15 June 2021

Essence of Ensono - to drive digital transformation

Paola Doebel
Ensono
12 min
Company:
Ensono
Ensono delivers complete hybrid cloud solutions, from mainframe to public cloud, tailored to each client’s transformation journey

The essence of Ensono is they are a customer's relentless ally on their digital transformation journey while providing operational excellence on mission critical systems supported by an intelligent governance platform – Ensono Envision.

Ensono is a hybrid cloud managed services company which delivers design, build and run managed services to operate and optimise mission critical platforms, like mainframes, private and public cloud environments - while keeping each business running - vital to their clients who are navigating the new normal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At Ensono we offer a truly hybrid transformation experience from assessment to architecture to build, run, operate, and innovate from mainframe to public cloud,” said Paola Doebel, SVP & Managing Director of Ensono North America.

“We are a relentless ally for all our customers - flexible, creative and transformative,” said Doebel who pointed out the recent acquisition of Amido - a UK-based cloud-native consultancy and implementation company delivering design, build and run cloud services on AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure - will help customers grow, optimise and innovate for the future. 

“One of the unique things about us is we have expert capabilities from mainframe to public cloud - being able to look at the customer’s end-to-end environment is a really unique capability in the market,” said Doebel from Ensono’s headquarters in Chicago. With more than 50 years of experience they bridge the old and new for their customers.

Competitive edge of Ensono

Company:

Executive:
Paola
Doebel
SVP and Managing Director of North America

According to Doebel, Ensono has that competitive edge because of its end-to-end managed services and consultancy and advisory capabilities bolstered by the company’s acquisition of Amido.   

“We are a relentless ally for our customers enabling transformation. We will follow through on that last mile with them when it requires creativity, flexibility and real partnership which gives us a competitive advantage. The entire company, regardless of the role or function, rallies around our customers and their success. We pride ourselves on our customer-centric culture at all levels of Ensono which is hard for a competitor to replicate,” she said.

Doebel pointed out the pandemic shined a spotlight on technology professionals. “COVID-19 pushed technology professionals to the forefront of their companies to keep operations going.  For example: suddenly all employees had to work remotely, and IT had to enable that transition quickly and safely.  In industries like retail, the customer experience shifted from in-store to online.  Technology teams had to ensure their environments could handle the additional capacity and transaction volume.  The company depended on it.  Technology teams became part of the company’s critical response efforts to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 to their employees and their customers. 

“COVID-19 has also exposed pressure points in a customer’s environment or forced a strategy acceleration to adapt to the new demands of the organisation and the market.  We step into the arena as a partner knowing there is pressure for them and we go on the journey with our customers.

“We can architect, build, and run an environment from mission critical platforms like mainframe to public cloud migrations and help our clients transform over that time. We enable them to look end-to-end and encourage them to look end-to-end in their environment - all aligned to what their company objectives are. We work with them individually to figure out what the right solution is to get them where they are trying to go,” she said.

Ensono focuses on:

  • Perfecting IT operational strategies
  • Propelling cloud journeys
  • Optimising IT performance
  • Powering insights
  • Delivering transformation objectives

Midrange and Mainframe Managed Services

Ensono can keep applications running faster, smoother and cheaper with mainframe and midrange services. According to Doebel this can help companies reduce IT costs and simplify utility-based models while providing a strong IT foundation which can benefit the following:

  • Immediately lower hardware, software and labor costs
  • Reduce risk of retiring workforce and hiring new talent
  • Reduce technical debt and ensure regulatory compliance
  • Get flexible options for changing business needs

Mainframe modernisation services

The investment reduces barriers to innovation and agility by adding new mainframe capabilities, transforming legacy code and data to run anywhere, and developing modern cross-platform applications, helping to fund and propel future transformation.

“Our Mainframe Modernisation offerings and solutions cover the ‘full art of the possible’ to help clients leverage modern mainframe capabilities from a platform perspective, as well as modern application and data structures,” said Doebel 

“The latter may lead to replatforming converted code and data on the Mainframe, or off the Mainframe to an Ensono-managed public or private cloud. We provide flexibility for clients to choose paths based on already established or preferred patterns within the enterprise.”

Managed hybrid cloud services

According to Ensono, managed infrastructure services can optimise the infrastructure of a company, improve agility, availability and security of business applications.

Managed public cloud services

Ensono’s Cloud Transformation services are designed to help companies realise the full promise of the cloud and transform existing on-premises applications beyond migrating them to the cloud. It can be flexibly mixed-and-matched to deliver business services and objectives.

  • Improve total cost of ownership and drive optimal ROI
  • Leverage cloud native services in pursuit of agility and business impact
  • Provide assurance for governance and compliance as you transform

“Ensono follows a phased approach based on best practices to align with our customer’s cloud readiness and business objectives, including cloud readiness assessment and planning, design, deploy, pilot and then migration, said Doebel.

“We architect and migrate client's IT workloads into the selected cloud platform(s) and manage all aspects of the management, security and governance layers. We offer two services Cloud Activate and Cloud Migrate to enable clients to migrate to the cloud.”

Cloud Activate includes five phases: 

  • Envisioning workshop - TCO and application assessment
  • Cloud architecture design 
  • Cloud health check
  • Cloud Landing Zone - DR deployment
  • Pilot migration of one application 

“Once this phase is completed, our client will not only be ‘cloud ready’ but will be operating at least one workload from the cloud,” commented Doebel. “Cloud Migrate is designed to provide a flexible engagement model to support the migration and transformation of applications to the Cloud.” 

Consulting and advisory services

According to Doebel, Ensono takes a complete hybrid cloud view focusing on the specific outcomes and needs of each client to ensure they provide a’ fit for purpose’ approach to advisory and consulting engagements. 

“Our advisory and consulting capabilities include: discovery assessments, application dependency mapping, security assessments, distributed infrastructure consolidation, legacy hardware and software modernization and migration of application workloads to private or public cloud,” cites Doebel.

“Transformative 'Reimagine' programs, drive large scale change programs for our clients, enabling them to establish cloud centres of excellence and automated DevOps practices and leveraging cloud native services to drive agility and innovation into our clients' business.” 

“No matter what area of advisory and consulting, we ensure the right combination of technologies are in place and working harmoniously together to deliver on the business goals,” she said.

Best-in-breed partnership with Dell Technologies

Commenting on Ensono’s partnership with Dell, Doebel said they have a close business and executive relationships with the Dell team. “Ensono is a Platinum Cloud Service Provider (CSP), one of only 10 in the US. The Ensono and Dell Technologies partnership combines mainframe expertise and best-of-breed Dell technology. 

“We have combined forces to help enterprises drive mainframe performance and set the foundation for migration to the cloud by modernising and optimising their environment. We work side-by-side with our customers to identify and implement the solutions that will help them achieve the outcomes they want. End-to-end, we deliver what our customers need with our partners.” 

“Ensono is a leader in hybrid cloud managed services, offering boutique services at a global scale, and Dell Technologies is a leader in infrastructure innovation including mainframe storage and backup solutions. Together, we deliver flexible mainframe-as-a-service (MFaaS) solutions powered by Dell EMC storage products as well as a best in class private cloud solutions,” she said.

Customer-centricity is at the heart of Ensono

Customer-centricity is at the heart of Ensono and each team member is reminded of this when they join as they are presented with the Ensono bear, named Ernesto, who represents our customers.  “I know that sounds funny at first, but what it really represents is that the customer is at the centre of all of the decisions we make, all of our discussions, and all of our strategies - so we all have Ernesto bears in our offices and on our desks reminding us of our customers every day.”

Award-winning experts in AWS and Azure

  • Microsoft US Partner Award for Azure Datacenter Migration 
  • Launch partner for Professional Services in AWS Marketplace 
  • Azure Expert MSP 
  • 10 Microsoft Gold Competencies
  • AWS MSP Partner
  • AWS Migration Competency 

Doebel points out these accolades are important as it shows Ensono has spent time, effort, dollars and resources to be competent.

“There is a limited amount of talent in the market and for a customer that talent can be very expensive. Additionally, they simply might not be able to get people ramped up on all of these possible certifications and ways of operating within each of the different cloud environments especially if they have a multi-cloud strategy.”

“We are able to provide expertise, credibility, and competency and we are constantly looking at where we need to go next with our capabilities. We are focused on what capabilities we need to acquire or build and ensure we're certified to deliver next. I think it's really important that customers have a partner they can fall back on.”

Doebel’s key message is to reinforce that Ensono is a relentless ally in this time of mass disruption. “We understand the intensity of the environment and we're capable and have the desire to partner with companies on their multi-year journey as they support their organisation’s efforts to deliver for their customers,” she said.

QUICK FIRE:

What benefit is a digital transformation to a company?

“Customers need to go on the digital journey to achieve scale, agility, scalability, flexibility and resilience. You have to design, build and run an environment that serves that purpose, and most customers need to go on a digital transformation journey to get there. The reason you need to do that is to then deliver value for your customers and your company at the speed that the market requires.”

What technology trends do you predict taking off in the next five years?

I think autonomous transportation is going to come to fruition in the next five years, but I think it's going to be on the commercial and freight side first. I say transportation because it could be vehicles or even shipping.

“I also see an expansion in edge computing, Dell has an edge technology solution, HPE has EdgeLine, and AWS Outposts edge computing which brings compute capability to the edge where insights and data analytics need to be delivered in real time.

“I can also see Virtual Augmented Reality expanding in the next five years. I can see retail driving this.  It will be interesting to see how that transpires after COVID. People were forced out of an on-site retail experience to a digital experience. I think it could kick digital and augmented reality off for the mass market. 

“Finally in the insurance world - in which we have more than 40 customers - we see a lot of things happening that are disrupting this sector.  I think you're going to see more things like telematic devices, which capture data and help insurance companies analyse driver risk on an individual basis. InsurTech is disrupting the industry by combining various technology solutions with insurance solutions like claims processing, fraud detection, underwriting and others to drive down costs and create a better customer experience and outcome.”

How do you sum up Ensono’s unique selling point after more than 50 years of business?

“At Ensono we offer a truly hybrid transformative experience from assessment to architecture to build, run, operate, and innovate from mainframe to public cloud. And we're relentless allies in the pursuit of that effort.”

What message would you give to women thinking about choosing a career in technology?

“I think it's exciting and brings a lot of opportunity certainly for women or any underrepresented group who feels like there's no way in. I would say in technology there is always a way in - technology is the land of startups, bold ideas and entrepreneurship.

Technology is dynamic and fast and takes a lot of mental and intellectual agility. You have to be willing to fail fast and pivot, or fail fast and adjust, and really accept the bold moves necessary to be successful.  You also have to be a constant learner because it moves so fast.  Just be fearless.

“This is an industry of fearless leaders with bold ideas and if you want to be a part of that you've got to embrace that edginess and be a contributor.”

The meaning behind Ensono

The name Ensono combines the Zen concept of enso, which means freeing the mind to create and the Italian expression in sogna meaning in dreams.

According to the company the name reflects how their associates constantly look at opportunities from different angles, make unexpected connections and arrive at unprecedented solutions. 

Ensono timeline

January 2016

Acxiom IT rebrands to Ensono, signifying our commitment to innovation in IT solutions.

September 2016.

Ensono acquires Attenda, expanding our ability to manage complex environments across the globe.

March 2017

Ensono acquires Inframon. As a Microsoft Cloud Productivity Partner of the Year, this specialist cloud server provider acquisition built on our ability to deliver the best technology solutions, tailors to our clients' needs on an even bigger scale.

June 2018

Ensono acquires Wipro’s Hosted Data Center Service, growing in size and scale to accelerate our clients’ innovation and transformation.

April 2021

Acquisition of Amido, a UK-based cloud native consultancy.

Amido

Ensono’s latest acquisition is Amido - a UK-based cloud native consultancy - which will drive digital transformation to the next level.

The strategic move brings cloud native application and service development expertise to Ensono and significantly expands their digital transformation capabilities.  Joining forces with Amido takes Ensono beyond traditional IT outsourcing and will help clients design, build and run successful transformations. 

Amido, a Google partner and fellow Microsoft Gold partner, shares many of Ensono’s values, including having a client-centric focus and desire to constantly innovate. Their cloud native expertise includes application development and data engineering across a diverse set of clients. They specialise in helping clients build innovative applications and services with complex transitions from legacy technologies to hybrid or cloud-based systems.

Welcoming this acquisition Doebel said this would help Ensono retain their agility for the customers as they grow in an organic and inorganic way.

“The new acquisition of Amido is part of our inorganic growth where we're constantly staying ahead of the curve and enabling ourselves and our customers to be agile,” she said.

“The organic portion is the development and expansion of our consultancy and advisory capabilities. We're expanding our security services, mainframe modernisation services and capabilities,” she said.

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS:

Associations:

  • Cloud Industry Forum in the UK
  • Illinois Technology Association in Chicago, Illinois (now 1871)
  • NASSCOM 

Events: 

Each year they participate in IBM Think, Microsoft Ignite, AWS Re:Invent, and Microsoft Future Decoded. Whether that’s through sponsorship or speaking sessions to support their partners. The public sector is a big industry focus for Ensono, so they always have a presence at NASCIO.

Awards: 

  • Inc. 5000 America’s Top Private Held Companies list - 2020
  • Crain’s Chicago Business Top Privately Held Companies – 2019, 2020
  • Microsoft US Partner Award Winner for Azure - Datacenter Migration 2020
  • UK Cloud Awards – 2018, 2019
  • Chicago Innovation Award 2018 for Ensono Envision
  • Microsoft Data Center Transformation Partner of the Year 2018

Company:

Executive:
Paola
Doebel
SVP and Managing Director of North America

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