ThinkGrid helps Torix Managed Services build office In the cloud

ThinkGrid, the cloud-enablement platform vendor for the channel, has announced that managed service provider Torix Managed Services has white-labelled its cloud platform to launch 'MyOfficeInTheCloud'.

Launched in September 2012, MyOfficeInTheCloud is targeted at the SME market and provides the entire ThinkGrid range of cloud solutions, including; Hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (HVDI), Virtual Servers and Infrastructure, Email and Communications, Server Hosting (Infrastructure as a Service), Application Delivery (Software as a Service), File Sharing and Collaboration, and Unified Communications (VoIP), Online Backup and Disaster Recovery. Supporting its range of cloud solutions, MyOfficeInTheCloud will provide a wrap-around of consultancy and bespoke customisation services to help the SME sector streamline the delivery of their IT services.

"MyOfficeInTheCloud can do it all, infrastructure, desktops, email, collaboration, so it really is an office in the sky that can be scaled at will and accessed from anywhere, at any time," comments Tim Barber, Managing Director for Torix Managed Services. "MyOfficeInTheCloud can provide the flexibility and infrastructure to create a truly mobile workforce, helping to manage rapid growth, coordinate geographical diverse workforces, reduce office costs, handle seasonal peaks and troughs, and expand overseas. Importantly, it also ensures companies only pay for what they use, and given the current climate these kind of savings could be the difference between make or break for some."

Established in 2008, Torix Managed Services provides a range of IT solutions, including everything from standard IT break fix, infrastructure management, through to consultancy, support and maintenance. While the company was performing well, it was still relatively new to the managed services space and found it difficult to differentiate itself from more established players. After implementing hosted exchange for a customer that was expanding into Serbia and Poland, Torix recognised the potential of cloud for the SME market.

As such, Torix began analysing which cloud services had high potential and realised there was a real market for Desktop as a Service (DaaS). They began to review options for taking a DaaS product to market, and conducted evaluations on solutions such as Citrix and VMware View. One of the main restrictions of these technologies was that Torix had to essentially build their own offering from the ground up – something which would incur a substantial cost and risk. So Torix looked at partnership options and entered into a conversation with ThinkGrid. Immediately, ThinkGrid's HVDI service stood out from the competition due to it being a true VDI experience, rather than less customisable, less secure Terminal Services or Citrix deployments. This approach allows customers to move their entire network, including their line of business applications, file sharing and security polices, and place it in the cloud, allowing for such schemes like bring your own device and remote working.

Moreover, ThinkGrid's cloud platform had the potential to be a 'one stop shop' to Torix and give them the ability to provide cutting edge, value add cloud services to their customer base. The broad range of solutions provided by ThinkGrd meant that Torix could become a full cloud service provider with one partner relationship, and provide cloud based solutions to all manner of customer requirements. As a result, Torix became a ThinkGrid Gold partner in December 2011 and has since been creating and developing the MyOfficeInTheCloud brand, which it launched last month.

"The managed services market is quite mature, so it is difficult to really set yourself apart," Barber continues. "White-labelling the ThinkGrid platform, instead of just reselling their products, enables us to create our own identity in the market and tailor the solution, which is very important to us. This is why we have spent a lot of time and resources creating a distinct brand to launch into the marketplace. Our expertise lie in helping SMEs to understand how technology can support their businesses, and walking them through their options to identify the best fit for their organisation.  We feel the combination of our expertise as a managed services provider, coupled with the support and market heritage of ThinkGrid in the cloud market, creates a compelling and unique offering. MyOfficeInTheCloud is definitely a strategic and important step in our company's evolution to becoming a cloud services provider."

In practice, the ThinkGrid technology will provide the back-end support for MyOfficeInTheCloud, automating processes such as billing and provisioning. Additionally, as MyOfficeInTheCloud is hosted in ThinkGrid's datacentre Torix avoids the cost of investing in additional infrastructure. The platform also provides a customer-facing control panel allowing end-users to self-manage.

"The likes of Google and Amazon take a monolithic, one-size-fits-all approach, because they work to economies of scale," Barber concludes. "But our understanding of the SME market tells us that every business is unique in its approach and requirements, and ThinkGrid gets that. For example, many customers feel nervous about putting data into the cloud as they want to know where exactly it is. With ThinkGrid, we can give them this information and even provide bespoke offerings to enable customers to select the location that their data is hosted in – you can't get that with the big providers. The service from ThinkGrid has been first-rate, and the margins are very favourable. They have not only provided technical support, they have also assisted in the launch and marketing of the MyOfficeInTheCloud brand. Often vendors just give you a badge to put on your website and some products and send you on your way, but with ThinkGrid you can tell they really take our business seriously and it works as a true partnership."

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