Technology leaders face the same trials and tribulations, including the expectation of doing more with less. Your IT organization needs to understand its true cost of operation and measure whether it can accelerate delivery and support of services efficiently. In many cases, it’s the expenses inside your four walls that negatively impact your budget and keep you from providing users and customers the service they deserve.
It’s been common practice for organizations to purchase a software or service, install it in-house, train or hire resources, employ consultants and purchase hardware, databases and whatever additional services and personnel are necessary to run, monitor, maintain and upgrade the application. Cloud offerings and managed services have changed the traditional thinking, providing IT leaders with choices well beyond which software or product to use: Now they ask themselves, “Which product, which features, which delivery method, and whose culture do we want to employ?”
Employing a managed or hosted service beyond your four walls can be a cost-effective option to ensure you're using the latest technology without worrying about up-front capital expenses associated with deploying new software. By clearly understanding your business requirements, how you plan to expand or grow, and knowing your short- and long-term objectives with the service, your hosting or managed service provider can optimize your IT environment and deliver a flexible package at a predictable cost.
Nathan Eddy of eWeek.com wrote about a worldwide survey that found businesses that value IT as an enabler of better productivity and effectiveness and that use hosted services, perform better fiscally than those that do not. Eddy discusses the benefits of employing a hosted solution and/or managed services, which have steadily grown in popularity as they continue to demonstrate value. In fact, in some organizations, they are becoming standard business practice.
How do you decide if a hosted solution or managed service offering is right for you? Based on your specific needs and scenario, analyze the following factors to determine the delivery method best for you. Use cases provide a guideline as to how to employ the solution, but your unique requirements will determine the path that suits your needs.
- Do you have the resources to build, maintain and administer the solution?
- Is there already in-house expertise or will formal training be required?
- How is time to market affected if you do the project and installation on your own?
- How much capital do you have available and what is the total cost of ownership in each scenario?
- What would ongoing environment maintenance and disaster recovery cost?
- Will you require third-party integrations where the right expertise is critical to success?
There are many important factors to consider when it comes to consumption models. Some additional benefits may include:
- Full administrative and development access to your environments
- Global data center availability and selection
- Support staff with in-depth knowledge of customer environments
- Solution-specific expertise
- Dedicated project management
- Negotiable length of contract
- Flexibility to bring the solution on premise
- PCI certified, SAS 70 Type II-compliant data centers
- ITIL service management processes and procedures
- 24×7 monitoring
Other questions to ask yourself include:
- What did your last upgrade project cost?
- How many months did it take and how many resources were involved?
No matter how you answer these questions, it makes sense to think beyond your four walls and consider the benefits of a managed or hosted service when preparing to deploy new software solutions. There’s no better time to invest strategically to win in your market, and a managed or hosted service just may help get you there.