Keeping critical technology systems online and up-to-date is a huge burden for any business. An ongoing necessity, it’s like eating spinach and working out: not necessarily pleasant, but good for overall health. It’s a major pain point, and — like diet and exercise — it’s an area companies constantly wrestle with.
Managed services allow businesses to offload the work of updating and maintaining their applications and integrations and put it in expert hands.
“But what if my firm has its own IT team?”
A managed services agreement is still an extremely smart move for companies with established IT departments. Here’s why.
Every System is Unique
Regardless of the brand name(s) associated with your systems, few successful businesses use applications right out of the box without any configuration. Invariably, customizations are made, work-arounds are implemented, and protocols and processes need to change. Systems are stretched to meet a range of needs that can vary by business size, location, currency, language, user load, and much more. At the end of the day, companies find themselves wrestling with a complex set of unique system configurations that requires an advanced set of skills to maintain properly.
Most executives don’t know or care about all this technical niche-ness. They’re focused on their system’s ability to meet their company’s financial and management needs. Therefore, they often have the false belief that their in-house IT teams can easily maintain their applications regardless of how changes in other areas of the business increase system complexity little by little, day after day.
The Modern Reality
As technology experts, we’re frequently called in to help when a business finds itself in crisis mode. We usually see one or two of the following scenarios in play when we arrive:
Scenario #1: Ignorance is Bliss
The in-house IT team is extremely capable but doesn’t have any background or expertise in specific key applications. There is a false sense of security. Everyone believes that systems are being adequately and properly maintained when, in reality, they aren’t.
Scenario #2: The One that Got Away
The internal team includes people with experience maintaining all of the company’s applications. This is a boon until these employees move on, taking their knowledge with them. The firm is left floundering and facing huge setbacks in terms of time, cost, and knowledge base when issues arise, as they inevitably do.
Scenario #3: The Ticking Time Bomb
The internal team is excellent, but they spend almost all their time supporting daily operations. In the meantime, maintenance activities that are important but not urgent (upgrades, system health checks, performance testing, etc.) are not performed. These tasks get shuttled to the bottom of the to-do list, leaving systems vulnerable to breaches, slow performance, and shutdowns.
Reacting to Crisis
All three of the above scenarios put businesses in a reactive position. They invariably create a crisis and a need for an immediate solution. This is where it’s easy for companies to compound the problem instead of solving it. Their focus is on the short-term fix instead of the long-term health of their applications, thereby creating a situation akin to yo-yo dieting: the immediate crisis is addressed, but the system’s overall soundness is still in jeopardy.
We see firms reach for two temporary fixes:
Temporary fix #1: Recruit and/or train new IT employees
It makes sense to seek out and/or replace employees who are IT savvy. However, recruiting, onboarding, and training take time and cost money. In the meantime, companies run the risk of their systems crashing, performing poorly, and/or continuing to degrade. Last-minute hiring or training can also be stressful for the employees themselves; they have to play catch-up when the pressure is on.
Furthermore, companies that hire new full-time staff to patch internal skills gaps are left with other long-term issues to address. They have to invest time and money into ensuring the new employees’ IT knowledge is up-to-date, that they know any ancillary add-ons, that they can support and maintain all customizations, etcetera. And again, there’s the risk of losing any investment if the new or upskilled employees leave. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Temporary fix #2: Hire contractors
The natural solution to a tech problem is to hire experts, right? On the surface, yes. Though often effective, this solution is extremely costly and time consuming. It often leaves the company with no documentation of what’s been done, as that knowledge stays with the contractor. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee the work was done thoroughly or correctly. And how is accountability determined? How many times have you heard “it’s your customizations/data that’s the problem”? In the short term, these contractors manage to make your system’s symptoms go away, but there’s no guarantee that underlying issues are really fixed.
This solution works in the short term about as well as a six-month gym membership. It allows a company to function, but it doesn’t establish a foundation for long-term system health and success.
Stop the Insanity: Use a Managed Services Contract
Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” This is essentially what we see businesses in crisis doing. They reach for seemingly easy fixes to address complex issues and wonder why their system’s ROI is in the dumps. They don’t stop to consider a more enduring solution to the cycle.
Unlike internal upskilling or ad hoc projects with external contractors, managed services offer companies a proactive alternative to the internal burden of system maintenance. Holistic service and maintenance packages allow companies — big or small — to finally step off the contractor merry-go-round and into the stress-free stability of a sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective solution for keeping their systems up to snuff.
In short: we’re proponents of managed services because they keep companies out of crises. Period.
Here’s a rundown of some of the benefits offered by managed services contracts:
A tried, tested, and systematic maintenance approach
As part of the onboarding process, you get a detailed discovery of your current applications, including their customizations and integration points. This “snapshot” of your system affords an in-depth understanding of your current support processes.
Consistent, proactive monitoring
Having ongoing information regarding the health of your system makes it possible to make smart decisions about upgrades, add-ons, performance, customizations, and more. Monthly reports and check-ins also illuminate pain points, performance issues, customization concerns, and other issues before they hit the crisis point.
Continuous expert support
Entering into a managed services contract ensures access to a team of experienced IT professionals — people you’re not responsible for training! It provides a continuity of information; your system and its support processes are documented and shareable. You get DBA services, instance management, and true customization support.
And, bonus! These experts can liaise with other IT vendors so that you don’t have to.
Onsite upgrade support
Upgrades have to happen, especially for companies using older applications and hardware. However, it is important that they are done correctly. A managed services agreement gives you access to experts who can manage the upgrade process for your applications, provide post-upgrade support, and deploy incremental changes going forward.
The long and short of it is that managed services contracts give companies a manageable, reliable, and cost-effective solution for optimizing their systems without overwhelming their in-house teams. They also help businesses make the most of their technology investments by delivering incremental and continuous improvements via configurations, customizations, enhancements, tuning, etc., ensuring that systems stay relevant as the organization grows.
Why Choose CCS Global Tech: The Shameless Plug
We promote managed services because we know how beneficial they are to businesses everywhere. As an active technology services provider, we have over 20 years of experience working with a wide variety of applications in various industries. We use our knowledge and expertise to help both public organizations and private companies turn the corner from reactive to proactive on a regular basis. It’s a transformative process.
So why choose us? Here’s what we bring to the table:
- A scalable, hybrid (onshore/offshore), cost-effective delivery model with 24/7 support.
- A global pool of top-notch talent who are trained on the latest applications and technologies in your industry.
- Managed services contracts that can be tailored specifically to your business. You only pay for what you need.
- A customer-centric approach. We become part of your team.
Our Managed Services in Action: RentPath Case Study
Reading about managed services is all well and good, but seeing those services in action is more convincing. RentPath is one of our current managed services clients. Their case study illustrates how effective our managed services are.
Here’s a quick synopsis:
RentPath is a leading digital marketing solutions company in the housing sector. Its goal is to help renters find available housing options and to give landlords/owners a platform to advertise their properties. It’s a nationwide organization that operates under four separate brand names and has multiple divisions.
RentPath came to us because they were dissatisfied with the service they were receiving from their former production support IT vendor. They presented us with two challenges:
- Provide timely and effective IT support, including communication and escalation response.
- Create a trustworthy production support process that can handle a growing volume of service requests, generate a large volume of reports, and scale to include new markets on time and on budget.
Having listened closely to RentPath’s needs and concerns, we knew they would benefit from managed services. Our Managed Services Team is experienced with production support, and they’re familiar with creating scalable and sustainable processes.
We developed the following approach for the project:
- Identify, monitor, improve and/or troubleshoot all issues connected with RentPath’s production support related to:
- Legacy data warehousing
- SSIS packages, Azure Data Factory, and DataBricks Workflow and Jobs
- SSRS reports
- Stored procedures
- Power BI report services refreshes/fixes
- Ensure all daily data-related jobs, pipelines, refreshes, and executions are completed on schedules set by RentPath.
- Ensure all Power BI and SSRS reporting and analytics are refreshing and available on schedules set by RentPath.
- Respond to service requests submitted to the Data and Analytics Team queue from internal business partners.
- Automate Jobs and Trigger run reporting using PowerShell to help analyze the status of and generate customized reports for better server/services utilization, scheduling and cleanups.
- Comply with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices.
- Review all reported issues (example: Salesforce Cases, emails, and messages) and resolve or escalate if needed.
- Monitor notifications, resolve delays and/or failures per the SLAs, and provide reports outlining issues and resolutions.
- Identify and document all recommendations for process improvement.
Since implementing our managed services package, RentPath is meeting their objectives and experiencing no issues with production support. They’re focusing on growing their business and proceeding with projects, confident that their IT system is working smoothly and effectively.
Read the complete RentPath case study here.
A less-than-healthy system can bring a company to a standstill. Shifting your outlook from reactive to proactive can prevent expenditures, productivity loss, and endless anxiety. Just like an effective diet and exercise regimen is specific to each individual, so too are managed services to organizations: each agreement is tailored to the company’s specific needs. Robust, up-to-date applications can move your company towards its goals. Give yours the care they need with CCS Global Tech’s managed services.
Want to know more about CCS Global Tech’s Managed Services Team? Contact us! Our experts are happy to help you find the solution best suited to your needs.