Take a look at your business; its very success is tied to technology. Whatever the industry, growth, efficiency and much more are dependent on an organisation’s IT infrastructure. For the IT services industry, this has understandably had a profound effect. Dependency on technology to support your core business and ensure customer satisfaction makes it a key competitive differentiator. If your technology isn’t up to scratch there’s a good chance your business isn’t either.
The importance of effective IT has not been lost on most businesses. Fair to say that they have realised they were unable to manage the demands of effectively running their infrastructure alongside driving and executing on their operational business goals. We’re seeing this borne out all around us as greater numbers of companies turn to managed service providers (MSPs) to step into the breach and fill that skills gap.
It is those that partner with MSPs that can introduce and leverage the latest technologies the quickest. They can tweak and update their service models to accommodate constant change in business requirements and align with customer demands. Being able to get the newest and best solutions to market quicker helps keep existing customers satisfied and can also win new customers too. As MSPs grow in the influence they too need to look at how they can scale their operations. For most, the answer lies in the cloud and network management solutions.
But why the cloud? In optimising operations, three key benefits emerge:
Benefit 1: Flexibility
For MSPs, the number one benefit of leveraging the cloud for the management of their unified wired/wireless networks comes in the form of enhanced flexibility. With an MSP’s customers’ infrastructures geographically spread out, the cloud offers the ability to scale, optimise and manage the distribution of resources, conveniently from one centralised location. What’s more, MSPs are able to use their resources more efficiently. Considering the fact that customer resource consumption varies according to their relatively fluid demands and contracts, additional resources can be deployed or surpluses redirected elsewhere. New networking devices can also be connected in just a matter of minutes without dispatching staff thanks to zero touch provisioning. All in all, the cloud gives MSPs greater freedom and flexibility to scale effectively.
Benefit 2: Better staff management
Unified wired/wireless cloud managed networking platforms offer greater simplicity for deployment and operations, meaning a reduced training burden on MSP staff. It is no longer imperative to invest sizeable amounts of resource – time and financial – to train staff so that they are experts just to keep day-to-day operations running. Instead, teams which are generalists rather than specialists can be employed allowing more manpower to be dedicated to innovation and business transformation.
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Benefit 3: Automation
Any MSP will tell you that customers are more demanding than ever before; being able to respond rapidly and in an agile manner is now a point of differentiation. The key to integrating automation into MSPs’ business models is API technology. Built into network nodes and centralised management, APIs allow applications to directly program the network infrastructure. As a result, cloud-managed solutions with API-enabled automation make it possible for MSPs to become more agile and reactive to customer needs by offering more innovative services and models while retaining a high level of efficiency.
APIs are a huge growth opportunity for MSPs and their customers alike. With APIs playing an increased role, the operations model will become more stable: companies will be able to leverage further their infrastructure and MSPs will be able to optimise and grow their offerings.
The cloud, by accommodating flexibility, improving staff training, and delivering automation capabilities should be the bedrock of all MSPs integrated and all-inclusive network management offerings. In an environment where agility, scalability and efficiency are characteristics of success, the cloud provides MSPs with the competitive edge that will differentiate them from the competition.