‘Digital transformation’ has to be one of the buzziest business phrases around. Do more with less!the headlines cry. Innovate! Enhance! Expand!
Yes, there’s a lot of hot air out there – and a lot of contradictory definitions. But the truth is that if we work with one of the simpler explanations of what digital transformation actually is – the replacement of manual processes with digital ones – then it really is something that all organisations should be interested in. In this sense, digital transformation can drive dramatic operational efficiencies, generate new data analytics and business intelligence, and free up resource to focus on genuine innovation and service development.
But what has all this got to do with managed services? Surely those are all about ‘keeping the lights on’ rather than driving business change?
Certainly, some IT managed services remain little more than a technical support service, responding to incidents and queries as they occur. However, many managed services providers are actually a critical part of broader digital transformation strategies – and it’s all thanks to the cloud.
Public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures are among the great drivers of digital transformation, because they offer organisations the opportunity to deploy new applications and handle large volumes of data in a highly flexible and cost-effective way. With cloud deployment models, even small businesses can take advantage of, for example, next-generation collaboration tools or sophisticated business intelligence software. The cloud makes digital transformation a possibility for everyone.
However, there is a caveat. Cloud infrastructures can be complicated to manage. Data and applications are no longer hosted and managed on-site. Multiple different third parties may be involved. A mixture of public and private deployment models may be used, creating unique hybrid infrastructures. What is the solution to complicated IT management projects? That’s right – managed services providers.
In an era focused on digital transformation, the role of managed services providers is changing. For organisations looking to achieve digital transformation by deploying a range of new applications and platforms – many delivered via the cloud – managed services providers can offer the holistic management and single point of technical contact required to do this in a sustainable way. That is, managed services providers can help even small businesses to harness the transformational benefits of multiple cloud deployments.
Managed services providers offer a far broader and deeper spread of technology skills and experience than the typical small or medium sized enterprise can support in-house. This means that they are powerfully placed to give guidance and support as businesses migrate applications or processes to the cloud, and generate new data and analytics for tangible business actions.
However, to reap the rewards you need to choose your managed services provider carefully. Finding a genuine business partner, who is as committed to digital transformation for your business as you are, is crucial. Look for a managed services provider with a broad and demonstrable spread of skills and experience and a long-term outlook, but specifically ask for explanations of how they work proactively rather than reactively, and how they measure their success. Achieving digital transformation is all about considering the processes and insights your organisation requires, and deploying digital technology to meet them; that is, it begins with your business goals.