Chris Preimesberger | Eweek

Global IT service providers have an understanding of disparate, multi-technology, multi-geography IT environments that are strategic in delivering cloud IT on a worldwide scale.

Gartner’s most recent Magic Quadrant for the public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) sector clearly shows that IT service providers are moving into a space currently owned by pure-play cloud and data center service providers. This trend is sure to ramp up this coming year. As an option for enterprises considering cloud services, IT service providers deliver a complete mix of strategic planning, solutions/services and support. As a result, enterprises’ immediate demands for cloud architectures can be met and extended in the areas of virtualization, data center and storage, managed services and hosting, and IT outsourcing. More specifically, global IT service providers have an understanding of disparate, multi-technology, multi-geography IT environments that are strategic in delivering cloud IT on a worldwide scale—something in which pure-play cloud providers do not specialize. As enterprises look at engaging IT platforms as a service; set cloud, hosting and networking strategies; and reduce the number of providers with whom they work to meet all their needs, IT service providers will become increasingly strategic to enterprise buying decisions.

eWEEK got together with Yogesh Rami, senior director of product marketing in the Cloud Solutions Business Unit at Dimension Data, to put together a list of the top 10 ways service providers will change the enterprise cloud landscape in 2013.

Johannesburg, South Africa-based Dimension Data works with companies such as Cisco and others to manage more than $12.5 billion of network infrastructure across Asia, Australia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa—24/7, in 15 languages—on its own managed-services cloud.

1. IT service providers get the big picture. While pure-play cloud providers obviously can meet cloud-specific requirements, IT service providers often have extensive experience designing and supporting enterprises’ broader IT architectures, which is also essential for successful cloud deployments. For example, a cloud implementation can often involve a multi-year journey that requires intense support at various stages, from determining the level of cloud readiness at the beginning to becoming fully cloud-ready. The process also often involves planning and integration work in the areas of networking, application rationalization, governance, security and more. IT service providers often have the expertise and capabilities to be a one-stop shop that can address all of these needs during a cloud deployment.

2. Experience counts for expert guidance. Many enterprises are investigating and evolving their approaches to IT in order to ensure success in their current markets, capture new market opportunities and/or continue to grow in an uncertain economy. Many IT service providers have been around for a number of years, uniquely qualifying them to address the complexities of their clients’ IT environments, beyond cloud. As a result, IT service providers can offer expert guidance and direction to enterprises on how to demystify their IT maturity situation and start their journey toward the cloud. IT service providers with proven track records and a complete portfolio of cloud services will stand out.

3. Have IT your way. Organizations want flexibility while on their cloud journeys. Some IT service providers can offer cloud “as you like it,” and can help companies evaluate private, public and hybrid options to determine the best approach for their businesses. Additionally, organizations need total cost of ownership (TCO) analyses, seamless application integration into the cloud, and simplified management when they build out their cloud architectures—all of which goes far beyond basic, one-size-fits-all cloud solutions.

4. One hundred percent integrated offerings are available. Businesses expect complete solutions covering integrated hardware and software infrastructure orchestration, provisioning, billing, support and simplified administration, which IT service providers are well-equipped to deliver.

5. Enterprise-grade IT is on the menu. Enterprises need and demand reliability, high-availability and uncompromised performance with security, compliance and stringent service-level agreements (SLAs) when moving to the cloud. IT service providers typically already have a historical advantage in providing best-of-breed technology and enterprise-class solutions and services that are customized for their clients’ unique needs while other providers may base their services on the lowest-cost infrastructure.

6. You get instant global reach with local execution. As organizations pursue new market opportunities around the globe, they want rapid access to additional resources that can scale with their business needs yet still provide local execution and support. Many IT service providers operate data centers around the globe with localized support teams that allow them to bring additional capacity online within a matter of minutes and access in-market resources to help with questions or issues.

7. IaaS removes the age-old bottlenecks. Many organizations require a greater degree of agility to innovate and respond to rapidly changing business demands. In many cases, their own IT departments are operating with finite resources and limited bandwidth. A number of recent surveys indicate that 60 percent to 70 percent of IT resources are tied up on maintenance, while a mere 30 percent to 40 percent are committed to innovation. IT service providers can provide a suite of services to manage and monitor IT systems infrastructure, freeing up staff to focus on innovation.

8. Say goodbye to tired applications. Optimization of core business applications (ERP, CRM, financial apps, etc.) is essential to ongoing business operations.  While acquiring a cloud-based application is easier now than ever, there are numerous considerations that go beyond the application itself. Clients must address governance, security, change management, database management, performance management and more. IT service providers are able to address these considerations at every layer when helping clients make the move to cloud.

9. You get proven leadership. Organizations want to differentiate and win customers, and they want to work with a leader when making the move to the cloud. Often with a larger and broader set of clients, an IT service providers’ experience, services portfolio and global delivery capabilities put them at the top of the list of proven leadership.

10. It’s about more than only the cloud. The cloud is just one of several IT-changing technology trends enterprises are struggling to address, including enterprise mobility/BYOD (bring your own device), converged communications/video and others. As they consider these emerging technologies, IT service providers can offer a holistic view of the ideal scenarios to ensure seamless and cost-effective deployments that will enable the business over the long term.


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