We are drowning in the buzz surrounding “The Cloud,” but cloud computing has proved to be more than a passing trend as business leaders continue to stay focused on making the investment to move business-critical apps into the cloud.
While businesses are going to continue the move to the cloud, what’s interesting, is that companies are choosing outsourced managed services to do so. Here’s what you can do to make sure you choose a managed service provider that has the right pieces in place to provide long-term cloud computing stability.
The Managed Cloud is Growing
Analysts expect managed cloud service’s revenue to grow from $17 billion to $43 billion by 2018 as organizations are offloading significant portions of their IT infrastructure to expert MSPs.
Whether businesses choose public, private, or hybrid cloud models as their platform of choice varies based on your company's unique needs. The interesting trend we’re seeing is that as companies move to the cloud they are choosing to outsource their cloud management. They are placing it in the hands of remote managed service partners.
The report released earlier this year by Digital Fortress mirrored this trend.
They surveyed IT decision makers and found that 65% of companies plan to outsource management of their cloud operations to a remote partner.
The move to the cloud continues to push forward and businesses are choosing to outsource this often complicated endeavor; with a compelling 70% of those IT decision makers looking to deal with only one partner to manage all their other IT infrastructure needs too.
Not Your Father’s MSP
Usually, when most organizations seek out a managed service provider they do so with a specific—and usually isolated—IT project in mind. The situation typically unfolds like this: the in-house team has a specific need, are already fully-staffed on core business needs, and senior executives need a solution to resolve the particular issue/project at hand.
Taking this approach was a method for business leaders to stay focused and maintain strict control of tight budgets. But what reports are saying this year is that business leaders are widening their perspectives right from the beginning of the evaluation process. Now, effective business leaders evaluate one MSP for multiple projects.
They are doing so to encompass the various types of projects they may need to outsource in both the short and long-term. What we see now is an evaluation of comprehensive IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS).
This is an intelligent move that will pay dividends in the long run. Keeping a forward-thinking perspective helps companies avoid multiple in-depth evaluation processes and—even worse—the realization that the vendor they selected for a particular project is inadequate for a later project, such as a move to the cloud.
Choosing the Right MSP
A comprehensive evaluation of managed service providers for ITaaS allows your business to be confident that your immediate needs get implemented and future needs will also be address by a cohesive team.
Do this by looking at the processes, tools, people, and governance that are in place at each MSP.
Domestic outsourcing of IT services is growing, and so is the ability of vendors to execute a broad range of IT infrastructure projects. Today, MSPs are equipping themselves with highly experienced talent coupled with advanced process management and the right tools. They are training teams to compound amazing technical talent with quality soft skills like project management, client management, and change management. These skills and tools are tailored to fit right into your team’s needs, and optimize your enterprise’s efficiency. At ManageForce we call this right-sourcing™.
If your company has decided to take on an IT project through a partnership with an outsourced managed service provider, keep a detailed focus on ITaaS during the evaluation process. Make sure to evaluate vendors thoroughly for their ability to be consistent and efficient.
Consider a vendor’s approach to IT Service Management
Look into the different processes they have in place to solve critical issues—are these methods unusual or lacking in some areas? All managed service providers will offer the similar ‘standard’ services, but the teams that will excel are those that have intelligent, strict, and forward-thinking SOPs in place which are executed with consistency.
During the evaluation process, also look into the tools each vendor will put in place. Do they have a proper IT Service Management (ITSM) platform in place?
All providers will say they have monitoring and ticketing systems, but look deeper into the SOPs within each tool. Do vendors just simply provide these tools, or do they actively leverage these tools for your long-term benefit? Evaluate your Service Level Agreements (SLAs) requirements and make sure the MSP has the proper resources to service your needs dependably.
Don’t just outsource—Right-source
The technical abilities of the vendor you choose is a critical factor when choosing to outsource IT projects, like a move to the cloud. Just as important, though, is the ability to have knowledgeable resources that have the right tools, procedures, and governance in place to consistently execute projects. Consistency and thoroughness will be a sign of their ability to offer quality ITaaS over a long-term period.
Just like the massive growth of cloud computing has demonstrated, technology advances quickly and it makes it difficult to predict exactly where future technical needs may be. Finding a reliable, thorough partner that will adapt to the unique needs of your company will pay long-term dividends. Make sure you choose a partner that can not only execute that “one specific task” you need implemented right away, but choose an MSP that will become an extension of your existing team and anticipate future needs and opportunities for improvement.
Savvy IT executives are realizing that cost is a secondary priority, instead focusing on the talent, processes, and tools that matter most, and choosing a single, skilled MSP to cover their specific IT needs.