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CRN Exclusive: ISG Technology Driving Workplace, Consulting Practices Forward Under New CTO Jackson

The Kansas-based solution provider, which recently moved to a new headquarters in nearby Overland Park, is aiming to reinvent and expand its technology portfolio under parent company Twin Valley.

Seasoned IT executive Ryan Jackson is hoping to help ISG Technology reinvent itself as the company's new senior vice president of technology operations and CTO.

Jackson joins ISG, No. 275 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, after spending 16 years at Washington, D.C.-area IT services firm CSC, which merged with HPE Enterprise Services earlier this year to form powerhouse DXC Technology. Jackson held several different roles with CSC, most recently serving as director of the company's global account delivery, big data, analytics and business intelligence practices, and wants to see ISG expand the scope of its solutions expertise to include some of those areas.

"There's much more value we can (create) for our customers with technology," Jackson told CRN. "It was if we had a startup mentality. They were really reinventing themselves and had been working in that direction for a while."

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Jackson will oversee a team of about 150 at the 200-person company, which hired a vice president of consulting earlier this month and manage the delivery of its solutions.

Clients can expect consulting and other professional services to be a key area of investment for ISG under Jackson, who believes a consultative approach is a vital component of a solution provider's value proposition in the digital transformation era.

IT experts need to understand client business needs and target specific outcomes, he said.

"By putting consulting in place with customers, we're able to tailor-fit technology to their needs and help them define the processes that will enable that technology to be successful," Jackson said. "And even tailor those application sets. Being able to install and deploy, but also customize them to their specific business needs. I think that's critical. It's not just trying to move out of this mentality of selling gear and applications, but selling solutions, and using consulting to tie multiple technologies together."

Along with consulting, Jackson said ISG's revamped "family" of solutions offerings includes business process services; analytics; workplace and mobility; industry-focused software; application services; enterprise and cloud applications; and an improved, layered security practice. ISG will be pushing those offerings, as well as the solution provider's bread-and-butter cloud and networking services.

The workplace and mobility umbrella of offerings will feature an intelligent workplace solution that Jackson said has use cases across all of the verticals ISG serves. The solution, which is still being fine-tuned, allows end-users to self-provision their Wi-Fi, navigate expansive office environments using Bluetooth technology and use workflows to enable conference room meetings to power up at a predetermined time.

"Solutions [built] around enabling the workplace to come alive with sensors, data and information, to proactively enable the business," Jackson said. "Every meeting everyone attends typically takes five to 10 minutes for everyone to get started. We want to shave that off."

The solution will also leverage sensors installed throughout company buildings that track both meeting room schedules and whether rooms are actually occupied in real-time. ISG has had its engineers and the gear certified, Jackson said, and plans to spend the rest of the month getting the solution market-ready.

"We think we're onto something pretty good there," he said.

Jackson credited ISG parent Twin Valley, which acquired the solution provider six years ago, with establishing a culture of innovation at the company as the legacy value-added reseller pivots toward expanding its array of services from its newly-opened headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.

"When we look at what the value we want to add to our clients, it's not selling them products but selling them strategic solutions. Becoming a partner to help them along in their digital transformation," Jackson said. "If it means moving to next-gen infrastructure, hybrid cloud or whatever the application set needs to be, that's where we want to position ourselves as a partner."

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