Growing from an IT services company to a white-label reseller of complete business infrastructure hosting services, Belgium-based Net Computer Group is rapidly expanding to support cloud-based small business IT services and hosted applications for independent software vendors (ISVs). Through a network of reseller partners and advanced hosting technologies, Net Computer Group moves businesses entirely to the cloud.
As a small firm, Net Computer Group wanted to acquire more customers but keep the same staff and still ensure a high level of customer satisfaction. It started to standardize the environments of its current customers through a manageable process for the internal staff. Soon, the benefits of evolving steadily by hosting all the customers on the same platform were realized, specifically on a Citrix environment. Looking to replicate the work invested in cloud-ready server and desktop services, Net Computer Group sought a fast and reliable method of delivering services to small businesses through a partner network.
Aligning with Citrix for service-provider-based solutions, Net Computer Group invested in virtual desktop infrastructure and desktop hosting with Citrix XenDesktop and application hosting with Citrix XenApp. For simple, automated business and operations support, Net Computer chose Citrix CloudPortal Services Manager and included Citrix NetScaler to leverage cloud connectivity. Starting first with a small set of end-user businesses, Net Computer Group worked with the Citrix Service Provider Program partner team to fine-tune the platform for a larger-scale delivery model. Soon, Net Computer Group was providing white-label hosting services, delivered under its Cloudbizz brand name, providing the infrastructure and services for other partners to resell as a repeatable cloud model.
“CloudPortal Services Manager was the beginning of all of the business growth,” says Nicolas D’Hondt, managing director and co-founder of Net Computer Group. Resellers have direct access to set up new end customers on CloudPortal Services Manager, so his staff doesn’t need to spend time on phone calls or implementation processes for the reseller’s new customers.
Combining XenDesktop and XenApp hosted offerings alongside the easy implementation, setup and billing capabilities of CloudPortal Services Manager allows flexibility for the business. “I like to say we have 900 companies working simultaneously on the same platform, and we don’t need to know what kind of printer or connectivity they have,” D’Hondt explains. “If you try to find a solution that works for every person and gives the same feeling on any device, Citrix is the best solution.
“We are growing faster and with a bigger volume now that we have resellers. Partners want to offer cloud, but they don’t have the solution, so we invite them to join us,” he says.
“We already have approximately 1.000 companies working at the same time on the same platform and it has grown over the last six months; we have new customers every week,” says D’Hondt. “We move customers from their servers to our cloud. They have big drivers for changing servers, including hardware and the XP migration deadline; many are still migrating in Belgium.”
Net Computer Group is also hosting applications, including a popular accounting application. The hosted application allows local accounting firms to sell more services to their end users, managing day-to-day accounting with direct cloud access to the application by both the accountant and the accountant’s end customer. The hosted software is simultaneously accessed by a large customer base across Belgium, including 100-person accounting firms.
“We see, more and more, Citrix and Microsoft working together with product releases, such as XenDesktop with Microsoft App-V alignment,” D’Hondt says. “That’s nice because we need the two solutions. Citrix is an added value on the Microsoft platform.” As a small organization with just double-digit staff numbers, Net Computer Group is ranked second in yearly growth among Benelux Microsoft SPLA partners, behind a 1,000-person firm.
Expanding Cloudbizz into the Luxembourg market is a short-term goal for Net Computer Group. With data-center space in Luxembourg to comply with local data protection guidelines, there is an opportunity to provide hosted services to a whole new country of customers. As a longer-term goal, Net Computer Group aims to have tremendous growth each year. “With cloud, we see an amazing experience in the future,” D’Hondt says.
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