But then, seeing all the pieces scattered across the floor, hesitation sets in. Where do you begin? How will this LEGO set integrate with the others? How will you keep it all secure? Do you have the skills to assemble this, or was this box a little too ambitious?
And if you’ve walked blindly into a room and stepped barefoot on a rogue LEGO brick, you know the surprising level of shock and pain of those little bricks. The same can happen with new technology — hindering some other element of your ecosystem and, ultimately, your business ambitions.
Unless you’re a startup, your organisation likely has a technology foundation, built upon years of infrastructure, data, platforms, software and more. And because technology changes fast, you’re probably among the 86% of organisations weighed down by technical debt.
“We've seen a ton of disruption with people entering net-new markets. Because they're starting from fresh, they have a leg up on the established players in those markets,” says Stan Lequin, who’s no stranger to technology messes that resemble scattered LEGO bricks.
As president of Insight solutions, Stan leads a team of 5,700+ technical experts and is an executive sponsor for many client projects. He’s intimately familiar with the growing pains business and IT leaders experience when facing new technology.
“As you go through growth or acquisition, your infrastructure becomes more complex. You make decisions to go fast. You put off things that need fixing. But this becomes a hinderance in the future as you try to shoehorn transformation,” says Stan. “We see clients that struggle with their old way of business. It becomes an obstacle to the new way they need to do business.”
Stan sees waves of changes happening industry by industry. Right now, he says some are riding a wave of optimisation, seeking ways to better leverage and optimise their current platforms and technology debt — and do so in a way that's going to allow them to compete in ever-changing markets. On the other hand, some organizations are in industries experiencing rapid growth and need to quickly modernise.
Getting out of technical debt doesn’t happen overnight — nor does it require a full rip and replace.
Stan says the key to moving forward is a balance of understanding where an organisation has been — understanding where the technology debt exists and why past technology investments were made — as well as understanding the data that exists within those systems and how (or by who) that data are used.
But few partners have intimate knowledge of a client’s historical technology roadmap. And that’s where having a longstanding partnership adds significant value.
“We have clients that we've worked with for 20 years or longer,” says Stan. “We've seen them transform, we understand the acquisitions and business pivots they've made, we understand the technology they've purchased and why they made those acquisitions. And what's really amazing is we're engaging with clients today around taking those assets and reprovisioning them in a new way that creates a new modality of thinking about how to build modern solutions and greater experiences.”
Regardless of the need to optimise and overcome technology debt or modernise quickly and accelerate innovation, a lot of organisations are saying the same thing: They need help.
According to a 2023 Insight and Foundry report, 84% of organisations are looking to a third-party provider to plan and/or execute their digital transformation strategy over the next 12 months.
The same report revealed 45% of organisations are experiencing gaps in technology skills and knowledge as a top prohibitor of innovation — but expertise isn’t the only quality business leaders are seeking.
Gordon Schembri, senior director of transformation and innovation at Cornerstone Building Brands, sought a partner that offered more than IT skills.
“[Insight is] not only closing gaps that we have, but also helping us build new services,” says Gordon. “They're looking at our biggest problems. They're looking at how we can be more effective. This partnership is not only helping us on our day to day, but also building our future strategy. They’re helping us build our roadmap.”
Business leaders aren’t the only ones with a gap to fill.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and software publishers — brands like AWS, Cisco, Google and Microsoft — are on the other side of the bridge.
For years, OEMs relied on the partner channel to sell their products to customers. But in recent years, OEMs recognised they need more than a channel partner to push their products — they need help driving consumption and ensuring customers are maximising the value of their products. OEMs need a channel partner with the capabilities to stitch together their technologies to solve real business problems.
Recognising this gap, some IT providers have invested deeply in narrow capabilities, such as cloud migration. However, this leaves clients searching for specialist firms that can’t serve all their needs. And, ultimately, this creates a (potentially long) roster of IT partners and, likely, disparate technology solutions.
Navigating the technology partnership ecosystem to find the right IT partner for your business can be overwhelming. IT partner types include Value Added Reseller (VAR), Managed Services Provider (MSP), Systems Integrator (SI), IT consultant, technology solutions provider, VARs that evolved into MSPs, and so on.
All these categories have value and purpose, but they also have limitations and shortfalls — especially if you’re focused on the long game.
“I don’t want a partner that’s just going to take my order,” says Mike Gemza, vice president of technology infrastructure at Cornerstone Building Brands. “I want a partner that I can trust, who will challenge my view with the intent of truly helping us transform. I’ve worked with many partners, and it’s very hard to find that. I found it in Insight — this team is unique.”
Enter the breakthrough category of IT partner, the Solutions Integrator.
A Solutions Integrator is an IT partner that serves as a steadfast, central point of execution and guidance. Solutions Integrators blend capabilities, making them ideal for long-term, meaningful connections. The result: You can trust they’ll address both your ambitions and insecurities.
Traditional IT partners require additional partnerships for purchasing, joint services or simply offer a limited scope of technology or industry experience.
“Organisations need a partner who can deliver solutions, a combination of hardware and software, and services that can be integrated into their environment and produce meaningful results. They need a solutions integrator,” says Joyce Mullen, president and CEO of Insight.
When you partner with a Solutions Integrator, you have a trusted advisor as well as a central provider for everything from consultation and design to procurement, all the way through execution, support and managed services. And because of the singular vantage point, there’s greater alignment of objectives and better understanding of dependencies across different organisational domains.
Stan gives the analogy of pulling together different LEGO sets. The first set is technology procurement, such as a VAR. As the conduit between the business (or client) and an ecosystem of partners, a VAR helps clients procure the right technology assets and execute deployment and integration. A VAR may offer services and other managed offerings, but within a limited scope.
The second LEGO set is digital transformation. This is largely achieved through integrating disparate technology, software and solutions to create a seamless ecosystem. This is where you’ll typically see Systems Integrators (SIs). SIs are focused on meeting clients in their transformation and, especially with Global Systems Integrators, the engagement is usually for massive projects.
Finally, the third LEGO set is digital innovation — this is the exciting piece. This is where Solutions Integrators work alongside organisations to unlock data insights to make better business decisions, create new revenue streams, enhance customer or employee experiences and more.
“As a Solutions Integrator, we're across all those worlds, but in the best possible way,” Stan explains. “We have procurement capabilities and incredible partner relationships. But we also have the ability to innovate on top of those platforms and bring those platforms together in a very unique way to solve business problems.”
To put it simply, a Solutions Integrator is the LEGO Master Builder of your technology ecosystem. And that level of mastery, experience and depth is an uncommon — and powerful — combination.
“At Insight, we have those three ‘LEGO sets.’ That’s what’s unique about us as a Solutions Integrator. We call it ‘a category of one’ because when you think about partners that bring together all three of those areas, the competitive landscape completely melts away,” says Stan.
Insight’s journey to becoming the leading Solutions Integrator happened both organically and strategically.
Born out of a college business plan by Tim and Eric Crown in 1988, Insight began as a traditional technology reseller with a strong footprint in hardware lifecycle service, distribution and integration labs, and software licensing solutions.
Through the mid-2000s, Insight evolved into an IT services organisation to support the emergence of cloud and digital solutions alongside data centre and workforce tool innovations.
Services and solutions capabilities were progressively added until Insight turned into something more than a traditional IT partner by around 2017. With its foundation in providing leading technology solutions plus a depth of industry and technology capability expertise, Insight now brings all the pieces together.
“For us, it's about proof of value faster,” Stan says. “We want to demonstrate the impacts we can have through Minimum Viable Products (MVP) or through reference architectures. It’s about having that meaningful business impact and showing value fast, to then earn that ability to do more for our clients. From the technology procurement side all the way through the innovation side, we're that partner that executes and can connect all those logical pieces.”