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How IT can close the innovation gap

Francis Thangasamy, Vice President, Advanced Services, Asia Pacific, CenturyLink | Jan. 12, 2016
Francis Thangasamy of CenturyLink discusses the challenges IT departments face when managing their IT infrastructure in-house, and how a managed service provider can become the IT team’s key partner in enhancing value within the organisation.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The recent call by the Monetary Authority of Singapore's Financial Centre Advisory Panel to improve innovation in the insurance industry would have resonated with many in the business world. Such a message to innovate is not new and all industries have been asked to follow suit, necessitated by high labour costs and a decrease in the foreign worker quota.

IT departments are not immune to this but the challenge is that operational demands create a gap between the ability to maintain a business' IT infrastructure and their potential to drive innovation within the organisation. More enterprises are realising that managing their in-house end-to-end IT infrastructure independently can be more costly, complex and at times inefficient. It also may hinder them from innovating and implementing new technologies.

For one, IT professionals often spend much of their time on operational tasks, such as ensuing data security, maintaining organisational infrastructure and applications, providing technology support and reacting to problems as they arise on a daily basis. This reactive mind-set can keep IT teams from taking a step back, from the day-to-day processes, to focus on innovation. As a result, IT teams' focus on meeting business needs through innovative projects is hampered.

There is a misconception that IT managers may lose control of their IT infrastructure, face budget cuts or be made redundant if they outsource. But that is far from the truth. To survive and thrive and more importantly, succeed in this competitive IT landscape, IT leaders need to place their trust in the right managed services partner, with a proven track record and vast experience in elevating their existing customers in adopting new technologies such as big data and digital transformation.

Today, addressing IT skills is no longer just about equipping IT staffers with in-demand skills like data science. It is about investing in increasing the productivity of existing employees. This is backed by IDC's 2016 worldwide enterprise infrastructure predictions, where people will be a key enabler to 3rd platform computing. Through outsourcing, the in-house IT team will be able to troubleshoot problems as well as fix basic infrastructure issues more effectively and efficiently when the need arises.

A managed service provider can become the IT team's key partner to enhance the team's value within the organisation instead of becoming a replacement of the internal team. Ultimately, they help IT teams achieve core business and technology goals, and drive the innovation the business requires to stay competitive and ahead of the competition.

In 2016, enterprises will start having in-depth conversations on hybrid IT and will be keen to understand what can be outsourced and moved off-premise, as well as what should remain on-premise. This is where working with the right managed services partner can greatly benefit the enterprise and add significant value. By identifying and establishing the optimal mix of existing infrastructure and outsourced services, enterprises can better drive agility, modernise their IT environments and maintain competitiveness without overcommitting resources on capital expenditure.


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