Managing the network as the foundation of application availability
Networks are the cornerstone of organisational application availability.
Email and productivity applications, customer and supplier relationship management systems, and services like voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing are changing how, when and where we work. These business-critical applications are bandwidth-hungry and demand highly configurable, highly available networks.
However, as networks converge and grow more complex, maintaining consistent performance is becoming a greater challenge for IT, and straining limited resources. This is prompting forward-thinking IT leaders to evaluate managed services as a cost-effective means of delivering an agreed level of uptime while reducing maintenance costs, benefiting from economies of scale and increasing flexibility and business resilience.
Events and triggers
There are also key events that might trigger an organisation to outsource some or all of its applications to a managed services provider:
- Business change, such as a merger or acquisition, generally requires a level of consolidation and integration of legacy systems, and invariably impacts the scope or scale of a company’s operations.
- Ambitious organisations may need to deploy and support new technologies to achieve their growth targets, or increase their flexibility to be able to sustain competitive advantage.
- Technology inflection points often indicate an opportunity to outsource, such as if the organisation needs to upgrade, refurbish or relocate existing infrastructure, or has specific concerns around network security that it cannot afford to address in-house.
Often, it’s simply the case that today’s business leaders would prefer to focus IT efforts on core operations rather than supporting network applications.
Evaluating a Managed Services provider
Whatever the precipitating factors, the key credentials to look for in a managed services provider are:
- a resilient, enterprise-class network
- proactive management and monitoring of not only the devices that sit on it but the applications that run across it
- Quality of Service (QoS) policies to automatically prioritise traffic from such services and processes to guarantee bandwidth – especially for business critical, latency-sensitive applications
- a transparent, business-grade service level agreement (SLA) that covers specific elements of the infrastructure, with clear, easily accessible performance reporting at device level.
Ronan McCarthy is eircom’s Managed Services Principal. You can connect to Ronan on LinkedIn.