Managed services firm to ‘shoulder burden of IT’


20 Sep 2004

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An IT managed services firm with a difference will be officially launched later today in Dublin. Outsourced IT Management is addressing the IT management needs of the many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are not large enough to justify an in-house IT management function.

Speaking to siliconrepublic.com, managing director John Kane said the new venture was about solving the IT headaches facing small businesses. “The biggest issue is that the owner/manager ends up with IT on his desk; we’re offering a facility to take it off his desk. We are the IT dept the company doesn’t have by virtue of scale.”

The company, which will be based in Brittas, Co Dublin with satellite offices in Arklow to begin with, and Carlow from 1 October, will primarily offer managed firewall and anti-virus services. The necessary hardware and software will be installed at the client’s premises but Outsourced IT Management will run and manage the systems remotely over an internet connection. The company will also be offering an automated data back-up service, which can also be done remotely so long as the client company has a broadband connection with the necessary bandwidth.

Kane does not classify his venture as a resales operation because he feels such businesses are often “compromised by their need to drive hardware sales”. The focus of Outsourced IT Management, he claims, will be on providing a cost-effective IT management system rather than selling more and more hardware to clients that don’t need it.

On the software side, however, the company is in partnership with Microsoft as part of the latter’s Small Business Server (SBS) strategy. Outsourced IT Management will help small businesses configure their servers as well as offer post-sales technical support.

Kane says a key part of the company’s ethos is to undercut whatever the client would be spending if they decided to buy in equipment from a reseller. “I believe we have priced it very attractively. Typically a company with six PCs would be spending €4,000 a year with us on anti-virus and firewall services. Anyone I’ve asked is paying well in excess of that.”

Kane had the idea to establish the new venture after he was made redundant from telecoms equipment maker Avaya, where he had been sales director for its channel business. Initially, his company will cover the greater Dublin area through its Dublin/Arklow/Carlow triangle of sites but he hopes to extend coverage to Ballinasloe, Cork and Limerick at a later stage.

Prior to launch, the company market-tested its concept by operating a number of pilot sites over the summer period. The results were very encouraging, according to Kane. “Pilot customers have found that we make a real difference, and they can now embrace the new broadband era knowing their critical business data is secure and that their email system is virus free.”

Weighing up the prospects for his business, he concluded: “There are 152,000 SMEs in the country and 72,000 of these have fewer than 10 employees. If I got about 10pc of these I’d be a very happy man.”

By Brian Skelly