Aptum exits colo business in Canada to focus squarely on multi-cloud managed services

Aptum has made a strong effort since they became a standalone to be more systematic in their channel policies, and while the look of the channel changes with the colo divestiture, they pledge commitment to the same strategy around managed services.

Susan Bowen, Aptum’s President and CEO

Last May, Aptum Technologies  invested a major part of their legacy portfolio, by agreeing to sell their WAN business to Beanfield MetroConnect. Now, almost a year later, they continue to streamline their business model, with the announcement of the sale of their Canadian colocation business to eStruxture, a Montreal-based hosting company. The transaction, which is expected to close on April 30, 2021, will see eStruxture obtain eight data centres, five in Toronto, two in Montreal and one in Vancouver, to add to the six data centers in Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary they already owned. Aptum now becomes a customer of eStruxture, together with their former colo clients.

“For two years as of the first of May we have been a standalone company,” said Susan Bowen, Aptum’s President and CEO. “Now we have relinquished our hard assets on WAN network and now hard assets of running the real estate. Data centres, are in effect, landlords and as a colo, we were a landlord of real estate.”

Bowen said that while Aptum is extremely proud of the quality of the work they did as a colo landlord, it wasn’t where the company wanted to be going forward.

“This will allow us to accelerate our product investment into multi-cloud service,” she said. “We are extremely proud of the work we did with the data centres. We had continued to invest in them, and eStruxture is getting a major talent acquisition, which hit a 32 point Net Promoter score this year. Aptum will become a big customer of eStruxture in Canada.”

Aptum has launched seven new managed and professional services releases for its hybrid multi-cloud customers in the past year, including a Managed Detection and Response security offering in partnership with Alert Logic, Managed Disaster Recovery as a Service; and a Managed DevOps Service, in partnership with CloudOps.

The company continues to focus on and grow its managed and professional services practices.

“Our goal is always to accelerate the business,” Bowen said, emphasizing that that business is now focused on managed services. “Any business must take advantage of the market opportunity as presented. We have seen fortuitous growth as a result of COVID, because of the impact of COVID on the transition to the cloud has just been phenomenal. Our ability to resell both AWS and Azure gives customers choice of where their workloads go, and what’s great now is that both of them have turned to more partner-friendly models. This announcement today would have happened if COVID had not taken place, but likely not as quickly as it did.”

Aptum will continue to operate colo facilities in the U.K. and U.S, because unlike in Canada, they do not actually own those data centres.

“We don’t own our facilities in the U.S.  and the U.K., and haven’t for a long time,” Bowen stated. “That’s the difference. In Atlanta, our real estate provider is DataBank, and in Canada, it’s now eStruxture.”

eStruxture, founded in 2017, is entirely Canadian, and owned by Canadian investors – Toronto-based Fengate Asset Management, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Canderel.

“They have real estate in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, and with the integration of our portfolio they now cover Ontario as well,” Bowen said. “We selected a buyer who we are confident in, because our business is in those facilities.”

Bowen identified some key priorities for the reformed company this year.

“We will seek to overhaul our digital customer experience,” she said. “We really want a single portal, and we will work to improve that. There will also be more work on regional private clouds beyond what we have today. We will continue to invest in PCI compliance, and there will be much more focus on network services. We have very proactive NOCs, shifting workloads, which is a reason why no Aptum customers went down during the disruptions of the last year.”

Aptum has spent the last two years putting much more structure into their channel operations and program, begging the question of what becomes of their channel strategy with the colo divestment.

“Our relationship for colo resellers will move across with this transaction,” Bowen said. “We took a lot of time to simplify how we do business in the channel space with a single program, and that will continue with the ecosystem to provide managed services. We have a multi-layered ecosystem, and we will make clear for customers what will be delivered from us, and what will be delivered from our ecosystem.

“The channel audience wants to know what’s coming next for MSPs around the world,” Bowen continued. “We are truly enabling multi-cloud, and we welcome channel organizations into our ecosystem to drive great opportunities for customers going forward.”