To stay competitive as customers moved to cloud-based, or hosted, software, InfinIT Consulting combined Microsoft virtualization and management software with Microsoft Online Services to craft a virtual IT offering. Smaller firms gain access to enterprise-caliber software using a flexible, pay-as-you-grow model, enjoy savings of up to 40 percent, and see productivity gains up to 75 percent. InfinIT is better able to focus on high-touch service.
As an IT consulting firm, InfinIT Consulting built its success by installing and servicing on-premises IT infrastructures for organizations of all sizes across the United States. It watched as “cloud computing”—running applications over the Internet in third-party data centers—gained popularity, and began strategizing about how it could compete in this new IT landscape.
“Half of our business comes from small and midsize organizations, and cloud computing makes a lot of sense for them,” says Kirsten Barrera, Director of eMarketing for InfinIT Consulting. “Many are dealing with explosive growth and have outgrown their IT infrastructures. They don’t have resources to keep up with the latest technology and aren’t sure how to manage it. Especially in this economy, they’re controlling costs. They are also concerned about data security.”
Adds Jerod Powell, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of InfinIT Consulting, “We needed to find a way to stay relevant in the cloud computing era, and to compete with much larger players. We’ve always been a high-touch company and wanted to maintain our deep customer relationships even while moving to the cloud model. We needed to create our own cloud offerings and differentiate ourselves in what was becoming a very crowded market.”Solution
As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, InfinIT turned to Microsoft for help in making the transition to offering cloud-based managed services. “We have deep Microsoft expertise, so it made sense to move into the cloud with Microsoft,” Powell says.
||By delivering servers and software online, we are able to give even our smallest customers access to the same on-demand, scalable infrastructure enjoyed by enterprises.
Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder, InfinIT Consulting
In late 2009, InfinIT introduced iDNA, an online platform built on Microsoft Dynamic Data Center technologies that offers a full suite of virtual IT services. “By using a mix of Microsoft software and online services, we were able to quickly and cost-effectively create a private cloud environment,” Powell says. “We can add virtual machines dynamically and move workloads around to ensure maximum performance and availability.”
InfinIT deployed the Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter operating system with Hyper-V virtualization technology on about 150 physical servers in its San Jose, California, headquarters and used Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 to create hundreds of virtual machines on those physical servers.
InfinIT leases dedicated virtual machines to customers, on which they can build customized infrastructures hosting specialty line-of-business applications, such as Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Exchange Server messaging software, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 collaboration software. It also sells licenses to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a set of communica-tions and collaboration programs that are hosted in Microsoft data centers. InfinIT uses Microsoft System Center data center solutions to automate the deployment, monitoring, and management of its entire hardware and software environment.
InfinIT even offers virtual desktops running the Windows 7 operating system and Microsoft Office 2010. Customer employees access their desktop applications and data from a browser.Benefits
By combining Microsoft software and online services, InfinIT has become a successful managed services provider offering customers better solutions, a highly secure and flexible IT infrastructure, lower costs, and higher productivity.
Highly Secure and Flexible Solutions
InfinIT improved the quality and breadth of its solutions using a virtual, managed-services model. “By delivering servers and software online, we can give even our smallest customers access to the same on-demand, scalable infrastructure enjoyed by enterprises,” Powell says.
Customers like the pay-as-you-grow flexibility of iDNA. “It doesn’t matter if a company doubles in size; we can provide a flexible IT infrastructure that adjusts dynamically to the company's needs,” Barrera says. “Plus, IT costs are predictable and easy to budget. Companies no longer have to make huge capital and software investments.”
Data security also tends to improve with hosted services. “Companies realize that their data is actually better off in a highly secure InfinIT or Microsoft data center than it is in their back room,” Barrera says.Customer Savings of 30 to 40 Percent
InfinIT has reduced solution delivery time by 80 percent with iDNA, because it no longer deploys physical servers and applications. “We’re able to pass those savings on to customers,” Barrera says. “Moving a customer from an on-premises environment to a cloud-based model reduces their costs by up to 40 percent.”
Customer Productivity Improvements of Up to 75 Percent
Customers also see immediate productivity gains by moving to online software, because they reduce IT downtime and support costs. “It’s not unusual to see help-desk ticket volumes shrink by 60 percent with the move to iDNA, because servers and applications are more stable and better monitored,” Barrera says. “Employees spend more time working than waiting on sluggish or unavailable computers. Downtime can cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in lost productivity.”
With iDNA, customers also have affordable access to enterprise-caliber programs like Exchange Server that provide features such as shared calendars and instant messaging. “Customers tell us that they see productivity gains of up to 75 percent by being able to adopt the latest software,” Barrera says.More Opportunity for Personal Service
InfinIT has actually been able to increase its focus on high-touch, personalized service with the introduction of iDNA. It has also been able to cut costs by reducing the need for expensive engineers previously needed to set up servers. “We spend less time supporting antiquated systems and more time making customers happy,” Powell concludes.
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