“IT services, in particular Cloud services, are a challenge to evaluate and then manage. And, the problem is growing. We would welcome any help that I could feel is competent and objective in helping with sourcing and in managing our sources.” – CIO, North America, large multinational manufacturer

The hybridized IT and business reality includes identifying, procuring, and managing a changing mix of technologies, applications, services, and providers, balanced with changing business needs, capabilities, new/different markets, roles, and operations.

More than 70% of user enterprises interviewed in Saugatuck Technology Inc. (a research and management consulting services company) begin their hybrid IT journey by blazing a “Self-serve” path. But almost all of those find within a year that blazing such a trail is an inefficient use of significant resources. This happens because these attempts are often the first comprehensive efforts at identifying, coordinating, and consolidating the new mélange of resources and sources. As noted earlier, these efforts require new skills, new organizational structures, new procurement practices, and new finance and compliance models and policies.

The most beneficial path for most is that of, effectively, outsourcing the sourcing through managed services. In most cases, we suggest this approach as the most time- and cost-effective means of benefiting from hybrid environments. This approach enables IT organizations and leaders to better anticipate and innovate by:

  • Optimizing the use and value of own resources by focusing on core business
  • Enabling and realizing economies of scale that would otherwise be difficult or impossible – especially when it comes to the changing and growing skills and systems required, which often must be developed or acquired, and then managed themselves
  • “Future proofing” sourcing in progressively complex hybrid environments by enabling the use of emergent or future technologies, skills, and other capabilities, even as needs change — in effect, enabling long-term flexibility with minimal current investment
  • Mitigating the risks inherent in significant investment in new organizational structures, new or expanded infrastructure, and changing roles or processes
  • Providing coordination between and across services, providers, and legacy systems, enabling improved process and data integration, greater efficiencies, more process automation, and better data sharing and analytics

The challenge for most enterprises is finding providers that are qualified and effective in all aspects of the hybrid environment sourcing and management. In Saugatuck’s experience, the minimum provider requirements to enable effective and efficient management of sourcing in hybridized IT and business environments include the following:

Scalable, proven, service integration and management

When the primary and preferred sources of IT and business resources are Cloud-services-based, the most effective providers must be able to manage and integrate those services with each other, and with potentially varying and jumbled portfolios of existing IT and business solutions. As business shifts over time, based in part on innovative uses of Cloud-based capabilities, the pace and scale of integration and management required will vary over time as well.

Comprehensive enterprise IT and business vision

To be able to optimize sourcing, one must have a clear vision of not only what’s being acquired and used, but where, by whom, and why – and what value it brings. The best providers can develop and implement that type of enterprise-class IT and business vision – including IT organizations, functional business groups (e.g., divisions, LOBs, departments) and administrative business groups (e.g., Finance, Sales, HR). This enables the enterprise-level vision of business operations and process reliance on IT, and on each other, in a variety of situations, industries, locales, and more.

Experience-supported ability to execute

Enterprise-class business and IT vision is necessary and helpful, but the ability to execute on that vision is equally important. The best-suited providers tend to have decades of experience and expertise – really, enterprise-class business and IT “DNA” – when it comes to understanding what it takes to build, source, and manage the complexities and intricacies of enterprise-class IT.

Track record of performance

Vision and an ability to execute do not equal proper or satisfactory performance. There has to be a track record that clearly demonstrates satisfactory performance by the provider in situations similar to what your firm requires.

Cloud services provision and management expertise

In the emergent hybrid reality, Cloud–relevant technology, services, and knowledge are paramount. Cloud IT and services knowledge and expertise are critical to minimizing problems resulting from changes in provider, sourcing, and portfolio management

Broad and deep process and service integration and re-engineering

More and more, business functions and services are indistinguishable from Cloud- delivered business software-as-a-service. Providers must have the ability to see how, where, when and why different services from different sources will need to be integrated with each other, and with existing systems and processes – and be able to streamline and integrate services and providers to reduce redundancies while enabling optimal business operations.

Understanding and flexibility

Finally, the best providers understand and offer a range of sourcing models and capabilities that can adapt. This is a key advantage for almost any buyer/user organization, not only because much of their current environment will be somewhat unique, but more importantly because what works best now will have to be adapted as business changes, as providers change, and as technologies change, and as costs change. And we know that they will all change, quickly.

Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how Flagship meets these qualifications.

If you liked this blog, you might also like:  Business Value of Managed Services

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Managed Services

Flagship Solutions Group can deliver efficiencies across hybrid infrastructures with a broad range of capabilities. We offer clients theflexibility to select the degree of support they want for each layer of infrastructure — from basic monitoring and management to long-term arrangements based on an innovation path designed to replace an aging or inflexible infrastructure with new technology.

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