EASY’s Howard Frear outlines the main benefits of getting someone else do the heavy IT lifting
Making sure you have the right blend of modern IT and advanced applications to support the business outcomes has never been so important and as the current Pandemic is teaching us, being able to shift your business online may well be the one thing that will guarantee your swift return to normality, too, post ‘Lockdown’.
The good news is that it has never been easier to acquire truly state-of-the-art enterprise information technology tools and solutions from providers. It’s all there, ready to deliver digitisation of your business and/or automation of any of your core processes from Accounts to HR you think could deliver back the kind of productivity you need, while also giving excellent user experience for all key stakeholders (customers, employees and partners).
There is a bit of a catch here, though. The ‘price’ of all this unprecedented buffet of choice and capability, whilst highly desirable on the one hand does present something of a puzzle for the typical CIO and her IT Team. The increasing technical complexity of applications allied to the requirement to integrate at speed combined with today’s bewildering variety of connectivity technologies is daunting even for those with deep knowledge and wide experience. Add to all this the challenge of (in some cases highly!) mature legacy systems consuming valuable resources (especially budget) that could otherwise be directed to more modern and agile approaches to change, and you can be forgiven for feeling somewhat daunted: what to do to make the best of all this opportunity?
This is where the Cloud and associated Managed Services can be really useful to you as the IT leader. Used sagely, they can quickly help you jump the hurdles and provide the optimum customer experience, at the right time and in the right place, without breaking the bank. Essentially, you turn IT provision into a service, and select only what you need, now, for your specific business requirements, which can and indeed should, change tomorrow. Let’s review how:
- Lower, predictable costs This is usually the main immediate benefit, as you can now deliver the same (or improved) application performance at a known cost with the risks substantially transferred to the trusted third party. Even mature, on-premise platforms that might have an unknown or rising cost profile can benefit from this fixed price approach. Having fixed operational costs also allows for better profit margin visibility, and makes the real total cost of ownership transparent – real win-wins
- Flexible Scalability With physical infrastructure, if you need more capacity you have to buy more servers. With Cloud/Managed Services, by contrast, any changes in user demand/peaks and troughs are automatically dealt with at the supplier datacentre, allowing for a steady and smoothed investment profile that can overcome the ‘lumps’ of investment needed with typical on-premise implementations
- Someone Else Looks After The Kit Even well run on-premise, traditionally managed IT is costly because equipment wears out and software licences need to be renewed, so an otherwise simple outage caused by predictable factors can have a big impact. Having an expert, planned maintenance approach that includes upgrades substantially reduces the risks for you, and even protects the now mission-critical data and processes you need to keep being profitable
- Minimised Downtime It is helpful to be able to plan necessary outages outside of areas of peak usage so as to maintain reliability of service. This is where Cloud service providers have invested heavily in highly available, high capacity solutions that can easily fall over. Managed Services can even provide this valuable functionality to on-premises applications by drawing on their experience of operating with other customers to avoid common mistakes
- Expertise And Mutual Benefit The creator of a successful application or service is naturally best placed to quickly and efficiently operate it. This means that a good provider can not only work for you at best practice level, but in doing so has an opportunity to pass on insight to you the client, expanding the solution’s benefits. A partnering approach also helps to develop a close alignment of capabilities, and an even stronger fit to the requirement
- Sticking To Your Knitting With your back office IT now reliably managed, the organisation can put its attention to what it is best at, as it has more time to focus on improving products and services
- Compliance With an increasingly complex legal operating environment in many geographies, businesses like yours can really benefit from the support of a provider with subject matter expertise and shared experience across similar sectors. A key win to look for here, in the light of GDPR; data and application security and consistency can all be improved by the use of recommended best of breed tools and practices to avoid legal penalties in the handling of data—just one of what should be many examples of ROI for a Cloud/Managed Services customer.
The author is Sales & Marketing Director at EASY Software UK, which offers both Cloud and Managed Services solutions across its complete range of advanced Content Services and Process Management solutions