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How the GSI partner model has supported customers with distributed workforces

Adam Tarbox, director of the global system integrator business for EMEA at Nutanix, shares his thoughts about the impact of the pandemic and the GSI partner model

Henry Ford, American industrialist and the founder of Ford Motor Company, is quoted as saying that “if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”. And while it’s believed it was said in relation to his company and workforce, it’s equally applicable to the global systems integrator (GSI) partnership model.

While this partnership model has existed for decades, in recent years – due to the increased complexity of customer organisations, their systems and the challenges they face in meeting the demands of an ever-changing market – they have become even more important.

Now, more than ever, the deep relationships between vendors, GSIs and enterprise customers are critical in delivering innovation and transformation. At their heart is a culture where teams work together as one, sharing information and developing solutions to challenges collaboratively.

This year, the situation has been further compounded by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has forced a massive shift in working practices – the likes of which we’ve never seen. In a matter of weeks, the vast majority of the developed world has seen its white-collar workforce move from the office to being (temporarily) home-based.

Before Covid-19, it’s estimated that only around 5.3% of the working population worked from home across the European Union as a whole, and 4.7% in the UK, but that changed dramatically as governments imposed lockdowns.

While we’re now seeing some people return to offices, there have been suggestions that the way people work has changed forever, and that some degree of flexibility of where people work will be a permanent feature of employment in future. Matt Hancock, the UK’s secretary of state for health, has even suggested that employers should now always offer working from home as an option.

The almost overnight move to working from home put an enormous strain on all companies, not least the largest – and this is where GSI partners came in, working with their customers to help them navigate the ever-changing situation as it evolved.

Most large companies had some sort of remote or home working provision in place, mainly as part of a business continuity plan, but often only for senior or key personnel. However, few – if any – had a plan that included all employees working away from the office.

Aside from the equipment required, companies needed to rapidly provide secure platforms for people to access the information, systems and support they needed to work as normally as possible.

As a vendor, we worked closely with GSI partners to support them in delivering innovative technology solutions using our technology to underpin secure homeworking for their customers – and we continue to do so as the situation evolves.

One example of how we’ve worked closely with a GSI partner is with Wipro’s Virtuadesk, a managed virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) service that uses the Nutanix web-scale architecture to deliver cost-effective high performance virtual desktops for customers.

In addition to our relationship with Wipro, Virtuadesk builds on a global partnership between Nutanix and HPE, and delivers Nutanix Enterprise Cloud software through HPE GreenLake to help drive down the total cost of ownership, accelerate operational productivity and increase efficiency.

The past few months have been unprecedented in terms of the speed and scale of technology transformation that’s been required by customers, supported by GSI partners, but we have seen a lot of companies successfully move to a distributed workforce model.

This could only be done by everyone – GSIs, customers and vendors – “moving forward together”, sharing information and having honest conversations to understand the exact requirements and jointly delivering innovative technical solutions at scale and speed.

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