To create value, look to data, says Logicalis

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Mick McNeil, VP: Business Development, Logicalis.
Mick McNeil, VP: Business Development, Logicalis.

McKinsey research shows that data-driven companies that create consumer value using data will see top-line growth as these companies are 23 times more likely to acquire customers.

For Logicalis' business development VP Mick McNeil, this means that businesses must put data at the heart of digital transformation. He describes data-led transformation as building a 'digital nervous system', helping companies capture data and using it to inform decisions in the process of transformation.

"As much a buzzword as 'digital transformation' has become, it's clear that the pandemic's accelerated global digital transformation, particularly the move to cloud as it supports distributed workloads and secure remote work," he says.

Redefining the global vision

Logicalis is a UK-based ICT solutions provider, and is owned by South Africa-based Datatec. Between 1997 and 2000, Datatec embarked on a globalisation strategy acquiring more than 20 IT integration and services companies in the Americas, Europe and Australasia.

The company’s recently appointed global COO, Michael Chanter, said in a February interview that Logicalis has historically operated as a ‘federation’ of businesses, but without a clear underlying strategy. Chanter has been tasked with making the company a ‘services rich’ organisation in all its markets.

Says McNeil: “Both Michael and I are in charge of delivering on the organisation’s global vision which involves collectively defining a cloud strategy, how we’ll deliver on that strategy and supporting a workforce of 6 500 employees with the tools to execute the strategy."

Logicalis’ goal is to understand its customers’ business priorities and help them reach their digital transformation goals. This will be achieved through having all of Logicalis’ markets making more than 50% of their margins from managed cloud services.

"Customers are increasingly looking at tech solutions only enabled by the cloud; we understood this early on because we know our customers' journeys," McNeil says.

Last year, Logicalis was re-awarded the Microsoft Azure Expert MSP status. The partnership expands Logicalis' global Gold and Silver certified competencies, allowing the company to provide professional and managed Microsoft services. Logicalis is one of only 65 global firms with Azure Expert MSP certification, and the only one in South Africa. Logicalis is also a long-standing partner with Cisco.

The early days of the pandemic drove the need for hybrid cloud services. McNeil says Logicalis looked for the 'biggest' vendors to support a remote workforce. "We chose Microsoft because it already supports a significant part of the on-prem market."

Crunch time

By way of example, he says the Australian public healthcare provider Peninsula Health, had been planning a public cloud migration when the pandemic struck.

“Peninsula Health serves around 300 000 people annually and spans large distances across Australia. Operations had to be shifted overnight. We were able to get 1 000 employees working from home within two weeks. Peninsula Health couldn’t do this alone, customers are looking for partners with demonstrated expertise.

“Looking at South Africa, we’re tremendously excited about the opportunities in the market. In December, Quantum Foods chose Logicalis as its managed services provider, allowing us to bring all the tech we have available to digitise its supply chain.”

Before joining Logicalis in September, McNeil spent almost 10 years at Microsoft in roles including global channel sales and partner business development. "I’ve always been involved in Microsoft’s international business development ecosystem, helping customers better use the technology on offer.

“I worked closely with the leadership of Microsoft’s partner companies, delivering the solutions to drive transformation so I have intimate knowledge of how companies evolve their digital strategies.

"We can deliver across all hyperscalers but Microsoft is our main strategic partner,” he says.

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