Managed services can provide businesses with the solutions they need, even if they don’t have access to the necessary capex (capital expenditure) for an in-house solution and are lacking the internal skills to manage it effectively.
The challenge however, according to Mark van Rensburg, executive: managed services of Intuate Group, is that organisations end up with different vendors for hardware, software and other services and then still need to find skilled staff to tie everything together and operate the solutions.
And, whenever there is a problem, companies have to deal with multiple different parties, with each one passing the buck and no one accepting responsibility.
Instead, businesses should look for a managed services partner who can put together one solution based on the company’s specific needs, resulting in one port of call. Van Rensburg’s advice to businesses evaluating managed service providers is to consider the three Vs: visibility, vendor independence and the vetting of solutions.
“Firstly, companies who opt to go the managed services route must make sure that they retain absolute visibility, from beginning to end. They need to know exactly what will be provided to them and how it will be delivered. In these current tough economic times particularly, businesses need to know upfront how much they will be paying and what they will get in return. This can impact significantly on the efficiency of a managed services partnership,” he explains.
“In terms of vendor independence, companies need a managed services provider that is not tied to or prejudiced towards a specific technology vendor, which they will try to push for their own benefit. Instead, they should look for a partner who will determine the needs of their business first and then advise accordingly. Such a provider will typically also try to leverage off existing client infrastructures, before wanting to replace everything.
“Finally, consistent monitoring is key. Outsourcing vendors are in it for the profit and often hide unnecessary costs in a global number. Businesses need an independent partner to vet solutions from both an architectural and a cost point of view and make decisions in the company’s best interest.”