The massive growth and uptake of managed services in the UK over the last ten years has required enterprises to build trusted relationships with managed services providers, especially those able to transition mission-critical legacy IT, as part of a push towards digital transformation. So much so that IT outsourcing has grown 15 per cent year-on-year and now accounts for an annual spend of £3.44bn according to the UK Quarterly Outsourcing Index.
Putting the customer at the heart of everything
A recent IDG report in collaboration with TelecityGroup UK found that 64% of UK businesses have identified the implementation of managed IT services (the provisioning and maintenance of technology by a third party), as an opportunity to improve customer experience. But despite the benefits of managed IT services to the wider business, more than half of the UK organisations represented in the survey are still opting for in-house solutions managed wholly by internal staff.
IDG surveyed over 200 senior IT decision-makers and influencers, in order to establish exactly how British businesses are using, and planning to utilise, outsourced technology services. The findings revealed an increasing prioritisation of cloud services as part of ongoing IT outsource plans. With enterprise-wide digital transformation climbing the business agenda, organisations across the country identified managed private cloud (31%) and public cloud (29%) services as key to enabling a move away from proprietary capex-heavy IT resource planning, to deploy a services-led approach.
For many organisations, managing technology is a necessity rather than a core element of their business, so outsourcing IT functions to expert providers is an increasing priority. Cutting down the time and costs associated with IT management has the potential to free up significant resources, which could be spent on business growth and more customer-centric initiatives, while reducing business risk. For many businesses, a decrease in time spent on technology that could be handled by experts outside of the organisation delivers a work force more dedicated to driving organisational innovation and improved customer care.
Digitally transforming the face of British business
As the technology landscape continues to evolve, the readiness of service providers to address the complex IT needs of buyers will be critical to driving adoption. Strategic technology management through a trusted partner is one of the most effective enablers of improved customer experience, as it puts IT in the hands of the experts, leaving the business to focus on what it does best. While not every organisation will be ready for a complete outsourced model, IT buyers will increasingly turn to cloud services, as they attempt to address IT modernisation challenges and accelerate digital transformation objectives.
To effectively manage IT provisioning for the digital age, it’s imperative for businesses to maximise the efficiency of their existing resources, while applying prudent expenditure on new deployments. As highlighted by the research, around a third of businesses will be doing just that, by turning to outsourcing in the near future to benefit from the advantages the cloud has to offer.
The selection of a managed services partner is complex. It involves several stakeholders from across different areas of the business, reflecting the wide-ranging significance of IT to the enterprise as a whole. The managed services market is moving towards more complex, value-added services such as cloud and security, while IT support – such as helpdesks – is assuming an increasingly lower priority in the value chain.
Moving forwards with managed services
The payback time for managed services is notably rapid too according to the research findings, with the vast majority of enterprises achieving a return on investment within the first 12 months. Given the increased importance of digital transformation for businesses across all industries, the survey also revealed the increasing role of the C-suite in the decision-making process. More and more CIOs and CEOs are involved in the procurement process than ever before, a clear sign of the growing recognition amongst businesses as to the strategic advantages of a forward-thinking, innovative IT model.
Managed services providers will be evaluated on their ability to address the needs of buyers, particularly around how they measure up to a selection of key criteria, including industry expertise, reputation, availability of quality infrastructure, and their overall focus on customer service. In the upcoming 12 months, IT buyers will increasingly turn to cloud services, as they attempt to address IT modernisation and digital transformation objectives. As the technology landscape continues to evolve, the readiness of service providers to address the complex IT needs of buyers, along with their ability to offer comprehensive business solutions will be critical to driving the adoption of services.