There was a time when futurologists thought the Information Age was going to abolish drudgery for people. Machines and software programs would take care of most menial tasks while humans could be free to pursue higher interests, including excellence in their chosen fields.
However, things haven’t quite worked out that way. For IT organizations, a familiar set of chores has followed them into the future and the cumulative weight of these has become a millstone around the necks of enterprises big and small.
A recent survey commissioned by Rogers Communications and conducted by researchers Vision Critical found many Canadian businesses are overwhelmed with the day-to-day operation, management and support of IT infrastructures. More than three-quarters of a typical IT organization’s time is spent on the day-to-day travail of keeping the lights on. There isn’t much time left for innovation, or helping businesses implement and support technology that directly improves a competitive posture and thus the bottom line.
IT organizations struggle to ensure the increased use of mobile devices in day-to-day operations doesn’t put companies at risk for data loss or malicious intrusions. It’s fine to say that we live in a mobile- and cloud-first world, but it’s quite another thing to actually build, operate and support the infrastructure that keeps the underlying technology secure and operational.
In the survey, both business and IT leaders note that only one-third of IT’s budget is typically spent on strategic activities. However, the goal is to achieve roughly a 50-50 split. And approximately three-quarters of them (73 per cent) say the IT organizations wastes too much time and money managing legacy technology.
Business and IT leaders differ on the relative state of security in organizations. While 95 per cent of IT leaders say they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with IT security, only 88 per cent of business leaders echo the sentiment. Oddly, more business leaders (57 per cent, vs 49 per cent of IT leaders) believe their companies had not experienced any security breaches over the past year, yet they express lower satisfaction with the security posture’s proactivity and timeliness. Business leaders also express worry about the time IT teams “waste” on day-to-day network management each week – an average of 200 hours.
There are potential ways to alleviate these problems. Managed services are one option to remove the operational burden from IT organizations, freeing up staff for activities with perceived higher value. Here are three services types to consider in an effort to ease the IT load.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Services: With mobile device management services, IT organizations are freed from the worry of managing the plethora of mobile devices used throughout the enterprise. MDM solutions offered as-a-service – a recurring fee-based option that typically requires little or no capital outlay – can manage, monitor, secure and support mobile devices, regardless of location or service provider used. These services often feature cloud-based distribution of applications, data, configuration and security settings, and can manage a broad array of devices, including mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, terminals and ruggedized mobile devices.
Some solutions may also include a customized enterprise app store, allowing companies to implement policy, and control plus protect data while securely provisioning out-of-the-box and custom enterprise apps for all supported device types.
These are cloud-based offerings that eliminate the need for dedicated management servers, and are backed by a level of proactive monitoring that many companies both can’t afford nor have the technical expertise to do on their own.
Managed Network Services: Networks require a great deal of attention in order to maintain a desired and acceptable level of performance. Not only must communication systems be continually monitored, networks must be secure and continually optimized for performance. That requires the right tools and expertise.
Managed network services shift these tasks to a service provider who provide monitoring that most companies can only dream of, and a cloud-based dashboard so in-house IT staff can still retain visibility and control if necessary. The service provider worries about things like moves/adds/changes, patching software and firmware for the network equipment. And network operational efficiency and speed are optimized by applying updates from a centralized network management platform.
Managed Wi-Fi as a Service: Enterprise Wi-Fi can be difficult to implement and operate. Since there are no wires to contain the signal, the office signal must be secure and transmissions must be contained within a building or facility. Some service providers today offer a fully managed, cloud-based Wi-Fi service that provides a completly secure and managed solution. They work with technology partners to design and build a network infrastructure that is reliable, able to grow and expand when needed, and easily configurable across locations, facilities and authentication levels. It also makes it easier monitor networks from any site, check performance or see how it is being used.
Best of all, these services require few in-house IT resources, so an organization’s staff can concentrate on business initiatives rather than the infrastructure plumbing.