Susan Bowen speaks to Ns Tech about capitalising on growing demand for managed services and cloud computing. By Sooraj Shah.

Aptum Technologies comes from a 20-year heritage, but has only been a managed services provider (MSP) providing hybrid infrastructure services for about two years now, through a combination of legacy acquisition companies.

The MSP had initially formed together under Cogeco, a Canadian telco, as Cogeco Peer 1, but just over a year ago the company went out on its own.

“I led the divesture of what was at the time Cogeco Peer 1 to Digital Colony, a global investment firm, a company itself that is in transformation from traditional real estate investments into digital real estates,” says Aptum chief executive Susan Bowen.

Aptum has 3,000 customers globally, a fully managed and operated global MPLS network, and 14 data centres that it owns or runs in areas such as Toronto, Montreal, the UK and the US. Aptum now operates with two focused business units – one on the data centre and one on fibre. The data centre business will concentrate on multi-cloud services for enterprises. The fibre business will be provide small cell and 5G infrastructure, and enterprise and wholesale fibre connectivity with a metro fibre network that spans across greater Toronto and Montreal.

The decision for Aptum to change its name and refocus its efforts away from Cogeco was made because there had been a decline in demand for traditional hosting as well as a drop in price point for fibre.

“We are really excited to launch as Aptum because we are not really aligned to a legacy telco anymore, so we are a true hybrid infrastructure solution provider,” Bowen states.

In other words, Bowen and her team could see that demand for cloud and managed services was growing, and that there were profits to be made in the sector.

The company now focuses on providing managed hosting solutions and the ability to drive multi-cloud with managed Microsoft Azure, managed AWS and professional services around Google Cloud Platform.

“We provide the ability to do true hybrid [cloud] with public providers and our own private cloud offerings, which we provide both in terms of internal cloud offerings and collaborations that we have had historically,” says Bowen.

Aptum also provides managed DevOps, disaster recovery-as-a-service, managed detection and response, managed hosting and Microsoft 365 services, as part of its managed services offerings. In addition, it retains data centre, connectivity and professional services as additional options for customers.

Pandemic patience

When the pandemic hit, Aptum switched its entire workforce overnight to remote working. It hasn’t made any layoffs or reductions in its workforce – with Bowen stating that this was because it was important that the company remained in full operation for its customers throughout this time, and that the workforce was a key part to that. As a result of remote working, the company has seen an uptick in demand for colocation, connectivity, cloud, and its Cloud Connect service, which connects multiple clouds, data centres and users.

Bowen explains that the company was fortunate that it didn’t have many customers from those industries most impacted by the pandemic such as hospitality and travel. Its customers include the federal government in Canada, the British Red Cross, ResearchGATE, and a number of enterprises within the adtech, media, marketing and fintech sectors.

While the company has fared well throughout the pandemic, Bowen explains that many large enterprise projects have been delayed.

“We have seen a delay in some of our large enterprises in their decision-making but they haven’t stopped the projects,” she says. “I think you can safely say that residential services and mid-market organisations are really strong and very adaptable, and we don’t have any SMB customers so we haven’t been impacted there,” she says.

The focus now is for Aptum to continue streamlining its services and focusing on hybrid cloud products, and Bowen is confident that this will see the company succeed, even in these trying times.