Managed Services can help enterprises manage and deploy multi-vendor environments, save money, focus on strategic applications, remain agile and reduce business risk. Steve Tonge explains how.
Modern CIOs are frequently caught between a rock and a hard place. Technology is seen as a key driver of innovation and efficiency, but business priorities change quickly and the CIO is often struggling to catch up. However, the increasing complexity of the IT and communications environment is using up valuable resources and IT projects can take up
to a year to plan and deploy. This could mean that last year’s priority could become this years’ unnecessary expense before it has even finished.
Managed services can help these beleaguered CIOs by taking away the headache of running and deploying a converged infrastructure. We look at five reasons why managed services can help with IT-business alignment:
1. Manage multi-vendor, multi-technology environments effectively
Nearly all enterprises have combined their voice and data networks to some extent, with analyst Frost & Sullivan reporting that three-quarters of telephony deployments are now IP telephony. This convergence increases complexity and business demands for video and remote collaboration are making well-performing networks more important than ever.
In addition the chances are that enterprises will have a mixed technology environment. These multivendor environments may have emerged because of mergers and acquisitions or simply because different offices had different purchasing strategies. Managed Services can help enterprise access the skills and expertise of third parties have of managing complex infrastructure.
2. Deploy new networks and technology
In addition to running the current enterprise environment, managed services are ideal for helping enterprises upgrade to a new generation of technology. Many Managed Services contracts are often based on “walk-in and take-over model” where the service provider will take over all the contracts and management of the existing infrastructure and migrate it at an agreed pace over to a new environment. Not only will the enterprise benefit from a single point of contact for its existing environment, it also can migrate to the latest technology with the minimum of disruption and cost.
3. Reduce spending on non-strategic activity
Spending less on keeping the infrastructure running and investing less in upgrading the communications environment is one of the strongest reasons that enterprises choose managed services. This is because managing converged networks is an expensive business: enterprises will need their own network operating centre, monitoring tools and trained staff and the CAPEX required for this alone will frighten many organizations.
Managed Services allow service providers to leverage their existing investment in equipment, tools and skills to offer a price point some 15-20% lower than the enterprise can achieve alone.
4. Remain agile and meet strategic business priorities
With staff and budget reallocated from managing infrastructure, managed services can help enterprises focus on strategic project and business applications. By putting their internal IT staff on internal application development, enterprises can ensure that the entire team is aligned to business needs.
In addition, the IT department is able to scale their managed services up or down to meet any business requirement. This could be a seasonal demand for connectivity in a specific location, such as a conference centre or a contact centre over Christmas. Alternatively it could look to their managed services partner to deliver communications quickly to offices in new locations where the business is targeting local demand.
5. Minimize business risk
Finally, Managed Services can help enterprises reduce business risk. By using the ITIL best practice framework, Managed Service providers (MSP) can move infrastructure support from being reactive to proactive. This means that the MSP is able to help the enterprise solve any nascent infrastructure issue before it actually affects the business. In addition, if a problem does impact the infrastructure, remote management tools mean that an MSP is able to get it up and running as quickly as possible.
Of course, availability isn’t the only consideration. In addition, managed services should be able to optimize the enterprise infrastructure so that they get the right performance for the applications, such as by spotting bottlenecks before they cause a problem. What the enterprise needs to do is assess the business risk of performing infrastructure management internally rather than outsourcing it to a specialist.