PUBLICATION:  ITWEB
DATE:  25 NOVEMBER 2009


CONSULTING AND IT SERVICES
Managed services take off
The managed services industry is gaining traction as the need for efficient ICT infrastructure grows, says Integr8.

By Leigh-Ann Francis
Johannesburg, 25 Nov 2009

Joint-CEO of Integr8 Robert Sussman discusses the success and future of the managed services industry.

The commoditisation of ICT services is a key trend that has resulted in the development of the managed services space. As companies look towards efficient enterprises to beat the recession, managed services is gaining traction as an ICT infrastructure alternative.

This is according to Robert Sussman, joint-CEO of managed services company Integr8. “Managed services providers (MSPs) not only look at global ICT trends when developing their services, but at emerging business trends, and then build competencies based on both these trends,” offers Sussman.

This means companies outsourcing their services don’t have to deploy their own people, processes and technology to maintain ICT infrastructure. Instead, MSPs offer companies a team of experts that specialise in specific computing services, which in turn increases overall ICT efficiency, opines Sussman.

Recession and beyond

The recession has seen a significant uptake of managed service offerings, he says. “All businesses are focused on efficiency, and it makes financial sense to use MSPs to give a company the best skills and technology to achieve efficiency.”
The industry’s growth together with the commoditisation of services has enabled MSPs to do a lot more with a lot less.
Discussing whether the industry’s growth will continue post-recession, Sussman says: “I don’t think the world will go back to the way it was. The way companies view managed services and conduct business has fundamentally shifted, and as such the industry can only move forward.”

Citizen empowerment

In light of the industry’s continuing success, Integr8 has begun expanding its African footprint.

There is a gap in Africa to be filled, argues Sussman. “A lot of companies go into African countries, set up a local office, employ their own people and start delivering their services. This does not work,” he states.

Sussman believes that while ICT is a global language, these companies fail to factor in people and culture. “Business is about people,” he states.

To this end, Integr8 has adopted a citizen empowerment approach as the company ventures into Africa. “We work with local equity partners who own, manage and retain the business with us,” explains Sussman.

These so-called nerve centres operate under the Integr8 brand, he continues, although they receive full support from the parent company, with technical skills and the development of business acumen.

While the option to expand globally exists, the company’s loyalty remains in Africa. “It is our intention and remains our intention to have the only nerve centres on African soil. In so doing, we are keeping the intellectual property in Africa and combating the ongoing African ‘brain drain’,” he concludes.