Sergey Nivens - stock.adobe.com
Managed service providers (MSPs) are showing clear signs of reacting to a world that is being changed by Covid-19, with more services emerging to support those working from home and looking to collaborate with colleagues.
Secure homeworking, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and greater flexibility are all being offered by those MSP players looking to react to the changing needs of customers.
Cloud and managed services firm Maintel has joined a growing list of channel players that have reported a strong end to 2020.
Maintel has issued a trading update covering last year which indicated that revenues are in line with expectations, despite an unforeseen second lockdown being established in the fourth quarter.
The business has been going through a transformation, becoming more of a pure cloud and managed services business, and ended the year having exceeded its target of 100,000 contracted cloud seats by bringing in 2,000 more than that number.
The fourth quarter also saw Maintel come up with services that would appeal to workers stuck in the current lockdown and those looking at a hybrid working world beyond the coronavirus pandemic. The Secure Homeworker package arrived in November, giving remote workers an opportunity to connect to systems securely.
Maintel also expanded the functionality of its Icon cloud platform to cover Microsoft Teams, which has been one of the collaborative tools experiencing significant growth over the course of the pandemic.
“Despite the unforeseen second national lockdown in the fourth quarter, we were still able to achieve the goals we set out for our second half, while continuing to develop our business and position it for a competitive future,” said Maintel chief executive Ioan MacRae.
“That we were able to meet or exceed all our financial targets, while continuing to develop our capabilities and exceed 100,000 cloud seats, is a testament to our employees’ talent and dedication,” he added.
The cloud service player has cut the ribbon on its Beyond Cloud proposition, providing support to those that want flexible services that can react to changing needs.
The channel player has also become one of the handful of MSPs in the UK awarded Azure Expert status, with the firm supporting cloud customers with a Azure-aligned security operations centre (SOC).
One of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has been an acceleration in cloud adoption, and the Azure Expert status should give Six Degrees something extra to promote to customers. Like many in the market, the firm is expecting the demand for public cloud infrastructure to grow by strong double digits this year.
David Howson, CEO of Six Degrees, said that the firm wanted to stand out above other MSP competitors and had to react to the way the pandemic had changed the needs of customers.
“In today’s world, it’s never been more important for organisations to continuously transform and innovate. We help our customers do exactly that through best-of-breed technology, deep technical expertise and proven best practice service delivery,” he said.
“Being a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP is a great validation of our approach and solutions. We’re proud to be part of a very small group of providers who are using the transformational power of Azure to take customers to the next level,” he added.
The firm is looking to recruit 50 to 60 channel partners over the course of this year to take its UCaaS proposition to market.
The UCaaS platform has been in a period of product testing with a few partners and customers over the past six months, but is now ready for a wider take-up across the channel.
The channel will be able to offer users a monthly services that provides a UC solution that can be accessed through a portal. It combines mobile, telephony, collaboration tools, national and international calls and data packages, along with session border control and management for traffic monitoring.
“With our Apalo UCaaS platform, our channel partners can offer their customers a whole new way of communicating – reliably, securely and seamlessly across all connected devices,” said Philippe Matos, CEO of Apalo.
The firm is pitching itself as an alternative to cloud PBX providers, open source players and traditional offerings.
“Building on the strong partner insight gained over the past six months, our experienced team is now ready to on-board and work alongside 50 to 60 new channel partners, helping them to grow faster and more successfully than with most other solutions on the market today,” he added.
Read more about MSPs during Covid-19
- At The ASCII Group’s MSP Connect Live event, industry practitioners discussed different ways that MSPs and IT vendors have faced challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Managed service providers will come to view 2020 as the year their industry finally received the recognition and legitimacy they have long sought.