoft technologies that continue to be integrated into the business IT lifecycle and asset management strategies.

Sussman is quick to point out that credible service providers no longer simply ‘drop product off’ and then vanish.

“Our primary concern is to ensure that customers are able to derive benefit from any new solution from global vendors, including Microsoft, with whom we are close partner for more than a decade. Our approach is to first try the solution and apply it vigorously. Once we are certain it is right for our customers, we incorporate it into our product portfolio and share the knowledge with our customers. That is the essence of what constitutes Professional Services,” he continues.