Integrating cloud solutions or transitioning to a fully cloud-based IT environment does not make the need for good design, build and operations services obsolete. With technology capabilities advancing at an ever-increasing pace, applying the right approach to the Cloud and hybrid solutions has become critical. Design and deployment mistakes can lead to costly adjustments later on, and even stunt an organization’s growth. Done well, cloud solutions can change the way a company does business, whether it is empowering your sales team through a cloud application, or the integration of an IoT solution for predictive intelligence into a manufacturing workflow.
The fact is: today’s IT environments have the opportunity to be more agile and strategic than ever before; yet they are also more complex than ever. Enterprises now have workloads in the Cloud, sometimes with several different cloud services. They have SaaS tools like Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, while still maintaining critical enterprise applications that have been built or customized in-house. All of these workloads need to be connected to the corporate IT environment and available 24/7.
How do IT organizations maintain a sense of control and accountability while integrating new solutions, and keeping their current teams and skill sets working on what is relevant to their company’s mission? There’s an increasing need for strategic thinking and agile resources and services. Managed services enable this.
Three Reasons Why Managed Services Empower IT Operations
- FROM TACTICAL TO STRATEGIC IT MANAGEMENT
Managed services can strategically support a growing reliance on cloud solutions and help optimize hybrid or on-premises IT environments. When companies extend their environments to the cloud, there has to be an extra “glue layer” that ensures that everything works together and allows proper authentication. When this glue layer is properly built and managed on an ongoing basis, IT operations become more comprehensive and strategic. This includes providing rapid support to lines of business without draining corporate IT resources, and turning “Shadow IT” into a corporate asset by reining in rogue line of business IT projects.
Managed Services for the Cloud and IT infrastructure make it possible to confidently evaluate and manage resource needs such as storage, networking, virtual machines or disaster recovery, and determine system management requirements including provisioning, patching and monitoring. At New Signature we even built a free Cloud Management Portal that helps users govern their cloud spend, and optimize usage and planning.
One important scenario is the move from tactical ad-hoc IT monitoring using point solutions to integrated strategic 24/7 IT health and performance management that provides peace of mind. We recently onboarded a new customer who had five different monitoring tools to monitor specific workloads, and these tools didn’t talk to each other. Using our Managed Services, we helped the customer create the “glue layer” that connects the dots across all network, server and application layers, and provides a single pane of glass overview for integrated health and performance monitoring. The New Signature analysts have access to all the key information and only call the customer when a problem is identified that actually needs the customer’s attention.
The strategic outsourcing of select cloud and infrastructure management to a managed service such as IMX, CMX or TMX removes internal team members from these maintenance tasks, and lets them instead focus on strategic high value projects that drive their own business forward.
- FROM REACTIVE TO PROACTIVE IT MANAGEMENT
Managed services can help an IT organisation move from reactive incident management to proactive problem avoidance and best practice integration. For example, New Signature offers IMX Recovery Experience, a managed service that provides comprehensive 24x7x365 disaster recovery for business critical applications and services, all guided by a team of experts. It starts with an application and infrastructure assessment, and results in the development of a customized disaster recovery plan that is regularly tested to ensure business continuity. This way, the managed services team is already integrated with a customer’s internal processes, so that, in case a recovery becomes necessary, the IT infrastructure is quickly restored to optimal performance.
While it is possible to develop and retain the highly specialized skills to run best practice disaster recovery in-house, it is a costly proposition. Assuming no vacation time, sick time or breaks, staffing your own Network Operations Center (NOC) 24×7 would take a baseline minimum of five staff working 40 hours of shifts each week. Considering staff need specialized technology and general troubleshooting skills, turning to a managed service is way more cost-effective and provides additional benefits.
Not only does New Signature’s managed services team come with decades of experience and deep subject matter expertise, as part of its job it is also proactive in researching, testing, proposing, and implementing new ways of improving the experience. All of this is part of a consistent and affordable service offering.
Beyond disaster recovery, managed services for the Cloud and hybrid or on-premises infrastructure deliver proactive early problem detection and verification with initial investigation triage, incident tracking, and cross-customer knowledge management for probable cause and resolution. The team in our NOC has an integrated view that allows us to identify many problems for our customers that have “fallen through the cracks” but would cause issues if not addressed long-term.
- FROM STATIC TO DYNAMIC IT MANAGEMENT
Managed services truly shine for IT organizations who want to move from a static infrastructure management to a dynamic approach that scales on demand based on recurring periodic requirements or as overall needs change and evolve.
Let me give you an example. In cloud computing we often tout the elastic capabilities of the Cloud as a technology advantage. In the Cloud you can scale up to address recurring peaks in usage: if your organization is in need of high performance computing power once a quarter, it is much easier to turn on several hundred servers temporarily through IaaS than having a massive, expensive IT infrastructure sit idle for long periods of time.
Managed services create similar dynamic capabilities for resources and people, adding specialized skill sets and proactive advisory services. Last year New Signature helped a large, global insurance company move actuarial workloads into the Cloud. These workloads now run at three times the speed while the IT organization can claim 60 percent savings. That was great, but it got even better. By integrating cloud solutions running on Azure into their IT environment for one specific usage scenario, the insurer also enabled its organization for other new cloud scenarios. Working with New Signature, the customer used Azure to also launch a new mobile app within two months, something that would have otherwise taken a year or more.
This was possible because the New Signature team stays on top of the weekly changes in Cloud and other technologies, so we can recognize opportunities and help customers quickly turn up features and take advantage of the best. By relying on our Managed Services for Advisory, Governance and Operations support, dynamic IT organizations are able to quickly adapt to new requirements and add on new capabilities with the confidence that the foundation is sound and protected.
In the coming months, we will continue to explore in a series of blog posts how managed services help deliver the new world of strategic, proactive and dynamic IT.