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Sooraj Shah

Contributing Editor

Sooraj Shah is Contributing Editor of New Statesman Tech with a focus on C-level IT leader interviews. He is also a freelance technology journalist.

Edge computing is the next growth area for MSPs, says Insight Enterprises CEO

Insight Enterprises is Fortune 500 company that is estimated to be worth around $9.2bn. The company is an IT services company and managed services company, with customers across the world, many of which have a global footprint.

“It’s unique that we’re global as most of our competitors are regional,” says Ken Lamneck, president and CEO of the company.

The company divides its offerings into four different areas: the first is in supply chain optimisation, the second is a connected workforce which is around the experiences employees have with devices. Within that, there are a range of managed services capabilities for collaboration, deployment, mobility, office, and workplace. The third space is with cloud data centre transformation.

“The world is mostly hybrid cloud and that’s how it will be for a while, especially with SMEs for the next five years. We help companies to work out which workloads go to the public cloud and we manage the hybrid cloud,” says Lamneck.

Finally, there is a digital innovation area, in which the company has 1,100 software developers that help clients with the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) for customised applications.

Insight Enterprises offers traditional managed services to support infrastructure and end users. This includes remote management of private cloud environments and remote service desk capabilities – it also provides physical people on site to support clients if needed.

“Where we see it moving is infrastructure is remote management of hybrid cloud – so both private and public, and more importantly [management of] multi-cloud. Most clients don’t want to get locked into one provider, so we help them with AWS, Azure, Google and IBM for their multi-cloud efforts and what we’re seeing is that a lot of clients are using managed services where they previously might have carried out the work themselves,” says Lamneck.

“This is because it’s very complex being both hybrid and multi-cloud, and so the expertise and scale to get this done means they’re relying on companies like us,” he adds.

Other ways that the company is helping clients is by providing them with self-service automation and knowledge management.

“Password reset was the number one helpdesk item, but why pay for that when you can do it through a chatbot – eliminating those calls,” Lamneck says.

The rise of edge computing

According to Lamneck, the biggest area of growth he can see potential in is edge computing, driven by IoT and AI.

“We’re seeing some very interesting use cases from our clients. For instance, a lot of fast food restaurant environments are looking at IoT to help with food safety which is one of their biggest issues and costs. We’re helping clients to put sensors into refrigeration units and ovens so they can get real-time data and some basic intelligence,” he explains.

For instance, if an alert goes off at 2am on a refrigeration unit then there may be something wrong with the unit, whereas if there is an alert at 6am, it may just be someone loading the refrigerator. Another example of a sensor is in small fast food restaurants when free good is given out. If the ‘no sale’ button is hit, the camera automatically captures the cash register and the people involved in the transaction, which deters employees from handing out free food to their friends.

Sensors are also helping hospitals with temperature and humidity in operating rooms using sensors, so that they have a better control over bacteria.

The managed services element of these examples is in bringing these IoT capabilities into a connected platform, and for Insight Enterprises to manage this. This could mean managing the platform for thousands of fast food restaurants at the same time.

As well as edge computing, the other trend Lamneck sees in managed services is the ability to use AI to provide better services and provide a lower cost structure.