17 October 2005
IT Services In-house or outsource? - The main question in the decision-making process always remains, whether to manage IT systems in-house or turn to an outside service provider to meet the customers unique needs and to reduce IT costs in order to meet your business goals. Most business people have heard about the term managed services, but only few understand it. The problem is that many of today's managed services were previously referred to as consulting, maintenance, professional or outsourcing services. Managed services today are aimed at helping short-handed companies cope with the complexities and frustration of IT operations and at the same time help saving cost..
What are Managed Services?
Companies often find that they cannot efficiently manage their IT systems with their own in-house resources. They struggle to find the right skill sets and ramp-up quickly on new technologies. Recognizing that a company cannot successfully manage all of these technology challenges by them selves is the first step. Managed Services may be the solution. These are services where a company can outsource operations and ongoing management of IT systems to a Service Provider.
In that way, managed services from a third party will alleviate many of a customers burdens by taking over the operations, such as management, monitoring, and maintenance, of systems and data centre infrastructure. Managed Services are those services, which are rendered by a third party under contracted SLAs(service level agreement), whereas Outsourced Managed Services are a specific type of managed service, which involves the transfer of people and/or assets from the served to the serving organization.
Are Managed Services for you?
Start by addressing these questions:
Can you quickly deploy new technology?
Can you contain the cost of new technologies?
Can you control system complexity and obsolescence, while managing an increasingly expanding infrastructure?
Can you compete in an environment where rapid time to market and expanded geographic reach are critical to success? Can your company afford hiring and retaining skilled operations staff and deploying the right skills at the right time? Can you provide a scalable, secure, and highly available infrastructure that minimizes costs while ensuring service quality?
Can you determining availability and operational requirements to meet customer needs?
If you cannot answer with Yes to most of these questions, Managed Services should be considered.
Determine your needs
First of all understand your own needs. Determine what you are using, what quality you are currently getting, and then what you actually need. Make sure your decision is based on reality rather than emotion. The key to getting what you pay for is in ensuring that there is a good SLA in place. However, the SLA is meaningless unless you can measure and enforce it. It is recommended to have some kind of measuring device in your network, or external, independent monitoring.
Define what needs outsourcing
Define which services are you going to manage by yourself and which services are you going to leave someone else to manage. Is it going to be more effective if you build it yourselves or if outsource to specialists. The key here is to be selective and to decide where you really do need help, and where not. In addition, you have to decide how you are going to manage the third party provider. In order to successfully use managed services, you must be able to; manage the technology life cycle; continue to manage in-house services and manage outside service providers. Concentrate on managing your service provider, i.e., you have to start moving your focus from managing technology to managing providers and relationships.
Examples of Managed Services
There are many different managed services available:
Managed Dedicated Hosting
Managed Data Services
Managed Co Locations
Remote Managed Services
Managed Anti-Virus / Anti-Spam
Managed Services - Benefits
A managed service is a complete solution that can be financed from a revenue budget. You pay for the technology via a regular fee rather than as capital expenditure. In effect they can smooth the financial implications of
Implementing new technology
Ability to focus on core competencies - Managed services take away the burden of management and support activity. In that way, it frees your resource for more constructive activity. Monitoring for faults ,changing configurations, updating documentation and understanding how to use diagnostic or analytical network management tools often draws skilled resource away from more strategic or business focused tasks, and that is why it can be more efficient to leave others to do that Access to expert skills with detailed knowledge of your network will give you the information and help.
Turning to a service provider offers access to skills and resources not available internally, such as modern up-to-date technology and skilled human capital. Service providers usually provide 24-hour service. In that way, you avoid the need to develop a 24 hour working environment Faster deployment of technology By turning to the experts, a company can deploy their technology faster, improving time to market Higher quality service, as well as improved efficiency - Managed services can help customers increase their operational efficiencies Greater flexibility - The flexibility gained by relying on a service provider for operations management will help a company react quickly to changing market conditions, fluctuating demand cycles, and increased competition.
Turning to a provider that offers both short-term and long-term solutions will provide added flexibility Lower operational expenditures and greater productivity Costs for IT expertise in specialized areas are reduced. Time is saved by not worrying about what to do if something goes wrong. Instead you can focus on more important things
Competitive advantage With managed services, you get access to the best technology, enabling you to compete on a level paying field with the very largest enterprises.
Reduced risk By not having to invest in capital expenditure for technology solutions, or headcount to run the systems, you reduce the risk of making the wrong decision about the technology you use.
Rapid return on investment
There are several critical challenges: Using Managed Services often requires complete organizational change for IT Outsourcing expectations are often out-of-line with the organizations readiness The pervasiveness of technology throughout the business makes outsourcing difficult IT is required to formalized processes and relationships, which can lead to an overall loss of flexibility of IT operations
IT organizations are dynamic and have ever-changing requirements making long-term planning of Managed Services difficult .
Definition of IT success should include fiscal (measurement of the results, ROI etc.) and supply (requirements, that needs to be realized to meet your goals) considerations
Managed Services - Costs
The cost of managed services varies depending on the type of service. Usually there is a set up fee and a regular monthly, quarterly or annual fee based on the number / volume of users or services being managed.
Selecting a Managed Services Provider
So once you have decided to use a managed service, how do you make a credible vendor decision?
We recommend that you make your decision in the following order:
How long has the vendor been strategically servicing your market?
How well does the vendor understand the unique needs of your business?
Is the vendor prepared to handle your companys growth and change in needs?
Vision / Viability
Is the vendor focused on your business goals?
Is the vendor a viable business and will they be around in 12 months time?
Services & Solutions
What is the vendors track record in offering tested size and vertical specific solutions?
Do the services meet all of your requirements?
Is the vendor competitively priced?
Are we getting value for money?
Choosing a provider
Decide which services you wish to outsource to a provider
Next, select 3-5 managed service providers who are specialists in this area and are qualified to meet your exact needs. Draw up a Request for Proposal
Compare service offerings, pricing, support levels and service level agreements
Talk with the sales and technical staff. See if you are comfortable with them. This is important as they will be part of your team
Other important criteria:
Can you trust your managed service provider to be around tomorrow?
Are they a strong robust, stable provider? To make sure you have selected the right service provider
who will meet your needs, ask them following questions:
How long have they been strategically serving your type of company
Do they proactively monitor all aspects of the service they are providing?.
What do their clients say about them? (Past & present)
Who takes full responsibility for the efficiency of your service providers services?
Will their technical support meet your needs?
How quickly can they provision your services?
Do they provide a single point of contact?
Do they have a dedicated account manager?
Service guarantees and unlimited customer support via telephone and e-mail SLA
What exactly is being offered in the Service Level Guarantee? - Money back or compensation?
Frequently asked questions
Q: Why Managed Services?
A: Many companies do not have the staff or resources available in-house to maintain and perform all operations. Therefore, Managed Services allow you to affordably leverage experienced service provider around the clock to handle all your functions.
Q: What is the difference between Managed Services and Outsourced Managed Services?
A: Managed Services are services, which are rendered by a third party under contracted SLAs, whereas Outsourced Managed Services are a specific type of managed service, which involves the transfer of people and/or assets from the served to the serving organization.
Q: So who can you turn out to for more information?
A: Webserver.com.my, a business unit of a privately owned Acme Commerce Sdn Bhd was established in 1989. Specializes in the complex managed hosting services such as database hosting and mission critical application hosting since 1998.
Our experience in managing over 150 servers for over 5,000 sites from over 45 countries and our understanding of advance technologies has allowed us to develop one of the most stable and reliable and responsive hosting environment for any web sites.
Need more details? Always fell free to drop us a mail or visit our website or better yet give our friendly staff a call to get more information by logging on to our website at http://www.webserver.com.my
Or just send a email to steve@...