To get the project off the ground, Computer One leveraged Microsoft's 365 and Intune solutions, which gave it the necessary tools for a light touch deployment.
The hardware was shipped right from the distributor to the remote workforce with step-by-step instructions, with the necessary applications delivered by cloud.
Device management and end-point security was handled with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security, while Computer One’s own security posture was maintained with VPN enrolment and hybrid domain-joined devices.
It’s deployments like this, Walker said, that result in “zero technical debt” and will be the MSP’s deployment strategy in the future.
“Some of the great things we do are about our ability to respond quickly and help clients adapt or transition through unforeseen circumstances, whether that's half-planned, unplanned, or something in between,” he added.
In terms of major vendor successes, Barracuda was with Computer One from the start in 2003. Microsoft came next twice — from 2007 as a silver partner and from 2008 as a cloud solution partner. In the following year, it aligned itself with Citrix as a cloud service provider in 2009.
Additionally, it also found itself forming vendor partnerships with Cisco, Veem, VMware, Lenovo and Dell.
All of Computer One’s success have come into port over the last three years with consistent short-term revenue growth of 8 to 12 per cent, year-on-year.
Coming into stormy weather
It hasn’t been completely smooth sailing for the MSP however, with some of its biggest challenges stemming from what Walker calls “regular commercial challenges”.
“You've got to make sure that you're steering your ship with the right level of buffer to get through the bad times as well as the good times,” he said.
Being a MSP means Computer One is reliant on partnering with organisations, which means it’s dependent on said organisations’ revenues.
This is particularly noteworthy with Computer One’s interest in mining and retail organisations – when they suffer adverse impacts, Computer One feels them too.
As is with any technology business, Walker considers keeping up with the changing rate of tech to be key – especially for an MSP. Some decisions were taken along the way didn’t pan out for the MSP, but the director doesn’t regret making those decisions, as it gave him a chance to overcome them.
As an example, he cited an iOS platform that has helped at certain times, but there has been occasions where it proved to be a detriment due to requiring too much effort into something that only supported 10 per cent of environments.
But no matter how well an MSP adapts to new technology, for better or for worse, everything falls apart if there’s issues with its team.
“No matter what sort of systems or infrastructure you put in place and how robust you think they might be, maintaining a good team of people, highly skilled with experience and experience in delivering services to your customers, is absolutely key,” Walker said.
To ensure a competent workforce, the director focuses on targeted training, but it isn’t just a case of providing the resources and letting the employee teach themselves, as it’s on upper management to check in and make sure the knowledge is getting absorbed.
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