Whitepaper. Managed Services in the 21 st century

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1 Whitepaper Managed Services in the 21 st century

2 Managed Services in the 21 st century How to optimise cloud benefits and reduce costs with Hybrid Managed Services One of the great benefits of the cloud is its low barrier to entry. In other words, it s easy to get started. So easy, in fact, anybody can do it. Your marketing director can sign up for Salesforce.com. Your intern can sign up for Box.com. Your developers can sign up for Amazons AWS or Microsoft Azure. Yes, getting started is easy. What comes after is another story. Cloud services are a bit of a dichotomy. As easy as it is to get started using them, it is just as difficult to manage them. It s far more complex to manage virtual environments whether they are on premise or in the cloud than it is to manage on physical machines. When the application was sitting on a physical machine, you knew where it was and where the data was sitting. That isn t the case with cloud services. You have limited visibility into the servers, and your data can be anywhere. Unless your company has made significant investments in all the skills needed to effectively run and manage these virtual environments, it s simply impossible to do so. To make matters worse, the challenge of managing cloud services grows exponentially as the number of services your people are using increases. So who is responsible for managing these disparate services? Naturally, the Board of Directors will point to you the IT Director. You mightn t have the proper skills or have even sanctioned the use of these services, but that ultimately doesn t matter. You are the IT Director. It will be YOUR responsibility if your company experiences a data loss in the cloud. So what do you do? How can you give the Board assurance of data sovereignty and security? How can you manage multiple applications in multiple data centres and multiple platforms? How can you ensure that sensitive data isn t exposed? You need a partner who can do it for you. A managed services provider that specialises in virtual environments and cloud services understands the nuances of operating in the cloud be it public, private or hybrid. In this white paper we explore the concerns and benefits of outsourcing your cloud management to a managed services provider. Are managed IT services worth the risk? Managing today s IT environments is difficult. You may have applications running on premise, some on virtualised servers, some not. You may also have applications running in multiple public clouds and/or a virtual private cloud, as well as Software-as-a-Service applications. Given the rate of change and resource constraints, it s a challenge to keep staff skillsets current. This begs the question: Can managed IT services help?

3 The concept of managed IT services is not new. For years, businesses have outsourced day-to-day management responsibilities and functions as a strategic method for improving operations and cutting costs. However, organisations today are often hesitant to partner with a third-party provider. IT s role as a competitive differentiator and strategic business enabler make it a critical component of business. Can you rely upon a third party to deliver the service levels you require? If service does go down, is your data recoverable? Are your data and business processes adequately protected against theft, loss and unauthorised access? Are the provider s employees adequately vetted? How responsive will the provider be when push comes to shove and you need emergency support? And what happens to your current staff when their workload is shifted to a third-party provider? Faced with these legitimate concerns, you may be tempted to write off managed services as being too risky. But what is the alternative? Stretch your staff further? This will eventually impact efficiencies, staff morale and business agility. In the end, it will do your organization more harm than good. The concerns regarding managed IT services can be addressed if you do your due diligence. Managed service providers like TIG are in the business of IT. They know how to efficiently manage and secure multiple, heterogeneous IT environments. And they deliver sustainable results, lowering the cost of managing IT. Today s managed IT Services Managed IT services have come a long way over the past few years. Outsourcing opportunities are no longer rigid, isolated service offerings that may or may not complement your IT strategy. If you re struggling to meet your business technology needs and it s been awhile since you ve taken a serious look at managed services, it s time you do so. IT environments have changed, and so have managed IT services. Providers like TIG understand that managed services are not one-size-fits-all. Every IT environment is different with virtualisation and cloud deployments in different stages, varying SLA requirements, and unique business critical systems. In addition, every staff has its own strengths and weaknesses. The most beneficial managed IT services are those that complement your current staff and computing resources, and serve as an extension of your IT organisation. This is what can be achieved with hybrid managed services. Hybrid managed services combine your internal assets with a managed services agreement, allowing you to outsource all the services you need and nothing you don t. For example, you can outsource your firstline of support and keep second- and third-lines in house, or vice versa. What truly makes this a hybrid service model is the visibility you have into processes that are managed both onsite and off. Providers specialising in hybrid managed services provide a control panel that allows your organisation to manage and report on service delivery. Defined processes and clear lines of communication ensure that all support services run seamlessly, whether they are provided by your own staff or the service provider.

4 Whether you need flexible IT support or total monitoring and maintenance of your IT infrastructure, a hybrid managed services solution can be customised to complement your IT organisation. The service provider is no longer an outsourcer but a partner in IT delivery. Do more for less: reap the benefits of managed IT services Even with increasing IT budgets, few organisations have the resources to do everything they want to do. New technologies require funds to procure and staff to maintain. When you offload low-level IT tasks to a managed IT service provider, you free up resources that can be allocated to strategic business projects. Thinking about rolling out a BYOD program or implementing a unified communications solution? Now you can. Your IT organisation s value-add is its knowledge of the business. No other organisation has the unique insights into your company s culture, products, marketplace and competitive landscape. But that institutional knowledge does your company little good if your IT staff is too busy patching and configuring systems, watching system logs and tending to help desk tickets IT tasks that are basic but necessary. A managed service provider can take on these tasks for less cost. Ninety-six percent of the 400 respondents to a CompTIA survey reported that outsourcing to a managed services provider saves them money. Nearly half said they reduced annual IT budgets by at least 25%. These numbers are hard to ignore when faced with the constant mandate to do more with less. Moreover, if you reallocate the resources you re saving to strategic business projects, your return on investment increases. The benefits of managed IT services align with end user strategic business priorities identified by CompTIA.

5 There are still more benefits to be had from a hybrid managed services agreement. Managed IT service providers are in the information technology business. Providers like TIG focus on IT and only IT. Years of experience and hundreds of clients mean we have the processes in place to scale according to your needs and to deliver services efficiently. You get faster problem resolution and greater expertise again, at a lower cost. A hybrid managed services contract enables IT organisations to better leverage the expertise they have on staff and address daily operations more efficiently all while saving money. IT leaders who make the wise choice to outsource to a managed IT service provider transform their organisations, and as a result, the business. Many companies are recognising the value of hybrid-managed services, and TIG is proud to be a part of those success stories. Hardy Underwriting Limited is one such company. The market leader in specialist insurance and reinsurance solutions for aviation, marine and non-marine risks transformed its Service Desk thanks to help from TIG. It all started with an overwhelmed Service Desk. Hardy Underwriting had outgrown its in-house ticketing system built on SharePoint, and IT staff members were spending valuable time on high-volume, lowlevel service desk calls. The organization wanted to outsource these calls to a partner that could guarantee First Contact Resolution and provide an on-sight ticketing system that would seamlessly connect to the partner s own ITSM suite. As part of the move to a hybrid managed service contract, Hardy was also considering a fully monitored network infrastructure. TIG s 13-year reputation as a managed services provider, and our four-star Service Desk Institute accredited and ITIL v3 approved Service Desk gave Hardy confidence in our ability to meet it Service Desk needs. Based on a complete understanding of Hardy s problems and objectives, we created a project plan that included replacing SharePoint with TIG s proprietary ticketing system, ServiceStage, and 24x7 monitoring. ServiceStage is a standalone system that is fully integrated with TIG s ITSM suite, TMS. Tickets are submitted through the ServiceStage portal and go straight to TMS to be addressed by TIG s First Line Service Desk Analysts. Incidents and requests that can t be resolved at first contact are handed over to Hardy s own in-house Service Desk. If a problem still can t be fixed, the ticket goes back to TIG s thirdline technicians. All of this occurs seamlessly. TIG also installed a customised monitoring platform on Hardy s infrastructure that provides 24x7 network monitoring. Alerts in the monitoring platform create a ticket within ServiceStage. Urgent alerts generate an automated phone call to the escalation engineer outside of normal working hours. These customisations ensure that critical incidents are addressed immediately and bigger issues are prevented. A hybrid managed services contract with TIG has given Hardy s internal IT team an advantage. Instead of responding to basic IT requests and incidents, Hardy s IT staff can focus on strategic projects that add real value that give the business a competitive edge. Meanwhile, IT service has improved thanks to

6 monitoring and granular reporting options that come with TIG s ServiceStage and TMS, and help prevent issues before they become major problems. How to choose a managed IT service provider Of course, in order to reap the benefits of a hybrid managed services contract, you have to do your due diligence. Success depends largely on choosing the right managed IT service provider. Here are four factors to consider when evaluating MSPs. Flexibility. Your business IT requirements today will not be the same a year, three years or five years from now. Look for a managed IT services provider that can respond to your changing needs. After all, flexibility is what a hybrid managed services contract is all about you get what you need, when you need it. Security and regulatory compliance. Managed IT service providers are in the business of IT. In order to succeed in this business, providers must have security and regulatory compliance expertise. The MSP you choose should seek to understand your security and regulatory compliance concerns and have controls in place to address them. Look for a provider that uses approved remote support software and video records support sessions for a complete audit trail. If regulatory compliance is a concern, ask the provider if they can align support services to ISO or Service Desk Institute standards. Reliability. Look for a managed IT service provider that will actively work to minimise IT disruptions to your business by establishing and complying with strict service-level agreements (SLAs). The provider s goal should be to resolve requests and incidents on first contact. In addition, the provider s disaster recovery and business continuity procedures should ensure that service continues to run seamlessly in the event of a local incident. Infrastructure investments. Finally, you want to choose a well-established MSP that is dedicated to delivering a premium service. Look for a provider that has invested heavily in a support infrastructure and builds its own systems. This proves the provider s IT expertise and that you can count on them being around for the long haul. The most successful hybrid managed service models are a partnership between the customer and the managed IT service provider. Take the time to find a provider that you can count on and that will make it their mission to help you succeed.

7 Introduction to TIG TIG is a trusted provider of managed and cloud services. Clients rely on our deep technical ability and proven processes and procedures to help them build an IT strategy around a hybrid or full cloud wrapped with our customised managed services. Our 40-person service desk is fully manned 24x7, and delivers first, second and third-line support. A four-star accreditation from the Service Desk Institute ensures we have high standards of service delivery, and that we are aligned to industry best practices based on ITIL and ITSM frameworks. In addition, we offer backup-as-a-service and recovery-as-aservice in our dual data centres to provide a complete customised solution that uniquely addresses your IT needs. We d love the opportunity to show you first-hand how a hybrid managed IT services contract can save you money, optimise the benefits of moving to the cloud and free your staff to focus on strategic business projects. Call us today at +44 (0)

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