Updated on 23 September 2010
Services are no longer considered a support system; in fact, most enterprises have re-christened the core philosophy of services. They are now called ‘Professional Services’ and given exclusive status.
Continuous technology advancements, constant innovation, increased customer expectations and newer levels of competition are repainting the competitive landscape that companies operate in. This is now forcing business leaders to rethink solution pathways that will help capture new market opportunities, where services play a significant role.
Overwhelmingly, the challenges are not about technology per se; there are a plethora of technology choices available. The main challenge is how to apply technology to maximise business benefits. Businesses need to identify problems and apply the right technologies to serve customers, while at the same time become more productive and cost efficient. However, without the right resources and expertise, simply implementing the latest and greatest technology is a risky and costly proposition.
The basic requirement to enable a business gain optimum benefits from technology is a robust suite of ‘services’ that help various business units to be connected on a single network platform. Such services must transparently integrate several solutions together and enable their delivery to customers. Along with the right technology and architecture, these services must enable businesses to reduce costs, improve operational efficiencies, increase customer stickiness and expand their capabilities.
This means that a combination of a good architecture, relevant applications and efficient services is required to provide a dynamic business environment that facilitates productivity at all levels. What this also means is that IT managers have an opportunity to take their engagement with business users to a higher level--that of advisors who will help businesses navigate the technology landscape, rethink newer ways to solve business problems and capture new market opportunities.
With the services role or portfolio getting so complex and difficult to comprehend by users, the challenges for IT managers increase further. The IT team has to internally evolve a business and revenue model associated with the services and clearly articulate that no service is free. IT managers need to go with the trend where the services component is moving out of the outsourcing services phenomenon and a combination of managed and integrated services trend is evolving.
Best Foot Forward
IT managers need to understand the network’s lifecycle as the network platform is essential to the delivery of a number of applications and services, creating a rich opportunity for partners to evolve their business model and monetise the opportunity. Services can become the key differentiator and profitability engine for partners and help them grow their professional capabilities.
Many organisations lack the resources to maintain important information about their networks, support decentralised IT resources or operate in multiple remote locations, where network changes occur but are not tracked. They may have security concerns, want to add advanced technologies, or seek to improve the performance of their networks. These customers can benefit from network and security assessments and network optimisation services delivered by their IT teams.
A network assessment analysis, for example, can show customers which areas of their networks need replacement or are at end-of-sale in their lifecycle--be it platforms, components, or software. Network assessments also allow partners to set themselves apart from competition because they act as trusted advisors who can recommend more efficient solutions with confidence and speak with more authority about advanced technologies that could extend and enhance each customer’s unique network deployment.
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