- Question: What is your name, company name and position within your company, and how long have you been with this company?
Dr Stuart Nielsen-Marsh
Microsoft Cloud Product Manager
- Describe your company and what it does in 50 words or less.
Pulsant offers managed hosting, private/hybrid cloud and professional services to customers in the UK ranging from SMEs to large private and public sector organizations. Pulsant has over 3,500 business customers which it serves from its 15 data centers in the UK and 6 other data centers globally.
- What is your biggest daily/weekly challenge?
Keeping up with the pace of change in the cloud technology and services space – in the cloud space we have seen the cadence of the business change from yearly IT changes to monthly and now weekly innovation, updates and changes which in turn our customers expect us to be able to deliver to them.
- What is your greatest daily/weekly satisfaction?
When a member of my staff comes to show me the latest technology innovation they have seen, learnt about or mastered and how it will improve our services, offer our customers additional benefits or improvements and so ultimately help the company succeed in delighting our customers.
- In your view, what has been the most significant technological and/or business driver to have emerged over the last five years (i.e. cloud, hosted services, thin clients, social media, flexible working….) and why?
Definitely the cloud, but in particular the changes that will come with the introduction by Microsoft of Azure Stack. Azure Stack intends to allow users to bring the Azure cloud model down to the datacentre. Specifically, Stack is a new hybrid cloud platform that will allow organisations to deliver Azure services from their own datacentres in a way that is consistent with [public] Azure. The point of Azure Stack is that it takes the benefits of public cloud and brings these same capabilities and services into your (private) datacentre. This will enable a host of new ideas letting companies develop a whole Azure Stack ecosystem where:
- Hosting companies can sell private Azure Services direct from their datacentres
- System integrators can design, deploy and operate Azure solution once but deliver in both private and public clouds
- ISVs can write Azure-compatible software once and deploy in both private and public clouds
- Managed service providers can deploy, customise and operate Azure Stack themselves
- How do you see IoT (Internet of Things) technologies (distributed networks, edge analytics, big data etc) driving change across business organisations?
IoT is currently on the peak of inflated expectations in Gartner’s Hype Cycle, poised to slip into the trough of disillusionment. When you hear people advising the industry to focus on need, rather than ‘throwing technology out there’, you can understand why – IoT will without doubt have a significant impact on business organizations in the near future, but only in combination with the use of machine learning, AI and analytics more generally. In particular, predictive analytics is emerging as the key game-changer. Instead of looking backward to analyze “what happened?” predictive analytics help executives answer “What’s next?” and “What should we do about it?”
- Why Dell?
Partnering with Dell enables us to provide cost-effective hybrid cloud solutions to our customers from the Dell Hybrid Cloud Solutions range. In addition, working closely with Dell’s engineering teams and architects allows us to be at the cutting edge of new cloud technologies such as the forthcoming Azure Stack services from Microsoft.
- Why the channel
When expanding into new markets it is much easier to partner with a reseller who already understands the market and already has the networks and infrastructure to sell to and service it than it is to set up a new division etc.
- How (or in what ways) did you interact with your partner, Dell, in the last month?
Currently Pulsant and Dell are planning a joint venture to create a UK Centre of Excellence for Hybrid Cloud. We have been working jointly with the Dell’s EMEA Cloud Services Director, one of its leading Hybrid cloud architects and head of its Partner Services Director to progress these plans. In addition, our corporate IT team have been working with Dell’s hybrid cloud support teams as part of our internal IT services migration to Dell’s DHCS platform.
- It’s early days, but what is your current view on how Brexit will disrupt IT investment?
The flexibility to purchase cloud services can be both the cloud’s greatest asset and its worst feature, resulting in almost every business today having some form of cloud outsourcing – from strategically sourced hybrid IT through to shadow IT. This has created a world of complex hybrid cloud environments; mixing on-premise infrastructure controlled by IT with cloud services, sometimes purchased departmentally. So, as the UK heads towards uncertainty, IT managers with hybrid environments are now looking to minimise their IT risk as they navigate the post-Brexit landscape.
It may be too early to predict the likely impact but Pulsant recognises that there are a number of important factors to consider if you are an IT decision maker operating in the UK. The first thing to think about is, “Where are your current IT services being delivered from?” Next comes the question of your data and where its located. Another big area is around staffing IT teams and UK businesses’ continued ability to retain top talent once outside of the EU. Then there is business continuity, and the need to have business continuity plans in place across IT that could trigger the transfer of data, IT services and staff resources back to the UK in the event that Brexit results in more serious consequences than can be foreseen at this moment in time.
Madeleine Hudson is a Dell Senior Content Advisor for the EMEA channel. She is a highly experienced strategic marketer, specializing in B2B social media and content management. Prior to Dell, Madeleine spent six years at Microsoft UK, working in digital channel marketing for SMB audiences.
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