Sunday 15 September 2019

How Triangle squares the circle for customers in the ICT sector


Kieran McCabe of Triangle. Photo: David Conachy.
Kieran McCabe of Triangle. Photo: David Conachy.

Alan O'Neill

Every day we see examples of how technology is changing our world. We see it in our smartphones, with medical advancements, how we communicate and shop, and how we get from A to B. If what we see and experience is all 'front end', remember that there is a whole industry at the 'back end' that enables and supports this technological revolution.

We're already familiar with names such as IBM, Dell, Microsoft, SAP and other giants who have their own niches and proprietary systems.

Every one of these iconic brands has gone through significant change in recent years as the capabilities and the sophistication of technology grows exponentially. And to enable all of these systems to come together and work effectively for an end-user organisation, there is a whole other professional and managed services industry that specialises in supporting their integration.

Triangle Computer Services

Kieran McCabe and his team led a buyout of UK-based Triangle Computer Services in 2006. Now, Irish-owned Triangle is a formidable force in the ever-changing ICT sector.

The original business model was as a re-seller of IBM Enterprise Systems, such as equipment for processing and for storage. Selling 'boxes' was originally the main focus and that's where the margin was. Early on, however, Triangle realised that hardware alone would not be a solution for customers and it introduced VMWare virtualisation to the large corporates in Ireland. Triangle then went on to become the largest VMWare business in Ireland.

In a nutshell, Triangle's expertise is in helping its customers to create the right environment for their software needs. It services lots of sectors, the prime ones being retail, financial services and utilities.

VMWare is the global leader in virtualisation and software innovation that securely connects, manages and automates some of the world's most complex digital infrastructures.

In simple terms, customers may want to have different operating systems to work on the same computer, putting some applications on the 'cloud' and others 'on-premise'. But cloud is more complex than at first envisaged and Triangle supports its customers to migrate between 'cloud' and 'on premise' with the most economical solutions.

Professional Services

Over the years, a number of changes occurred in the industry. The processing power of computers increased at the same time that prices were reducing. Buyers could get more bang for their buck. Buyers were then challenged with handling this extra complexity and needed systems architects and engineers with very specific skills to ensure systems worked together.

Triangle adapted to that need with a professional services solution. Professional services in ICT is prompted by enterprise customers selecting particular brands of hardware to cater for other brands of software to run their business.

For example, a customer might procure IBM hardware to run an Oracle software system. The environment required to house and support these proprietary systems needs to be integrated.

Triangle is unique in how it balances its specialist technological expertise with a culture of being truly customer-centric. It has a dynamic team that between them has more than a thousand years of experience and expertise, which is very re-assuring for its customers.

Over time, Triangle's business model shifted and margin was achieved through people rather than boxes (equipment).

Managed Services

A further development in the sector has evolved more recently. After completing successful integration projects, customers were then challenged with ensuring no interruption to their systems. That means 24/7 cover and engineers need to be available to support that.

But their payroll budgets might not allow for having their own team on site.

After all, they might only be needed for a few hours per week.

Triangle developed a 'managed services' proposition which is to take over the management of the system for its customers. This is a classic efficient outsource model that guarantees flexibility, 24/7 cover and cost saving.

It's a service where the 'managed services' team are based on Triangle premises, with secure remote access to its customer's systems.

This model is now advancing to the next level where, on behalf of some customers, Triangle will provide a complete solution. That will involve Triangle purchasing the customer's chosen hardware and software systems, installing them and maintaining them over time.

In such a model, the capex exposure switches to Triangle and the customer effectively pays for an ongoing service.

The Future

Just last week, Triangle moved into its new larger premises on Pembroke Road in Dublin, which was officially opened by Pat Breen, the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.

Breen announced that Triangle will recruit an extra 20 people within the next nine months. At the same event, he announced a joint agreement that Triangle will acquire Kerna, one of Ireland's leading providers of innovative security and network solutions.

This is an exciting development that will further enhance the Triangle proposition, adding a further 15 people, enabling Triangle to add even more value to its customers.

  • Sean Gallagher is on leave.

ICT sector

Business: Triangle Computer Services

Set up: 2006 after a buyout from UK firm

Founder: Kieran McCabe

Turnover: €25m

No of Employees: 64

Location: Pembroke Road, Dublin

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