The role of IT has evolved from break/fix to an integral element of short-term and long-term business endeavors.
Managed service providers (MSPs) are being leveraged as partners that can bridge the gap for complex integrations or end-to-end infrastructure management. As CRN recently revealed in their “Top Five Trends for Managed Services in 2014” article1, companies are progressively turning to their providers to manage everything—from services, hardware, and everything else in-between.
The 24x7 Workplace and Downtime are at Odds
Coinciding with the big SMB managed services push is the evolution of the 24x7 business. Even if 9-5 is the standard allotted hours that most businesses abide by, work is being completed before and after those hours, and on weekends too. Commerce is constantly running around-the-clock.
From a competitive standpoint, if a business is unable to support operations at all hours,its chances for sustainability will take a hit. What’s the biggest threat standing in the way of continuous operations? Downtime.
The impact of downtime can lead to2:
- Revenue losses
- Impact to cash flow
- Productivity losses
- Compliance and/or reporting penalties
- Penalties and loss of discounts
- Impact to customers and strategic partners
- Employee morale and employee confidence in IT
- Damage to reputation and goodwill
For growing SMB organizations, the ability to prevent downtime is even more critical. They don’t have the resources or reputation of their enterprise counterparts to endure productivity setbacks. Their margin of error is razor thin. There are also service level agreements (SLAs) that many organizations have to adhere to in order to honor their agreements. Therefore, the services they choose to keep their data and network upright need to be comprehensive, resilient, and dependable.
The Evolution of Proactive Managed Services
To combat downtime, organizations are looking at ways to enhance their resiliency and improve recovery capability. Proactive managed services play a big role in this process. The idea behind proactive management of an IT environment is to quickly identify and remediate potential problems before they spiral out of control. These services are also a big aid to businesses that simply don’t have the manpower to monitor their IT networks at the same rate of consistency as a dedicated MSP.
In a proactive setting, organizations are not calling their service providers after an incident occurs. Instead, performance and capacity issues are handled upon detection as part of a systematic maintenance function. In some case, this could actually result in the service provider calling the SMB to inform them of a detected issue before an incident can occur.
This is a big development in the business world. Less time and money is being spent on rework. And ultimately, downtime can be largely controlled under the right IT management approach.
How Proactive Managed Services Support the 24x7 Business
For SMBs, the need for continuous up-time cannot be overstated. The stakes are even higher, as these businesses are expected to deliver services to their customers without any glitches. They are also competing with other organizations for power positioning in their respective markets.
Proactive managed services offer several valuable IT management advantages:
- Reduces the time that an IT staff spends fixing problems
- Problems are anticipated as opposed to reacted upon
- Automates labor-intensive processes and frees additional resources
- Mitigates downtime and ensures better SLA compliance
- Operating expenses (OpEx) can be decreased
- End users’ productivity is protected
- Cultivates a more strategic environment for broader business impact
- Increases confidence in IT Systems
Managed services can be a key differentiator to run a business with confidence. With a proactive approach to IT, potential issues can be resolved before they become disruptive. And by alleviating the routine checks, maintenance, and break-fixes, business personnel can actually innovate and advance their long-term goals.