MSP 501 Flashback: On Repositioning, Ramping Up with 2019 MSP of the Year Finalist Calligo

We sat down with the data-first provider to see what it's been up to and how it stands apart from traditional MSPs.

Allison Francis

August 28, 2020

5 Min Read
501 Flashback

Calligo was a finalist for the 2019 Channel Futures’ Managed Service Provider (MSP) of the Year award because of it is adept at data privacy. The U.K.-based provider also won based on its unique perspective on the market; that, and it’s ability to make a commercial success of it with a wide variety of managed services. 

The company has continued to hit the data privacy ball out of the park. It has spun up a sophisticated, complex and solid solution and business unit around these services. The purpose of the MSP of the Year award is to specifically recognize business agility, and the ability to take risks, respond to market conditions and bounce back from mistakes. It is here that Calligo shines with its business model.


Calligo’s Julian Box

“We stand apart from traditional MSPs in that we are data-first. Our client engagements look behind even business needs and objectives – almost every MSP’s starting point – and instead start with examining how data enters, circulates and exits the organization,” said Julian Box, founder & CEO of Calligo. “From that granular visibility, we can then see where the real needs lie. These range from improving efficiency and productivity to strengthening security and compliance.”

According to Box, it is a far more fundamental and holistic approach; one that is more valuable than simply deploying and maintaining technologies to fix the needs the business thinks it has. 

Crucially, this will be delivered through a mix of services. This will include technology, such as cloud services and managed IT services, but also hands-on consultancy and process management.

The Data Privacy Differentiator

“But as the judges appreciated, we are not different for the sake of being different,” continued Box. “We have made a commercial success of this, doubling our revenues last year. And 2020 has proven us doubly right. The intense pressures of the first half of the year exposed the inadequacies of tech-centric strategies and managed services. Because of this, companies have realized that their data isn’t untouchable. They’ve realized that their most valuable asset is not as accessible, useful or safe as they thought.”

So what has the data privacy-adept company done since its award reception? Particularly to build on the capabilities that won it the award in the first place?

Earlier this year, having seen how well-received its data-first approach was, the company repositioned as a managed data services provider. 

The 2020 MSP 501 recognizes the top managed service providers in the world. See the full list. Then check out our brand-new Hot 101.

“This is a stronger, more accurate description of us, and shows immediately what stands us apart from the market,” said Box. “Most importantly, it echoes what we think is flawed with the MSP market — its pervasive “technology down” approach, rather than being “data up.

“At the same time, we launched new managed services that we had been developing throughout 2019 – automation as a service and machine learning as a service – which completed our portfolio of sophisticated managed services that would support any ambition a customer might have for their data.”  

Bold Steps

These are bold steps, but Calligo needed them to be. The provider says that it needed to capitalize on the market’s growing appetite for …

… this difference. 

“The MSP market needs to change, for everyone’s benefit,” said Box.

It wouldn’t be a “where are they now” piece without factoring in the COVID-19 landscape, and the utter weirdness that has come with it. Navigating this year has been challenging for companies, to say the least, and Calligo is no exception. But the provider came to the party prepared.

“We as a business were more than prepared when the sudden need to instigate remote working in all our global locations arose,” said Box. “Because of our data-first approach, and particularly our data privacy heritage, we have routinely had to invest in numerous accreditations and compliance requirements, ranging from ISO 27001 and 27018 to SOC 2 Type 1. Not to mention our own best practice policies. These all entail extensive business continuity protocols, which are regularly tested, and which we could defer to instantly.”

Looking Ahead

Calligo has also taken the opportunity to prepare and build for the future. The provider recently combined its multiple office locations in the Toronto area into a modern, fully-equipped office. This allows the Calligo to showcase the possibilities of advanced productivity tools to ots clients. Following recent acquisitions in Ireland, Calligo is also in the midst of preparing a similar facility in Dublin.

“In terms of addressing impact on customers, after the initial swell in tactical requests over remote enablement, conversations are now turning to more strategic needs,” said Box. “We are seeing a strong uptick in customers and new prospects alike looking to us for support with their preparations for the coming months, and beyond. We’re asking how their data might be better used or managed to strengthen capabilities, become more productive, delight customers and reduce costs. All of these are vital in the current environment, and we’re perfectly positioned to support.”

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About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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