The Need for Managed Information Technology Services
In the twenty-first century, it is nearly impossible to run a company without Information Technology (IT) services of some kind. Even the most low-tech companies are likely to use computers for inventory or for word processing. Most customers also expect companies to have at least a nominal Internet presence as well.
At the same time, many companies are under pressure to cut costs for both staff and hardware. Through the use of managed IT services and other cities outside of Sydney a can operate on an even playing field of technological sophistication. In fact, managed IT services offer a number of important advantages. However, there are also challenges that must be addressed with managed IT services.
Managed IT Services Defined
With managed IT services, also known as a Fully Outsourced Model, a vendor assumes complete responsibility of a given project from beginning to end. Budgets and personnel are set at the beginning of a project, allowing a company to include managed IT services as a fixed line item in the budget. Projects are defined with a clear timeline and a tangible set of deliverables. For such a system to work well, the vendor must become thoroughly familiar with the client’s operations. In turn, the client must be willing to relinquish control and ownership of the contracted project to the vendor.
Specialized, Expert IT Services
In all but the largest companies, IT management and operations are often an afterthought, with few, if any dedicated staff. In the smallest companies, a single tech-savvy individual may be called upon to handle IT-related tasks in addition to his or her regular duties. With managed IT services, companies have the advantage of expert, dedicated staff without the expense of hiring IT staff members. Retention of mission critical data also becomes more sustainable and efficient with managed IT services.
As the vendor continues to work with the client, the vendor can implement improved operations to improve the overall efficiency of the company’s operations. For instance, a managed IT vendor could suggest a new email vendor to handle increased (or decreased) volumes more quickly and efficiently. A vendor may also suggest hardware upgrades or enhancements in online security.
By being freed from the responsibility of maintaining IT services, client companies can devote more of their efforts toward promoting their core missions. Direct services organizations can focus more directly on providing aid for their clients. Organizations devoted to conducting research can spend more of their resources for surveys, scientific experimentation or other research-oriented activities.
Along with their advantages, managed IT services present a number of challenges that must be met to make such arrangements mutually beneficial for clients and vendors. For instance, clients must determine whether potential vendor operations match well with its cultural environment. If multiple vendors are being selected, the client must ensure that each vendor has a clear understanding of the scope of its responsibilities to minimize finger-pointing should problems occur. Executing changes of contracts from one vendor to another can also present challenges if the first vendor withholds vital information from the client or otherwise refuses to cooperate in the transition process.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Jem Yoshioka