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Do you know your AAS from your Elbow?

In etc / By Guy Deterding / 29 June 2016

If you started a new business tomorrow you wouldn’t spend long thinking about building internal IT capability, you’d go out and buy what you need, as a service (AAS).

So why do you Do IT Yourselves (DIY) now?

The logic, of buying in services as you need them, is exactly the same as a start up. Your business has a specialism and, unless it is IT services, why would you spend time, effort and money building bespoke IT services when there are so many options available from specialist IT providers?

The benefits of buy, rather than build, are considerable now - transparent costs, resilience, security, value for money, flexibility and quality service (make sure you take references) to name but a few.

For me the two “Fs” have become key – Flexibility and Focus. The ability to change solutions or ramp up / down quickly has become particularly critical with the pace of change in many markets.

Focus is a big one too. A business needs it’s whole management team focused on delivering growth in line with the business strategy. IT is an area which, if it starts to under-perform, quickly soaks up the focus of key business players – to the detriment of the business as a whole.

For many years it was a tough decision, whether to outsource or not. It worked for a few businesses in the early days, but the quality and variety of offerings has meant that this has become an easy win, if you haven’t already done it.

There is so much Managed IT on offer as a Service.

The key decision is now around what to retain in house. The received wisdom used to be – never outsource strategy or vendor management. This is no longer true, if you can find a trusted partner, who knows your business well enough to judge what IT options best suit you going forward.

The main options on offer are:

Infrastructure: IAAS – servers, data-centre, security, back-ups.

If you go for IAAS only – by all means pick cheap and cheerful, but remember it needs to be absolutely reliable.

Scenario plan around how long your business can go without IT, including email or phones. What is the potential cost of downtime?

Desktop: DAAS – everything above, plus desktops, printers, potentially all IT kit in the office, including phones.

The approach is similar to IAAS above, you just have more to go wrong!

Software: SAAS – this is provision of one or more applications, consumable from any device via the Internet.

It makes sense to leave the trouble of keeping your key applications running to someone else, but is your software vendor the right partner to do this?

If they get in to financial trouble you could lose everything, including your data. What about managing interfaces between 2 software providers?

Who is to blame if something goes wrong?

Fancy playing referee?

Everything: ITAAS – All of the above. The main advantage of this approach is that you have “one throat to choke”. Your IT provider does it all, including managing all the other third parties involved.

This significantly reduces internal management distraction but you do need a partner who knows you and your business well, and that you can trust absolutely.

There is huge potential value in having a partner who understands the space, the players, the options, and can provide independent advice.

They can help with those things you may not have the bandwidth to achieve with internal resources, such as reviewing business processes - making them slick, reducing error rates, and providing better service for your customers, but choose your partner wisely.

Guy Deterding

Guy Deterding

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