Langenhagen,
25
October
2019
|
11:57
Europe/Amsterdam

Managed services and outsourcing: Why the IT department will not become superfluous

Summary

The increased adoption of outsourcing IT to external managed service providers poses a seemingly obvious question – at what point will internal IT departments be rendered obsolete? While it is certainly true that service providers have demonstrated their ability to take on a widening scope of tasks, including areas that traditionally within the domain of internal IT departments such as service desk and infrastructure management, this is not a zero-sum game. The role of internal IT within the organisation has evolved rather than become cannibalised. As organisations progress through various stages of digitalisation, their IT departments face a growing number of tasks and challenges in different fields. Beyond the demands of business as usual, IT professionals are key in shaping and managing new digital processes, bridging the gap between technology and people, and ensuring that digitalisation aligns with business goals.

Outsourcing is therefore helping to relieve growing pressure on IT departments. Delegating certain arduous and repetitive IT tasks to partners is a successful strategy for unburdening internal IT professionals, allowing them to focus time and resources on higher value transformational projects. Hence, it is not surprising that for example in the field of IT security nearly 40% of companies in Germany already rely on the support of two or three managed security service providers and 54% of companies are turning to external IT security providers.[1] Overall, managed service providers are fulfilling a vital role – and partnering with a digitalisation specialist such as Konica Minolta is a valuable way of accessing crucial guidance and consulting.

Across the board, IT systems are the foundation for success in today’s business environment. SMBs are no exception to this, with IT now the backbone of virtually all operations and relied on to manage increasingly complex company activities in every department. Modern IT environments are inherently dynamic as workplace, communications and server infrastructures need to be constantly adapted in the face of changing working patterns and business environments. Flexibility, efficiency, constant availability, remote collaboration, security, reliability, and ease of use – all of these factors are fundamental. Furthermore, digitalisation is enabling new business opportunities that bring with them both a broader scope of responsibilities of the IT department as well as a new ability to add value. This additionally increases the total number of overall tasks and challenges.

SMBs in particular struggle when it comes to an adequate IT set-up

As IT has grown ever more critical, SMBs have increased their investments in IT – but not always to the same degree. Today, mid-market firms account for the largest share of total SMB IT spending even though their technology deployment may be more advanced than smaller businesses. Over two thirds of global SMB IT spending will be driven by firms with 100-999 employees through 2021. Within the mid-market segment, medium-sized businesses (100-499 employees) will spend $229 billion this year, while large businesses (500-999 employees) will spend $182 billion.[2] According to IDC, SMBs around the world are increasingly interested in investing in resources to improve employee productivity and improve their competitive positions.[3] In spite of this investment, many SMBs in general – and smaller companies in particular – still find themselves with insufficient in-house skills and resources to take on all challenges. Smaller organisations are at the same time seeking to make tactical improvements to improve performance while also looking to direct resources toward more strategic digital transformation.[4] Getting the balance right between everyday tactical measures and strategic projects is one of the key areas where a trusted outsourcing partner can prove highly valuable.

Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
Through our close relationships with our customers and our long-term experiences within the industry, we have seen that IT professionals particularly in SMBs struggle to keep up with technological advances, as they simply lack the necessary resources to take on everything at once. IT staff are often burdened with repetitive arduous tasks such as server management or application updates and therefore simply do not have the time to plan the next steps for an organisation trying to digitalise its processes. A strong and reliable partner like Konica Minolta can be key in providing the support needed so they can focus on core competences and business objectives. With our extensive portfolio of IT services and our broad network of top-tier partners amongst IT suppliers, we can deliver what IT professionals need so they can focus on designing the future of their company IT.
Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

Konica Minolta’s approach: Supporting and empowering rather than replacing internal IT

Rather than replacing a company’s internal IT department, an external solution provider can serve as an extension of the in-house team, providing complementary services and solutions tailored to their needs. As well as addressing tactical everyday demands by taking on specific tasks, Konica Minolta, for example, enables IT departments to be drivers of digital transformation within their organisations. This is achieved through expert consulting that helps each business take a holistic view of their present and future needs and find the best possible solutions for their particular situation.

Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
Konica Minolta aims to help IT professionals focus on what is really important – designing the digital future of their companies and helping the wider workforce gain the greatest advantage from technology. We take this role as champions of users’ needs very seriously, and it’s something we know our customers’ IT teams also want to focus more on. The fundamental principle is that technology needs to adapt to the needs of users and not vice versa!
Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

As an experienced provider of Managed IT Services, Konica Minolta can ensure that systems implemented can be tailored to the exact needs of the organisation – and crucially that the process of implementation is as seamless as possible. 

Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
This customer focus is also reflected in how Konica Minolta introduces new solutions and services. For example, established systems do not need to be replaced, but they can become an integral part of a new IT environment in order to ease the transformation processes significantly. The ultimate goal is to achieve digital transformation as a seamless experience for both the end user as well as the system administrator.
Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

Where there is a need, there is a suitable IT service

With every customer, Konica Minolta thoroughly analyses the company environment to fully understand the needs of the business and then design a tailor-made solution or solution package that perfectly addresses its needs and fully realises the potential of the company’s IT resources. The wide variety of managed IT services help to relieve IT departments by taking on the time-consuming, repetitive and arduous tasks that previously placed a heavy demand on internal resources.

Application monitoring and management services remotely monitor server hardware, storage, applications, operating systems and associated network infrastructure from a central location. Proactive monitoring helps identify issues before they occur, significantly reducing the likelihood of application unavailability.

The service of server monitoring and management is established following an initial detailed assessment of the customer’s servers, network devices, PCs and peripherals in order to provide a transparent and holistic overview of all systems. This is followed by planning, installation, hosting and full-service support for IT systems, such as server monitoring, management tools for business processes and 24/7 remote control capabilities. As a result, the IT landscape as well as its platforms and sourcing are optimised, standardised and consolidated.

An IT service partner can further relieve its customers’ IT support by managing the user help desk via a live support system or by directly linking it up to individual systems. Consequently, the service partner can provide a single point of contact for all IT-related end-user problems, incidents and requests.

With potential threats continually emerging and evolving, protecting a company’s data and IT systems is incredibly challenging and time-consuming. This is an area where the support, expertise and resources of a trusted and reliable partner such as Konica Minolta can prove invaluable. Konica Minolta’s solutions include antivirus and anti-malware services, for example, since ensuring that infrastructure and data are safeguarded against viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, password thieves and other malware threats is essential. A closely managed antivirus service protects the customer’s business-critical data, minimising vulnerabilities and threats posed by malicious cyberattacks. It eliminates both the risks associated with a poorly managed antivirus process and simple human error.

IT security solutions are set up based on a thorough, holistic analysis and assessment of the required security measures. Ideally, it encompasses activities and solutions that prevent both virtual and physical unauthorised access to information – covering all systems, cloud solutions, devices and physical organisation premises. The maturity level of the customer’s IT environment is also checked to determine requirements for optimisation, propose relevant security technologies and design an individual IT security infrastructure with a matching security concept.

To prevent data loss, optimised backup and recovery services ensure availability and include recovery services to protect a customer’s business-critical data – and maximise a customer’s business efficiency. This is achieved by providing a comprehensive, ultra-secure managed backup service, with quick, flexible access to data whenever it is needed. It also includes support to get the customer up and running – even if the worst were to happen.

Creating an IT environment to empower Elajo Invest AB’s work for its customers

Elajo is one of Sweden’s leading electricity, mechanical engineering and energy companies. With its broad expertise, knowledgeable staff of nearly 900 employees and offices in 38 cities across Sweden, the company needs to be where its customers and their projects are. Elajo needed an update of its software and hardware as well as a reliable partner for the delivery of managed network services. Thanks to solutions from Konica Minolta, a new system was implemented that provides the highest level of security while enabling very efficient and simplified workflows – across all different locations.

Olle Westerling, CFO, Elajo
Managing our IT is at the core of our business and we want to limit the internal resources we invest here to a minimum. Hence, in order to be able to focus our resources and efforts on supporting our employees, our IT department turned to Konica Minolta, our long-established, proven partner.Through the close dialogue between the two companies before the start of the project, Konica Minolta gained an in-depth understanding of Elajo’s needs and was thereby able to tailor the service to exactly the desired outcome, freeing up internal resources. In many ways, it feels like Konica Minolta’s experts have become a part of our IT team.
Olle Westerling, CFO, Elajo

Focus IT resources on what matters most

Even as more businesses benefit from managed IT services, fears for the demise of the internal IT department are ill-placed – managed IT services can never become a substitute for having IT professionals within an organisation. However, as the burden of managing business-as-usual functions decreases, in-house IT staff will be increasingly dedicated to using existing resources more efficiently and effectively. And for smaller businesses, this ability to reduce the strain on internal resources is a game changer – particularly as delivering and maintaining a sophisticated and secure environment through internal resources becomes ever less feasible for the majority of companies.

As a result, it is smaller companies and SMBs that can often gain the most from outsourcing. A close relationship with a reliable and experienced IT partner such as Konica Minolta delivers the services necessary to free IT professionals from repetitive maintenance, enabling them to proactively drive the strategic direction of a company’s technology environment.

Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
With Konica Minolta’s solutions and services we help companies and their IT experts arrive at an ideal setup. This lets them focus on what’s really important – the success of their business.
Kieron McDonald, ITS Sales Development Specialist, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

[1] Deutsche Unternehmen offen für externe IT Sicherheitsservices; Computerwoche; 2018; https://www.computerwoche.de/a/deutsche-unternehmen-sind-offen-fuer-externe-it-sicherheitsservices,3545923,2

[2] Worldwide SMB IT Spending to Pass $600 Billion in 2018, Driven by Mid-Market Demand for Software and Services, According to IDC; IDC; 2018; https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS43565918

[3] Worldwide SMB IT Spending to Pass $600 Billion in 2018, Driven by Mid-Market Demand for Software and Services, According to IDC; IDC; 2018; https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS43565918

[4] Worldwide SMB IT Spending to Pass $600 Billion in 2018, Driven by Mid-Market Demand for Software and Services, According to IDC; IDC; 2018; https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS43565918

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About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. Konica Minolta enables its clients to champion the digital era: with its unique imaging expertise and data processing capabilities, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers and solves issues faced by society. As a provider of comprehensive IT services, Konica Minolta delivers consultancy and services to optimise business processes with workflow automation. The company further offers its customers solutions and managed services in the field of IT infrastructure and IT security as well as cloud environments. With regard to its office printing solutions, ‘IDC MarketScape: Western Europe Smart Multifunctional Peripheral 2018 Vendor Assessment’ stated that Konica Minolta is ‘recognised globally as a leading smart MFP provider of note’. As a strong partner for the professional printing market, Konica Minolta offers business consulting, state-of-the-art technology and software and has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa (InfoSource). In the healthcare sector, Konica Minolta drives digitalisation of clinical workflows and offers a broad range of next-level diagnostic solutions. Its Business Innovation Centre in London and four R & D laboratories in Europe enable Konica Minolta to bring innovation forward by collaborating with its customers as well as academic, industrial and entrepreneurial partners. For its solutions that combine ‘smart service with smart technology’, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘Buyers Lab PaceSetter Award for Outstanding Serviceability 2018/2019’ from Keypoint Intelligence. Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With almost 10,300 employees (as of April 2019), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over EUR 2.39 billion in financial year 2018/19.

For more information, please visit http://newsroom.konicaminolta.eu/ and follow Konica Minolta on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter @KonicaMinoltaEU.

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