TechBeat: Managed services in Ireland
With new technologies and ways of working, as well as growing data volumes, pushing many toward ever more reliance on managed services, spend, fears and expectations can still be at odds, reports PAUL HEARNSPrint
14 September 2016 | 0
As more and more businesses look to get better return on investment, support business transformation, access the latest technology and improve security, they are looking to outsourcing. By leaving the day-to-day running of such functions to others, it is allowing Irish organisations to focus on their core business, service delivery and customer service.
However, making the most of managed services requires more than simply outsourcing and ignoring. Companies need to be aware of the commitment necessary to monitor and manage the services, to ensure they are performing, delivering as required, and compliant.
TechBeat, in association with Datapac, polled 163 Irish IT professionals and decision makers on the forces driving the adoption of managed services, and the expectations of the companies taking advantage of them.
Unsurprisingly, 80% of respondents said that they outsourced the management or support of some ICT services. But one in five is still a high proportion claiming not to do so at all.
“It is surprising to see that 20% of organisations still aren’t outsourcing any of their ICT services to managed providers, although what is particularly interesting is that the vast majority of organisations surveyed are using the services of MSPs,” said Karen O’Connor, general manager sales delivery, Datapac. “The significant uptake rate illustrates a high level of market confidence in the Managed Service approach; this statistic wouldn’t have been anywhere near as high a few years ago and confirms a trend that we are experiencing in terms of growth in the managed services area. This confidence has grown as organisations have started to move some services to a managed services provider and, having realised the benefits, have gradually extended services to this model.”
Of the key drivers of outsourcing, cost was only third (42%), behind greater security and compliance (44%), with limited IT resources as the most popular (51%). Supporting the limited resources metric, was freeing up staff time to add value to the business came in at 39% in this multi-choice (top three) question.
“It’s not surprising,” said O’Connor, “to see that the top driver for businesses to outsource to an MSP is limited IT resources. This is due to a combination of headcount not being replaced in organisations due to recruitment freezes where natural attrition occurs, and the feasibility of having the depth and breadth of expertise to manage more complex environments in-house. The drive for managed services resulting from limited resources occurs at two levels – both at the reactive day to day capacity and also at the high end escalation level, where organisations with a level of in-house IT presence need to draw expert level support on particular technologies when more serious and complex problems arise.
Further exploring the balance between the day to day and the value-add efforts of IT staff, respondents were asked about the proportion of IT time spent dealing with common, reactive incidents such as break-fix and other such activities. More than a quarter (26%) said that up to 20% of their IT department’s time was spent on such activities. Some 17% said that between 20 and 40% of time was spent in this manner, with a further quarter indicating that between 40 and 60% of time was spent thus. More than one in 10 (12%) indicated 60-80% of IT time was spent this way, while a very worrying 7% said 80-100% of IT department time was spent in reactive mode.
O’Connor noted the correlation between the declared use of managed services, and the proportion of respondents reporting 60% plus of IT time spent in reactive mode.
“Companies need to view outsourcing as an opportunity to free up their IT resources to move up the value chain,” said O’Connor. “Availing of a service such as a level 1 helpdesk can prevent a company from having to deal with reactive incidents, and, when coupled with the introduction of a level of automation to routine tasks, this can help to free up IT teams to become more strategic and add more value to the business.”