While at MES 2016, we were fortunate to talk with two executives from Digital Fortress: Steve Volt, executive vice president of sales and marketing, and Karl Reeves, vice president of operations. They chatted with us about what midsize customers are looking for to help them run their businesses today, and in the future. They also discussed where customers seem to need the most help in meeting the challenges of an increasingly digital world.

What are your customers asking you for?

SV: Right now our customers are in a great deal of pain. They can't get everything done. They are managing a staff that is stressed, and maybe disenchanted with overtime, working nights and weekends. Everyone wants to be in the cloud and recognize some aspect of being hybrid is in their future. They want to work with someone that can scale as needed, that provides a variety and scope of services.

KR: Some customers want to move to the cloud, but don't know much about it.

What drives customers toward a cloud solution?

SV: It's about getting the work done. People are building apps and then running them. They are finding they are spending too much time running stuff rather than building stuff. We say we can take over the running of that and manage the infrastructure. That allows our customers to reallocate staff to be more engaged in the business. There are many businesses that do not have documented processes around maintaining systems. We help them create document run books that help manage their operations, and that's a huge step forward for them. Then, we can focus on running IT, and they can focus on building IT. That gives them more time to move business forward and helps the CIO to live up to the "information" part of his or her title.

What differentiates you from the competition?

KR: We help customers optimize their IT investments by bringing enterprise technology and processes to the midmarket. It's not always about "just" saving money, but about how you make the most of it. Say you have a million dollar budget. We help optimize your systems and make that million more efficient.

SV: Our customers are excited about the agility our solutions provide. As they grow, we will grow with them. And we have the ability to handle any infrastructure with uncommonly bright people, who care about their businesses.