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As the growing COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more and more companies into cloud services and remote collaboration applications they hadn’t planned to encounter quite this soon, the enterprise managed services market has had to react in a big way. The sector, already splintered in the last several years as the IT business itself has grown and developed into more specific products and services, has been pounded with new business requests as a result of the sea change in work-from-home and remote-employee use cases.

Analysts have estimated that about 50 percent of formerly “officed” employees started working from home in 2020 and that after the pandemic subsides, about the same number will continue to work from someplace other than their original offices. This all weighs heavily on both cloud and on-premises-based IT services, and somebody with a data center has to provide them.

The separate sub-categories of cloud managed services include:

  • Managed Security Services
  • Managed Network Services
  • Managed Communication and Collaboration Services
  • Managed IT Infrastructure
  • Managed Data Center Services
  • Managed Mobility Services
  • Managed Information Services

A managed service provider of any type is a vendor that provides information technology services on a 24/7 contract basis.

  • Cloud-based managed services provisioning is a relatively new business model (last dozen years or so) which takes an enterprise-wide, strategic approach to IT management and monitoring.
  • Data center managed services comprises several stakeholders, such as service providers, system integrators, technology partners, consulting firms, research organizations, resellers and distributors, enterprise users and technology providers to offer a long-range, strategic approach to IT application management and monitoring.

Here are eWEEK’s Top Managed Service Vendors for data centers in 2021.

IBM

Armonk, N.Y.

Value proposition for potential buyers: IBM is, as usual, consistent and, well, big. Big Blue was one of the original IT data center services providers and has maintained its market-share lead as tops in the world in revenue for more than a decade. It continues to provide the widest range of managed services offerings on the market, selling about $7.65 billion worth of them in 2019, according to company documents. IBM also provides a skills and training program through which IT professionals augment their existing skills and learn new ones.

Naturally, IBM recommends using its own hardware and software to implement this, although it does employ an open-standards approach that will take into account existing hardware and software investments by its customers.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Considered a one-stop shop for enterprises in adding managed services to their IT systems.
  • IBM claims its managed services help increase business agility due to a consumption-based approach—you only pay for what you use.
  • With built-in security, including alternate-site disaster recovery for the most critical workloads, users can safeguard data and applications.
  • IBM says its system enables the scalability needed to avoid downtime and performance problems, run in a security-rich environment, and minimize infrastructure cost and complexity.

Who uses it: Midrange to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical on-prem devices and services

Accenture

Dublin, Ireland

Value proposition for potential buyers: Accenture is one of the most respected IT integrators and consultants in the world and owns an excellent reputation for speed and quality. This is a global management consulting firm that offers a range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, tech and operations. Accenture ranks with IBM as the two largest and most well-known companies on this list when it comes to management consultancy. Accenture’s goal is to collaborate with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Accenture is global, with approximately 210,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. The sheer size and reach of the global company is a huge selling point for many potential multinational clients.
  • Accenture ihas been developing its own software for years and recently deployed new artificial intelligence testing services. The only thing it doesn’t do much of is hardware, but it partners with just about everybody to acquire whatever is needed for a data center implementation.
  • Accenture combines years of experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies.
  • Pros: Known for stabilization, industrialized processes, minimal major outages, flexibility on changes in architecture
  • Con: Current service desk needs to mature to modern levels, resource quality/attrition in offshore centers.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical on-prem devices and services

Infosys

Bangalore, India

Value proposition for potential buyers: While “outsourcing” may be considered a dirty word in some U.S. circles, Infosys doesn’t shy away from it. Infosys is a longtime international leader in consulting, technology outsourcing and next-generation services and is proud of it. Infosys says it provides enterprises with strategic insights on what lies ahead. The company enables clients in more than 50 countries; it claims its mission is to help enterprises renew themselves while also creating new avenues to generate value. Infosys claims to help enterprises transform in a changing world through strategic consulting, operational leadership and the co-creation of breakthrough solutions, including those in mobility, sustainability, big data and cloud computing.

Infosys is excellent at retaining its customers. More than 95 percent of its $45 billion in annual revenue comes from repeat business. Infosys has a growing global presence with more than 187,000+ employees.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Infosys has expertise in virtually all sectors of information technology, which is a key requirement in data center migration projects.
  • Infosys is flexible in working with a customer to scale up or down their resources and is able to assist providing the best financial options for the customer for each project. This can include deferred payments; ensuring the invoices meet the customer requires and negotiating on rates.
  • Having a large resource pool allows Infosys to quickly provide personnel with experience is all areas of the IT business.
  • Ample resources with the ability to escalate as required, 24/7 monitoring and very good reporting.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical devices and services

Fujitsu

Tokyo, Japan

Value proposition for potential buyers: Fujitsu has been among the top 10 data center managed services providers for most of the last two decades. It provides capabilities in various IT domains, such as IoT, edge computing, process automation, mobility and others. Fujitsu claims to provide stable service and strives to be a longtime business partner. Fujitsu is one of the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) companies, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 140,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. The company uses its experience and the power of ICT “to shape the future of society” with their customers.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Clients report Fujitsu that generally is very client-focused and provides a high-quality service that is of great value. Staff are a pleasure to work with and have knowledge and expertise. Most implementations have been a success, users report.
  • Generally known as stable, cooperative, innovative company with which to work
  • Customers have reported that the delivery team is very strong, thinking with the customer and working toward achieving true customer satisfaction

To take under advisement:

  • Contract negotiation in sole sourcing mode can be complex and rigid
  • Project pricing, lead times, complexity of organization can be problematic

Who uses it: Midrange companies to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical devices and services

Atos

Bezons, Ile-de-France, France

Value proposition for potential buyers: Atos is one of the youngest companies on this list and might be the most forward-thinking one as well. This, of course, comes as a benefit to a new company that looks at the competition and endeavors to find its own solution improvements. Atos has moved into quantum computing with the launch on an Intel-based emulator; the idea is to use the emulator to train its coders in the skills that will be needed in the future when actual quantum computers will be used for many tasks. Although it may now be among the less-famous tech companies, it earned total revenues of $20 billion last year, which is reasonably high compared with others.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Atos is a strategic partner in every sense of the word, adapting to its clients’ business changes. It is known to consistently meet or exceed service-level agreements.
  • The Atos platform is recognized as being among global industry leading providers; strong service management; providers’ expertise It is good at improving compliance and risk management, cost optimization
  • Atos is good at creating internal/operational efficiencies
  • Top-flight functional capabilities
  • Excellent industry expertise

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical devices and services

Rackspace

San Antonio, Texas

Value proposition for potential buyers: Founded in 1998, Rackspace has been there since the beginning of data center cloud services—in fact, since the ASP (application service providers) days. The company provides hybrid cloud-based services that enable businesses to run their workload in a public or private cloud. Rackspace’s engineers deliver specialized expertise on top of leading technologies developed by OpenStack, Microsoft, VMware, and others through a service known as Fanatical Support. It has more than 300,000 customers worldwide, including two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Rackspace has named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting
  • Rackspace gets high marks from users for the following:
  1. Onboarding and transition from incumbent provider for DevOps, Infrastructure and Ops
  2. Educating customers’ internal teams on Rackspace’s capabilities and support processes
  3. Internal collaboration between FAWS support and Rackspace Managed Security, particularly for contracts/terms/cost.
  4. Incident response from the Rackspace tech team (i.e.: Tech Acct Mgr, Tech lead) has been good Critical
  5. Team collaboration around infrastructure strategies for scaling (up/down) and executing on the plan.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud service, physical devices and services

Cognizant

Teaneck, N.J.

Value proposition for potential buyers: Cognizant turned 26 in 2020 and remains one of the world’s leading data center professional services providers—although it’s not as well known as Accenture, IBM and others. It is in the field of transforming clients’ business, operating and technology models for the digital era. Its industry-based, consultative approach helps clients envision, build and run more innovative and efficient data centers. Cognizant is ranked in the Fortune 200 and is consistently listed among the most admired companies in the world.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Cognizant’s home-built software is stable and modern. Data centers are top-notch operations in geographically redundant locations.
  • Cognizant is a highly flexible and collaborative partner; account executives are very transparent and work to do “the right thing.”
  • Early on with Cognizant, processes were lacking, but it has since improved; they were minor issues but were handled with urgency

To take under advisement:

  • Project management lacking at times due to lower investment in this area than should be provided in a steady state operations with an SOW in place.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical devices and services

Tata Consultancy Services

Mumbai, India

Value proposition for potential buyers: Tata Consultancy Services is a multinational information technology services, business solutions and consulting company that competes on a global level with all the major data center consultancies. TCS offers an integrated consulting-led portfolio of IT-enabled services comprising application development and maintenance, business intelligence, enterprise solutions, engineering and industrial services and infrastructure services delivered through its own Global Network Delivery process. Based in Mumbai, India, it was founded in 1968. 

The company has domain expertise in a wide set of industries, comprising banking and financial services, insurance, telecom, manufacturing, retail and distribution, high tech, life sciences, health care, transportation, energy and utilities, media and entertainment and others.

TCS operates in five continents, with North America and Europe constituting the largest markets for its services. It derives more than 20 percent of its revenues from emerging markets such as India, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Middle-East & Africa.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Capable of handling virtually any data center building, integration or modernization project anywhere on Earth
  • Known for flexibility in contracting and servicing
  • Utilizes a very smooth operations model
  • Company-wide focus on joint effort to get projects done in team style is excellent
  • Adding expertise in AI and ML, so services will be improved in the future

To take under advisement:

  • More standard technology services and working methods needed

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical devices and services

Wipro

Bengaluru, India

Value proposition for potential buyers: Wipro, the eldest of data center service providers, was founded in 1945, right after World War II ended. It operates in a more diverse range of markets than many others, because it offers managed services, business automation and home automation—services that competitors do not necessarily offer. The India-based company generated revenue of about $9 billion in 2019. During the next three years, the company is planning to go all-digital, with the CEO saying that 100 percent of the company’s resources are being allocated to the digital operations goal.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Wipro helps customers do business more effectively by using Wipro industry-wide experience, deep technology expertise, comprehensive portfolio of services and vertically aligned business model. Wipro has more than 50 dedicated emerging technologies Centers of Excellence to enable customers to harness the latest technology for delivering business capability to our clients.
  • Wipro Ltd. has 160,000+ workforce serving clients in 175+ cities across six continents. The company posts revenues of about $9 billion yearly.
  • Wipro is globally recognized for its innovative approach toward delivering business value and its commitment to sustainability. Wipro champions optimized utilization of natural resources, capital and talent.
  • Wipro Technologies was recently assessed at Level 5 for CMMI V 1.2 across offshore and onsite development centers.

Who uses it: Midrange to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical devices and services

Datapipe

Jersey City, N.J.

Value proposition for potential buyers: Datapipe is a smaller MSP that offers managed hosting services and data centers for cloud computing and IT companies. The company, founded in 1998, offers a single-provider solution for managing and securing mission-critical IT services, including cloud computing, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, co-location and data centers. Datapipe delivers those services from the world’s most influential technical and financial markets, including New York metro, Silicon Valley, London, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Datapipe provides services to a range of vertical industries, including financial services, health care and pharmaceutical, manufacturing and distribution, state and federal governments, publishing, media and communications, business services, public sector, technology and software
  • Proactive project consultation and quick project engagement are good factors
  • Datapipe was named to Gartner’s 2010 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service and Web Hosting.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud services, physical devices and services

Equinix

Redwood City, Calif.

Value proposition for potential buyers: Equinix provides data center services for companies, businesses, and organizations. It offers a software application platform designed for digital businesses that help its users to connect to their customers, employees, and partners. The company was founded in 1998. Equinix describes itself as “the world’s digital infrastructure company.” Digital leaders deploy its platform to bring together and interconnect the foundational infrastructure that powers their success.

Key values/differentiators:

  • Equinix is rapidly becoming one of the world’s go-to leaders in the data center interconnect space, which is growing steadily.
  • Equinix enables its customers to access all the correct places, partners and possibilities they need to accelerate business advantage in technology.
  • In the United States, Equinix operates data centers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

Who uses it: SMBs to large enterprises
How it works: subscription cloud service, physical devices and services

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Honorable mentions:  AT&T, Cisco Systems, HCL, Capgemini

Author

bodronik@meta.ua

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