Managed Services are more than just outsourced IT services
With managed services, companies create a higher level of operational security in IT and at the same time ensure that the IT teams can contribute their skills to the company in a much more meaningful way.
The USA is currently experiencing a situation that, like many others before it, could soon become reality here. In the ‘Great Resignation’, almost four and a half million people quit their jobs in September alone, and this trend runs through all sectors and all professional groups. Departments that have to work chronically under high pressure are particularly affected. A key driver of this wave is that companies have failed to provide their employees with a work environment that motivates and opens up opportunities in addition to wages and vacation days.
Instead, tasks that are difficult to manage and an enormous burden on each individual are the order of the day in IT departments, for example. There is a lack of specialists, there is a lack of time and budget. At the same time, there are many ongoing and new tasks to be completed. These include, for example, the urgent digital transformation, the challenges posed by cyber threats or big data mining. All this is made more difficult by the absence of skilled workers due to the pandemic and by a large wave of company mergers and takeovers.
Just seeing the mountain in front of you doesn’t help
It is important to find the individually right way to manage the tasks in the data center in a targeted and planned manner. It is helpful to prioritize the tasks, whereby not only the importance is decisive. Rather, it is a matrix of importance, duration, and competency requirements. The question arises as to how many resources a task requires in the IT team, what qualifications are required and how long the specialist is entrusted with this task. Even with this assessment, it becomes clear that many tasks are absolutely necessary and sometimes require continuous support, but take away the time and resources from other, even more important projects.
In principle, there are two solutions: expand the team – which most companies find very difficult due to the shortage of skilled workers – or outsource certain task packages to external parties. In short: professional services from experienced IT specialists.
Managed Services can be an integral part of a data center strategy to achieve IT goals and can help create a work environment that avoids the looming Great Resignation.
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What is suitable for managed services?
When it comes to relieving the internal IT team of tasks in a meaningful way and with a long-term strategy, typical areas are quickly identified.
Backup, for example, is an area that lends itself very well to managed services for many companies, and there are reasons for that. The fact is that backup and restore or recovery have a completely different role than they did just a few years ago. The area has become a dynamic and strategic component and therefore requires significantly more resources compared to earlier times.
At the same time, IT teams are asked to pay more attention to tasks that advance the company from a business perspective – keyword digital transformation or big data or others. Basically, nothing makes more sense than, for example, putting routine data backup tasks in the experienced hands of external partners who have specialized in exactly that.
Managed services using backup and restore as an example
As is so often the case, the beginning is an inventory. First, it can often not be assumed with certainty that backups are actually suitable for a restore. Secondly, many backups are not able to bring the data back to the production systems quickly enough in the event of damage and thus make an important contribution to business continuity. Third, backing up an incredible amount of data, which is often located on distributed storage systems, is becoming increasingly expensive unless a smart strategy is used for backup media, storage tiering or cloud storage, for example.
This not only requires modern backup concepts and solutions, but also those that adapt to the increasingly dynamic business world – be it in terms of scaling, structure or the required data security level.
In an assessment, the requirements and the existing solutions are checked and the results are compared with the service level agreements (SLAs). The system is then adapted to the requirements and operation is taken over by the managed service provider (MSP) – either in the company’s data center, in the infrastructure of the service provider or in both complementary.
Especially with backups, it is important to be constantly attentive, which leads to a continuous use of resources. Because it is only as good as its ability to quickly and completely recover the data in an emergency. Tests bring inconsistencies to light and not only in an emergency, when it is already too late. The review and the resulting report show companies whether the desired security (and compliance) is maintained with the backup solution.
Managed Services are more than task executors
There are many IT tasks that it makes sense to entrust to specialized service providers in order to manage the really important tasks in IT and in the data center. And it’s also about IT specialists standing by the company management as an advisory team instead of chasing after tactical tasks in a schedule that is far too tight. Summarized in five overarching points, companies achieve through managed services:
- a relief of the internal IT through trusting cooperation
- 24/7 on-site service
- regular certification of professionals
- a highly specialized and therefore very efficient service
- proactive and continuous system monitoring.
With managed services, a company draws actual added value from the competence of its highly trained and experienced IT specialists. They are an elementary component for achieving IT goals and for providing internal specialists with an environment that motivates and opens up opportunities.
Robert Meiners, Business Development and Partner Manager at MTI Technology
Floriane Green, Services & Project Director at MTI Technology