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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.

Large enterprise projects shelved, but SME projects are continuing for MSP Ekco

Ekco is a managed services provider that provides infrastructure-as-a-service, disaster recovery-as-a-service and back-up as-a-service products with a managed service wrap.

It has a presence in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, and ambitions to expand into the US and other European countries over the next two years.

Adam Bradley, MD of Ekco, and head of the UK, explains that the current environment hasn’t dampened the company’s growth plans, particularly as the pandemic has not had a detrimental effect to date on the company’s finances.

Bradley explains that the company had however a change in demand from customers since lockdown began.

“We were already providing many customers with services to enable them to work remotely, but although they had the ability to work remotely, their users didn’t necessarily have the correct set up. So we were helping out our client’s IT teams to either procure or secure their home working environments for those users,” he says.

This involved procuring laptops, securing bring-your-own-device environments, and making sure that when users had an existing home PC that they were using to connect to the hosted service, that machine was up-to-date and protected.

This initial demand in March and April has now settled down, but there is still demand from many customers for hosted desktop services and hosted managed cloud services.

“I guess for those businesses that didn’t have that setup originally, there was definitely a demand for those services, particularly with some companies being less busy, it may have given them an opportunity to reassess their strategy and structure and that’s why we saw an uptick in enquiries,” he says.

Large enterprise vs SME customers

Bradley explains that there is still cautiousness in the market for very large infrastructure projects, as a result of coronavirus.

“In enterprises with more than 500 plus employees, a lot of bigger ticket infrastructure projects have been put on hold, but in the SME market space, our existing customers have a lot of projects on the go which they wanted to complete this year, and these have not been shelved,” he says.

The reasons are straightforward for this contrast; large enterprise projects which involve transforming infrastructure will be of a much higher cost – usually in the millions – and at a time when there is financial uncertainty, the logical move for many businesses is to put any big investments on hold.

Bradley also suggests that another reason for this is because smaller businesses tend to be able to react more quickly to circumstances like this.

“They’re either still privately owned, or they might have a small percentage of external investment, unlike large corporate PLCs who are thinking lets hold on to our cash. Because they’re big oil tankers, they can’t quickly plan; they’re not as agile,” he says.