UK IT leaders are facing the constant headache of having to do more with less as business IT becomes increasingly consumerised and their budgets dwindle.
Employees now expect the latest fads in IT policy – from BYOD to Big Data – as a given, creating a mountain of problems that the IT department has to solve, rather than focusing on designing and implementing systems that will help the company progress.
CIOs, IT managers and IT directors are under increasing pressure to deliver revenue streams and efficiency, on top of headcount and budget restrictions. As a result, Managed Services – whereby an external company manages IT tasks – are increasingly entering the IT buying conversation.
This is an approach that is starting to benefit companies from across all industry sectors, which are beginning to realise the cost and time benefits that managed services can reap.
It gives businesses the option of fixed, affordable pricing and enhanced monitoring of corporate systems, while freeing up the time (and therefore the true potential) of the IT Manager or CIO.
IT leaders can now focus their attention on devising IT policies that will add value to the business, safe in the knowledge that their IT infrastructure is being managed effectively by specialists around the clock.
But to successfully begin utilising managed services and have a positive impact on business efficiency and productivity, they must do their prior preparation.
Methodology, goals and objectives
Firstly, IT leaders must devise a methodology that proactively monitors and analyses their IT infrastructure to make sure it runs smoothly and all applications are in place.
They should not only have a clear idea of where their IT assets are, but whether they are being used to their best ability and capacity.
It will also be the role of the IT Manager or CIO to determine which managed services provider is able to understand their specific technical challenges, work culture and business inside out.
A trustworthy provider should outline goals and objectives, to ultimately add value to the organisation and give advice to the requirements needed.
Clarity via a full audit
To meet these goals and objectives, managed service providers must have a clear picture of where the organisation is going and how they can support its future.
It is therefore essential for providers to complete an audit of the organisation's environment to gain a true understanding of their IT infrastructure, challenges and business objectives.
Shifting IT tasks to a managed services approach can transform business IT policies, processes and systems. It gives businesses the reassurance of high quality of service, which will keep costs down and unlock innovation.
As advances in technology expand at a dramatic rate, managed services can give IT leaders a vital lifeline.
This flexible, secure 'resource on tap' helps them manage their IT systems, while reducing costs and delivering operational efficiency, as they focus their attention on how to implement highly desirable strategies that have a direct impact on their business.
- Simon Walters leads MTI's growing Managed Services division, and has more than a decade of experience in the IT services industry.