The concept of “IT commoditization” gained traction following a provocative 2003 Harvard Business Review article, Author Nicholas Carr argued that, like electric generators and telephones, information technology has become so commonplace that it no longer provides any real strategic value.
There’s a fundamental flaw with that notion, however. IT isn’t a static piece of machinery. It is continually evolving, and driving marketplace changes along the way. IT services are also evolving, giving organizations a range of choices in how they implement the technologies that drive business value.
Cloud computing has undoubtedly had the greatest impact on the way IT services are delivered. Decoupled from underlying technology, services can be provisioned as needed without capital investments and ongoing management headaches. This allows businesses to reduce their dependence on internal IT through the judicious use of the cloud service provider’s infrastructure and expertise.
The in-house IT environment is still relevant — in fact, the network is more critical than ever. That’s why many organizations are looking to partner with a managed services provider (MSP) that can deliver business value through customized services.
Turnkey managed services are attractive to small and midsize organizations with limited internal IT resources. In this arrangement, the MSP provides cost-efficient access to expertise and technology tools. Top MSPs will employ the latest remote management and monitoring (RMM) tools to ensure the health and availability of wired and wireless networks. Additionally, this type of arrangement will include proactive maintenance, help desk support, onsite support and more.
Organizations with a somewhat larger in-house IT staff will often choose more focused managed services. The idea is to offload key tasks where internal tools and skill sets are lacking, so that internal staff resources can be reserved for strategic projects and core business activities. In a monitoring-only arrangement, a qualified MSP with the latest RMM tools will provide real-time visibility into network performance and infrastructure, making it possible to identify warning signs of potential problems before they disrupt business operations.
Tier 3 engineering support is geared toward more sophisticated problems. This service provides on-call access to expertise for a range of advanced networking and IT disciplines. Typically, this sort of arrangement will have service-level agreements (SLAs) and escalation processes for issues that involve critical infrastructure.
Break/fix services that ensure the rapid replacement of failed equipment are particularly valuable to organizations with numerous locations. The best service providers will have the ability to dispatch technicians to install, troubleshoot and test equipment in any location within a predefined timeframe.
In general, these options are designed to turn over all or some parts of IT operations to the MSP. The co-managed services approach has also evolved for organizations that seek a more collaborative approach. In this model, the MSP works closely with in-house staff to provide a combination of services and staff augmentation. Organizations gain the cost benefits of lower staffing levels while utilizing the skill sets and resources of the MSP as needed.
Evolving technology still provides a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace, but it comes with challenges. SageNet offers a range of professional and managed services that address those challenges. Give us a call to discuss what options might best suit your needs.