Ask an Expert: Sean Gallagher
This blog is part of a series where some of our most experienced technical and support team members share their IT experiences and the tips and tricks learned from working with hundreds of organizations and IT teams. This blog post features Sean Gallagher, Logically’s Southeast Senior Vice President. Sean has been a member of the Logically team since 2006 and has 30 years of experience in the technology industry. Sean works closely with customers to help them get the most out of their IT investments.
Q: What are your job key responsibilities?
A: My job consists of two main responsibilities: Senior Vice President (SVP) for our Chattanooga office, and vendor relationship manager for Logically. As the SVP for the region, I’m constantly working with our sales team and customers on structuring new projects and managed services relationships, as well as working with our existing customers to make sure their IT environments are supporting their business needs. Because I have a technical background, I also help our team prioritize projects and solve tough issues. Occasionally, I’ll assist our team with any urgent needs a client may have, whether it’s working with our service delivery coordinators to find the best resource available or jumping in myself to troubleshoot an issue (such as firewall or network connectivity issues). As Logically’s vendor relationship manager, I also work with distributors to make sure Logically is getting the best value to support our managed services deliverables and products. I’m constantly working to ensure that our vendors meet or exceed customer expectations by delivering quality products and services on time.
Q: How has the cloud impacted small and midsize businesses?
A: I think it depends on the individual needs, but generally it creates greater opportunity. A lot of times, the cloud helps organizations dealing with limited capital budgets so they can treat IT as an operating expense instead of a capital expense. Smaller businesses may not have cash on hand for large capital outlays, so the cloud works well for them as a monthly recurring fee. It can also help those organizations who can’t maintain or invest in an in-house IT infrastructure. Plus, it helps these businesses be more nimble. Smaller businesses have a lot of remote workers so they’re able to connect from anywhere securely without having to rely on a VPN line. With all that said, I think everyone is still a little leery about the cloud. There’s a lot of misconceptions about the cloud, which can create problems during a cloud adoption journey. Many organizations think the cloud is a set-it-and-forget-it piece of technology, but it requires constant attention like any other piece of IT infrastructure. There are tons of choices for cloud services (such as SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS) so SMBs need to find what best fits for them. In my experience, I’ve seen most businesses have success using the SaaS model, and working with a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP). MSPs can give SMBs additional cloud support with backup and disaster recovery, cloud system design, and hosting.
Q: What are some tips for organizations to get more value out of their relationship with their managed IT service provider?
A: Communication. It doesn’t matter what the service level is or what products are used, but there needs to be a strong communication channel between partners. Even if something has gone wrong, communication is key. Customers shouldn’t be left in the dark about what’s happening in their IT environment. If the customer understands what’s going on and what’s being done to resolve it, it will help deepen the level of trust in the partnership. Customers expect proactive advice from their MSPs, and for them to both follow-up on outstanding tasks or issues and follow-through to maximize their IT systems and keep their employees productive. If an MSP does those things, organizations can fully leverage IT to transform their business.
Q: How do MSPs help organizations address the shortage of IT talent?
A: More companies are turning to MSPs because of the access to deep and broad technical resources. For small and midsize businesses, retaining IT talent is tough. When they have an IT person leave, that knowledge and expertise goes with them. There are also new technologies constantly emerging, like internet of things (IoT) and bring your own devices (BYOD), that create greater IT complexity for those organizations. The need to have a team of dedicated, high-caliber IT experts has grown exponentially, so more and more companies are turning to MSPs. With the increase in MSPs, companies can find that ally that helps achieve their business objectives through information technology.
Q: How do you think IT support will change over the next 10 years?
A: In the next 10 years, I think the need for IT as a service will grow for organizations. Years ago, large manufacturing plants relied on their own local electric substations. They would hire an entire group to maintain that substation. Eventually, electricity became a service, so they were able to outsource many of those responsibilities to another company. I see IT going in that same direction, which will make MSPs more relevant on a daily basis. Even for those organizations that currently have an internal IT team, IT complexity is increasing at such a rapid rate that they’ll look to an MSP to augment their existing teams. MSPs can support your internal team for large projects like cloud migrations, risk assessments, and technology refreshes, or by offloading recurring operational IT tasks so internal teams can focus on business objectives.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in your role?
A: Staying current. There’s so much that goes on under the hood to maintain an IT environment, and each element is constantly being updated and modified. I’m always reading up on advancements and updates to technology for each of the industries we serve with different blogs, certifications, and publications. I also try to be as involved as I can with the external IT community, by collaborating with peers at conferences, seminars, and networking events. Not only do I focus on my personal development, but it’s also my responsibility to make sure we maintain or achieve company-level certifications with our vendors so we can show our value and industry excellence to customers. Because I’m on mailing lists for Dell, SolarWinds, Fortinet, HPE and Microsoft, I’m always in the loop about monthly product updates and big announcements that can expand our service offerings.