Managed Service. What is it? What is it for?
Managed Services ... There are many people who talk about Managed Services, but only a few have actually realized their importance and relevance; that’s why I am going to explain, through simple examples, how a Managed Service for Information Technology (that’s the correct name) works, and what its value in a company is.
In order to talk about Managed Services, we should first focus on the variety of departments a company may have. For example, the following are the departments we may find within a shoe company:
- Production area. Where shoes are manufactured.
- Delivery and logistics area. They are responsible for delivering shoes to the store where you bought them or directly to you at home, in case you bought them online.
- Marketing department. They are responsible for the no stop bombarding with the advertising and any other marketing activity.
- And, finally, usually located in a dark and forgotten office of company’s building, IT department.
What exactly does an IT department do?
Depending on the business’s maturity of the company, the IT department is responsible for carrying out a variety of activities like computers repair (even for damages caused by a cup of coffee dropped on the keyboard!), ensuring that printers are in proper working state, taking care of the system and protecting the same from hacker attacks (aimed at stealing payroll information, for example), maintaining data servers (ensuring they do not burst into flames!), and other more complex activities like checking that internet links are active and work properly, and applying security policies to avoid the risk of exceeding the bandwidth authorized limits.
Currently, as a result of 4th technological revolution, the way people interact has radically changed and is constantly changing.
In the past, an employee had no choice but move to the office to do his/her job. Nowadays the same employee can have his/her mails, business chats, video calls available on his/her smartphone, tablet or laptop at any time, at a one-point and can use them from anywhere.
One of the main consequences of such revolution, was that IT departments had to evolve very quickly and now they have become essential to any company for the achievement of operational improvements and collaboration between departments (while a few years ago nobody would have recognized their value!). There are no doubts that IT departments’ support and activity facilitate sales opportunities.
Back to our example, a salesman at the shoe company may use his laptop for a video conference (using his data network) with the store managers to supply the products of the last sale. During the call, through a simple file transfer, he can further establish the number of shoes each store requires (UcaaS). At the warehouse, the stock (MaaS) of each store can be monitored on real-time basis in order to establish which shoes (type and size) are being sold the most and all the above with no need for people interaction (IoT Analitycs).
Another example is the mobility. A regional director may be reviewing the weekly report while walking through the corridors of the company, without losing the connection between the data servers of sales and his/her tablet (Wireless).
The above are examples of the benefits of technology and prove how technology can facilitate our work and the interaction between people. But even if everything sounds ideal, the evolution of technology has led to a crucial question within companies: Is my IT staff sufficiently trained to be able to install, operate and update all the technology I need for working? Generally the answer is: No.
IT departments (in our example, the people at the shoe company) had to solve this problem according to the following two options: the first was training IT staff to the latest technological trends; the second was outsourcing activities such as the setting up the network equipment or collaboration team and the migration of data center to a cloud platform, perimeter security, etc.
Dragging the pencil and depending on the complexity of the company, outsourcing said functions to IT specialists is much cheaper, faster and more efficient.
If our shoe company chose to train its IT team, it would have had to consider a training focused on any specialization or hire at least one specialist for each area. The company would have sent its people to such events where they could keep up to date with the latest technologies, have had a laboratory equipment, etc., but in the long term and looking at the future, what happens if a trained employee resigns? For the shoe company it would represent a dramatic loss of knowledge, money and time.
All such complexity of IT has led companies to leave the complexity of IT services in the hands of experts. That’s how IT Managed Services were born. IT Managed Services is nothing more than "the outsourcing of the management of technology and associated services, to another company to allow the client to focus on its own business".
In other words, IT activities are outsourced to an external expert, a reliable company that offers advanced solutions that anticipate company’s IT needs, like Ikusi.
At Ikusi we have the experience and knowledge required to keep all services in operation and duly updated, while our clients should only worry about doing what they do best. Back to our example, the shoe company would focus on designing, creating and selling shoes without worrying about anything else.