What’s in a name? For Xwave the answer is quite a bit, which is why the St. John’s, Nfld.-based solutions provider is re-branding its Fulfillment Services Division as Advanced Technology Services (ATS).
A division of Bell Alliant (TSX: BA.UN), Xwave does business across Eastern Canada and is divided into two business areas: professional services and fulfillment services, which is now ATS. Andrew Parlee, director, strategy and business development in Xwave’s Moncton, N.B. office, says the solutions provider has been investing heavily in the former fulfillment services half of the business and it felt the name no longer reflected what they were able to offer.
“It’s really to better reflect the value we provide our customers, and to our partners as well,” said Parlee. “Fulfillment didn’t really reflect that. It’s not simply providing a box if you will, but providing the hardware with software solutions wrapped around that so our customers can focus on their core business.”
While the business was previously focused on providing clients with services, support and sole-source procurement around IT infrastructure, Parlee says recent investments by Xwave include the addition of a technology consulting team, and ramping-up certifications with vendors such as HP and Microsoft. The focus, he says, is on providing consulting and implementation services around areas such as consolidation and virtualization services; areas that can help customers lower their IT costs through new technologies.
For Xwave to grow its business, says Parlee, it needs to be able to show increased value for its customers. The way to do that, he says, is by helping them lower their costs, mitigate their risks, and allowing them to grow.
“We want to help our customers find ways to achieve that, and with the products and services we sell that’s really the intent,” said Parlee. “With the addition of this technology consulting team it allows us to work with our customers, and our partners, to understand the environment they have in place and to find ways to consolidate that environment, be it servers or storage, where it makes sense.”
The demand for these sorts of consolidation assessment services varies, says Parlee, but it is increasing. He adds though that while there’s a constant need by organizations for someone to assist them with meeting their hardware and software requirements, he’s seeing more and more need to add that value around services and solutions.
“We’re seeing that increasing, and vendors are looking for that too,” said Parlee. “They want to be able to turn to a company like ours that can take an opportunity and run with it from start to finish.”
That view of the market is shared by Jason Bremmer, director of infrastructure hardware with Toronto’s IDC Canada, who adds the new focus of Xwave’s re-branded ATS division in areas such as consolidation and virtualization makes sense.
He says customers are looking for sharper expertise from their partners, and skill sets in areas they can’t or don’t want to develop internally. Consolidation and virtualization are good examples, says Bremmer, because they’re sought-after skills but skills that aren’t needed in a typical enterprise in an ongoing basis.
“I think certainly virtualization is one of the few areas in the IT industry that is growing, if not on fire,” says Bremmer.
IDC Canada’s research shows a doubling of Canadian organizations over 500 employees adopting virtualization in the last 18 months, and when he speaks to those organizations, Bremmer says they always cite working with an external partner as key to their successful virtualization projects, particularly around up-front assessment, evaluation and planning.