The way organisations purchase and consume IT and software services is changing. With the onset of cloud and SaaS applications, there has been a move away from traditional models of purchasing and maintenance towards subscription based delivery models. Opex is now the new norm. Enterprises are now demanding the latest technologies and features, inherent security, predictable costs and the highest levels of service – delivered under a subscription model.
ServiceCare ITaaS (IT as a Service) is a solution that includes modern desktop and server hardware, 24×7 support and maintenance, software licensing and the latest security controls – with a predictable per-user monthly subscription charge. The solution can be delivered from your office, datacentre or cloud environment.
Here are Six leading benefits of ITaaS including insights into how the solution can evolve with the requirements of your business.
24×7 Service Desk
The Service Desk is perhaps the most important component of an ITaaS contract. In a first line capacity, the Service Desk can serve as the sole point of contact for your users in regards to technical faults, application queries or or similar issues. For larger organisations with existing IT capabilities in-house, the Service Desk can operate in two modes; as a first line Service Desk or as a second line escalation point.
The availability and operating hours of a Service Desk are also an important consideration. The majority of organisations rely on their infrastructure 24 hours a day, even when the normal business operating hours are 9-5 – primarily for two reasons, remote working and global business models.
- Staff members increasingly work from home, on the road or respond to e-mail outside of normal working hours. While your operating hours may be 9-5, having no e-mail for a weekend will pose a real issue for most businesses.
- A large number of MTG’s customers have several offices, across several time zones – meaning the business is already operating on a 24×7 basis.
For many businesses, staffing full-time employees or night-rotas to provide their own 24x7x365 helpdesk is neither practical or desirable, both operationally and from a budgetary perspective.
The aim of pro-active monitoring is to identify the symptoms or indications of a fault or issue before it develops into something that could cause business impact. Monitoring platforms will track utilisation, health metrics and undertake trend analysis. This continuous monitoring will significantly improve uptime and in the event a potential fault is identified, it will significantly lower MTTR (mean time to repair).
MTG monitor all hardware components, systems availability, software counters and continuously monitor systems events. The NOC (network operations centre) receives and responds to alerts generating by your infrastructure, including security events. These events may be informational (i.e. normal), warnings (i.e. thresholds have been exceeded) or exceptions (i.e. abnormal behaviour). Capturing all of these events and then undertaking event correlation may uncover faults that otherwise would have been difficult to diagnose with this functionality.
Performance and SLA monitoring
An ITaaS contract will be underpinned by a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that will set out the response times and other metrics relating to the service. The metrics contained within the SLA should really align to the demands of your business. Does your business require an immediate 1 hour response? Or can it wait for 4 hours? The components of an SLA normally include response times, prioritisation of faults and time to fix. You also need to validate that the scope of the SLA matches your expectations. Does it include user faults? Third party systems? Vendor management? The ITaaS provider will normally offer several SLA plans that vary in cover and also in price.
Many ITaaS providers will align their operational processes to ITIL – a well established, industry standard for IT service management. Your business does not need to use ITIL, but as a provider – the use of ITIL should deliver a predictable IT service management experience. More importantly, whether your organisation operates ITIL or not – MTG can develop a set of procedures that ensures we interface with your existing business processes in a defined manner.
Maintaining up to date systems is important not only from a reliability standpoint, but so your business can gain access to the latest features, performance enhancements and security fixes. In many respects the security element is perhaps the most important and the most often overlooked. The annual Verizon data breach report found that more than 70% of all cyber attacks exploit known vulnerabilities, with many dating back to 1999!
A coordinated patch regime ensures your systems are less vulnerable to exploitation and attack – which significantly reduces your exposure to cybersecurity incidents. The first step in any pro-active patch regime is to assess your current environment. What systems do you have? What are their existing patch levels? What is the impact of an upgrade?
As part of ServiceCare ITaaS, MTG deploy software agents on all your IT infrastructure estate, alerting us to out of date software and where suitable, automatically patching out of date software and security vulnerabilities. The concept of patching would fall within the SLA and service management process, and in the case of core business systems – it would be subject to systems backups and pre-deployment testing.
Subscription Based Model
Compared to traditional IT service delivery model, the concept of a subscription is perhaps what sets ITaaS apart from its counterparts. The premise of ITaaS is that the whole solution is provided as a subscription. Your business pays a monthly fee that is typically based upon the number of users and systems in-use within your business. As your business changes, the subscription can grow or flex – but still delivering the highest levels of service. This is particularly useful with financial and cash-flow forecasting, projecting forward an operational expense (opex) without having to worry about capital expenditure or holding assets on the balance sheet.
For rapidly growing businesses, ITaaS ensures your IT capabilities grow at pace alongside your business operations. This scalability coupled with 24×7 support and continuous access to expert technical resource will contribute towards your growth. There will be no nasty capex surprises or requirements for IT staff – this is all catered for within the IT services agreement.
For established businesses who heavily rely on IT for their business operations, ITaaS offers a dependable, cost-effective IT service model that provides the highest levels of support and service.
For organisations with their own IT department, the ability to augment this resource with an external ITaaS provider may be a useful addition. ITaaS could cater for the server and core infrastructure, leaving the desktop and end-user support to your existing IT function. Conversely, the ITaaS provider may service your end-users and application faults, leaving your IT function to support and operate the core infrastructure components.
Flexible Delivery Model
ITaaS should be platform agnostic and have a flexible delivery model, yet retain an element of standardisation and predictability in order to achieve the highest levels of service. IT services may be provided from your existing on-premise IT infrastructure (i.e. Server Rooms), from a hosted datacentre environment (i.e. colocation) or using an entirely cloud-based model (i.e. Amazon AWS, Azure) – or all three.
Self-Service Support Portals
A self-service support portal allows your users to open support tickets, check FAQs, follow guides and read knowledge base articles without involving the IT department. This can significantly increase fault resolution times and it will also ensure a consistent means of logging faults. Tickets can trigger internal workflows, escalations and can lead to continuous service improvement through trends analysis. Besides support, the portal will allow your users to request adds/moves/changes, new software, password resets or applications.