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Blogs > Quocirca

The integrator-MSP and the mid-market
Bob Tarzey By: Bob Tarzey, Service Director, Quocirca
Published: 20th September 2012
Copyright Quocirca © 2012
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Innovations in the way information technology is provisioned means business managers should be able to rely on the software applications that support their business being available, scalable, cost effective, secure and compliant. This has not always been easy to achieve, especially for mid-market organisations with limited technical resources. Just like larger organisations, they too need access to such applications to ensure they remain competitive.

The key to achieving this is selecting the right platform for a given application and making sure that choice is flexible, which requires the application to be virtualised. Virtual application workloads can be moved from one platform to another with relative ease, providing access to more reliable infrastructure, ensuring scalability and/or access to relatively low cost back up resources. However, this only works for applications that can be virtualised in the first place.

With many older legacy applications, virtualisation is often hard or impossible. However, that does not mean that the way they are provisioned cannot be improved to help achieve some of the goals outlined above. For example, the hardware such applications run on may be better housed in an enterprise class co-location data centre rather than remaining in a dated in-house facility.

The choices for deploying applications are broader than ever; from dedicated to physical servers, through in-house private clouds to huge scale multi-tenancy public cloud platforms. A given application may be broken down in to a number of individual workloads that can each run in different environments to suit its needs. Such flexibility is welcome; however, the knowledge and skill for making best use of it will not exist in many mid-market organisations.

Fortunately help is at hand. A new breed of provider has emerged that combines the role of a system integrator with that of the managed service provider (MSP); the integrator-MSP. Some integrator-MSPs are focussed primarily on helping mid-market organisations with improved deployment of their applications.

As opposed to specialist-MSPs that offer single specialist service, for example co-location data centres or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), integrator-MSPs focus on application delivery, advising the best way to provision new applications and re-provision old ones. This involves making best use of a mix of existing in-house resources, those of specialist-MSPs and those from the integrator-MSP itself.

Integrator-MSPs are often local organisations focussed on their home market. One such is Niu Solutions, the sponsor of a recent Quocirca report Sourcing and integrating managed services which is freely available here. Niu is a UK-based integrator focussed on helping UK mid-market organisations better provision the application(s) they rely on. There are a number of other such UK-based organisations that combine managed service with system integration for the mid-market including Attenda, Phoenix and the Adapt Group (which has just acquired its smaller rival eLINIA).

More and more businesses are coming to realise that they can better focus their core value proposition if they turn to third parties to ensure that achieving this is underpinned by reliable applications. For those that recognise the benefits, there has never been so much choice of providers and platforms.

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