Gone are the days when a business simply needed to have a better product or service than that of its competitor, to succeed, and technology was merely a supporting tool to achieve this. Today, companies are driven to provide a unique customer experience – the more state-of-the-art and intuitive to their requirements, the better.
With this shift in focus, how a company uses and adopts technology to add value and improve its bottom line has become just as important as what the company actually sells. In order to stay ahead of the competition, companies need to find effective ways to use technology not only to enable efficient business processes, but also to constantly improve their interaction with customers.
This gives rise to a whole host of challenges as it becomes increasingly difficult for organisations to keep up with the evolutions of technology, and the related pressures of ensuring that they have sufficient skills and resources to maintain and manage it.
There is always something newer and better available to meet a business’s needs, and companies need to ensure it has staff who have up to date training in the use and management of these technologies, which can become time consuming, costly and even detrimental as it takes away from the core focus of the business.
Rather than deal with this dilemma themselves, many organisations are turning to IT Managed Services offered by competent and experienced Systems Integrators (SIs) to do so for them – and with good reason.
“An effective IT managed service solution alleviates the responsibility of sourcing, adopting and applying new technologies, allowing the company to focus on its core business,” says Ian Summerfield, Manager: Services Portfolio for Jasco Enterprise. “Managed services definitely reduce technology risks and the amount of staff and training required to manage these systems, but they can also massively improve an organisation’s overall uptime.”
Managed Services can be defined as the practice of outsourcing none core day-to-day management responsibilities and functions as a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. How much responsibility a customer chooses to delegate to the Managed Service partner is up to the customer.
According to Summerfield, there are various forms of managed services that can be tailored based on a customer’s current and future needs. A customer can decide whether to use all or part of their existing infrastructure and simply outsource their additional infrastructure requirements along with the management, support and maintenance of the combined systems, or if they prefer to have zero ownership responsibility and outsource it all, such as with a cloud based managed service solution.
Outsourcing your IT to a Managed Service partner can vastly reduce an organisation’s risk. Not only do the pre-defined costs of a managed service mean that a business can budget accurately, virtually eradicating unforeseen IT spend, but Managed Service partners are also geared to utilise the best and latest infrastructure available, and keep their staff trained accordingly.
Managed Service partners are held to very high availability service levels and to keep to them, they make use of top tier data centres that provide both the highest security standards available today, and extensive back up power systems. These combined features allow for better uptime than most organisations can provide on their own premises.
A comprehensive managed service, such as a cloud based one, can ensure an organisation’s IT service is efficient and effective, but organisations need to be precise in outlining what they require from their Managed Service provider, to ensure that those needs are perfectly met.
“It is very valuable for organisations who opt for managed services to do so in consultation with their Managed Service partner, ensuring that their requirements and expectations are fully detailed in a Managed Service Agreement (MSA), so that there is no room for anything to be left out or misconstrued by either party,” cautions Summerfield.
He goes on to explain that by taking advantage of professional services offered by credible Managed Service partners, such as engaging with a Business Analyst, organisations can ensure their business needs are fully addressed by the proposed managed service solution, and all requirements are clearly documented in the MSA, mitigating potential risks and pitfalls.
The increasing demands to cut costs and streamline business processes, as well as improve data and technology management, are driving many organisations to take advantage of the multiple benefits offered by an IT managed service. Can any organisation, committed to achieving IT service excellence while reducing its impact on the bottom line, afford not to do the same?