In a joint event together with our partner Datto (formerly Autotask), we shared our vision on digitisation of business processes. In this blog we reveal some insights of this event.

 

The key to success is the ability to adapt

To kick off the event Thijs van Hofwegen, CCO of Keenondots, asked the audience whether their company would still exist in 3 years’ time if they didn’t start digitising now? Nearly 65% of the audience thought it is key to digitize to survive. Only 35% thought there is no need to digitise, in their opinion. A remarkable outcome as digitisation will become key in the coming years. As proved the speakers on this event.

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Jumping fast forward to last speaker of the event: Tony Krijnen of Microsoft gave a speech about human’s resourcefulness. His inspiring talk took us back 10 years in time, when we had a mobile telephone but not a smart one yet. Back then it was still unthinkable this device would help us in planning, navigating and even be social in our daily life. Services like Spotify, Netflix, Über, Airbnb and Skype were just started or not invented yet. Was this really only 10 years ago?

With this awareness in mind, he dared us to think about what to expect of technical developments in the coming 10 years. Is it even thinkable we will not all be living in the cloud? As Tony already was, according to his t-shirt with a cloud and text saying: “My head is in the Clouds” on it.

What does this rapid development mean for you as a Microsoft provider?

If you are willing to adapt, your business can flourish. If not, you might drown, like we have seen with companies in the last years, who either did not innovate or did so, but too late.

If Thijs would have asked the present companies again: “will your company still exist in 3 years’ time if you do not start digitising now?”, after Tony’s eye opening story, the results would probably have shifted.

 

From 10 to 9500 licenses in 7 years

As a second question, Thijs asked the audience why they want to offer cloud services? What are their expectations. Most of their replies related to meeting the customer demand and achieve more Monthly Recurrent Revenues. One sceptic was honest enough to doubt higher revenues for his business.

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Jazdan Tabe, Services Manager at Datamex, the third speaker at the event, talked about the development Datamex has gone through in the last years, regarding digitisation of their business process.

He admitted being sceptic to begin with as well, when his new manager started selling Microsoft 365 cloud solutions in 2011. Up until then Datamex had always developed customized ERP systems on-prem for specific industries like Steel and Wholesale. What good could these cloud services bring? The new manager was highly convinced though of its growth potential. They started with 10 licenses to begin with, then slowly grew to 9500 licenses nowadays. In 2016 Datamex started collaborating with Keenondots and Autotask, linking their Office 365 licences via Keenondots platform with Autotask’s contract management system.

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This allowed them to automatically bill this amount of licences on a monthly basis. Jazdan Tabe advised everybody: “Start automating your ordering and billing cloud licenses now, because to deal with 10 Microsoft licences manually, is do-able but when you grow to managing 9500, it is not. And growing to such an amount is only feasible with automation.” It is obvious he dropped his initial scepticism. Now he is advocating automating the ordering and billing process of Azure licences as well as these are even more complicated.

 

Manage services, manage client expectations

A third question in the interaction with the audience was to share their main objective in automating their cloud services. Most companies named several, of which strengthening competitiveness was mentioned the most, besides more revenues, better margins and cost reductions.

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Matthé Smit, director product management of Datto (formerly Autotask), made these objectives tangible in his speech by putting key figures to these goals. First of all, he made it clear that Microsoft partners can no longer allow themselves to be just resellers. They need to be Managed Service Providers to their clients. This is something he already predicted 10 years ago and it has become more and more valid. Customers expect providers to support them in overall solutions, not just sell them licences as such. To deliver these managed services efficiently you need to automate:

  1. Service Management
  2. Device Management
  3. Managed Networking
  4. Managed Business Continuity

To all of these drivers he linked key figures to calculate their efficiency improvement. For example: to keep track of all contracts (under Service Management) the key figure is Profitability per Contract. For performance monitoring (under Managed Networking), Availability would be a good key figure. In this way the advantages of automating your business processes become very tangible. And these do not even include the expected growth yet, as your sales becomes much more scalable than before.

 

Conclusion

Having heard all four speakers, it is without a doubt that IT providers need to adjust and meet the growing client expectations. Your clients want you, as IT solutions provider, to completely take off the IT burden of their shoulders and manage their IT services. To handle their licenses, you will need to automate your ordering and billing process. If you wait too long you will miss out. Either…

Digitize or Die