Acuutech is gearing up for a year of expansion in Asia after achieving close to 300 per cent growth through cloud managed services.
Founded in 1996, the UK-based business has been operating in Asia for more than nine years, with deep expertise in cloud, hybrid, storage and mobility solutions, alongside business continuity, connectivity, networking and data centre offerings.
From regional headquarters in Singapore, plans are now in place to capitalise on increased customer demand for cloud solutions, delivered through consumption billing on a recurring basis.
“We are a true end-to-end service provider,” said Hitan Mehta, CEO of Asia at Acuutech. “We recently launched a new set of tools for our existing managed on-premises customers which has allowed us to focus higher up the value chain.
“In our consultancy and workplace business we delivered some great spaces infused with technology in co-working and hospitality, which also helped boost our project services revenue.”
In serving a worldwide customer base from locations in Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, Acuutech is balancing global ambitions with local aspirations.
During the next 12 months in Asia, Mehta said the technology specialist is prioritising cloud managed services growth, as well as rolling out regional consultancy capabilities specific to security, IT auditing and workplace solutions. This is in addition to launching MESH - a turnkey IT platform leveraging Microsoft and Lenovo technologies - into the Southeast Asia market.
“We have deep expertise in Microsoft technologies and work directly with them and OEMs [original equipment manufacturers],” added Mehta, when speaking exclusively to Channel Asia. “This provides an edge on go-to market solutions that allow our customers to capitalise on today’s hybrid technology landscape.
“We also launched our channel business in India and Australia through strategic partnerships, which is driven by MESH which greatly simplifies the deployment, management and consumption of Azure Stack HCI and Microsoft.”
In assessing the ASEAN, and wider Asia Pacific market, Mehta acknowledged the rise of “cloud repatriation” as customers bring unsuitable workloads back from the cloud. Natural concerns around security and privacy also feature heavily on business priority lists, added Mehta, as well as increased adoption of artificial intelligence.
“Customers are also pursuing hyper-converged infrastructure and software-defined data centres, alongside automation, security and privileged access management,” Mehta observed. “This is all delivered through managed services.”
From a market perspective, Acuutech spans enterprise and small to medium enterprise (SME) sectors in Asia, “often working behind the scenes” through the provision of managed services and IT support.
“We allow customers to focus on their business,” Mehta said. “One particular customer has approximately 20 sites across Asia spanning Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong - we operate as the managed services partner and integrated IT team.
“We have enabled them to completely move systems to secure public cloud infrastructure. Not only do we manage it end-to-end, we are able to budget IT per headcount which provides the business with a blueprint to expand per site in either of the countries or based on headcount.”
Acuutech’s managed services toolset monitors operations “24x7x365”, allowing the provider to respond and resolve problems before the customer becomes aware, added Mehta.
“This is a proactive approach and one which allowed this customer to expand from initially three sites to now 20,” he said. “They do not need to employ any IT personnel to support their business and can leverage our teams and industry partnerships to be competitive in their industry.”
Despite being unable to name specific customers due to confidentiality agreements, Mehta said Acuutech recently “stepped into a new account” with a business that was previously buying licences from a LAR, a large account reseller label used by Microsoft.
“This customer wanted to do more with the cloud licences and needed a partner with high touch to guide them on their cloud strategy,” Mehta explained. “We convinced them to switch their licensing to us and along with this we bundled in our professional services and consultancy capabilities.”
As a result, the customer has been able to drive software-as-a-service consumption, enabling the business to reduce costs by removing duplicate software.
“Following this we worked to optimise their public cloud infrastructure with our team acting as a first line of support,” Mehta outlined. “80 per cent of the time our team can resolve issues without needing to escalate to the public cloud provider which has bought down the time to resolve issues, increasing uptime and in turn customer satisfaction.”
Specific to technology, Acuutech is aligned to Microsoft as a predominant vendor through offering specialist services across Azure, Office 365 and Windows among others. Other key vendor alliances include Lenovo, Equinix and Cisco, as well as Sophos, Dell EMC and HP.
But in terms of placing strategic bets in 2020, Acuutech’s vendor roadmap is clear.
“A biased answer would be Microsoft, I believe they will have a strong 2020,” Mehta acknowledged. “Following Ignite it’s clear that the technology stack is maturing with offerings around on-premises, hybrid, edge computing and cloud.
“Microsoft has launched blockchain initiatives and continue to strengthen partnerships with the competition. The push within their sales organisation and teams to promote education and learning is clear now more than ever as a partner that has worked with them for more than 20 years.
“They have also entered and are now commoditising the hyper-converged infrastructure market, alongside entering robotic process automation and I’m sure they’ll get close to disrupting Citizen developers.”
In looking ahead, Mehta said the Singapore and Southeast Asia markets are on the “cusp of change”, with many best practices evident in other markets yet to be adopted locally by the channel.
“Such as moving towards being a true managed service provider [MSP], leveraging tools to automate and remediate problems for customers and being able to offer deep consulting expertise,” he said. “This is all whilst staying lean and agile, which are the key attributes helping a technology provider remain successful.
“A principle I have seen occurring more in the last few years is increased partner-to-partner collaboration and consolidation. The market is due a shake up and many of the community I speak to are ready to sell out, buy or are looking for ways to partner, cross sell, up-sell and leverage.”
And perhaps Mehta is correct, with MSPs gearing up for an era of ownership change as the channel edges towards an all-out M&A frenzy.
Specifically, 70 per cent of MSPs are expected to explore buying, selling and merging options within the next 3-5 years with industry consolidation on the horizon.
“If you look around the industry, most MSPs are planning to either buy or sell,” said Arlin Sorensen, vice president of peer groups at ConnectWise, when addressing the channel during IT Nation Connect in November 2018.
“Everybody will exit their company at some point but it’s important to know what that legacy looks like. You need to begin to execute and prepare for this because M&A is a key way to grow your business.”