How Businesses can Unlock Value with Managed Service Providers
By Manish Israni
Companies, irrespective of the sector, use advanced technologies to innovate their products and services to differentiate themselves from their competitors. However, managing a whole stack of devices, platforms, cloud, applications and infrastructure becomes a challenge for the in-house IT team. It increases the cost of purchasing and maintaining the infrastructure as well as hiring and training the right people for the job. Given the fluctuations in the technology demands, enterprises opt to outsource operational services to managed service providers (MSPs) to focus on their core technical competencies, while at the same time benefiting from the MSPs’ talent and experience.
MarketsandMarkets.com predicts that the global managed services market will reach $282 billion by 2023. Some of the key benefits organizations can derive from outsourcing their workload to a third-party IT services provider includes network support, skilled IT staff and disaster management services at an optimised cost.
Here I have highlighted some of the other advantages that a Managed Service Provider can provide, in case you are looking to hire one.
Managed service providers mainly focus on preventive maintenance. Allowing a team of experts to manage their IT systems will help enterprises tackle issues smoothly through continuous monitoring. This kind of vigilance ensures that all functions and system processes are tracked. The goal is to detect and prevent the occurrence of any possible error in the early stages. MSPs ensure that systems are being maintained properly and updated in a timely manner. This also allows in-house IT staff to work on other tasks and the company to focus on their business.
Reduce vulnerability and security
With stringent SLAs in place, MSPs must ensure that business data and transactions of the company are safe. Data loss due to breaches, hacking, malware, or natural disasters poses a serious threat to enterprises. MSPs provide 24/7 security to avoid such cyber-attacks and can also restore data and operations in case of an emergency. They ensure that the company is complying to the industry’s security standards and regulations for storing, transferring and protecting data. MSPs proactively run tests to look for shortcomings and loopholes in the system and take care to keep the data secure.
SMEs generally face fluctuations with respect to demand and must accordingly scale their resources up or down. Once the company outgrows the current tech stack, they would need the latest IT solutions to tackle unanticipated IT problems. MSPs support the organisations as and when they need to handle such complications and proactively look out for improvements and up gradations.
Nowadays, companies work around the clock and not just 8-9 hours day. Hence, they require access to their network irrespective of place and time. A managed service provider is available 24/7 to provide support to their customers from disaster recovery, to virus protection and infrastructure management. An organization can have access to experienced professionals while working with an MSP without having the responsibility to hire and retain them.
Partnering with MSPs can help reduce the CAPEX of organizations. They can reduce their operating costs and focus their expenditure on their core and revenue generating offerings. MSPs generally work on subscription-based model where users can pay for the services annually, quarterly or monthly as per their agreement. By outsourcing, the companies can prevent unexpected capital costs and are able to pay a predictable amount at an interval, allowing them to foresee and manage their budgets.
IT needs of businesses vary according to their nature and size. For instance, a banking and financial institution will focus more on its security needs whereas OTT or social media players will require scalable data backup infrastructures. MSPs understand the company’s requirements and provide tailor-made solutions. They, therefore, don’t have to outsource all their IT needs but only the ones where they require experts’ assistance.
Managed services are now moving beyond just running, maintaining and supporting the IT infrastructure and are taking an integrated approach to providing IT solutions to enterprise customers. They now offer Software as a Service approach and proactively upgrade the IT services within all levels of the enterprise. MSPs are evolving and in the coming years, and businesses can expect their role to change from just a facilitator of technology to a technology partner of innovative solutions.
(The author is Executive VP and CIO at Yotta Infrastructure and the views expressed in this article are his own)