It’s not enough anymore for Information Technology (IT) to simply process the daily functions of business. Instead, today’s computing technology must add to that duty the flexibility needed to modify itself instantly in response to emerging demands; to avoid intrusions from both internal and external threats, and to provide opportunities for more intelligent decision-making by leaders.
The challenges to achieving those goals are significant enough that today’s industry leaders often look outside their on-premise and proprietary IT systems for the IT support, maintenance, and management needed to attain them. Accessing the services of a dedicated managed IT services company ensures that their digital tools are always the most advanced, which in turn assures that they are also always on top of their industry sector.
Three Strategies: One Solution
A comprehensive managed IT structure pursues three distinct strategies to achieve a single, unified, comprehensive technology system: proactive avoidance of glitches and failures; preventative actions to maintain ongoing functions, and predictive forecasting to set the path for the future. When the integrated system is viewed as a whole, leadership can see how each separate element provides a distinct service that addresses distinct needs, and that its final iteration covers all the elements necessary for the smooth functioning of the enterprise.
Proactive IT Support
Many companies can lose track of their computing opportunities as today’s digital and computing capacities evolve into more complex constellations. Consequently, they seek the services of a managed IT company to keep their technology on task while they focus on their core corporate activities.
However, unlike yesterday’s support services model, where IT technicians were called in only when glitches needed fixing, today’s IT support services provide both repair and preventative assistance for the full scope of the digital complex. Yes, a managed IT provider will address technical malfunctions, from failing servers to connections interruptions to software crashes. But they can also look deeper into corporate computing systems to identify where problems might arise, and then take action to prevent those interruptions from happening in the future. Layering the IT support strategy over existing enterprise activities ensures that all corporate systems remain fully functional regardless of fluctuating demands.
Companies with proactive IT support reduce or eliminate the downtime needed to repair system failures while freeing corporate resources to focus on more fundamental company goals.
Many companies, especially small- or mid-sized ones, don’t have the resources available to maintain a fully built-out disaster recovery system to rely on in the event of a system crash or breach. Yet, that investment is often the critical difference between surviving a disaster and the complete collapse of the organization. Managed IT providers offer a full range of backup, recovery and redundant machines to take over corporate functions when company resources go down.
Many companies risk losing corporate information because they don’t have the capital investment resources they need for the purpose, nor do they have the IT talent to maintain the backup service over time. However, data backup, storage, and maintenance are core services provided by managed IT companies because they:
- 1) have the technical and talent resources to keep the service up to date, and
- 2) they operationalize the cost, making the service much more affordable than it can be performed in-house.
Maintaining a disaster recovery and business continuity plan is often also a regulatory requirement so having a partner ensuring the success of this critical function relieves leadership of significant stress, too.
Another service made both more affordable and more effective when managed by an IT services provider is disaster recovery. Not only does the service provider have a wider range of tools and expertise with which to address the disaster, but they are also faster at getting from ‘recovery’ to ‘recovered;’ a study by IDC revealed that the managed IT “recovery time objective” reduced the window of recovery by a factor of .62 over in-house recovery activities. The study also revealed that disasters managed by in-house recovery teams lost an average of $4 million per incident, while those managed by a professional IT services team lost an average of $1.1 million per incident.
Any small error anywhere in the system can be sufficient to slow or crash the entire organization. Managed IT providers offer redundant machines that automatically pick up functions when in-house servers fail. Those companies that can’t afford to purchase an entire redundant operation can usually afford to pay for the service when needed, on as operations basis.
Perhaps the best benefit offered by a managed IT company is access to its cloud computing resources and all the promise that those offer:
Proactively automating routine functions reduces or eliminates errors, frees up corporate financial and talent resources, and exponentially speeds processing. Companies that automate any of their IT functions manage their existing resources more efficiently and can launch new workloads or applications faster and more dependably than they could without the automated services running underneath.
Today’s cloud-based computing also offers the broadest possible breadth and scope of analytics programming available, providing customers with the information and insights they need to make accurate and correct corporate decisions. More than just reporting on data trends or daily activities, today’s analytics pull information from a wider pool of resources and applies it to perspectives from a higher point of view. Leaders get not just the granular detail, but also insights as to how those bits and pieces fit into the larger, longer corporate strategy. Businesses that use analytics to track corporate efforts increase productivity and competitiveness while streamlining function and (often) saving money, too.
Today’s definition of “scalability” refers not just to growing larger (vertically), but also to growing wider (horizontally). “Scaling” an enterprise these days often means adding additional computing resources (servers, CPUs or memory), top achieve more instances of the original computing success. Recent innovations now allow it to mean scaling “wider” – integrating more forms of technology, accessing additional platforms, or adapting to new programming languages, all without losing the context or character of the original computing success. Cloud computing services offered by managed IT companies can scale both vertically and horizontally faster and more economically than most companies can create for themselves in an on-premise technology system.
Companies competing in today’s highly technical industrial matrix need comprehensive IT management, maintenance and foresight to maintain their market share. Managed IT services give them the tools they need to do just that.