Managed services making more sense for the Middle East

Selecting managed services requires collaboration with the provider and understanding of which services to outsource

Tags: Cloud computingManaged servicesOrange Business Services
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Managed services making more sense for the Middle East Determining whether a company can benefit from managed services requires good collaboration and communication with potential service providers, says Sarah.
By  Rudolf Sarah Published  July 6, 2011

As with any high growth and developing market, the Middle East has a healthy appetite for the latest technology in terms of IT and networks. But very often, CIOs are faced with limited resources and long lead times to train and retrain their staff. In this fast paced environment, managed services make a lot of sense for enterprise customers, as they can access quickly (and with no risk) the latest technologies and be confident that resources and processes are in place to support their future growth.

The main misconception we notice is that customers believe that outsourcing or managed services is the solution to all their problems. Before being able to outsource an activity, a customer has to understand clearly the current and future requirement and work with the service provider to ensure a smooth handover of the activity.

There are several valid potential reasons for considering managed services and analysis helps customers  in their decision to outsource (or not) a particular IT or network activity. The key point is to help customers define their business goals and then determine how ICT will support that strategy in the short, medium and long term.

Then, we have to determine with the customers whether they can actually reap the possible benefits, including any combination of CAPEX and OPEX reduction, increased flexibility, access to knowledge, co-innovation, a greater focus on core activities. Most important is to have the partner commit contractually to a specific SLA that is designed to support the customer's business strategy.

Unless a customer operates in a very specialist, niche industry in which compliance processes are very specific, large outsourcing and managed service providers often offer customers better technical, legal and compliance support at a lower price point than a customer can achieve on his own.

The main challenges, therefore, lie in choosing the provider and correctly assessing which services should be outsourced. It is then critical that customers and service providers define very clearly the scope of the contract and how it is expected to evolve over time. Managed services and outsourcing are not one-size-fits-all solutions - in fact, it is quite the contrary; a situation in which a customer transfers control  to a third party provider demands that both parties  plan very carefully for the future evolution of the requirements/relationship.

New technologies are changing the way outsourced services are being implemented and offered and the main disruption in the market comes from Cloud Computing. We are currently witnessing technology vendors and providers entering the managed services market by providing their solutions directly from the cloud. Additionally, the increasingly wide availability of third party hosting and the emergence of new software developments, techniques and languages, is enabling a new breed of startups to enter the market.

Customers are then faced with a new range of choices and need to decide either to keep their legacy applications and processes, or to go for something radically different. This is why a consultative approach to sourcing these managed services is a key benefit that a provider should offer the customer.

Three simple rules about working with a managed service and outsourcing provider.

1) Collaborate as much as you can and explore all the scenarios together. The more background work is done between the two companies, the more a partnership, rather than a customer-provider, relationship will be built.

2) Don't focus on cost reduction only. Consider what else the partner can offer such as new technology, process benchmarking, continuous improvement, added flexibility and even supporting new business strategies that you may not have considered before.

3) Control and monitor your SLA level regularly. Make sure that everything is still aligned between your IT strategy and your business strategy. Call your partner as needed and be proactive in the relationship, just as you were with your internal IT department. 

Rudolf Sarah is regional cloud director - EEMEA for Orange Business Services.

Orange Business Services is a full service network and IT provider with a range of services from managed networks to managed applications, hosting, security, PBX systems, and a new cloud computing portfolio covering infrastructure, collaboration and communication applications entirely hosted and managed from Orange datacenters and offered on a pay-as-you-go basis.

2325 days ago
Vinod Mehra

Nice article and tips.
Collaborate; don't focus on cost reduction ; control your SLA. But cost control will always take priority.

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