By: Siobhán Brett
Managed services is not a onesize-fits-all solution, but a valuable, flexible system of operating IT that can be implemented by businesses at any level. That’s according to John Purdy, chief executive of Irish-owned IT firm Ergo.
The company,which will be 19 years old in June, is headquartered in Dublin, with a base in London and a software development unit in Poland. It employs a total of 215 people, and announced a further 30 jobs for this year based on contracts won.
"What people need will depend on the size and the nature of the organisation - it’s definitely not the same across the board," said Purdy.
"One of our constants is evolution, and constantly notching ourselves up the value chain," said Purdy.
Ergo manages business databases, print systems and maintains desktops. It also provides desktop and server storage to businesses - the physical infrastructure that companies need to operate.
"What we deliver today dictates our hiring choices. We look for people who aren’t content with just knowing what they know."
"Technology today is entirely different to what it was 19 years ago, as though that needs saying. But it’s also entirely different to where it was four years ago, and if we’re going to effectively manage people’s projects or systems, we have to be on top of things."
"In 2002 we drafted a five year plan, applying all the strategy tools available. I can still see it in my mind’s eye - a tidy, bound booklet. Of course, it became irrelevant almost overnight," said Purdy.
"I’m no longer a lover of the written strategic plan.We now use strategies as tools to drive our business forward - constantly taking reference points from parties, manufacturers, clients and staff. Everything is rapid, and keeping up is crucial for us."
Managed services were increasing in popularity for the same reason, said Purdy. "For a number of years, I’ve been talking to IT directors and chief information officers who were looking for alternative ways of adding value where hiring."
"Because of the difficulty in finding one person who can do absolutely everything well, the practice of outsourcing is growing."
Purdy said that businesses needed to focus on their core competencies nowadays, not on their IT. "If an IT team is diminished, as is happening quite a bit lately, the critical stuff needs to be out-tasked."
At the same time, Purdy said that managed services did not exist to make the original IT manager redundant. Ergo works closely with businesses to "give the client comfort" in a bespoke fashion.
"We create a solution for the customer, depending on the number of users and how they work, creating a managed service based on that - with a view to taking away the pressure of desktop deployment and bringing the cost down," said Purdy.
The service requirements of each organisation are different, something Ergo knows all too well; it works with a range of businesses, from small SMEs to Penneys and Primark, which is opening a store a week on mainland Europe. Therefore, service-level agreements are very various.
"We approach organisations with a blank sheet and we try to collaborate. We figure out what we can deliver, and then we figure out how we can deliver it profitably," said Purdy.
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