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It’s easy to forget that, in a software defined, cloud focused IT world, there are still physical devices (servers, storage arrays, network routers and switches and a whole host of end user devices) that need constant watering and feeding. While it is true that more and more manual tasks can be automated, we still need people to deliver, install and physically repair or replace kit.
When I talk to Park Place Technologies, I always come away with a greater connection to the day-to-day challenges faced by IT operations teams, and a level of confidence that everyone at Park Place is totally committed to minimising those challenges for their customers. My recent call with Kathie Lyons, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Parkview, and Simon Bitton, Senior Director, Marketing for EMEA and APAC at Park Place Technologies has served to reinforce my views.
The company has been very acquisitive in the past few years. Some acquisitions, like Curvature, have broadened the geographic reach of the company. Others, like Entuity, have filled in capability gaps as Park Place has shifted strategically from being a third-party hardware maintenance company to a much broader IT infrastructure management services organisation as epitomised by the launch of their DMSO (Discover, Support, Monitor, Optimize) service.
Their latest acquisitions of Netsure+ from Sitegrid and the hardware maintenance and data migrations assets from Congruity360, help fill out capabilities and grow new services in increasingly important networking and data migration markets.
Two other things at Park Place really stand out for me. The first is the thoroughness, openness and accuracy of their product roadmaps. Sometimes it might appear that the pace of change is a little slow. Then again, while not all of the new software led companies in the IT infrastructure management space have ill-defined and over-optimistic roadmaps, they could all learn from the approach Park Place takes. My take on this is, that the physical closeness of so many Park Place employees to the day-to-day IT operations of their customers and the physical nature of what they do, has bred a corporate culture closer to engineering and supply chain organisations, where getting it right first time is a critical requirement. Indeed, last year Park Place announced a fix first time guarantee for its customers with an active Park Place Technologies maintenance agreement. To date it has said that there have been “very few” instances where the guarantee has not been met.
The second thing that stands out is their people culture. Plenty of organisations say that it is their people that make the difference. Often, this is a cover for an inability to differentiate their solutions and usually there is little evidence given to demonstrate commitment to their people. Perhaps one of the hardest things to do is continually acquire new businesses and, not only retain the staff from the businesses you are buying, but also to ensure you don’t dilute or harm the parent company’s own culture. Having seen the efforts Park Place expends to make such takeovers as smooth as possible for staff, and also to make them feel an integrated and valued part of the organisation they have just joined, I feel assured about the positive nature of its culture.
This brings me back neatly to where I started. The software defined IT environment still needs people to maintain and support the underlying technology. Park Place Technologies do that well. Moreover, it is bringing that understanding to bear higher up the infrastructure stack as it continues its transition towards managed infrastructure services. Also, in the coming weeks, I will be getting a deep dive update on their Entuity network performance management solution, which I think positions Park Place very differently, and also on its new Wireless Transformation service which will be of critical importance to customers grappling with the new opportunities offered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and emerging Edge deployments. Watch this space.