In the modern world of technology, IT and ICT systems software play a crucial part in almost every industry across the world. The task for companies is how to leverage their IT software to generate greater efficiencies and more importantly, lower operating costs. The technology in IT is transforming, with Big Data, IoT and cloud based software taking over, realising the cost benefits from innovation can prove a tricky business.
This is where Acceleris comes in to play.
An industry leader, providing ISO certified IT service solutions in Switzerland, Acceleris stands tall as ‘the’ go-to solutions provider, promising high and consistent quality solutions.
But life at the company did not always revolve around cloud based solutions.
Head in the clouds
Acceleris was founded in 2003 by Pascal Stürchler as a reseller of microsystems, and through a difficult period of searching for partnerships that would enable the company to grow into a systems integrator and further down the line a cloud service provider, Stürchler refocused the company through two major partners in Red Hat and Oracle.
“We really moved from being a classical IT reseller who was just selling hardware and software and became a service provider for cloud solutions,” says Stürchler.
Today, the company focuses on the delivery of cloud services and infrastructure.
“We help the customers run really largescale infrastructure and help them operate said infrastructure properly, with high efficiency and all within a secure environment.”
This transformation towards a cloud service solutions provider has taken place over the last four years and following the decision to move into this direction, the company sought out ISO certifications to cement its position in the market.
But as with any transformation, the decision was not made without reason. One major factor in this was the role of the customer, with Stürchler noting that customers are switching from capital expenditure to operating expense.
“Customers don’t want to invest in hardware, they just want to consume IT,” he says.
More and more small to medium sized companies are switching operating models to become more like e-commerce businesses. This in turn means these companies are seeking ICT operations that can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This presents a major problem for these companies – operating costs.
“The costs for this kind of operation is too high, so companies are turning towards infrastructure partners and cloud services. This allows them to have a guaranteed service-level agreement and they can be safe in the knowledge that their e-commerce business is operating to those 24/7 requirements,” Stürchler says.
Leading the pack
Acceleris defines itself on its cloud infrastructure NUBIQ, going as far as calling it as one of the most up to date cloud infrastructures in Switzerland. This is due to the fact that it is fully software defined. This means that Acceleris has software designed storage, network and compute power in an “open spec and open defined” open stack infrastructure.
To put that into context, there are currently three open stack infrastructures across Switzerland and Acceleris is one of them.
“With open spec and open defined infrastructure, we are able to provide cloud infrastructure on an incredibly large scale,” says Stürchler.
An advantage of such an infrastructure over say, Amazon or Azure, is that it allows Acceleris to provide services, back up, restart, security and, if necessary, Acceleris can run the whole server through managed services.
“We can really work in a hybrid service level agreement. That is unlike no other company in Switzerland,” Stürchler adds.
Acceleris is a company that in essence is defined by its customers. Through the company’s base in Switzerland, it provides an opportunity for customer engagement that is unrivalled.
“The response from customers has really been amazing,” he says.
“They really like the fact that we are based in Switzerland and can have direct engagement with our engineers. This allows a level of service that can tailor to specific requirements and needs through one to one meetings. Customers are really taking to the truly support role our engineers can have for them.”
Certification for success
Of course, one of the major factors in Acceleris becoming a market leader in cloud infrastructure services is the company’s ISO certifications - the holy grail of the ICT service solution provider space.
To date, Acceleris has obtained five ISO certifications and is one of the only companies to have done so. The most recent certification, and arguably the most important with regards to handling customer data in the cloud space, is ISO 27018. This certification is a code of practice for the protection of personally identifiable information and it provides a key advantage for Acceleris in a market that is ever growing.
“It shows that we have proper processes in place and it guarantees the customers that we have a high standard of security,” says Stürchler.
“It guarantees to them that each employee knows how exactly those safety processes are working. It guarantees high quality.”
The employee and the employee’s knowledge of the company’s data processes is crucial to the business, and this is an area that has historically provided the biggest challenge to the business. With every new software defined technology comes increased complexity and this is something that Stürchler is all too aware of.
“We must train our engineers and educate them continuously. Acceleris has invested heavily into this area over the last four years and we will continue to do so,” he says.
Security threats and the way in which Acceleris approaches the issue of cyber security is a fundamental issue that the company values extremely highly in the world of data handling.
“We check our processes on a half-year basis and we check our risk management,” he says.
Part of the way Acceleris invests in the security of its processes is through the use of third parties and “controlled” hacks. This is where Acceleris allows a trusted third party to hack into their infrastructure in a controlled environment to identify potential security threats and open doors that could cause further problems.
It is through this approach that Acceleris was able to avoid the threat of the global RansomWare cyber-attack earlier this year.
“We were really prepared on that front and our system was not, and is not, at risk as a direct result of our preparedness,” says Stürchler.
Powered by partners
The cycle for new releases of the latest technologies is becoming increasingly shorter and customers are increasingly demanding these technologies. Thus, Stürchler has been able to call upon the support from its major partners, Oracle and Red Hat.
“Reliable partnerships are the basis for our business success. In order to be able to concentrate on our core competencies, we therefore rely on strong and long-term partners,” says the company website, and this is certainly a feeling shared by Stürchler.
Acceleris sits on the board of both Oracle and Red Hat as well as having the highest certification as partners. This allows Red Hat and Oracle to work together with Acceleris on the training and educating of its employees to be able to provide the latest state of the art knowledge and state of the art services to customers.
Through these reliable partnerships, Acceleris will also gain new business as both Oracle and Red Hat will point customers into the direction of the company when looking for the “right partner”.
“Acceleris is held in high regard from these big companies as a service solution provider with an extremely high level of service and knowledge,” says Stürchler.
Reach for the sky
For Stürchler, the past four years with Acceleris has been a period of tremendous growth and there is a clear strategy in place to continue to grow and be recognised as a partner of choice when it comes to cloud infrastructure solutions.
The cloud service solutions market is continuously evolving, with a major trend seeing customers seeking out more private cloud infrastructure and Acceleris is already on the ball in this regard, with plans to run private cloud software as early as fall 2017.
Looking a little further ahead into the future, Stürchler sees the company expanding its offering to match the demand for technologies such as IoT, Big Data and analytics.
But there will also be a growth from an internal perspective.
“We are moving away from the traditional hierarchy organisation into a modern, more agile and project oriented organisation where the people are having more responsibility,” Stürchler says.
“For the future, it’s about the agility and the time to market. It means we need a new kind of organisation. We want an agile organisation that can react to the demands of the customers, the market as well as our internal stuff.”