When James Hunter-Paterson launched Intalex, his aim was to launch a managed services provider (MSP) that would focus on cloud computing – he suggests that the days of MSPs that manage organisations’ infrastructure is disappearing and that even the term ‘MSP’ is now dated.
“We see ourselves as an IT services consultancy. I think of the term MSP as slightly old in terms of what we’re trying to do, although some of the underlying principles are still there,” he says.
The majority of Intalex’s focus is on Microsoft, as it provides managed services around Azure, Microsoft 365, Windows Virtual Desktop, and additional services like cloud back-up and disaster recovery, endpoint management and connectivity. In addition, the company is involved in consulting organisations around key applications that bolt into that stack.
“We’re seeing a lot of demand for things like time recording, productivity and tracking applications, and a lot of those apps identify what business processes people are working on and that has been a big increase in customer focus over the last few months,” he says.
No big change from pandemic
Hunter-Paterson says that the company hasn’t seen many other big changes as a result of the pandemic with regard to its customers. He says that this is because the company had already been pushing services that would help organisations to work from home, so while they have had to help clients with that transition, that didn’t require any big strategic changes internally at Intalex.
However, he believes that the pandemic has pushed the reliance further away from traditional MSPs that look after servers and IT infrastructure onsite.
“Our biggest client has got 21 offices around the world, and we couldn’t manage that in a way that traditional MSPs would manage that – so when we stand up offices for these guys it’s literally Wi-Fi, internet, printers and some meeting equipment on site, so they run everything from their laptops and you can provision those dynamically by sending laptops directly to their homes to self-provision, without any IT intervention – so I think traditional MSPs are going to feel the pinch,” Hunter-Paterson says.
According to him, the demand for help desk is decreasing in Intalex’s model, but the demand for strategic consultancy has increased with advice on security, guidance on using an ecosystem of SaaS-based applications that communicate with each other via an API, and introducing productivity and tracking applications.
“If we can have an application that helps our clients track time more accurately, and then automatically feeds into the accounting system or the project management system to create more accurate billing then that is of tremendous value to our clients – they are not really interested in remote monitoring,” he says.
A lot of this switch for the MSP sector in general is because there is less of a need for a provider to check the server, disc space, patching and know remotely if there is an issue, because there’s a lot more automation.
“That middle layer doesn’t exist anymore for clients, and we’re garnering data from people like Microsoft now rather than traditional vendors like SolarWinds or Barracuda or others from an RMM point of view,” he says.
“That traditional dropping agents on machines, we’re moving beyond that and Microsoft has technology like Intune for example, that has a lot of that functionality as part of the native Microsoft 365 stack and it reports that information back into a central console that you can share with your clients through Microsoft,” he adds.