VP, Managed and Executive Services
  • Services
The world of managed services is changing. Today, there is little separation between business and IT, making the latter an increasingly vital component for business success. That fact, coupled with heightened market pressure, technology-savvy consumers, increased IT complexity, and the on-going need to find new ways to optimize OpEx spend, has shifted the conversation away from simple device management to strategic value and lifecycle management. In other words, it’s not just about managing devices anymore—or at least it shouldn’t be.

According to Forrester Research, 2016 will be a pivotal year for many companies.  “Businesses have a lot at stake in 2016. Empowered customers are changing the market fundamentals for virtually every industry, forcing companies to reinvent their strategy and operations,” said Cliff Condon, chief research and product officer at Forrester. “We are approaching a fork in the road where companies can either make the hard changes to dramatically improve their chances to win in the market or preserve old models and defer transforming their operations at the risk of failure.”1 

While transformation is difficult, it’s quickly becoming no longer optional. In order to compete, companies must find new ways to engage their customers digitally in a very personal way. Doing so requires an IT infrastructure that is reliable, available, and flexible. Not only that, IT strategy—as well as the IT infrastructure—must be aligned with the business, so that IT can react quickly to deploy new functionality and to enable new services. Anything less slows down transformation and frustrates consumers. 

But today’s IT systems are complicated—and becoming more complex every day. The rate of technology change is staggering, creating a massive challenge for IT professionals. Staying on top of existing technology while learning how to integrate new technology is a tall order for IT staffers already overwhelmed with handling daily requests and resolving issues. To achieve real business transformation, something has to change. IT professionals must focus their time, energy, and effort on deploying new applications and new capabilities, not on maintaining systems.

Managed services can help. Routine monitoring and management of your servers, storage, and network infrastructure—as well as other components critical to your IT operations—can be performed by an outside provider, reducing the workload on your IT staff so they have more time to focus on business-critical projects. By shifting responsibility for management of your infrastructure to a qualified provider, you can implement a more predictive cost model, optimizing your OpEx spend while still ensuring you have the right technical talent available when you need it.

But that’s only some of the value you should receive. As I mentioned earlier, the world of managed services is changing. The need for operational transformation to engage your customers digitally, and more personally, is real. And it requires more from your managed services provider than just managing devices and resolving problems.

A New Managed Services Paradigm: Integrated Transformative Solutions 

Managed services should provide real strategic value through an intimate partnership. Your provider should understand your business and what makes you unique—your “organizational fingerprint.” They should understand your business challenges as well as your goals and objectives. And they should provide a strategic roadmap that looks out for you, not them.  One that optimizes your technology investments through a lifecycle management approach, delivers high quality services at a competitive price, and aligns with your business objectives. 

In addition, managed services must become more application-aware, shifting from device-based management to application-based management. As more workload moves to the cloud, application awareness and performance monitoring becomes even more critical. It’s no longer sufficient just to manage on-premise infrastructure. Cloud workloads must be considered too. Monitoring and managing connectivity between your on-premise infrastructure and your cloud-based instances is vital in order to deliver the services your customers expect from you.

While you strive to engage your customers in a more personal way, your managed services partner should do the same. They should provide you with a lifecycle management solution, ensuring that you receive a reliable, highly-available IT infrastructure while optimizing the technology investments you’ve already made. They should meet with you regularly for more than a brief SLA metrics review. 
They should engage with you in strategic conversations, helping you make decisions regarding your technology lifecycle—what investments to make, what equipment to retire—and plan out the most cost-effective steps to take to ensure the successful transformation of your business. In the end, they should help you manage what you have today with an eye toward the future, positioning you to capitalize on new business opportunities and, ultimately, helping your business to be more agile.

Managed services should go far beyond operational cost savings. It should manage your technology lifecycle and align with your strategic vision. Anything less inhibits your ability to differentiate and compete in the marketplace.

And that’s just not acceptable anymore.

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