Managed services have always had a place in IT, but this year the need to focus on core competencies - and continuity - made these providers near-essential to success. From cloud to security to regulatory compliance, outsourcing is big and necessary business.
Virtuoso is such a managed service provider, and winner of MSP of the Year at this year's Cloud Excellence Awards. The company provides managed services that wrap around clients' bespoke needs, with a focus on the Microsoft cloud.
"By developing a truly integrated partnership with our customers, we understand their unique requirements and get the right balance of cloud platforms and traditional IT working in unison for their businesses, to deliver innovative technology changes," says Markus McIver, CEO of Virtuoso.
Customers are at the core of Virtuoso's work, and taking time to understand their business needs and make tailored recommendations proved key to Virtuoso's success in the Awards - especially in such a crowded marketplace.
"With so many emerging companies offering comparable services to Virtuoso, it's vital for us to have events like the Cloud Excellence Awards to benchmark ourselves against our competitors.
"Having recognition for our services from an impartial body will enable those looking for a new IT provider to trust that we are able to effectively fulfil their requirements.
"Being officially recognised as an industry-leading MSP will also develop the trust among our existing customers, as they will confidently continue to work with us to innovate their technology - which is what we're so passionate about doing!"
Despite the (many) challenges of this year, Virtuoso chose to pursue an achievement it had previously set its sights on:
"We made it our mission to persevere with achieving our IS0 20000 certification. To be formally certified against ISO 20000, our business had to complete an extensive and scrutinising auditing process, which was even more difficult than usual as a result of the unexpected shift in environment brought by the pandemic.
"Regardless, we remained determined and ultimately achieved ISO 20000 within our target deadline. This certification demonstrates how our business is consistent in delivering high-quality managed services to customers. Achieving this standard is something we have worked towards for many years, so to have our efforts recognised during such a challenging year has been fantastic for us as an organisation."
The pandemic disrupted workflows at many firms, but Virtuoso had an advantage over others:
"Fortunately, as a cloud provider focused on helping customers navigate the Microsoft Cloud, we had already supported many of our customers with building a modern workplace. This meant that their teams were well prepared when forced to shift to remote workstyles. We worked quickly to migrate any customers who were not, enabling entire workforces to embrace remote working with ease. Our role was integral to these businesses remaining operational during this time, which meant preparing our support teams to be reliably responsive, so that customers experiencing this transformation were informed and engaged throughout the process."
As the year went on, Virtuoso helped customers adopt Microsoft cloud tools like Teams, Stream and SharePoint to support remote working. As McIver says, "These applications were suddenly playing fundamental roles in their businesses." This meant Virtuoso carrying out training sessions, demonstrations and workshops to ensure customers were getting the most from these tools.
"As we come to end of year, we have seen many of our existing customers settling comfortably into their new remote working environments. This has given us the time to focus on new opportunities, working with customers who felt let down by their IT providers during lockdown, due to slow customer support or limited technology services. As a result, many businesses are now looking for a new technology partner, like Virtuoso, who can deliver industry-leading IT support services, regardless of any dynamic changes in our environment. We are now working alongside businesses like these to help them understand the benefits of working with us and how we can support them with transforming their IT."