How managed/hosted services can deliver competitive advantage Posted on February 6, 2018 by Tim Burke It’s pretty easy these days for your IT operations to feel a bit out of control as you field all those demands to deploy IT resources in the cause of creating competitive advantage. Your budget doesn’t budge much, but the demands certainly do. Throw more workloads into more and different clouds while somehow also adequately overseeing and supporting all those cloud, managed, and co–location services. Accelerate application development. Achieve greater scalability. Ensure that your enterprise data–as well as access to it–is always sufficiently secure. Five ways managed/hosted services can pay off No wonder IT complexity and the costs associated with it have started to rear up like a sci-fi monster. And no wonder the resources and expertise you need to cope seem to be out of affordable reach. But wait. In important ways, managed/hosted services can fill the gap between cloud-driven, competitive aspirations and the hard realities of making complex information technologies play well together. A managed/hosted services provider with the right capabilities can help you control IT complexity and make the most of your IT spend – not just in the clouds, but with the dollars devoted to your in-house IT assets, too. Why? Because well-chosen managed/hosted services can pay off by enabling you to… Flexibly choose, customize, and integrate the IT solutions you need, ranging from function-specific necessities like disaster recovery or remote backup to network/application management services and all-cloud or hybrid cloud/in-house infrastructures; Improve management of both current and future cloud capabilities – including multi-cloud services – thus reducing waste, complexity, and risk while boosting performance and reliability; Set up better enterprise–wide governance of your IT resources, regardless of where they’re located or who owns them; Do an (affordable) end-run around that persistent lack of in-house IT resources and access leading-edge expertise whenever you need it; and Strengthen your enterprise IT security and ability to meet compliance standards. Assess before you buy To tick these boxes – and before you buy anything – you’ll need a strategic understanding of both your current and future IT needs, and you’ll need to know how well (or not) your IT resources meet those needs. This can be a challenge if you don’t have a solid grasp of the workings of today’s information technologies and where they’re headed. Which is why it’s critical to engage a very particular kind of managed/hosted services provider – one with deep technology experience that’s adept at assessing clients’ business requirements and budget constraints (now and in the future) and then matching and customizing these to various alternative technology solutions that can deliver true competitive advantage. In my next post, I’ll examine specific managed/hosted services provider capabilities to look for – and why they matter.