Successful businesses are those that adapt and evolve. Look at some of the major successes of the last twenty years: Apple has gone from making desktop computers to be a leader in mobile and smart watches, Amazon sells everything from cloud computing to groceries, not just books.
What marks them out is a constant state of evolution. They’ve become the world’s biggest businesses, and stayed there, precisely because they’re progressive. It’s what’s needed to keep pace with the rapid change we’re seeing in markets, in technology and in the behaviour of businesses and consumers globally.
A prime example is cloud computing. From hype to integral technology, the concept of cloud has undergone a radical evolution in the last few years. IDC figures for 2017 state that IT infrastructure spending for deployment in cloud environments hit $46.5 billion, a year-on-year growth rate of 20.9 percent. In comparison, while on-premise still dominates overall spending, it declined by 2.6 percent.
That change, the shift from traditional to new, has a major impact not just on enterprises, but on the companies that help them implement technology that meets their business goals. One of those, Dutch managed hybrid cloud provider PQR, and recent winner of the global and EMEA awards for VMware Solutions Provider of the Year, is a prime example of exactly how evolution is the path to success.
From reseller to consultant to managed hybrid cloud provider
PQR started off as a pure play reseller, selling IT to local businesses. Over time, realising that customers were looking for more insight and expertise, its services have evolved into providing consultancy. This has allowed PQR to deliver of a broader range of IT services to customers as their requirements changed, adding greater value.
Then cloud computing came along. “As customers realise the possibilities of cloud computing, they want to know how we can support them. In order to grow, we need to improve our knowledge and services.” Marco Lesmeister, commercial director at PQR, explains. “You need to be agile – just because something worked in the past to get you to that next stage, doesn’t mean it will work again.”
For PQR, that meant acquiring a business that would enhance its managed service capabilities. “Acquiring a business is always a lot of work but being able to bring those services and expertise ready made into our company outweighed any challenges.”
Constant commitment in a world of change
One thing that has stayed constant in amongst all this change is its relationship with VMware. As well as being a reseller of VMware software, PQR has benefited from VMware’s continued commitment to innovation.
Lesmeister says “VMware is one of the few software companies in the world kept expanding their vision and portfolio along the way, and when you work with that sort of vendor, you can’t help but expand your own vision and services. VMware’s ability to develop new products and acquire the right cloud companies at the right time, addressing security and mobile management needs, has meant we’ve been able to support our customers’ business requirements as their needs change.”
Part of that vision was VMware’s focus on hybrid cloud, which has in turn led PQR to develop its own capabilities in that area. This has meant that not only can it meet its customers’ objectives but help shape them by making them aware of the possibilities the technology offers.
“When you sell on behalf of a vendor, it’s a transactional relationship – we talk to customers, we identify the right solution for them, the vendor gives us that solution and we implement it with the customer. With hybrid cloud, the possible configurations, the different environments, what customers want to do – it’s a real mix of possibilities. That’s why you need support from your vendors to know exactly what to deliver to customers.” Lesmeister explains. “VMware has been very clear that it wants to help its partners monetise the cloud – to use its products to build services that give customers the right environments for their business. The relationship isn’t so much transactional as it is enabling us to grow as a company, much like we aim to enable our customers to grow.”
Evolution is the key
“PQR has been successful because we haven’t stood still,” concludes Lesmeister. “We saw the limitations of staying as a reseller of our size and built new services that would add value to our customers. The key has been that we haven’t stopped. We changed once, and then we changed again, in a different way but with the same goal – to be able to offer our customers services and solutions that fit with their business objectives.
“It can be scary – the natural reaction is to play safe and stick with what you know. Working with VMware has meant that we’ve known we have the support to effect that change, and as we see in the award win and our results with our customers, that evolution is the key to ongoing success.”