NVM Private Equity Ltd
Delivery of cost-effective, enabling IT to drive expansion and support day-to-day operations
A three-week disruption to critical broadband provision was the catalyst for Venture Capitalist firm NVM to conduct a wholesale review of their IT infrastructure and future strategy. They looked at three main options going forward – to gear up internally, retain an IT services partner or move to a managed services platform.
Fully Managed Services
Prior to an MBO in 2003, NVM had been part of a larger organisation and had enjoyed the benefits of enterprise IT, leveraging technology to help them ‘punch above their weight’ in the highly competitive financial arena.
Post MBO, they found themselves cut loose from the security of the parent company but still eager to have that IT edge – however resources and skillsets were limited to a single IT manager and the infrastructure soon began to show its age. The later catastrophic failure of a broadband circuit highlighted the need for a root and branch review.
When reviewing the three main options, the firm had a clear understanding of its requirements:
• Elimination of the single point of failure, bringing resilience to every part of the operation
• Renewal and refreshing of the whole infrastructure – communications, networks, hardware, software
• Flexibility and speed – NVM needed the IT function to support different expansion initiatives quickly
• Business continuity – commercial imperatives and a strict compliance regime placed this high on the agenda
• Expertise – the development of the WAN and the increase in remote working would demand an enlarged skills base
• Support – NVM required the level of support that matched their own around the clock working But which option best met those requirements?
Chris Mellor has identified a number of key benefits since making the switch:
Greater security – Our IT is like a utility: we switch it on and it’s there. If we need help, it’s there. Plus inbuilt business continuity and data back-up deliver operational integrity and compliance
Improved operational flexibility – We can give individuals in their ‘micro offices’ fast, with secure access to our network on-demand
Enhanced support – Help is available around the clock, which is reassuring in an arena that will often see deals closed outside of normal hours
Increased resources – Because we have Nasstar on tap, we also have their experience, expertise and capabilities on tap. Instead of stalling through lack of knowledge, projects can be fast-tracked for operational advantage.
Chris Mellor concludes: “Quite simply, our tie-up with Nasstar has allowed us once again to ‘punch above our weight’.
Even better, we’ve got there without the need for huge capital investment – instead, we have fixed, known costs based on a per-user, per month charging structure that makes for easy budgeting and cost control.
And while Nasstar function like an internal department or us, they demonstrate responsiveness and customer care more commonly found in quality external providers. By giving us the best of both worlds, we can push on in ours.”
For NVM, the Nasstar offering became an early front runner. Gearing up internally would have meant a large expansion in IT headcount.
While retaining an IT services company may have addressed that issue, it wouldn’t have removed the other major problem: the substantial capital investment required to modernise the existing infrastructure.
Moreover, NVM felt that neither of those options would really work for a company whose office network was so geographically spread and whose expansion plans involved the setting up of UK-wide micro ‘home offices’ for staff.
The centralised hosting afforded by managed services, on the other hand, was a perfect match for this growth model.
By moving to Nasstar’s managed service offering, we were basically getting the ‘super department’ that we’d always wanted behind our IT function – but getting it instantly and at a much lower cost. It would also allow us to retain our operational focus without IT distractions and develop our business strategy knowing that our new ‘IT team’ would be able to support it.