Advertise on ITWeb         Tue, 10 Dec, 15:44:26 PM
[Managed Services Survey]

Skills shortage fuels outsourcing

By Jacob Nthoiwa, ITWeb journalist.

Traditionally, not so many organisations across the globe took managed services and outsourcing seriously.

SA is no exception to this, as the ITWeb and Business Connexion Managed Services Survey discovered. Attracting a total of 142 respondents, less than half (43.4%) revealed that their companies have not considered managed services or outsourcing to date.

According to the chief executive of the service division at Business Connexion, John Jenkins, nothing has really changed, as businesses are still concerned about security issues as well as losing control of their information and infrastructure.

However, he says, with skills shortage as a challenge, more and more organisations are now starting to consider new technological approaches to service provision like managed services and outsourcing.

There has been more pressure in the market to take up outsourcing, as there are compliance issues nowadays, he says. “It has become difficult for CIOs because now they are looking for efficiency in IT so that they can meet the company’s needs in a cost effective manner.”

He says like anywhere in the world, SA was affected by the financial downturn and the control and ownership of infrastructure and information have undergone a shift.

As a result, most companies are continuously seeking new sources of business and revenue, which means new opportunities are rarely ignored, even if these opportunities may fall outside the core competencies of the organisation, Jenkins says.

“Leveraging the experience and skills of an external company without having to invest in learning or the development of new infrastructure is a major driver of outsourcing and managed services,” he points out.

One of the benefits of managed services is that it allows customers who own infrastructure to have a service provider look after the infrastructure and deliver it as a service according to a defined service level, Jenkins notes.

He says this allows organisations to focus on their core business processes while leaving the IT to the service providers.

The overhead associated in keeping a business running can often make providing specific services and products cost-prohibitive, he adds.

Jenkins says packaging software-as-a-service, on-demand services, virtualisation and cloud computing are changing the way people approach managed services and outsourcing. Firstly, through virtualisation, which broke the link between hardware and software, and secondly through cloud computing, which further breaks the link between application and location.

The survey shows nearly half (52%) of the respondents have deployed virtualisation with 23% considering the option. “The reason for this is companies believe that implementing virtualisation is not such a big leap as virtualisation is in a controlled area, he points out.

However, the survey shows that data security and integrity is the main reason for organisations not adopt the managed services and outsourcing model.

Jenkins says this is not a valid concern. “Companies do not understand the managed services model. They should know that the service providers have to comply [with] certain standards.”