Advent One takes on tough digitisation challenges so businesses can thrive in an ever-changing world

Jon Ossip is a cloudbuster. “I get very nervous when I get asked, ‘What is your cloud strategy?’ I liken that to my 6-year-old son asking, ‘Daddy, what is the best car to buy?’ I tell him, ‘It depends what you want to do. Do you want to be able to drive fast, or do you want to be able to carry lots of people? Do you want it to be a good value for the money?’ Your cloud strategy really depends on what you want to do.”

As CEO of the managed services provider Advent One, this is a message Ossip routinely delivers. The Melbourne-based firm celebrates 20 years in business this month, having witnessed the birth of the cloud, its rapid proliferation, and its continued transformation into the realms of hybrid, as it is commonly known today. “We weren’t born in the cloud, and we’re never going to be. But, especially in the times we're going through now, therein lies our differentiator and the value we can bring to our clients. We are an Australian managed services provider (MSP) that delivers secure platforms by innovatively deploying the world's leading technologies to help industry-leading organizations to thrive in an ever-changing world.”

Over two decades, Advent One has served clients in every industry vertical, building a legacy of successful outcomes. “It is that ethos that has helped us retain many customers, many of whom have been with us almost since our inception. They've recognised us for having highly skilled people and being experts in what we do, and our strategic partners bear testament to that.”

Those partners are amongst the brightest stars in the galaxy. “We're the only company in Australia today and one of very, very few in the world that is an IBM Platinum partner and also a Red Hat Advanced partner,” Ossip noted. “Given IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion last year, that represents a wonderful opportunity for us. We are sitting at the very intersection of where those two great organisations meet and delivering value add services to help organisations derive benefit from two parts of the whole.”

Advent One’s appeal is rooted in full stack capabilities, in depth knowledge, and subject matter expertise. “Typically, our customers do not have that expertise resident within their organisation. If they want the best expertise available, I will stand, hand on heart, and tell anyone who wants to listen that I am confident that we have as good as—and in many cases better—capabilities in some of our people than some of our much larger global SI competitors. We're recognised for that capability in the Australian marketplace.”

Addressing tomorrow’s needs today

As the nature of work is reshaped by the pandemic, Advent One is helping businesses cope, adding clarity to what cloud computing means for their specific challenges. “We know from speaking with our clients that cost containment is going to be a major focus for the foreseeable future,” he said.  “IBM published research earlier this year that referenced that in 2019, 90% of organisations were in the cloud. But when you actually peel back the first layer, you find that in reality only about 20% of those workloads have moved to the cloud. The 80% is yet to come. There's a huge opportunity in that and in helping organisations to architect the correct hybrid blueprint for their specific requirements.”

Many clients are sweating their assets that little bit longer as they rebuild confidence in the world’s economies and in the health of their sectors. “We're well-placed to assist because not only did we build our clients’ secure platforms and systems, but we also continue to manage and support them today. We are perfectly poised to help them from our cloud advisory practice to build that road map because we understand the starting point. We understand it sometimes better than their people do because they've had staff turnover over the years, whereas some of our people have been with us for 18, 19, 20 years. So, we genuinely have built that capability and continue to support it today.

“Our clients know they can't be static. We need to look at what opportunities are going to present out of this disaster. And opportunities will present. By explaining that they don't need to move everything to the cloud, and that we will work with them to architect a solution, to build a road map and footprint that looks at what workload and environment should exist where and why they’re best suited there, gives them a risk mitigated approach to try some of the things they want to do. It allows them to fail fast, measure regularly and course-correct if need be.

“The minute you stop adding value to your client's business, you lose your seat at the table. There’s enough competition vying for that piece of the pie that you've got to remain relevant. It's not value because we tell our clients it is, it is value because they recognise it as such, such that it adds to what they do, either doing something quicker, cheaper, or better and more secure of course. For us, technology is not a differentiator,” he declared. In the churning world of MSPs, neither is talent, nor a stable of powerful strategic partners. Ossip gets down to the root. “We foster a culture of innovation in our organisation, we apply the smarts we have in our people with the world's leading technologies that we represent, and we innovate. Therein lies our point of difference.”

One marquee innovation is their platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, Platform One, launched in 2019.

“Platform One can be consumed out of the box, fully maintained, fully integrated, and fully operable giving them everything they need to run their applications on the platform. It's quite astounding.” Ossip is quick to observe that while IBM and Red Hat introduced their own PaaS offerings sometime after the debut of Platform One, they haven’t replicated it. “Our CTO is incredible. He saw a need, he took some smart people in our organisation, and took the time, effort, and energy to create something to fill a gap that was innovative and needed at the time. It was just a matter of time before the big players would come up with their own capability at scale. It's what we produce by way of innovation that sets us apart.”

Advent One is growing: geographically, through the addition of offices in Sydney and Adelaide; with the continual acquisition of new clients; and expanded service offerings, such as cybersecurity, and in the hybrid cloud space.

“Our strategy moving forward is one of simplification. It's one of us being able to explain in a few words who we are and what we do,” he stressed. “Hybrid cloud is the very intersection of where companies meet their customers. If we look at the journey, it's gone from bare metal on premise to virtualisation, to public cloud and multiples thereof, to private cloud, and our capability spans that whole journey. We're able to put that together. That's our strategy moving forward, and our aim is to be the go-to and take a market leadership position in hybrid cloud strategy, architect, build, migrate, and manage. And today we have all five of those capabilities.”

Advent One’s cybersecurity and managed services divisions feature a security operations center and network operations center. “We bake cybersecurity, and security in general, into everything we deliver, whether it’s a standalone cybersecurity implementation or new managed services offering, we make sure that there is a robust element of security built into that. It's the notion of delivering that hybrid capability securely, and wrapping a security blanket around everything we do for that matter, and ultimately being able to manage it at all together, that our clients find highly appealing.”

“A lot of what we do is a well-kept secret. We're changing that,” Ossip said. “The best is yet to come from Advent One. We've got the best and brightest of minds, and when you overlay the investments we've made into managed services, cybersecurity and cloud with our background, they position us in the forefront of MSPs leading the way in the era of hybrid cloud.”