These days, the biggest challenge you get is that systems have become more complex, said Chris Casey, services director at PFH Technology Group. “[There are] Multiple vendors and multiple threats coming from unwanted sources, so the biggest challenge for us is managing that complexity and making sure the systems are good.”
Delivering a comprehensive managed service is a tough business at the best of times. On top of the ever-growing complexity, the other challenges include the lack of broadband capacity in rural areas, something which is out of the control of businesses and prevents certain clients from getting full use of services.
The final one is capacity management that is finding qualified people to help maintain and improve services.
The point of complex systems being made simple for users is something that all managed service providers have to grapple with, but what tends to be forgotten is the updating of these systems.
Keeping up and integrating them without disruption to the overall business is a major challenge this industry faces.
“As systems go on, every day there’s a new app, new system or a new way of doing business and they all have to integrate with the older systems that were there,” said Casey. “You can’t decide to throw out the old stuff . . . [and] every business goes through that.”
One major advantage that PFH has with its services is how many partnerships it has with major device vendors. The likes of HP, Dell and others gives clients some piece of mind; knowing that no matter what the device is, they’ll be covered.
“It’s about the customer, it’s not about the system or supplier,” said Casey “It’s about what they need to be competitive. They don’t need IT to be a hindrance to their business, what they need is IT to be the tool that gives them the edge that makes them more competitive.”
On top of that, consultations and meetings play a regular part in PFH’s relationship with clients.
Within these meetings, talking about the systems they’re using, problems they may have, future trends and education are covered.
The topics that are covered naturally change over time as new technologies and problems emerge but security is always a major factor.
“At this moment in time, one of the biggest threats that we have . . . is ransomware,” said Casey. “It’s huge, yet I talk to a lot of customers and it’s not on their radar at all. It’s not just a case of telling you what’s out there, it’s giving you an edge . . . if you’re well protected, that’s your competitive edge. If your competitors aren’t and they get attacked, it slows them down.”
At the moment, PFH is concentrating on automated tools to help deal with the ever- growing complexity these systems introduce.
“If you’re only asking human beings to deliver it, you can’t get scale and you can’t deliver enough people to make it worthwhile, but the use of tools and the use of machines with people is where you get the real jump for it.”