David Tawse, Managing Director of Nimbus Blue, shares his thoughts on the last 12 months, the key trends to look out for in the managed IT services industry, and what he is most looking forward to in the year ahead.
It’s the time of year when, as a business owner, I reflect on the year gone by and start to focus on the goals for the new year. As a tech-turned-business-owner with a technical background, I still find myself moving towards the instant gratification of making something work (eventually!) at the press of a button, rather than spending time on the intangible “what ifs” of 3 or 5 years to come. However, I fully appreciate how important it is to do this, even if it isn’t something that comes naturally given my tech background.
That said, after years of practice, I’m getting much better at planning, goal setting, and tracking progress. More importantly, I now do it in a way that is meaningful and workable for me. Anything beyond 3 years is too vague, so I start with a very high-level 3-year ‘vision’ of what I’d like – both business and personal. I then create a more detailed plan for the coming year and how that will get me closer to the vision. I don’t create a plan for the whole 3 years, as too much may change in that time.
The 1-year plan is then broken down into 90-day ‘chunks’ that can be easily assigned and tracked. For me, I find that this quarterly cycle strikes a good balance between making progress against the plan whilst not being so far in the future as to feel ‘fluffy’.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few things that are on my radar for 2024, and where some of the challenges were for us and the industry in 2023.
As with many other industries, 2023 started with an unexpected bang for the managed IT services industry. Confidence in the marketplace returned after the Covid hangover, and businesses were hitting the ‘go’ button on projects that they’d been putting off. From a technology perspective, a significant proportion of this was driven by the on-going (and increasing) adoption of cloud and software-as-a-service platforms as legacy server-based systems approach their end of life.
For us, this increased confidence in the marketplace led to a significant uplift in demand for our IT and Security services, resulting in profit growth over 2023 and the expansion of our Aberdeen-based team. We also took on new consulting projects and onboarded new clients, including Aberdeen Football Club, which is a personal highlight for me, being a life-long Dons fan!
So far, it looks like 2024 will also have a strong start for projects, but with more of a security perspective. The increased awareness of the cybersecurity threat within the business community is triggering businesses to work with us in strengthening their position within the supply chain, typically by achieving well-known certifications, such as Cyber Essentials Plus and ISO 27001 (Information Security).
Keeping on the security theme, there’s one new service in particular that I’m excited about for 2024 – our Security Operations Centre (SOC), which runs 24-hours per day, 365 days per year. This brings a whole new level of protection to our customers that simply wasn’t viable for SMEs in previous years.
A Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a team of dedicated security personnel who are focused on finding and containing active attacks or threats within your systems. Until recently, this was the preserve of large corporates due to the extremely high cost of creating and maintaining a SOC. However, due to demand from clients to provide increased, 24×7, human-backed security, we’ve successfully introduced our SOC service, and the uptake has been fantastic. More importantly, it has prevented several potential significant attacks in the last 6 months, and I’m looking forward to protecting even more businesses through 2024.
Otherwise, I’m planning on spending a lot of time on the business this year, working to ensure our processes and services can scale without compromising the quality and value we’ve become known for. Our sales pipeline is larger than it has been in our 13-year history, and, although I believe we are a very operationally mature provider in our market, holding many certifications and accreditations that our competitors don’t, there’s always room for improvement. Demand for our support and security services is increasing, with businesses in Aberdeen recognising the value in having a strong, strategic relationship with a highly competent provider.
I’m very excited about another year of supporting our local businesses in and around Aberdeen, and I wish you all a very successful year ahead for 2024!