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New trends in technology have helped drive a profound change in IT strategies to focus more on business productivity and aligning IT with overall corporate strategies. The CIO and IT teams are transitioning to allocate more resources to strategic initiatives that directly impact the bottom line, leaving the inward focus on IT productivity a thing of the past.
Cloud platforms and SaaS solutions have opened the door to service-oriented strategies for the day-to-day infrastructure and applications needs of the enterprise. These "off premises" approaches to business activities have helped reduce costs. Now IT groups are partnering with Managed Services Providers (MSPs) to further reduce operational costs, in order to reallocate budget for strategic IT investments. Working with MSPs can ensure quality technology services, as well as enhanced business productivity from the corporate IT team.
Managed Services as an Extension of Corporate IT
Some managed services approaches provide ready-to-go and well-experienced staff, who work on site for a period of time, show up on demand, or work remotely from MSP facilities. This approach quickly complements existing IT staff with obvious cost savings. Corporate IT management still maintains overt participation in the activities handled by MSPs, rather than a complete outsourcing of the entire function.
Corporate IT can also offload operational needs through a variety of managed services such as: pre-packaged solutions that are easy to implement for specific purposes; hosted technology services; and the remote monitoring and management of IT systems. Managed services are often active in these areas:
- Cloud and Mobile
- Multiple levels of security
- High performance computing processes
- Optimized network performance
But with the shift of IT resources to better support business strategies in a more timely fashion, MSPs are now taking on overall responsibilities for many IT functions. Many managed services providers are creating a hybrid approach that combines the day-to-day management of various systems with new services as a trusted advisor to share strategic and hands-on expertise with clients, in order to extend the innovation of technology to better serve the business.
Partnership for Business Innovation
Managed services providers now have the opportunity to take service partnerships to a whole new level. Many enterprises want MSPs more involved in understanding their business goals and the factors that the enterprise has identified as critical to success. So the MSP is moving from providing ever-evolving technology services to now proactively connecting technology, infrastructure operations and performance to the work that the business needs to do, to achieve successful outcomes.
Organizations also need a means to more effectively orchestrate how corporate IT interacts with business processes and transforms technology into much-needed business applications. Managed services can provide a sort of "middleware" layer of orchestration that is transparent and responsive to the business. Well-managed orchestration services can help IT deliver the right enterprise-quality solutions that support new business opportunities, while mitigating risk. Through this approach to managed services, IT lets go of the old "command and control" model and takes on a services culture that better supports all functions across the enterprise.
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective