Carousel Industries Builds Managed Services Offering Around Microsoft Lync


Carousel Industries is digging deeper into its managed services business, building out a new managed services offering for 2014 centered around Microsoft Lync.

Managed services already accounts for a double-digit percentage of the company's business, said Ed Wadbrook, vice president of applications and collaboration solutions at Carousel, Exeter, R.I. Managed services is the fastest-growing portion of Carousel's business, he added, with the company's Microsoft business coming just behind that -- increasing 230 percent from 2012 to 2013.

"It’s a great environment to be in," Wadbrook said. "For us, we started building these disciplines and now they work together. It wasn’t accidental."

[Related: ePlus Makes Strategic Investments, Deepens Push Into Managed Services]

To Wadbrook, managed services means being able to monitor client environments, be alerted to problems and normalize operations for customers. Historically, Microsoft's Lync platform didn't necessarily have the tools for partners such as Carousel to perform all those tasks, he said. Carousel's goal is to roll out a set of applications to monitor voice and video tracking within the Lync environment, Wadbrook said, as well as a tiered help desk to enhance the managed services around the program.

To help support the increase in managed services for its more than 6,000 customers, Carousel plans to double the size of the team and value investment. Carousel recently earned a Microsoft Communications Gold Competency for the second year in a row, helping with the technical aspects of Lync implementations, which account for more than 90 percent of Carousel's Microsoft-related sales.

That insight from increased monitoring allows Carousel to provide better support, further cut down on silos within its clients' business, and build more managed services to help facilitate support. Carousel, for example was able to help one client cut the number of critical applications from 11 to five, replacing seven calls to a help desk for seven different applications with a single call to Carousel after making the switch to Microsoft Lync, Wadbrook said.

"We actually enable our IT team, our CIO team to get more from their invested dollar than hitherto they had because we look at the process, not just the technology," Wadbrook said. "I've been in the industry for over 30 years and this space for over 12 years, and when I talked to them about their definition of unified communications, they will typically describe features ... and unified communications is far more than just features.

"For us, we look at how industry groups communicate collectively inside and outside the network. What are the devices they use? Media choices they have? And how can we improve the overall processes and workflow?"

PUBLISHED FEB. 20, 2014