As one of the most important IT innovations of the last few years, cloud computing is changing the way we work, creating contemporary models of collaboration and generating new business opportunities
Digitalisation is changing business models, companies and entire industries, but hardly any other branch of the economy is changing as quickly as IT. In addition to big data, analytics and artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT) is one of the main pillars of digital transformation today. And cloud computing continues to play a key role among current IT technologies and is changing the way we work.
Integrated cloud platforms as the basis for modern, digital business processes
Nowadays, cloud services are almost unavoidable. In the business environment, more and more companies rely on providing or receiving solutions via the internet. The advantages are obvious: lower investment and personnel costs, no long-term capital commitment and adaptability of services. Above all, the flexibility of integrated cloud platforms enables distributed information systems to be integrated quickly, the provision of temporary resources at short notice, or the leveraging of cloud-native services to support complex business processes.
Many IT managers are faced with selecting the right cloud strategy for their business situation, deciding which cloud provider best suits their requirements and how can they migrate their applications to the cloud and operate them effectively. However, not all applications are suitable for the cloud; applications must then be set up in a local data center or in a private cloud and interact with the public cloud. These hybrid solutions are on the rise and demand special skills and competencies from the IT teams.
Digital technologies and a shortage of skilled workers as a challenge
Many companies lack the necessary know-how or the time to set up hybrid environments and to operate them stably. In this case, managed services are a way of quickly getting the required expertise in-house. IT managers are increasingly relying on specialized service providers who accompany their teams on their journey to the cloud. These experts support the analysis of the initial situation, advise on cloud provider selection, help set up the cloud environment, migrate applications and even operate them afterwards. And they can efficiently integrate cloud-native and classic technologies into homogenous environments. Potential security concerns that may arise through the use of open and flexible technologies are significantly reduced.
New opportunities through the relocation of IT services
By transferring responsibility for pre-defined IT scope to external service providers, companies become more flexible, can focus their existing resources on more strategic topics and gain time for innovation. This opens new opportunities for generating added business value. In times of a shortage of skilled workers and a lack of resources, it can make good sense to outsource tasks that are not part of the core business to external partners. As a result, internal teams are relieved of routine tasks, gain greater freedom and more time for core business-related topics.
Being close to the client as a success factor
The expectations are clear – external service providers must deliver IT services better, more flexibly and more cost-effectively than the customer itself. This is only possible with a well-trained, experienced and, above all, motivated workforce; it must be able to implement the requirements from a managed service contract on time and to react quickly and dynamically to any necessary extensions, adjustments or issues.
However, the customer must also allow closeness to the provider. Without a certain degree of openness and the willingness to integrate the IT service provider as a partner in its value chains and decision-making processes, managed services will not work in the long term.
Many advantages, but not an easy decision
Despite many advantages, companies often find it difficult to decide between make or buy. Putting IT services in external hands always entails a certain degree of dependency and affects the company’s IT organisation. Since managed services contracts usually run for several years, the client and the service provider must establish a common bond that cannot be easily broken in the short term.
How can the concept work?
Cooperation, solution orientation and an open handling of problems are the crux of every stable relationship. This also applies to managed services. Seriousness, sustainability and leadership can help to build the necessary trust. The communication culture between the involved parties should not be underestimated. Soft skills and an equal-level partnership, not the technology, are the most important success factors when it comes to managed services.
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by Dr Justin Taylor, Head of Managed Services, SPIRIT/21
SPIRIT/21 was founded in 1998 as an IT startup near Stuttgart. Today the medium-sized consulting and IT service company is represented at ten locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With around 500 consulting, software and service experts, SPIRIT/21 can support its customers in every phase of their digital transformation. It deals with current trending topics such as the Internet of Things, cloud consulting and services and enterprise mobility and collaboration. The portfolio also includes classic IT services such as SAP and infrastructure services.
In the area of managed services, the range of solutions extends to almost all IT services. It is part of the company’s policy to provide managed services exclusively with the help of local teams. By dispensing with offshoring and nearshoring solutions, the IT service provider emphasises its focus on the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) region.