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Top Six Motivations for Managed Services

What's motivating you to think about managed network services? Is it cost? If so, you'll be surprised to hear that you're somewhat behind the times. A new report cites six top reasons companies turn to managed services, with cost ranking all the way down the list at number four.

According to Warren H. Williams, Vice President and Senior Program Director of IntelliCom Analytics -- a market research firm focusing on managed services, outsourcing, and other technologies -- cost was a big factor several years ago. Today's list of motivations, however, looks like this:
    ● Improved overall network performance
    ● Increased network reliability
    ● Increased network availability
    ● Reduced operations cost
    ● Improved network quality of service
    ● Reduced business risk
Cost Superseded by Convergence
Cost is still important, certainly, but Williams' research over the last three years reveals a growing shift in priorities. "The corporate network has become a strategic resource; the Internet is a vital part of marketing, investor relations, customer satisfaction, and employee access to information," he writes. "Networking complexity and security requirements have increased exponentially."

This equates to nothing less than a multi-threaded convergence. On the one hand, there's the convergence of communications capabilities, such as data, voice, and video. On the other hand, there's the convergence of the network as the platform for a multitude of business processes.

Combating Complexity
Williams envisions these issues coming together "on a single infrastructure, with the objective ... of facilitating communication between man-to-man, man-to-machine, and machine-to-machine regardless of the endpoint." The end result? A flexible infrastructure that can support changing business conditions. Coupled with this capability, however, he says, is an "ever-increasing complexity, increased performance and reliability expectations, and increased costs for skilled personnel and management platforms."

Thus, the shift in motivation from cost reduction to network performance improvement. When considering managed services, then, you should look at the widest set of advantages possible: not just cost reduction, or the avoidance of high-priced personnel, but the advantage that comes from the ability to bring more flexibility and agility to your business.