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Posted on: October 12, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

Update Courtesy of Expedient 

For the 11th consecutive year, Channel Futures compiled the MSP 501, a ranking of the world’s top managed services providers. According to Channel Futures, “winners placed in the top 501 because of their forward-thinking business strategies and ability to anticipate and act upon trends in the fast-evolving IT channel market.” In the 2018 MSP 501 ranking, Expedient grabbed the number 7 spot, up three positions from its number 10 ranking in the 2017 MSP 501 list. Last week, Expedient executives accepted their award at the MSP 501 gala, which was part of the 2018 Channel Partners Evolution conference.

“This year’s applicant pool was the largest and most diverse in the history of the survey, and our winners represent the health and progressivity of the managed services market,” Kris Blackmon, Channel Futures content director and editor said in a statement. “They’re growing their revenue, expanding their customer influence and exploring new technology that will propel them for years to come.


Recognition beyond the MSP 501

Without doubt, 2018 has been a special year for Expedient. In addition to being honored as the world’s No. 7 MSP in 2018, Expedient has also been:

Technological Excellence Paired with Specialized Expertise

Powered by world class technology infrastructure and disciplined adherence to proven methodologies, the experts at Expedient provide essential knowledge and insight into critical aspects of customers’ business. For example, Expedient helps customers ensure compliance with several government and industry mandates, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.  By providing managed services that complement the compliance and security requirements of businesses in a variety of industries, Expedient delivers added value to customers on top of the core Infrastructure as a Service solutions it provides.

Additionally, as a VMware Cloud Verified provider, Expedient offers services based on the most complete VMware-based cloud infrastructure technology available, which provides its customers with the highest level of compatibility, choice and control of VMware’s cloud infrastructure stack.

 

About Expedient

Expedient is a cloud and data center infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider with local operations in Pittsburgh, PA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN and Memphis, TN. Acknowledged in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service and ranked as one of the Top 10 managed services providers worldwide on the Channel Futures MSP 501 list, Expedient’s converged solutions enable clients to focus on strategic business innovation, while the Expedient team handles operation of the information technology needed to support it. Expedient data centers are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Service Organization Control (SOC) reports are published annually for all locations. Learn more at expedient.com.

Posted on: September 17, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

If you haven’t heard already – CNSG’s The Converged Effect program works to dive deep into the industry-specific challenges our customers face with procuring technology in today’s times. Each month, our VP of Strategy Devin Williams focuses on a particular industry, to deliver industry-specific tools and resources designed to help you with each phase of the sales cycle. Looking to watch the full Construction and Architecture TCE webinar? We’ve got you covered – click here. Let’s take a minute to define the construction industry.

 

What is the Construction Industry?

 

  1. Buildings: The Building construction subset is usually further divided into residential and commercial.
  2. Infrastructure: Infrastructure is often called  heavy civil or heavy engineering that includes large public works, dams, bridges, highways, railways, water or wastewater and utility distribution.
  3. Industrial: Industrial construction includes refineries, process chemical, power generation, mills and manufacturing plants.

 

Macro-Level Construction Industry Trends

 

  • Optimistic outlook for 2018: healthy predicted growth over the next 5 years, but the looming and ongoing trade war has made executives much more cautious than they were just 6 months ago
  • Lack of skilled labor
  • Overall project costs are rising across the industry
  • According to according to Research and Markets, 43% of the industry is planning to increase IT investment in 2018-2019. (In part because executives, even at small firms, are starting to look to technology to solve their skill and labor shortages)
  • To top it off, material costs are rising, even before tariff wars began

 

Construction Industry Tech Trends

 

  • Due to a lot of remote workers and temporary locations, the industry is spending on secure, agile and fast connectivity to support businesses
  • MPLS is getting replaced at a higher than average clip in construction, in part due to the need for agile connectivity. Cost pressure along with SD-WAN’s splash into the market are also drivers for MPLS replacement in construction beyond just business need.
  • Everything is mobile in today’s construction firm; employees, equipment, locations, devices, etc. and in concert with this trend we are seeing more and more firms adopt mobile applications for productivity, safety, operations, building modeling, etc.
  • Firms are looking to data and IoT solutions to reduce operating expenses and bolster margins, especially with so many high cost pieces of equipment
  • There’s growth of connected job sites and wearable technology, that also integrates to construction management software to help monitor and analyze the job site
  • Cloud and HW refresh occurring heavily in the space as companies look to go mobile, support technology driven initiatives

 

Challenge #1: Remote Everything

 

  • Quickly and securely connecting work sites, sometimes rural and short term
  • Securing and monitoring a network with explosive device growth
  • Ensuring proper network capacity and architecture to support remote workers who have large, secured files and mission critical applications they need to access
  • Ensuring proper communication and collaboration between full time, freelance, office and remote employees

 

Solutions for Remote Everything

 

Green Cloud: virtual desktop for those remote and freelance workers and DR to ensure continuity of this remote architecture

Flexential: delivers cloud and compute resources as well as professional services and compliant environments, purpose built to support organizations with remote and edge critical resources

Momentum: they have a purpose built UcaaS and collab solution for the construction industry with use cases specific for your construction clients and their remote workforce needs pre built into the platform

CenturyLink: delivers a cloud based UTM solution so no matter where your people are, their traffic can be protected and secured.  very handy for workers who aren’t in the office

Broad Sky Networks: fleet management and remote connectivity solutions that align perfectly to the construction company needs around remote everything and agile connectivity demands

Comm-Core: as a service physical monitoring and security that can be easily moved from location to location as sites turn up and down.  Helps reduce theft and insurance costs besides peace of mind and site control for management

MetTel: who can deliver unique solutions for remote workplaces; managed wifi, mutli-carrier mobile solutions, IoT platform, fleet management and a really cool mobile SD-WAN kit for quick turn up needs.

 

Challenge #2: Rising Costs

 

  • Trade wars and tariffs make the entire market difficult to predict
  • The void in labor job supply has caused a 4.5% rise in labor cost in the past 2 years alone
  • Key building materials from fencing and forklifts, to raw materials like cement and aluminum had seen huge YoY price jumps BEFORE the tariffs

Companies are looking to new technologies to help combat these rising costs such as:

  • AI/Big Data with IoT
  • Robotics/Automation
  • Cloud Technology
  • BIM (Building Information Modeling)
  • 3D Printing
  • Collaboration

 

Solutions for Rising Costs

 

MetTel again, is a natural fit for numerous use cases which we see in construction. For rising costs, they can provide fleet tracking solutions with consistent savings and sub 12 month ROI.  Or TEM for mobile while consolidating plans all with MDM included

Granite: great play on aggregation + SD-WAN to find awesome connectivity savings while driving better network performance and agility

BCN: your aggregation and cost consolidation play for access and network

CATO: get connectivity, plus sd-wan, plus security at a lower cost than MPLS, which as we mentioned is being replaced left and right in construction

Expedient: for cloud and refresh, has hybrid offerings to right size between cloud and colo for your customers and free cost analysis tools so your customers can forecast savings before they even sign the deal

A new one to the portfolio, Centrics IT: they can deliver 3rd party maintenance contracts at a fraction of the cost of existing maintenance, especially legacy or end of support tech.

And finally, another new addition to the portfolio, Flockgen: they provide waste, energy and utility contract consolidation and replacement.  Similar to the CentricsIT play for replacing maintenance contracts, you can help you customers find savings with those waste, energy and utility providers by simply getting a hold of their current contracts and providing them to Flockgen for analysis.

 

Challenge #3: Lack of IT Resources

 

  • 22% of construction firms task IT activities to non-IT employees
  • Cloud adoption in construction is the highest in any vertical; 5% higher than the next vertical
  • 58% of SMB construction firms rely on mobile devices and apps in the field
  • 1/3rd of construction firms have a mobile strategy in place, while 1/3rd have NO mobile platform at all
  • The industry is experiencing a collision of increased technology investment and reliance, with an understaffed and legacy IT environment.

Some common failings related to this climate:

  • Introducing new and perpetuating old Security risks
  • Failing to meet business agility demands
  • Compromising service performance
  • Reduce or eliminate technology ROI

 

Solutions for Lack of IT Resources

 

There are so many different suppliers in the CNSG portfolio that can help with customers who are understaffed in IT. Some generic examples include:

  • Hosted communications and call center technologies
  • Cloud or managed anything from office 365 and managed workstations to handing off management of entire applications or systems
  • SD-WAN to simplify or completely outsource network management

 

Some specific vendors:

CenturyLink: Security aaS perfect for remote and agile networks but also access and network, cloud, collab technologies in their portfolio, all available as a managed service

MetTel: A great fit for the industry, specifically for lack of IT resources, talk about managed wifi with analytics to deliver connectivity AND visibility, or a complete mobile platform with MDM included

Flexential: provides excellent managed services and professional services and can do so without a reliance on a specific vendor, meaning they can be flexible for your customers’ needs and I love their focus as a company on the edge

CentricsIT: who I brought up previously, their smart hands as a service offering is perfect for customers who have specific one-time project needs like a scramble site issue fix, as well as regular recurring needs that aren’t always easy to forecast such as site turn ups.  remember larger firms can have dozens to hundreds of sites live at any time, all of which temporary and on their own timeline.

TPx: a one stop shop for managed everything; network, security, SD-WAN, cloud, office, etc.

 

 

Be sure to join us on October 3rd, 2pm eastern, for our review of the manufacturing industry on the next Converged Effect Industry Webinar. Get the presentation for this webinar and other great resources on the CNSG Partner Resource Center.

Posted on: September 6, 2018 By: admin

By: Eric Hester, Green Cloud Technologies 

 

Complex IT scenarios used to be the stuff of NASA, militaries and Fortune 500 companies. Small businesses were immune to the complexities of highly available, multi-platform, multi-vendor, compliant, distributed, vulnerable IT systems. Those days are long gone, as we all well know. The complexity of IT was highlighted ironically by the coining of the term “cloud” itself. The “cloud” obscured the complexity of these systems into a generic term meant to say, “a network of systems and platforms maintained outside of one’s own environment” (my off the cuff definition; like many of you, I simply remember drawing clouds in the ‘90s to show complex network designs of which I didn’t want to draw all the components).

 

I am certainly not the first person to expound on the evolution of Information Technology over the last half century, nor do I believe I will be the last. That’s not why I am writing this post. I am writing to provide a case for the modern managed cloud service provider. Business can no longer operate without participating in these complex interconnected systems. However, small businesses have not changed – they do not have the ability to manage this complexity. They are good at what they set out to do with their enterprise, but not necessarily with the IT required to do so. Sure, MSPs of the 2.0 variety exist to fill this need, but they also are not evolved enough.

 

Outsourced IT is not a new concept, but it’s not enough. Outsourced cloud service mediation, outsourced service mobility and agility, outsourced compliance, outsourced security, ubiquitous service access must all be combined into a solution. MSP 1.0 was about turning break fix into opex. MSP 2.0 added consultancy and more services. MSP 3.0 (or what I call managed cloud service providers or MCSPs) must be about making IT disappear into the background.

 

Imagine selling (insert vertical here) as a service. A customer no longer worries about what system they are logging into, what software licenses they are paying for or whose cloud services they are using. They simply consume the services that you, as the MCSP, have selected for their needs. You may be saying, “What does that even mean? What platform(s) are you talking about? What products?” The point isn’t how yet, it is what. Now the time is right for holistic solutions made up of many vendors, products and providers. We need to put the simplification of the cloud drawing over that complexity as well. Modern MSPs or MCSPs must be focused on selling a solution that does not have the customer wondering why AWS is better than Azure or why o365 is better than gSuite, etc. Modern solutions must solve a problem and work in a way agnostic to the underlying components. Customers want to run their business and they WANT to pay you to make IT easier.

 

Services like SD-WAN, DDoS Protection, AI Based IDS/AMP, SaaS utilization management, Identity Management, snapshot recovery, long term archiving, abstractions like published apps or workspace platforms like AirWatch must ALL be managed to differentiate your services and create these solutions. Just as concepts like PSA, RMM, vCIO and QBRs became terms and concepts inherent in MSP 2.0 solutions, so too must these concepts now become second nature.

Posted on: August 30, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

The #1 competitor to agents selling unified communications is the status quo – customers staying with their current on premise solution. We take a look at three points that you can use in your next discussion on why to migrate to the cloud.

By John Dickson, Momentum Telecom

Many enterprises are facing a key decision: keep their aging, antiquated on-premise solution or embrace the future and move to a hosted solution.

There is a lot of natural hesitancy towards being an early adopter of a technology. Questions like “will this work?”, “how does this help our bottom line” and “is this right decision?” can be heard rattling around the skulls of IT executives from miles away. This is why many offices for companies around the globe, there are arguments being made about hosted or cloud voice solutions and on-premise options.

When that discussion takes place, there are a lot of factors to consider, and each of the following are topics that are important enough that should both be considered and should drive that conversation:

Technology

Can you imagine using a computer from the 1990s to do your work? Or how about using a trusty car phone to make calls while driving into work? If the thought of relying on either of those relics to do business scared you, then you need to ask yourself why you’re relying on today’s work to be done using telephone technology from decades past. Cloud voice has firmly entrenched itself as the technology of tomorrow that is both affordable and available today. Analog and on-premise systems will soon be as rare as a telegraph, and thank goodness you’re not using one of those for your office memos.

Scalability

A traditional on-premise system allows you to have a predetermined maximum number of users, and this model can function well for companies that don’t add or remove users on a regular basis. However, for those enterprises that do add and remove users more often, the moment you pass the available threshold (even if by a single user) you have to upgrade the system and pay for the next maximum number of seats available, even though you won’t be using all of them. The benefit a hosted solution provides is the ability to with a few mere clicks, you can add or remove seat and you only pay for the seats you’re actually using. For companies that are growing or need the ability to scale up or down at a moment’s notice, a hosted solution is much more streamlined and cost friendly.

Cost

Hosted solutions can reduce upfront expenditures such as hardware and save costs in a number of ways; beginning with reducing costly maintenance fees and allowing organizations to pay only for the number of users using the technology. In a very tangible way, hosted solutions provide savings and furthermore, allow enterprises to switch from a capital expenditure to a operational expense.

While your debate doesn’t need to end to with these three topics (it could certainly extend the conversation to include customization, maintenance, disaster recovery, mobility and on and on), but technology, scalability and cost are certainly driving factors that every business needs to consider. And as current trends show, companies that are ready to lead in their industry will continue to pick hosted voice over solutions on-premise options.

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