Scott Lynn – Agilitas Service Director
IT operations are changing dramatically. In a little under ten years, increased globalisation, exponential growth in the speed at which new technologies come to market and the growing dominance of cloud computing have forced a change in how organisations and IT services operate. In 2011, just half of all firms used some form of cloud services, compared to 84 per cent and rising in 2016.
High speed availability in the cloud has increased demand for greater efficiency in all forms of IT operations. We’ve also seen a reduction in the number of on-site systems to support, which is translating to less feet on the ground and more focus on remote technical support and 24/7 IT spares availability to support big centralised data centres.
In this environment, businesses want faster more efficient IT services at reduced costs and without the hassle. It has become easier and often more convenient for resellers to outsource, but where do you draw the line?
Outsourcing in the right way can reduce costs, for example, outsourcing IT spares and some aspects of repair makes complete business sense; provisioning for any spare part that might be needed is always going to be expensive, especially as there is rarely any indication as to what will be required when.
At the same time investing in the right aspects of a business can work to improve customer relationships, taking back control of the services you are providing and business development opportunities as a result.
The traditional model of hardware support solely run by third party maintainers, whereby an engineer is dispatched to make a repair whenever something goes wrong, irrespective of complexity, is outdated. This approach fails to recognise skills of existing staff and changing requirements. Not only do companies have less hardware physically on site, but demand for a more cost effective approach is rising.
Focusing less on outsourcing every aspect of maintenance, and instead investing in training IT staff enables faster, more efficient fault resolution and lower costs by reducing call outs for expert engineers. Growing demand for always-on IT systems has also produced a need to speed up first time fixes.
Upskilling staff can aid this by reducing the number of times specialist engineers are required on site, saving money and the time it takes to resolve a system fault.
Empowering staff to take ownership through quality training is proven to increase retention and wellbeing. At the same time, organisations will be able to improve staff productivity by recognising development needs. Productivity can be increased by up to 14 per cent as a result of higher levels of engagement, meaning businesses can deliver services 26 per cent faster according to research by Towards Maturity.
This investment will help to minimise downtime, ensure staff are up to date with technology advancements and improve personnel retention, whilst servicing customers at the highest possible level.