GlassHouse Systems (GHS) started selling mainframe encryption boards 25 years ago and has gone on to become one of the largest IBM solution partners in North America. With a current focus on IBM i, GHS provides services to clients who have a variety of needs depending on the stage of their platform’s lifecycle. “There’s a whole value chain of requirements that they have,” says Jeff Wilson, Director of Cloud and Managed Services at GHS. “Managing the infrastructure is the first level, and that’s where GlassHouse really shines…. We can manage the entire system, from network to compute to storage and deliver a holistic service. We can manage all of that.”
As GHS continued to grow its presence, especially in the US, it needed to expand its offerings and find new areas to deliver solutions in the IBM i market. At the same time, client situations and the business landscape continued to evolve, which required additional solutions to new client demands.
Increasingly, GHS found that clients needed help at the application level, which was not historically part of its core expertise. Jeff Wilson said: “For the many customers who have IBM i applications developed in-house, we wanted a partner that can elevate our value through being able to manage and remediate issues that happen at the application level. [We wanted to] extend the value that we can bring to customers by adding things like application modernization and doing documentation of their applications — really adding value to the entirety of the stack.” This added value would help GHS provide a true end-to-end service to clients and differentiate itself from competitors.
The Fresche Power Partner program was designed specifically to meet the needs of companies like GHS, who already have a solid go-to-market offering that would be even more responsive to client needs with one or more of Fresche’s complementary services. In this case, GHS began offering critical application support and pre-modernization environment analysis to its clients.
“I engage Fresche with our customers without a moment of hesitation” says Jeff Wilson, ”because I know that in the area in which they work they’re best in class. There isn’t an equivalent of Fresche in the entire marketplace, from remediation of issues all the way to refreshing the environment to make it as modern as it can possibly be. Now, no matter what the client issue – network, storage, applications – we can triage issues and optimize the environment in a holistic fashion.”
The partnership was immediately beneficial to everyone. Within weeks, Fresche began acting as support for critical applications at a GlassHouse client site in Western Canada. The service provides a dedicated support resource and a backup who are trained on the client systems using Fresche’s X-Analysis, which documents IBM i environments and greatly shortens ramp-up effort. At the same time, a large pharmaceutical client in the US engaged Fresche through GlassHouse to undertake a complete environment discovery in anticipation of a modernization project, another Fresche speciality.
The partnership is based on respect and trust. As Jeff Wilson says: “You know that the other partner is going to treat you right, and you know that you can go to market quickly and effectively and we really do have that. There’s a nice cultural fit. I feel like the trust and respect is mutual.” And it’s only just beginning, as both partners continue to prove that the whole can be bigger than the sum of its parts.
“We go to market as one team. Our customers appreciate the depth that Fresche has in their particular area. The combination where we bring together a unique depth of knowledge of our clients’ end-to-end environments is very powerful.”
– Jeff Wilson, Director of Cloud and Managed Services, GlassHouse Systems