The ways in which organisations use outsourced IT services (IT support, IT management and helpdesk support) have evolved radically over the years, as both technology and business processes have changed.
The advent of cloud computing allows companies to do even more with their IT systems, allowing the monitoring, maintenance and management of their infrastructure to be carried out remotely by a 3rd party IT support company.
A key trend in the IT support and maintenance market is the shift to using “IT as a Service” (ITaaS). With ITaaS, IT services can be customised to meet a company’s exact operational requirements whilst at the same time delivering cost efficiencies and time savings.
What are the main reasons for the rise in popularity of ITaaS, and why does it make sense to consider shifting to an ITaaS model?
From ‘build’ to ‘consume’
The ITaaS model is consistent with what consultants McKinsey & Company call the “fundamental shift from building IT to consuming IT”.
The argument made in the McKinsey Survey “2016 IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) Cloud and Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure” survey is that many businesses are moving – or planning to move – their IT systems to a hybrid cloud infrastructure, with cost, time to market and quality being the main drivers.
So what is ITaaS?
There are many definitions, but depending on how your own business operates ITaaS is a service delivery model that allows you to source the exact IT services that you need for an agreed fee each month.
While it is possible to source every element of your IT needs (including PCs, laptops etc), it is still more common for organisations to source their software and services (IT support and management) in this way.
The core of the model is that organisations can operate any or all of their IT requirements in a lean, efficient, convenient way, paying for exactly what they need, when they need it.
It’s a tempting and compelling model.
Let’s look further into why this is.
Reason 1: Savings on up-front investment and ongoing costs
As mentioned above, many organisations prefer to own their PCs and laptops. But in the case of server infrastructure, capital investment costs and other up-front costs associated with them can be avoided with ITaaS.
With a hosted server model, you’ll typically pay monthly for “usage” as opposed to the purchase, of the server, though in hybrid cloud models you can still own your own server infrastructure and place it in a 3rd party data centre.
Cost savings also come from paying only for what you use. So for example, rather than having to pay for a 20 user license, when you only have 15 employees, ITaaS will allow you to add on additional software licenses as and when you need them.
Reason 2: Scalability
ITaaS is easily and quickly scalable. You can start small, and add additional components according to your business plan or growing needs.
It is equally straightforward to cancel services you no longer need, for instance in times of a downturn or because of changing requirements.
Reason 3: Continuity
IT continuity is a critical requirement for every organisation because the smallest glitch in software or hardware can affect your wider business operations. Witness the IT meltdown at British Airways in May 2017, where over 1000 flights were cancelled and thousands of passengers faced delays. The Guardian newspaper suggested that the compensation bill could potentially reach to £100 million.
ITaaS providers typically offer round the clock monitoring to ensure systems are operating correctly, using failover systems and uninterruptable power supplies, and backup services which can be efficiently restored in the case of a complete failure of primary systems.
Reason 4: Efficiency
Very few organisations can be completely self-sufficient in supporting and managing their IT systems and technologies.
As an alternative to relying on internal resources to maintain and monitor IT systems, ITaaS lets you delegate responsibility to an ITaaS support provider that can typically cover everything remotely.
Your IT support provider will be able to access cloud-based servers and client machines for maintenance, configuration and troubleshooting.
An ITaaS provider will also provide a continuous monitoring service, using complex software to alert IT service engineers to anomalies or glitches, so that steps can be taken fast to avoid a serious issue developing.
In this way, ITaaS can be more comprehensive and ultimately more efficient for organisations who choose not to manage everything themselves.
Reason 5: Security
The relentless rise of online security incidents makes cybersecurity a major concern for all types of organisations – yet many are not in a position to give it the attention it needs.
An ITaaS provider will ensure that all the relevant components of your IT infrastructure are secured, that effective security measures are taken and that any data breaches are dealt with efficiently. It can also help you maintain security regulation compliance (see article on GDPR).
Reason 6: Maintenance of current, up to date systems
A key issue in maintaining high levels of network security is the requirement for ongoing patching and updating of software to ensure it is current.
An ITaaS provider will ensure that software systems throughout the organisation are kept up to date not just at the server level, but also by pushing updates to software in use on client machines such as laptops and desktop computers around the business.
If you are currently operating software systems such as CRM, accounting, email, VoIP telephony, filesharing and back-ups, business continuity systems and other ancillary IT services in the cloud, you’re already well on the way.
Alliance Solutions is an IT support specialist that offers cloud-based services which can help your organisation gain the ITaaS benefits described above.
Talk to Alliance Solutions about the benefits we can bring to your particular organisation on 0800 292 2100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.