The ‘Partner Spotlight’ series explores partners operating in the local channel landscape right around the country, from Cape York to Hobart, Byron Bay to Fremantle and beyond. This edition focuses on the Canberra managed services provider (MSP) Infront Systems.
While it’s important to branch out from time to time, sticking to your strengths should never be forgotten and this is precisely what Infront has done in over 20 years of operation.
Infront started back in 1998 as a storage services integrator. Over time, however, it evolved to a managed services provider (MSP) that now covers the government and enterprise sectors.
Headlining the business is born and bred Canberran Allan King, who moved on from National Treasury in 1997 as a network manager to focus on the gap in the market for skilled, trusted partners of government agencies.
“Using the deep-seated skills I developed while working in government and with the majority of federal government agencies situated there, it made sense to base Infront in Canberra,” King said.
While Infront has a heavy focus on government agencies, it also has long-standing managed services relationships within the professional services and legal verticals.
It also recently took a step into providing IT solutions for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Canberra and surrounding areas, as well as Sydney.
“We saw many SME business owners and leaders really struggling with their IT. It was stopping them from growing as their valuable time and resources were spent fixing IT issues instead of working on the business,” King said.
One of the MSP’s crowning achievements, according to King, has been its work in the cloud, with it recently completing a total digital transformation for a federal government agency. This involved implementing a protected Microsoft 365 desktop and moving every application off a dual data centre into Azure.
Additionally, the final stage, which is yet to be completed, will see the agency transition away from a Citrix-based environment to a Windows virtual desktop.
Also a highlight, King continues, is its partnerships with Microsoft and Dell, which have lasted for over 19 years.
“As a Gold Microsoft partner in Microsoft 365 and Azure technologies, Infront is no stranger to implementing their solutions for clients,” he said. “With our continued focus on hybrid cloud technology and the growing significance of Microsoft within government and enterprise accounts, their role is ever-evolving.”
Other partnerships include Nutanix, Fortinet, AvePoint and Thycotic.
The business also works with King's other business, Buttonwood, which he launched in September 2015, which offers the Buttonwood Cloud Exchange, a hybrid cloud technology solution that aims to simplify cloud consumption
All of this has led Infront to focusing on its strengths instead of stretching its area of expertise too thinly.
“Infront’s mantra has focused on only doing what we say we do and doing that really, really well,” King said.
“This has meant that we specialise in focused strategies and solutions for clients. Yes, IT and cloud are mammoths, but by spreading ourselves too thin, we realise we would not have achieved the outstanding results for clients that we have delivered for over 20 years.”
One of Infront’s most significant changes over the years was to stop over-engineering outcomes. According to King, this involved shortening the time to get solutions to market, refining marketing testing to avoid wasting resources, and investing into appropriate areas while, at the same time, not investing too much into solutions that don’t provide any sales.
The most useful method to achieve these changes, King claimed, has been the introduction of the McKinsey three horizon framework into the business, which looks at three different “horizons” for identifying growth.
The first horizon, which is on core business, for Infront is its focus on cloud-like capability and efficiency in the data centre.
Meanwhile, the second, emerging opportunities, translates to Infront growing its partnership and engagement with Microsoft, which it expects to see considerable growth in the future.
As for the third horizon, or future growth, Infront is looking at cloud financial governance and control through its FinOps as a service capability, as well as increased security and flexibility through its desktop as a service offering.
"We continue to focus on helping our customers achieve outcomes through delivering meaningful technologies and innovation," King added.
Want to be featured in 'Partner Spotlight'? Send an email to Sasha_Karen@IDG.com with the contact details of the partner you’d like to nominate for us to profile.