Interview with Simon Walters
Director of Managed Services
Ultima is an end-to-end IT service and solution provider, supporting businesses on their digital transformation journies. Ultima is continuously improving their offering and processes to maintain their place as a leading edge service provider. In 2017, Ultima decided to implement Provance ITSM to change the way they deliver services to their customers for the better, not to mention, introduce a new IT Service Management platform to their customers as a service in itself.
We had the pleasure of meeting with Simon Walters, Director of Managed Services, to discuss the project outcomes in further detail. Here’s what he had to say!
What is Ultima Business Solutions?
Ultima is a business solutions provider. We align ourselves to the customer lifecycle from purchasing to design, strategy, and implementation. Within our business, we have various functions which align to the particular lifecycle area that our customers are interested in. Whether it’s strategies in planning, implementation or digital transformation, we focus heavily on services that fit the needs of our customers.
What makes Ultima Business Solutions different to other MSPs in the market?
I think we’re a little bit different to our competitors in the market, because yes, we sell products, we align ourselves to some of the key vendors, but we’re also heavily focused around services. A lot of our value-add and a lot of our uniqueness in the marketplace comes from how we align ourselves to customer needs and lifecycles.
What drove the decision to embark on a digital transformation journey?
We believe, and still do believe, that the market is changing and we needed to seek innovation through technology. When we’re talking to our customers about digital transformation we need to be able to prove that we’re capable of doing that to ourselves. We started by looking at platforms to accelerate our services business and then looked at how we extend that to the services we provide to our customers.
Why did you choose Provance ITSM over other products available?
We did due diligence in the marketplace. We looked at Gartner, we looked at what our competitors were doing and we looked at what we wanted to achieve from our own platform. Provance met our needs. It was a platform that delivered core functionality and was capable of innovation. When we met with Provance and the team at AlfaPeople there was a very strong message that collectively we had an understanding of what the customer experience needed to be and look like. That’s the reason why we chose Provance over any other product.
What else were you looking for in your IT Service Management platform?
We needed a platform that was capable of extending to our requirements, our own IP and our USP in the marketplace around delivering services. At Ultima, we have smaller customers, larger customers, we have some very standard customers and we have very complex customers. Our services are tailored to meet their requirements. So we needed a platform that was capable of flexibility.
And how was that need addressed by Provance ITSM?
Fundamentally, we needed a platform the delivered the core ITIL functions around events, changes, problems and requests. But we also needed a platform that could adapt to meet our needs. We have a varied customer base and we work across different markets with very different levels of complexity, whether it’s on premise, off premise, or hybrid. Provance supplied a platform that was able to change and transform with our organisation as well as our customers’ organisations.
What made AlfaPeople stand out as a Partner?
AlfaPeople demonstrated a clear understanding of the Provance platform and also of the customer lifecycle. AlfaPeople were not just a provider of an IT Service Management platform, but also worked in different areas around the customer experience, the customer lifecycle and digital transformation. A lot of those ancillary areas came to the fore when we started to talk about the Provance platform. The project wasn’t just about delivering the platform and walking away. It was about translating the functionality of the platform into how the customer experience is delivered and how customers engage with us as a service provider.
Which departments or teams do you think will benefit the most from the solution?
I think all teams will benefit from the solution. Internal IT are currently the main users, but any employee at Ultima has the ability to gain benefit from the platform through things like request management. For example, HR will use it for leavers and joiners, finance will use it for payroll. All of the functions within Ultima will benefit. Whilst the platform was focused around a service to deliver to our customers, we have also seen the benefit as an entire organisation. We are going through digital transformation ourselves and we need to be leading by example with a product capable of delivering that promise.
What do you expect to be some of the key results and outcomes of implementation?
Consistency and standardisation. We take the core elements of the service around change request, problem management, incident management as standard. Customers just expect that of us. The real value is in what we can do beyond that. Through Provance ITSM we’re looking to drive automation, innovation and transformation. It’s those things above the line of what our customers expect us to deliver that we see as a value-add to our customer base.
How would you summarise your experience working with AlfaPeople?
AlfaPeople challenged us to think differently about the way we deliver service. We had strong views on what we wanted to deliver from the platform. But AlfaPeople encouraged us to think about how our customers wanted to engage with us. This all comes back to AlfaPeople’s uniqueness in the marketplace as an organisation which looks at different areas of the customer journey and thinks about how to deliver that through digital transformation.