A few short years ago, banks of servers and a large IT department would signal a company’s seriousness when it came to technology. Now with the Cloud, it’s less about kit and internal resources than finding the right managed services partner – someone you can trust with your infrastructure and applications; someone with the skills and experience to deliver what a business needs, today and into the future.This is the kind of relationship Ergo has been forging with Irish organisations for over 20 years. Starting in managed print and now leading the charge to the cloud, Ergo is a pioneer in managed services with clients that range from medium sized businesses to titans such as ESB, Primark, Eircom, Microsoft and Ardagh Group.
The way Ergo sees it, the cloud is just the latest in a long line of outsource offerings where it’s the skill and knowledge of the service provider that will determine success. “No two requirements are alike,” said George Dowling, cloud and managed services practice lead. “Our uniqueness in the marketplace comes from the fact that we have capability in both infrastructure and software development, on-premise or in the cloud. But we also recognise that it’s about much more than the technology.”
Whatever the service, whether it’s Managed Print or a hosted application, Ergo has honed its skills at bringing people along on the journey, because it knows the importance of communicating with users on how to interact with the new processes that are inevitably going to arise. “The change management piece is one of the things that will ultimately define the success of a managed service, but it’s the piece that a lot of our competitors miss,” said Dowling. The better the grasp an employee has of a service the more they will get out of it.
This is the productivity piece that’s becoming more important with hosted products like Office 365 where users can flip quickly from one application to another. “It’s all about migrating them to this new world. If you don’t educate them and show the benefits in terms of productivity then business won’t see a return on the investment, “said Dowling. The cloud also accelerates another benefit of managed services – empowering companies with technologies that they may not otherwise have been able to afford, where the service provider is responsible for its management and ongoing maintenance.
“Companies are able to come to us and future-proof their business as an operational cost, as opposed to spending a lot of money on their own equipment and then having to manage and maintain it,” said Dowling. Typical of an IT company that prides itself on staying ahead of the curve, Ergo is continually reinventing what is considered suitable for a managed service.“Anything that takes a burden of complexity away from the client,” said Dowling, giving examples such as Microsoft’s System Centre Operations Manager (SCOM), virtualised clients and SQL services. “All of these demand high levels of IT administration that a business might struggle to resource. We can do it for them because its coreto our expertise.”
Ergo draws on decades of experience to tailor each managed service proposition to the client’s needs. This includes working closely with customers to make a strong business case for each service, analysing the total cost of ownership to make sure the right strategy is pursued, whether it’s on-premise, in a public cloud or run out a private cloud in Ergo’s data centre.“We take everything into consideration,” he said, “tangible benefits and the less tangible such as productivity efficiencies and avoidance of downtime. And we free up our clients’ internal resources, allowing them to focus on strategic projects while we keep the lights on.”
The Ergo approach builds strong relationships. It’s not uncommon for a client to start small with a selective piece of outsourcing such as backup and recovery, before gradually handing over more services and responsibility. “It works well because we get to know each other and grow together on the journey,”said Dowling. “At the end of the day it’s all based on trust and partnership.”
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