Thomas Duryea has had a strong financial year mostly due to the success of its managed services business.
The company’s general manager, Michael Chanter, spoke to ARN prior to heading to Microsoft's World Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto about what he expects from this year’s event and building up the managed services business.
Chanter is a veteran of nine WPCs and said the conference is the one opportunity each year to properly understand the vendor’s strategy and road map.
“It is important for us to understand so we can develop our own strategies to align with that because they are one of our key partners,” he said.
“We expect to see a mix of detailed product announcements as well as strategy.
“Typically, most of the major announcements they are going to make will happen at WPC and you are hearing it from the horse’s mouth because most of the major product leads are up on stage.
Managing managed services
Thomas Duryea splits its business into three distinct parts: consulting and advisory (planning), project and professional services (delivery) and managed services (operate).
"By far the biggest proportion of our project services business is Microsoft focused. When we are out in market we are delivering services around Office 365, Azure, Windows 10, Hyper-V and so on, so we are out there delivering large scale solutions to customers and managed services is the next logical step.
TD recently completed a project which included the migration of 6000 users across different domains into a single domain. The project included consolidation of all the client’s infrastructure, file servers and endpoints.
“We had such deep knowledge of that customer’s environment that they immediately approached us to manage that infrastructure.
“We align our managed services capabilities to the engineering capabilities we have in professional services and consulting so that when we deliver those outcomes we are able to say to them, would you like us to run it?
“In many cases customers do not have that deep expertise and need someone to help them support those solutions after they go live. It is the next step in the life cycle of a customer.
Chanter explained that all the work done in the planning and deployment stage of a project builds trust with the customer and means they are more likely to engage on managed services.
“That has been a deliberate strategy for us and it is now paying dividends because our managed services business has grown significantly.
Coping with the Cloud
Chanter said that while the Cloud explosion has helped many channel players grow their business in new and profitable ways, it has not been without its challenges.
“As we see customers increasingly move to public Cloud and Cloud-based solutions, some of those project opportunities diminish.
"As a result, we have been offering to manage some of the workloads in Azure to improve the customer’s experience and that of their end user customers.
Chanter stressed that improving the experience end-users have in their interactions with IT is a big opportunity and thus TD has focused heavily on offering managed services which plug directly into that.
Eyes on the Enterprise
The next big step the integrator has taken is in attacking the enterprise market as Chanter explained
"The key thing for enterprise is the larger the customer environment, the more complex and heterogeneous it is.
“The biggest difficulty customers have in that space are around building a cohesive and clear strategy about how they simplify and make IT environments more manageable and easier to run.
Thomas Duryea’s efforts in building its consulting and advisory capabilities has meant the company has developed deep relationships with some of its enterprise customers.
The company has developed the IT strategy of customers like Brookfield Multiplex and Chanter said that is the real differentiator.
“There are a lot of system integrator out there who can help customers deploy Office 365 or take advantage of Azure, but that is not the same as looking across the whole stack, identifying the customer’s strategy and determining what the end state will look like and how they will get there.
"Enterprise customers struggle with that because it is complex. It is not easy to acquire all that knowledge."
He said that while these organisations may have deep expertise in some areas and not in others but what CIOs are looking for is someone to manage that aspect of the organisation which is critical to operations but not part of their core business.Chanter added that the company has seen good growth in State and local Government, property and healthcare.