Six Trends that Are Reshaping the IT Managed Services Landscape

Companies are Experiencing Greater Pressures on their Corporate IT Infrastructure

As the demand for information grows, and with it the number of ways it can be accessed, harnessed and leveraged, more and more companies are experiencing greater pressures on their corporate IT infrastructure. Cloud, mobile, social and more recently, wearable technologies are changing the IT landscape at an unprecedented rate. While ushering in new value propositions and ways for companies to interact with their customers, these transformational technologies demand that businesses integrate new systems and have the “smart hands” on board to support and maintain them. The convergence of several milestones which have forever changed the way in which we live and work has given birth to a new IT landscape.  IT departments and their managed IT services partners must be equipped to strategically respond:

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1. The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized the way in which companies do business. Comprised of a vast network of devices, the IoT includes smart vehicles, buildings, clothing and accessories and other “things” that contain within them the electronics, software, sensors and connectivity needed to collect and share data.

The IoT enables companies to benefit from new markets and value propositions delivered through the integration of the physical world with corporate IT systems. As more and different types of devices connect to the IoT, each brings with it diverse integration and cyber security issues. Businesses and their managed services partners alike must have in place the resources, strategies, and staffing not only to respond to today’s rapidly changing innovations but remain one step ahead of the technology curve.

2. Big Data

Commercial organizations have grown increasingly dependent on big data to direct their development, engineering, marketing, and sales initiatives. Increasingly, companies are relying on the data and the complex analytics for nearly every major decision they make. These volumes of data are so large and varied that traditional ways of processing and storing them may no longer be applicable. While this tsunami of data can spot business trends and enables more accurate and more confident decision-making, it requires more computing power, more hardware, more network capacity and more devices, both traditional and mobile, along with the need for ongoing maintenance of cloud infrastructure, servers, desktops, laptops and storage and network devices.

Managed services providers must have a deep pool of skilled SMEs available to proficiently service clients. Equally important, they must also maintain the partnerships and certifications to support multiple manufacturers’ hardware, storage devices, operating systems, and networks.

3. The Virtualization of IT Computing

Increasingly, companies have been “virtualizing” their computing environments. This enables single pieces of hardware to function as if they are separate machines.  The primary benefit is that companies are able to scale up their server infrastructure without purchasing additional hardware.  In a nutshell, virtualization reduces server clutter, spares hardware and energy costs, eases administration, and lowers the cost of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

The ability to automate many labor-intensive functions across a smaller hardware footprint enables managed services companies to provide solutions that help organizations increase their efficiency while reducing their operating costs. This includes ticketing, call management and escalation services, remote and onsite Help Desk, alerts monitoring, reporting and much more.

4. Cloud Computing

Businesses both large and small are turning to the cloud to store and access their applications and their data. Cloud computing offers companies the ability to establish virtual office environments that enable their employees to connect to applications and files anywhere, anytime. This gives workforce members 24/7/365 access to organizational systems and information. It also enables companies to reduce their IT footprint as these systems can be housed off-premises.  The impact: Organizations derive added productivity from the workforce while reducing overhead.

Rather than having to purchase expensive equipment and systems they can use the resources provided by their cloud services provider as well as their partner’s smart hands to maintain all hardware infrastructure.   For its flexibility, utility and cost savings, more and more companies are moving all or part of their systems to the cloud.  The migration demands that managed services providers have a cloud strategy in place and an efficient way to serve both their clients and their Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) partners.

5. The Mainstream Proliferation of Cut-Rate Cloud Servers

White box servers manufactured by ODMs in China and Taiwan are swiftly making their way into corporate Data Centers and onto the cloud, replacing branded, off-the-shelf systems as a result of their stripped-down, custom configuration, no-frills nature.  Free of the bells and whistles of fully-customizable hardware available through Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), white boxes are being increasingly specified and purchased at much lower price points than their branded counterparts.

6. Security

Cloud, mobile and social technologies are forcing the information technology industry to have a robust belt and suspenders approach to security as transformational change becomes second nature. As these new technologies meet the new demands for greater information access, companies and their services providers will need to deploy new ways to keep information systems safeguarded from external threats.  The need for security will extend in multiple directions to include antivirus and phishing protection, cloud infrastructure protection, networks, web applications and mobile devices as well as manpower security clearance.

Team members from third-party organizations who come in contact with organizational data should have the proper industry clearance where required, and knowledge of industry compliance standards and regulations, (e.g., DOD, SOX, HIPPA, PCI/DSS, etc.). Protective measures, systems, policies and protocols must be put into place to prevent unauthorized access at multiple points of entry. Managed IT services partners must serve their clients as trusted allies through all security management layers.
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