16Aug 2013

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Closer Scrutiny From Clients

In the News by Digital Planet
Closer Scrutiny From Clients

Managed services clients these days know exactly what they want and will specify what elements of service they require, writes Leslie Faughnan

One of Ireland’s best known ICT companies, founded in 1988, Evros Technology Group is a managed services specialist with over 500 corporate clients. Its cloud solutions brand DigitalPlanet represents a €2 million investment in the latest server, storage and deployment technology to allow customers direct access to manage and deploy their own dedicated and virtual environments.

“We are seeing a more mature and savvy type of managed services client these days,” said Hugh Dawson, head of managed services in Evros. “In the past, we service providers offered essentially a sort of gold, silver or bronze set of pre-defined services. Today, the clients know very clearly what they want, and they will specify exactly the elements of service they require.” “Typically, that will be re mote management of infrastructure, usually virtualised servers and storage as well as routers, firewalls and so on.”

“In some cases, that will involve a cloud solutions and infrastructure-as-a-service. “It increasingly involves additional elements such as virtual desktops and a significant driver is the requirement for skills and formal accreditations that an organisation would find expensive to employ and retain in-house,” Dawson said. “Clients will also now look for standards, like ISO 27000 series expertise or ITIL for projects and change management.”

A managed help desk service is becoming an increasingly common market demand, Dawson said, because of the strains ad hoc issues can put on an internal IT department. “A high proportion of end user issues are all too common and ‘first time fix’ matters, so the wide experience of a professional managed service help desk team can solve them quickly.” “Such problems are always urgent for the users, so there is great urgency. But taking time from a highly paid, expensively trained and accredited internal IT specialist to help re set a user password is a real waste of resources – not to mention less than motivating for the helper. Taking the bur den away from those scarce in house resources is valuable and not expensive, especially when added to an existing contract.”

Another big trend, Dawson said, is for 24-7 fully managed services. “It’s a reaction to the changing patterns in today’s world of work, from mobile and teleworking to BYOD to always-on supply chain and web traffic. But clearly it consumes resources and is not an economical option for all but the largest organisations.” “A managed service provider, on the other hand, benefits both from scale and from the range of experience and variety of domain knowledge that brings with it.”

Managed services are coming under closer scrutiny from clients and the market and also from the regulatory regimes in various sectors, according to Dawson. “Our clients are increasingly asked by their auditors for details of their managed services and providers. In the last year we have had several visits from client auditors who wanted to ascertain exactly what we do and the stability and security implications of our processes,” he said. “From a professional MSP point of view, we think that is actually great to see. It places the emphasis firmly on high quality standards and accreditation and certification where relevant. It recognises the growing importance of our professionalism and quality as a key element in turn of our clients’ pedigree to their clients or customers. There is increasingly a quality chain for every organisation with its choice of managed services as an integral component.”

“HiberniaEvros values that kind of close scrutiny and inspection also as an endorsement of the quality of its staff and expertise”, Dawson said. “Not to mention the small fortune we spend on training and accreditation every year. There is also the continuing investment that all good MSP companies make in best quality hardware and systems to support their services to clients.” “But people are genuinely the key and the core. It is a dynamic, varied and often exciting business. That increasingly means that talented young professionals see a better career path than in a stand-alone organisation.”

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