November 6, 2017
The shift to the cloud has been underway for years and cloud adoption rates continue to rise. This should come as no surprise to any organization with an eye towards cloud migration. The benefits of the cloud are widely known so we won’t repeat them here. However, the rapid shift to the cloud has created problems for the modern I.T. organization as it tries to evolve business processes and culture. Today, the average enterprise utilizes a multitude of Sass vendors for tasks across every department. In fact, the average organization’s network is accessed by 89 different vendors each week. This creates a problem not just for network security, but for the business processes that these vendors underlie. The disbursement of so many applications across multiple environments has had the effect of handcuffing the innovation that the cloud is meant to enable. Each vendor has their own levels of support, SLA’s and escalation points that makes coordination a major drain on business productivity. Fortunately, the Managed Service Provider (MSP) model is evolving to remedy the situation. With a model focused on vendor coordination and proactive innovation, organizations can utilize an MSP to reduce costs, centralize their vendor management, and truly realize the innovation that the cloud promises.
The move to the cloud is meant to facilitates rapid experimentation and process innovation via a “pay as you go” model that eliminates the upfront capital expenditure of projects. However, even with resources deployed in the cloud, businesses still must incur the cost of training and hiring platform specific expertise to support and manage all their various hardware and software platforms. Just like the cloud eliminates the capital expense of servers and infrastructure, an MSP can eliminate the need for in house system specific expertise. By giving you a team that’s trained and certified across multiple systems, you’ll be able to focus on driving business value, not supporting a specific server on a specific operating system running specific software. By serving as a buffer between an organization and their vendors, MSPs enable a more strategic approach to software purchasing decisions. No longer is it a question of “Do I have the team and support to run this system?” now the question is “what vendor can give me the most functionality for the best value?” This creates an environment where technology is commoditized and can be re-arranged with little to no organizational costs. Your team is freed from platform specific training, and maintenance of ETL processes. Now you can focus on leveraging your I.T. resources to drive new business processes, not just maintain steady state operations.
Traditionally I.T. departments aren’t seen as drivers of business innovation. In fact, often the opposite is true. I.T. its seen as the impediment to innovation underlying every potential process change. The environment in organizations today is one where a single business function is touched by a multitude of technology systems. Making changes to that process requires co-ordination across multiple departments, applications, and business systems. Often these costs outweigh the benefits of any potential change. When you utilize an MSP to serve as a buffer between you and your technology stack you can now view I.T. as a facilitator of innovation, not an impediment to it. Taken a step further, it means your I.T. team can now recognize inefficiencies and serve as a catalyst to value creation, not merely a facilitator. A managed service provider allows I.T. to be viewed from a new angle – as a driven of business innovation, not merely a facilitator.
This rapid business migration to the cloud and the emergence of the Managed Service Provider model has driven a corresponding centralization of I.T. departments. With your employees no longer needing to be specialized in specific hardware and software systems, they have more freedom to focus on the big picture. This requires a change in thinking as I.T. is not used to playing business innovator. It’s a cultural shift, that if done successfully, can propel your business to new heights. SaaS vendors help you innovate through the introduction of new technologies and functionality but they don’t operate in a silo. A managed service provider helps drive internal innovation by pulling all these disparate systems together without the massive strain on internal resources it has traditionally required. The shift to the cloud is reframing the conversations between organizations and their service providers. Of course, I.T. will always be tasked with maintaining your steady state operations and in that regard the MSP relationship won’t change tremendously. However, the MSPs that embrace their new role as vendor manager and innovation driver will lead the charge to unlocking all the benefits of the cloud.