Outsourcing is nothing new. If we look back, information technology service providers like Accenture, IBM, Infosys, Cognizant and other tech giants have been working with clients via comprehensive IT outsourcing contracts for years. For smaller clients, the term “managed services” often revolved around desktop support services.
In the early days of iVision, between 2004 and 2007, we provided consulting and staff augmentation services. In 2008, we started our first 24×7 Network Operation Center (NOC) support services amidst rapidly evolving technology, a massive global recession and cuts in staff and training budgets. Salesforce was already in motion of taking Siebel’s place, perfecting the SaaS marketplace. AWS was the pioneer for cloud computing and IaaS. However, despite emerging markets for SaaS and IaaS, there was still a large gap between technology support services and adoption.
Although we had some mid-market and larger enterprise IT teams that leveraged us for managed services as a true partnership, many IT teams viewed managed services as competitive. We saw several IT teams that felt threatened by service providers coming in and taking over a service. Back then, iVision’s managed services offerings were primarily network, private cloud (data center, compute, virtualization, DR) and specific Microsoft applications.
We have invested millions in managed services infrastructure, processes, people, credentials and a strong knowledge base. Additionally, with the adoption of emerging consumer products, like iPhones and iPads, came accelerated pressure for IT departments to support these devices and, even more so, mobile applications as they became prominent across the globe. This created an environment that necessitated partnering with external IT providers to provide better support and reduce security risks. This trend helped reimagine managed services, making them more widely embraced by both mid-market companies and large enterprises across the board. IT organizations became significantly more focused on supporting their business and LOB’s over owning day-to-day IT operational services. This trend led to iVision becoming a pioneer in the mid-market and enterprise managed services space, allowing us to achieve deep-rooted partnerships, integrating with clients to create a unified team rather than being seen as a vendor or outside threat coming in to take over a service.
Over the years, our managed services offerings have expanded to include security, network, data center, DRaaS, BaaS and public cloud via both Azure and AWS. The complexity of technology is increasing every day, requiring ongoing analyses to make sure our clients are receiving the best designs and best services, all at the appropriate cost. Currently, we’re seeing most companies make the following moves, and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing these trends accelerate for the next handful of years:
CISO’s, CIO’s and IT leaders have come to the realization that it is increasingly difficult to stay one step ahead of hackers, and they realize that they are only one security breach away from potential massive corporate, and even personal, career liability. We are seeing companies understanding the value of XaaS security offerings like DRaaS/BaaS, which allows clients to restore their data within minutes in the event of an attack and only realizing seconds of data loss. Other XaaS offerings that are really starting to take off are SOCaaS and Vulnerability Management as a Service (VMaaS). Organizations are starting to understand the value of outsourcing these services and leveraging organizations with armies of people focused on ensuring their network is secure.
2. Move to Public Cloud
Organizations are increasing their workload transition to Azure and AWS, including everything from test/dev to Microsoft 365. Companies are realizing that cloud is a safe environment for their applications, and providers like Azure and AWS offer exceptional features like AI/Machine Learning, CDN, load-balancing, containers and security that allow clients to confidently put an application in the cloud and obtain everything they need for applications to serve users with tremendous nimbleness.
3. DRaaS/BaaS with Microsoft Azure as the Target
Given licensing options from Microsoft, we believe that many mid-market and enterprise organizations can save money and reduce headache and risk by leveraging Azure as the target for their data recovery and backups, as well as taking advantage of iVision’s detailed customization, creating specific plans for each unique requirement.
4. DC Consolidations & OPEX
With technology constantly evolving, we are seeing physical equipment and private data center footprints getting smaller and smaller. IT executives are realizing they don’t need huge cages in data centers to store their equipment. They also understand that because IT equipment (hardware and software) is constantly changing for the better, it doesn’t always make sense to purchase it right away. For these reasons, among others, we are seeing organizations consolidate data centers and leverage the cloud more and more. Additionally, with a growing focus on OPEX purchases, we are seeing top manufacturers like Cisco providing significant flexibility for software and hardware purchases for clients.
Even before the pandemic, we started seeing organizations focus on improving performance and lowering the cost of their networks. With the transition to the cloud, most clients see the need to rearchitect their network, and with the lower cost and improved performance of SD-WAN technology, this space has really taken off. We’re able to provide clients with much better performance and increased security at a much lower cost than ever before.
6. Endpoint Management
We all want the ability to access data from any device anywhere, but sometimes we don’t realize how much pressure that puts on an IT organization to deliver successfully. With a service like endpoint management, clients are realizing that they can outsource this service successfully, being assured each device is being monitored and patched, while allowing their IT team to focus on the needs of the business.
Looking forward, from 2021 to 2025, we fully expect the trends above to continue and accelerate. The pandemic has only placed more emphasis on IT executives to ensure strategic execution of IT cost optimization, remote worker performance, digital transformation and security. These trends require technical architecture expertise, cost analysis, transformational services, and ultimately ongoing operational services. With this, managed services will continue to grow.
In addition to the significant increase in the use of the public cloud, with the speed that business moves today, companies want fewer partners to help them save time. Additionally, with the significant shortage of highly qualified IT architects and engineers in relation to demand, organizations will continue to focus more of their internal full-time employees to support the needs of the business, thus having a managed services partners to make sure that systems are patched and secure.
For iVision, with the unique way that we deliver managed services as a true partnership with a high touch services approach, we’ve had the opportunity to grow our managed services at over 2x the market growth rate. Given the investments we have made in managed services people, infrastructure, processes and partnerships, we’ve maintained growth in a very sustainable fashion. Additionally, we have found that managed services are a natural addition to a successful consulting services transformational projects. As new technologies are introduced with architecture and consulting services, a follow-on managed services relationship can ensure current organizational IT teams are not overburdened and that the business is properly supported.
As we continue to transition into the increased dependency on cloud and strong, secure networks and remote work capabilities, it’s crucial that companies team up with partners they can trust and that have a track record of earning clients for life every day. To learn more about how iVision continues to evolve with the industry, check out our managed services offerings.