Anyone reading this who is not up to speed with the concept of DevOps must surely have been on a remote Pacific island on at least a year-long sabbatical from the IT industry. However, for all the hype generated by the technology world's latest buzzword, many in the channel still seem unsure of how to embark on their journey into this new style of IT - much less where they want to end up, or how to get there.
But one of the European channel's largest players has already fixed its co-ordinates, and is ready to set sail. SCC recently announced the establishment of a major new DevOps and support facility in Vietnam's largest city, Ho Chi Minh City (pictured below).
Set to open in the autumn, the SCC Vietnam operation will initially employ about 60 people, a third of whom will be software developers. Chief executive James Rigby (pictured above) said the new location represents an important step for the company, adding that, if all goes well, it intends to rapidly increase headcount in the months and years to come.
"Developing our own applications is really important for the future if we are to be competitive," he said. "[DevOps staff] will be working on our cloud-management platforms. Our Universal Cloud Gateway is a brokerage portal, from which we can provision and build hybrid clouds."
The other 40 staff employed from the outset will be hired to provide third- and fourth-line support, to complement the first- and second-line support services offered by the reseller giant's 1,000 employees in Romania. Rigby added that Vietnam was the ideal location for both the software development and support services functions of the new office. With 90 million inhabitants and an average age of 29, the country also has 300 universities offering IT courses and its young population possesses excellent English language skills, he said.
SCC recently released FY16 results, revealing that its UK business posted annual revenue of £653m (€835m), while Spanish sales came in at £47m and turnover in France stood at £812m. In recent years the Birmingham-headquartered company's business in its homeland has turned towards cloud and managed hosting, with 27 per cent of its top line last year being services-derived.
Rigby stated that he wants SCC's operations in France to begin moving more towards the infrastructure world, in replication of the journey that the UK business has been on. This will be helped by the company's recent acquisition of €10m-turnover IaaS player Flow Line, based near Paris.
"It is a relatively small start but we certainly have big ambitions," he added. "Spain is quite a services-rich business, and infrastructure-rich, with very little desktop-related stuff. But France is a big reseller. It also has a big services business - about €130m - but a lot of that is desktop managed services. We are trying to get it to follow the same path as the UK."
In the last decade the company has expanded in some countries while exiting others, but the CEO indicated that he is content with the current set-up. In the last couple of years a number of big channel players - such as Bechtle, Computacenter, and CDW - have expanded across the world either organically, via M&A, or with partnership programmes, but SCC will not be replicating such globalisation moves, its leader asserted.
"We are not going to go into any new countries; we are happy with the territories that we are in," he said. "We are a European company, but if we look at it from the customers' viewpoint, I do not see customers buying globally from resellers - they might do from manufacturers if they are big enough, but then we are not targeting those customers anyway - they tend to want everything for nothing. We are very much targeting mid-market customers."
The VAR giant made a number of UK acquisitions during 2015, including investments in connectivity specialist Fluidata, hosted voice firm SIPCOM, and mobile player One Point. The CEO reiterated his belief that the addition of mobility skills which came with the One Point deal completed his firm's managed services proposition, but claimed this year could bring further investments in its existing capabilities in the UK.
"We are currently at about 70 per cent [capacity] in our two datacentres," he said. "We are doubling the size of the one in Fareham, while in Birmingham we are adding about another 400 racks. Once we have done that we cannot do any more - maybe that will be an acquisition.
"We set out on this journey five years ago, seeing that the world was moving off-premise, more to a hybrid world, a mixture of on-and off-premise. We have a put a stack of money in, but now it is definitely paying back big time."
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