6New technology is great for organizations. It lets users be more productive, allows for cost savings, and keeps the company ahead of their competitors by allowing them to provide better customer service. Experienced network administrators, however, know that the more advanced technology gets the more difficult it is to keep it running. A managed network service closes the gap on the required support.
Companies expect to hire consultants to design, deploy, and train them on new technology. They are also used to paying annual maintenance for manufacturers support on specific software or hardware. What is normally left to the IT staff is the knowledge and capability to know how everything works together. What organizations are starting to realize is, the ongoing support requires a higher level of knowledge and experience than internal IT staff typically have.
That is one of the reasons why there is such a big move toward hosted IT services. The hosted application providers have a valid point in their marketing that it takes advanced skills to support advanced technology.
What is often not mentioned is that having outsourced applications means that a company’s internal network has to be even more reliable and secure while performing at a higher level than before. It takes a lot of skill and experience to be able to support today’s advanced LAN’s and WAN’s, especially when they are running converged applications over them like voice and video, while keeping everything secure.
Because of these advanced requirements, many organizations have started using managed network services to assist them in maintaining their advanced data networks in optimum working condition. It is tempting to turn over the responsibility for the entire network to a large organization that will promise to take care of everything. Unfortunately, since many of these organizations offer support only, when it comes time for design, deployment, or getting someone on site for local troubleshooting, they are not able to handle it.
Most organizations would prefer to work with a local support organization, for many of the same reasons that people use local companies for other services they contract. To get good quality managed services from local providers, it is best to find out what they specialize in, and asked them if they partner with other local providers for other aspects of support. Another alternative is to work with a local provider who resells and provides local backup services from a larger service provider.
Think of these local providers as an extension of the organization’s IT staff. Manufacturer support it is still necessary. The manufacturer’s support typically includes product upgrades, phone and/or email technical support, and product replacement within either a 4 hour or next business day timeframe. This is an important element of maintaining system uptime.
When engaging service providers for extended support, check their references carefully, make sure all costs, services, and expectations are agreed upon in writing up front. Furthermore, make sure there is an option to cancel the contract within a reasonable timeframe.
Author: Rolf Versluis
Published at Priority Queue