The recently announced exclusive partnership between Bytes Systems Integration and FrontRange Solutions is a strategic move that will enable the pair to offer true software as a service (SaaS) to South African and African clients. In terms of the agreement, Bytes will be FrontRange’s exclusive cloud partner for its IT Service Management (ITSM) software in Sub-Saharan Africa.
FrontRange’s HEAT ITSM goes beyond the typical IT help desk capability to provide a total service management environment that includes governance, compliance, best practices and customer service.
“The two companies perfectly complement each other to create a genuine SaaS value proposition,” notes Gary Lailvaux, divisional managing director: Business Solutions at Bytes Systems Integration. “Bytes has the presence on the ground, the delivery capability and the consulting expertise; FrontRange has the understanding of how to deliver and manage service. The secret ingredient of SaaS is this ability to manage the service from request through to delivery: without it, without this, you do not get the flexibility and customer experience required.”
Kevin Smith, vice president and general manager: Cloud Business Unit at FrontRange, explains, “HEAT ITSM is traditionally used by companies internally to provision IT services to their employees as well as to manage the delivery of IT and non-IT service to external customers. But its capabilities go far beyond that: our customers also use the platform to manage the provisioning of HR and facilities services as well.
“Ultimately, it’s all about the customer and delivering the right customer experience,” Smith notes.
Another major benefit of the synergies between Bytes and FrontRange is the enhanced flexibility for clients. Smith explains: “Clients’ cloud strategies are likely to alter over time as they move elements of their IT and other services into and out of the cloud as business circumstances change,” he says. “Bytes’ muscle and IT savvy combined with our holistic approach to service management mean a service can be returned to a conventional hosting environment or to an on-premise IT facility smoothly—and back out again. We are with the client the whole way.”
Lailvaux is convinced that South African corporates are warming up to cloud. “They have begun to understand that a Cloud Systems Integrator’s specialist like Bytes can provide much better security than they can—now all that we need to solve is the connectivity perception. With all the undersea cables having landed, and the regional infrastructure rollouts well developed,we have the capacity; all that remains is some finality within the regulatory environment and you’ll see the prices coming down yet further,” he says.
Both Bytes and FrontRange are extremely bullish about growth prospects in Africa. Smith says Africa is “strategic” for FrontRange, citing the high growth rates of many African countries. Lailvaux believes that SaaS offers the perfect model for African companies who do not have investments in legacy infrastructure, but which do need to become internationally competitive quickly.
“Zimbabwe, for example, is starting to move again now that the currency is stable and they simply don’t have either the time or the capital to put down their own data centres—but they do have the cash flow for the highly flexible, service-based SaaS approach,” Lailvaux says. “Bytes already has the data centres, data pipes and IT know-how needed, and with FrontRange we can genuinely deliver a user-friendly, efficient service that’s highly scalable. I see great things ahead.”