Back in May, we announced we were acquiring TriCore Solutions, a leader in enterprise application management that would allow us to provide expertise and support for the mission-critical applications our customers are using to manage core functions across their businesses. These include manufacturing, logistics, purchasing, supply chain, customer service, HR and financial operations.
The acquisition made sense, not just from a technology perspective, but from a people and culture perspective as well. We gained an experienced management team with enterprise application expertise, a culture built on service quality and a focus on employee development that is directly aligned with Rackspace and our Fanatical Support.
Almost all of TriCore’s engineers and other experts are now Rackspace employees, serving their previous clients as well as longtime Rackspace customers. This includes former CEO of TriCore and now SVP and General Manager of the new Enterprise Applications business unit at Rackspace, Mark Clayman.
We recently sat down with Mark to discuss our new application management capabilities, what they will mean for customers and why providing support this far “up the stack” is a natural fit for Rackspace.
Welcome to Rackspace, Mark! Let’s start with you: tell us about your background and how you came to TriCore.
I’ve been working in this industry for the past 18 years, the last five being with TriCore. My experience is in strategic direction, alignment between sales, operations and corporate development and I have significant history selling, solutioning, contracting with and supporting mid-market to larger enterprise customers and their complex IT requirements.
I’ve always enjoyed the customer-facing component of my role and truly enjoy getting out in the field, face-to-face with our customers and prospects, hearing first-hand about how they are using technology, understanding their pain points and ultimately aligning our solutions with their vision for enabling the organizations they support.
Prior to joining TriCore, I was the SVP of sales and marketing at NaviSite where I was responsible for driving revenue by providing scalable, customer-centric applications and managed services solutions. I joined NaviSite through the acquisition of Surebridge, Inc., a provider of application management services where I served as vice president and CIO, responsible for developing and managing the service delivery organization.
Now that you’re formally on board at Rackspace, what’s your first priority?
My first priority is to educate Rackspace customers and prospects on the expanded capabilities and solutions we are now able to offer through Rackspace Enterprise Application Services and work to continuously improve the long tradition of excellent service we’ve always strived to achieve. From there, I’ll be working closely with the broader Rackspace team to help identify new trends and technologies that will help us enhance our services and deliver more value to our customers, with the goal of becoming the strategic partner to all customers.
How do you view the broad market for managed application services, including the ones which TriCore has focused on, but also going beyond those? Where do you see the market going, in terms of customer demand?
The managed application services landscape has changed rapidly over the last few years and it will continue to change at an accelerated pace. We are seeing the movement towards IT and digital transformation, analytics, automation and an overload of data.
Our customers and prospects are being challenged with managing environments that are becoming both more complex and more dispersed. At the same time, the demand to deliver solutions to their organization that create a differentiator in their industry continues to pick up speed while budgets continue to decrease.
Focusing on the business to deliver new functionality, drive greater efficiencies, integrate, report and analyze more disparate data is becoming an increasingly challenging effort. Leveraging both our technical and business operations of these complex environments as platforms and then focusing on developing new solutions around integration services, automation and artificial intelligence is where we’re going to be able to help organizations develop specific strategies for their business that will enable them to grow and scale at an accelerated pace.
For example, let’s take a manufacturing organization. If we can help companies take an order from a customer, ingest it into their operating environment and have that system determine which plant to manufacture that product based on available inventory, time to produce, time to deliver, etc… we can help that organization completely optimize their operations and margins.
Bottom line, we want to help CXO’s and their business leaders understand and lead digital transformation. We want to enable them to control their operations in an exponentially more efficient manner than what they are doing today.
Why are customers asking for help with these types of applications? Why don’t they just hire their own experts and manage them in house?
There are so many reasons customers are asking for help with their applications. The shift from on premise to outsourced/hosted is still in its infancy for ERP. Many of our existing clients are on premise where we do remote support. Reasons for outside help include:
- They may be looking to move from in-house support to an outsourced, hosted cloud solution to leverage the flexibility and scale of these environments.
- The challenge of finding, hiring, training and keeping experienced talent is a continuous struggle.
- They don’t have the expertise to leverage newer technologies to help meet business requirements.
- They need to increase the pace of delivering new services and functionality to the business.
- They need to reduce costs and help expand margins.
- They need to have the flexibility to increase and/or decrease IT needs and resources in a very short time frame, typically to meet M&A and/or divestiture activity.
How do you see support for enterprise applications fitting into the larger Rackspace strategy and portfolio of services?
With the creation of Rackspace Enterprise Application Services, we can now provide our customers a full turnkey solution for both the technical and functional requirements of enterprise ERP solutions as well as the SaaS solutions many of our customers tend to leverage.
We can deliver managed services for ERP, business intelligence and analytics, and data warehousing applications. These solutions can now be delivered by Rackspace on infrastructure in any location the customer chooses — the customer’s data center, a Rackspace data center, a colocation facility, or a hyperscale cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
Thank you, Mark, we’re glad to have you and the whole TriCore team aboard. We’re excited for what the future holds!