But, years ago, my thinking changed. I realized that I was missing out on precious time with my kids because I was spending half my summer weekends on yard work. And so, I hired a lawn service. While I was reluctant to open my wallet, I realized that the opportunity to spend time with my family was worth more than the cost of hiring someone else to do the lawn.
We’re seeing this same sort of shift in mindset happening more frequently among business and IT leaders regarding managed IT services. For many IT leaders, the prevailing school of thought used to be: “Why hire a partner to provide managed services for tasks we can do ourselves?” That’s changing to: “Why should we do these tasks ourselves, when they keep our staff from tackling more important projects?”
Here are four trends I see driving adoption of managed IT services.
1. Companies Embrace As-a-Service Thinking
The advent of the public cloud has done a lot to change companies’ thinking about their IT strategies. Now that many organizations are relying on an as-a-service model for cloud software and infrastructure, it’s no longer a stretch for business and IT leaders to also consider managed services. For example, when CDW Managed Services manages a company’s on-premises Cisco WAN infrastructure, CDW is essentially delivering WAN as a Service — even though customers own their hardware.
This as-a-service paradigm is further extended if CDW includes the hardware as part of the managed service. It’s something of a semantic shift, but viewing managed services in the realm of as-a-service is helping more customers justify the cost and strategy of managed services.
2. Commodities Move to Managed Services
In the past, companies turned to managed service providers mostly to help with systems that strained the capabilities of their in-house staff. But today, organizations are engaging managed services for IT tasks that are more commonly considered utility or commodity infrastructure, such as routing, switching, wireless and backup.
While these aspects of IT are critically important to an organization, it is not strategically savvy for internal staff to handle them. You can think of these services as you would your utilities: Businesses need electricity and water to function, but they rely on external partners to provide them.
3. IT Environments Need Support for a Wider Variety of Systems
A growing number of our customers are asking us for a broader swath of support. Before, organizations might have focused their out-tasking strategy on managing a discrete component, such as the WAN or the firewalling infrastructure. But many are now coming to us for assistance with public cloud resources, storage and backup environments, technical help desk, patch management and other portions of their IT environment. In response, CDW Managed Services is constantly expanding its service catalog to ensure we can meet our customers’ needs.
4. Organizations Pursue Integration with Service Providers
Increasingly, companies want to integrate their tools and operations with CDW’s tools and operations. The most prevalent example is probably real-time integration for ticketing systems. What this means is our customers’ IT staffers can log in to their own company’s IT service management platform and see progress on help tickets that are in our system.
This isn’t absolutely necessary, because our customers can already see their tickets by logging in to our online portal. But it’s just one more way that companies can receive a seamless managed service experience. And with more businesses embracing managed services for more components of their IT environment, that seamless experience is more important than ever.