M247 newly appointed Head of Technology discusses how the business has been investing for growth by joining VMware’s Cloud Provider Program
M247 acknowledges the role which VMware Cloud Provider Program has played in its cloud expansion plans, further enhancing its growth strategy.
As a leading, multi award-winning global ISP, M247 expanded its offering into cloud services in 2019, with a vision to become the most innovative partner for growing businesses. Part of this evolution to becoming a cloud services provider included sign up as a participant to the VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP), a decision which has proved fruitful and has delivered enviable results in record time.
In a detailed interview M247 Head of Technology, Greg Hudson, explains the thinking behind the business evolution and the journey the business has been on over the last few years…
Where it started
When I joined M247, I was given an amazing opportunity to deliver against an ambition to evolve from a successful ISP to a connectivity-led cloud services provider. We already had the connectivity and international reach; my challenge was to work out what was needed strategically from allocating investment right through to selecting the right technology partnerships.
Shrinking timeframes and seismic shifts
Working alongside M247 then CTO, Kevin Paige, an ambitious 2-year roadmap was developed, one which aimed to significantly reduce timeframes associated with a change of this magnitude. It takes a lot of work to move from ISP to CSP, and the difference with M247 is that we have a very lean management structure and customers who are keen to break free from separate cloud, connectivity, and security contracts. Their appetite, and our ability to act quickly and invest significantly meant we could move fast.
We devised a 2-year project roadmap which focused on three key areas:
1. Understanding what customers want and need
And being able to act on this insight to provide a valuable customer experience that supports long term partnership and is underpinned by strategic and technical support. Focusing on:
- Consistent quality delivered against fixed SLAs
- Clear accountability – one supplier for all services (connectivity, cloud, and security)
- Approach to infrastructure, IT Resilience, data management and back up as a service
2. Implementing change within M247 infrastructure to enable success
- Undertaking a seismic shift to cloud from a historically connectivity led business
- Productise service offerings
- Ensuring M247 could offer the best possible service at the lowest possible cost point
- Leverage M247s “5G ready” carrier grade ISP network, which will provide improved speeds, lower latency whilst also supporting business growth through the ability to perform complex tasks with fewer interruptions.
3. Maximising partnerships
- Working with selected best-in-class vendors and distributors
- Develop a series of shared roadmaps
- Achieve top-tier status with selected partners
Standardising on success
During the initial part of the process, we conducted a thorough review our existing offering. Having enjoyed notable success with multi-tenanted work across a variety of infrastructure, disaster recovery and back up platforms, it became clear to that for us to grow quickly we were going to need a more standardised approach. Therefore, M247 decided to join the VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP) and then went on to select TechData as our preferred distributor.
We knew that whilst the M247 cloud infrastructure design we had built was incredibly strong, we were lacking the required connections to VMware, and by working with the team at Tech Data it was possible to get 247Cloud™ officially validated by VMware in a very short space of time. We knew that this was a critical part of the jigsaw that we were missing and one that customers would see as incredibly beneficial.
Delivering outcomes ahead of the curve
Thanks to the depth of engagement with Tech Data and VMware, we were able to move quickly from an entry level partner to onboarding customers to our newly VMware approved platform in just six months. Since then, demand has rocketed, so much that funding scheduled to support further enhancements was brought forward.
Having initially signed up for VCPP back in July 2019 our aim from the start was clear, we wanted to reach Premier Level within 2 years. The path that followed was quicker than we could have possibly predicated and within 18 months we have reached level 5 of 6 and are a third of the way to attaining the 100,000 points required to be awarded VMware Enterprise Level.” Commented Greg Hudson.
The benefit of such a fast movement through the various levels is that we now have access to VMware pricing, resources and investment that benefits our customers in the form of more innovative services and competitive commercials.
The beauty of the way in which we operate as a business is that our investments directly improve the customer outcome. We’ve grown our portfolio in such a way to ensure when customers want a service, we are able to deliver it quickly. Furthermore, we are proud to be an innovative company who will go above and beyond to make things happen for customers, finding ways to work around potential problems and hurdles. For example, when it’s not possible to lay new fibre, we give customers access to our super-fast radio access network, where we can onboard customers in days, not weeks.
So, what’s next?
From where we sit today, we see our offering becoming ever more fluid. Our aim is that we’ll have AI helping with decisions on where to place workloads. Off the back of the investments, we’re making today, and our plans for the future, we want our customers to leverage 247Cloud™ for best application placement, as we evolve the platform to further bring in features on offer from public cloud and full hybrid cloud integration, allowing customers to move workloads between clouds managed by M247 for complete flexibility and business agility.