Quiz: Is My Company Too Big To Really Outsource IT Or Help Desk?

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Companies are partnering with Managed Solution's leading IT engineers and gaining access to our award-winning 24/7 San Diego-based help desk service.

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4 Ways Outsourcing IT to a Managed Services Provider Can Increase Efficiency

4 Ways Outsourcing IT Through Managed Services Will Help Your Business

Businesses around the world are turning to Managed Services to improve their workplace. Boost efficiency while reducing costs by outsourcing your IT department.

Here are 4 ways outsourcing IT through Managed Services will help your business:

Managed Services

1) Experienced professionals

There are very few problems that an IT outsourcing company has yet to see. Although having in-house IT is beneficial, a one-person or small IT team does not necessarily ensure that you have the faculty needed to manage every IT problem that your business might need help with.

A Managed Services Provider will always have experienced professionals that have faced an outstanding variety of situations and knows how to fix them. Meaning, they can provide the resources and expertise to give you assurance that your IT infrastructure needs will be met top to bottom.

2) Reduce IT and labor costs

By outsourcing IT, you can convert fixed costs into variable costs so you can see and budget for exactly what you need. Benefits such as flexible payment models allow you to scale your business up and down so you pay for what you really need day-to-day, and not for what you think you might need.

Furthermore, MSPs (such as Managed Solution) frequently offer discounted rates on software licensing & hardware, while also analyzing your specific technology needs to provide consolidation and elimination of unnecessary technology to maximize your spend.

Lastly, the hiring process of new IT professionals is becoming more and more difficult, lengthy, and expensive. By outsourcing IT you can override this costly step while still getting the best professionals without the hiring hassle.

3) Increase core business efficiency

By eliminating the headache of an IT department, businesses can get back to focusing on what they do best. This means having more time and resources to implement new business ideas, increase competitive advantage, and also relay these benefits onto the customers.

4) Decrease risk (and increase security)

One of the biggest fears of companies today is losing data. With the digitalization of so many, if not all, important documents, files, research, records, and more, companies have to be more and more aware of backup and disaster recovery.

Managed Services providers can easily implement and explain BDR plans that are custom-fit to each company. This means no more worrying about whose hands your data is in if your employee loses his mobile device or company laptop. All your data can be secure and reliable.

 

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Why automation doubles IT outsourcing cost savings

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why automation - managed solution

Why automation doubles IT outsourcing cost savings

By Stephanie Overby as written on cio.com

New research analyzes automation’s impact on the IT outsourcing market, revealing double-digit productivity improvements and specific cost reductions between 14 percent and 28 percent.

Outsourcing consultancy and research firm Information Services Group (ISG) this week unveiled a new research report to quantify the cost savings and productivity gains from automating IT services.
The inaugural Automation Index shows improvements in productivity fueled by automation can more than double the cost savings typically derived from outsourcing IT. Total cost reduction ranged from 26 percent to 66 percent, depending on the service tower, with 14 to 28 percentage points of these savings directly attributable to automation, according to ISG. (The typical cost savings from labor arbitrage and process improvements alone range from 20 percent to 30 percent).
The report is based on cost and labor data from ISG’s database covering outsourcing agreements with an annual contract value of $10 million or more in which service automation is a core component. The index is one of the first to quantify the impact of automation on IT services. Automation-related technologies and platforms improve the productivity of employees by enabling them to do more with less and prevent problems before they arise, translating into lower costs for buyers by not only reducing the number of provider employees needed to perform the work but also by reducing the amount of work that needs to be performed.
The result, says Steve Hall, partner with ISG Digital Services, is a buyer’s market that’s putting tremendous pressure on services providers to deliver more and more savings to stay competitive. “As automation moves up the IT process value chain and into business processes, it will eliminate a significant amount of workthrough problem avoidance and self-healing, and with it, a significant amount of the headcount needed to deliver large-scale ITO services,” Hall said in a statement accompanying the report.

Where automation has the biggest impact

Automation is having the biggest impact on areas in which employees manage physical devices, such as network services. Most IT towers see an average 25 percent decrease in the number of resources required as a result of automation, but certain IT services experience a 50 percent headcount reduction, according to ISG. ISG found that network and voice costs are declining by 66 percent mostly due to the convergence of voice, video and data solutions built on highly standardized and virtualized capabilities, an environment ripe for leveraging automation. Service desk and end user support costs declined by 26 percent due to increased adoption of self help and remote support, the introduction of self-healing functionality, and significant automation of level one and two incidents.

Higher-order automation

Most of today’s automation is focused on computerizing repetitive tasks based on standard operating procedures but more complex automation is beginning to emerge that takes advantage of more advanced data mining and machine learning capabilities, says Stanton Jones, ISG director of research. That higher-order automation can make operational decisions with no human involvement.
In order to seize the benefits of increased automation and plummeting IT services costs, however, buyers will have to transform to more standardized technology stacks across the IT organization. “The more clients standardize things like operating system instances, application interfaces, ITIL processes, and network infrastructure, the easier it is to automate operations,” says Jones. “Standardization means less interfaces, less complexity and fewer decisions that need to be made, therefore, it becomes easier to automate.”
Buyers should also approach process automation tools with standardization in mind. “Service providers are driving increased productivity into their services by using data mining and machine learning to aggregate and correlate data and then improve the quality and timeliness of decision making for routine and repetitive tasks,” Jones says. “Clients can enable and execute these transformations by accepting standard processes and technologies providers bring to the table.”

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5 Reasons Managed Services is Crucial to Your IT Strategy

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5 Reasons Managed Services is Crucial to your IT Strategy 

Development and implementation of a global IT strategy is crucial to further advancement of your organization’s ever-growing performance goals. However, this task is hindered by a stagnant or diminishing budget. It can be overwhelming for IT managers to maintain a feasible budget for their business in conjunction with ensuring the performance, security, and operational goals are met. Budgeting experts advocate a predictable cost model such as Managed Services.

Below are five reasons you can consider Managed Services as an integral component of your IT strategy.

1. Predictable Cost Structure 

Costs for an IT department include—but are not limited to—equipment, personnel, and training to keep up with industry standards. Managed Services incorporates these costs into one predictable monthly charge. With the expansion and evolution of your business this single monthly cost can be scaled to meet business demands and address out-of-scope work.

2. Advanced Risk Management 

The insurance industry calculates risk and promotes that insurance provides you with peace of mind. Managed Services reflects that very same assurance. Coverage can include:

3. A Shift in Focus to Your Core Business: 

Building and progressing a business has enough challenges as it is. Building and maintaining fundamental IT infrastructure can be just as daunting. Large IT companies choose to outsource their IT to a third-party to then concentrate on revenue-generating initiatives.

4. Future-Proof Strategy:

The future holds an abundance of technical challenges for the security and operation of your business. Delegating the task of maintaining infrastructure parallel to current industry developments gives you the opportunity to focus on other aspects of your organization.

Managed Services is staffed with specialists that handle both basic routers and firewalls so that the transition from one to the other can be a seamless and stress-free process for your network security. Let experts focus on your company’s adaptation to market demands, while you dedicate your time to growth and achievement.

5. Better Value: 

Value of your business operations is crucial to success and customer satisfaction. Value is the outcome that weighs your investments.

Managed Services models have evolved over time through the hard work and commitment of many integrators and providers. Dedication to the perfection of its delivery resulted in benefits and features that greatly contribute to the equilibrium and profit of your company. Lower monthly costs, constructive operations, expert skill sets, more stringent service level agreements (SLAs), and attractive service level objectives (SLOs), are just a few notable examples from an abundant list.

IT is at the core of most businesses; it is the underlying business engine. Your company could be investing substantial capital on building in-house operations for hardware, software, and the skills required to maintain them.

However, the onsite IT staff may be limited to certain operations that are less modern, and a lot rarer, than the wide-array of operations needed for Managed Services.

If you’re interested in easing the burden of cost management predictions in the midst of unpredictable requirements, consider Managed Services as your solution.

Interested in how Managed Services could work for you? Learn more here.

 

New Azure Logic Apps innovation – general availability of cloud-based Enterprise Integration Pack

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New Azure Logic Apps innovation – general availability of cloud-based Enterprise Integration Pack

Written by Frank Weigel as seen on Microsoft Corporation
Businesses are looking for more ways to reduce infrastructure costs without compromising service availability. This results in companies looking for newer cloud development architectures like serverless, giving rise to the need for event triggered integration across multiple third party services.  Developers are turning to serverless solutions like Azure Logic Apps and Azure Functions to automate workflows and integrate systems, thereby accelerating application delivery and reducing costs. Logic Apps enables customers to quickly and easily build powerful integration solutions using a visual designer and a wide set of out-of-the-box connectors such as Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, Office 365 and many more.
Today I am excited to announce another important milestone in integration- the general availability of Enterprise Integration Pack within Logic Apps, which further simplifies business-to-business (B2B) communications in the cloud. It enables you to more easily process business transactions reliably, track and troubleshoot B2B events and leverage additional out-of-the-box connectors.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions

With Enterprise Integration Pack, you can take advantage of a faster, more reliable and versatile B2B/EDI solution than traditional integration solutions. Integration accounts within Enterprise Integration Pack quickly create and manage cloud based B2B related artifacts such as maps, schemas, trading partners, agreements and certificates. With this release, electronic data interchange (EDI) has never been easier. You can send, receive and troubleshoot B2B transactions across a wide variety of protocols including  AS2, EDIFACT and X12. Customers like Mission Linen Supply are already realizing the benefits of EDI capabilities in Logic Apps:
“Today, with our Azure Logic Apps solution, we can get suppliers onboarded within two weeks versus the two months or longer that the [Electronic Data Interchange] provider required. The faster we can integrate partners, the faster we can grow our business.”
– Dave Pattison, Director of IT, Mission Linen Supply
Below is a view of the new integration account within Enterprise Integration Pack:
integrationaccount

Management capabilities

The ability to view and troubleshoot B2B events via system management solutions is as important as enabling comprehensive EDI capabilities. With the Enterprise Integration Pack, you can track B2B events in a number of flexible ways like built-in tracking which can be routed to Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) using the out-of-the-box tracking portal. You can easily view and troubleshoot B2B transactions over AS2 and X12 formats (with EDIFACT coming in the next few weeks). Additionally, a new RESTful tracking API enables you to send tracking events from both Logic App executions as well as other applications for end to end visibility. You can also add and correlate tracking data across your entire business process in Operations Management Suite.
Here is a view of tracking B2B events through the Operations Management Suite portal:
Microsoft Operation Management Suite

Enterprise connectors

We realize that many of our customers are often dealing with mission-critical applications and business processes that can lead to complex, time consuming connection configuration steps. With Logic Apps, we have added more enterprise connectors that make it simple and fast to establish connections with business applications. For instance, with the SAP connector, you can easily connect your on-premises SAP systems to cloud applications using Logic Apps without the need for complex coding required by other serverless products in the market. Today, the MQ Series and SAP ECC connectors are in preview, with more connectors coming in the next few months. For a full list of all currently available connectors, please visit the Logic Apps connectors reference.
Get started today!
With the general availability of Enterprise Integration Pack, you can now start using these services in production with full SLA and support. We are committed to continuous delivery of serverless compute and integration capabilities and will continue to share updates about investments and new releases. In the meanwhile, learn more and try our serverless offerings – Azure Logic Apps and Azure Functions.

Case Study: Marquette University

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Case Study: Marquette University improves communications with familiar voice and conferencing solution

As written on customers.microsoft.com
Marquette University is a coeducational institution in Wisconsin with 11,700 students and 2,700 faculty and staff. The university prioritizes its commitment to providing students and faculty with comprehensive communication tools. As the next step to updating its voice, conferencing, and instant messaging solution, Marquette is moving to Skype for Business and anticipates increased collaboration, flexibility, and adoption, in addition to cost savings.

Business needs

Marquette University is a private Jesuit college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with 8,400 undergraduate students, 3,300 graduate and professional students, and 1,200 faculty. There are 11 different schools and colleges within the university that offer a comprehensive range of majors. Marquette is a nationally ranked institution with notable designations as a Changemaker Campus and the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Marquette is an early adopter of technology and aims to provide students and staff with comprehensive communications solutions that include voice, conferencing, mobile, and instant messaging capabilities. University students and faculty rely on these solutions every day: professors conduct remote classes; students from the business school interview for jobs out of state; the IT team works with vendors outside of the university; and various departments use videoconferencing for events and meetings. “We like to stay current on technology, if not on the cutting edge,” says Dan Smith, Deputy CIO of IT Services at Marquette University.
In 2012, Marquette deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to begin hosting its own conferences. At that time, the university started to retire its private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system and installed voice over IP (VoIP) to reduce costs and provide a wider range of communication options to the campus community. Its goal was to complete the PBX migration by summer 2015.
The university also hoped to increase adoption of communication tools by providing a solution that was familiar to users. It wanted to improve flexibility and productivity with more mobile and video use and encourage students and staff to communicate more easily with people off campus. However, users were only able to use VoIP to communicate with outside partners who were federated in the same system.
“Trying to get solutions that let students and faculty communicate with people outside of Marquette has always been a challenge,” says Victor Martinez, Windows Team Lead at Marquette University.

Solution

Skype for Business was the natural next step for Marquette. It offered similar functionalities as Lync 2013, in addition to the intuitive interface of the Skype client that many students and staff were already familiar with.
In early 2015, the IT services department at Marquette began the process of upgrading Lync Server 2013 to the Skype for Business Server 2015. The migration went smoothly as the IT team mirrored the production environment, which included servers and full functionality.
“It was like spinning up a side-by-side environment with our current environment. We were able to move users as needed, and then add additional users as we became more confident with the new solution,” says Martinez.
The university has been working toward retiring its PBX system for the past three years. Now in its final phase, it began migrating users directly from the PBX system to the Skype for Business Server, and is rolling out the Skype for Business client to the migrated users.
Marquette currently supports 330 users on the Skype for Business client, and it has already prepared an additional 30,000 accounts that are licensed and ready for use—enough to support all current staff and students, and new enrollments for the upcoming academic year. Marquette also expects to support 4,000 to 5,000 phones on the Skype for Business Server.
Marquette sees the new Skype for Business client as a hybrid between the consumer Skype client and Lync 2013. “The changes aren’t as drastic as we thought they might be. The overall place where you go to do things or look for things has basically stayed the same. There’s a continuity that people will see as they go from Lync 2013 to Skype for Business.”

Benefits

By moving to Skype for Business, Marquette anticipates increased user adoption and collaboration and improved flexibility. It also continues to reduce overall telephony costs by migrating users from its previous PBX system directly to Skype for Business.
Increased adoption and collaboration with familiar interface
Skype for Business offers the capabilities of Lync 2013 plus the familiarity that many users already have with Skype, meaning the campus community will be more likely to use the new solution.
“Some of the UI that you see within the Skype for Business client now mirrors the Skype interface on the consumer client,” says Smith. “We expect to see more widespread adoption as people can easily find and communicate with other Skype users and bring them into conversations.”
It will also be easier to collaborate with students, partners, and vendors outside of the university. “Now we can communicate with people worldwide who are using Skype while we’re on campus using Skype for Business—connecting this way is really powerful,” says Martinez.
Improved flexibility with mobile and video capabilities
Marquette believes users will start taking advantage of the Skype for Business mobile app that includes video, audio, IM, and content viewing and will provide the flexibility that students and faculty need to get work done anywhere, anytime. While desktop clients have dominated traditionally, that is likely to change at Marquette as many students are heavy mobile users.
“We’re going to see a lot more people use mobile and tablet devices to access Skype for Business for presentations and videoconferences,” says Martinez.
Recently, the IT department has received more requests for video support. Because Skype for Business provides messaging, audio, and video apps from a single solution, Marquette can offer students and staff new ways to collaborate, both internally and with users outside of the university. “A lot of external users already use Skype, which makes the experience of joining our meetings a lot easier,” says Martinez.
Continued cost savings
As part of Marquette’s migration process, it moved its telephony system from a physical connection to a virtual connection through Session Initiating Protocol (SIP). By moving to a SIP connection, Marquette saved approximately $125,000. “Disabling the ports on the PBX system saves us money as we continue to move this project forward,” says Smith. To date Marquette has saved approximated $95,000 in PBX costs.
Marquette is meeting its commitment to provide cutting-edge communications tools to student and faculty, without making additional investments in its IT infrastructure. The university was able to utilize its existing hardware for its new communications solution. “Skype for Business doesn’t require different hardware than what we currently have,” says Martinez.

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Discover how ‪#‎Skype4B‬ simplifies communications in the cloud.

Discover how ‪#‎Skype4B‬ simplifies communications in the cloud.

This video illustrates how Office 365 and Skype for Business simplify all of your meeting essentials to just one relationship, one work stream, in the cloud and at a reduced cost.​

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Private CIE Workshop Today @Managed Solution: Redefine Your Reality & Register for an Upcoming Immersive Microsoft Workshop (CIE). Complimentary for a limited time.

CIE 11.19.15

A private Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) was conducted for a company at Managed Solution headquarters today. CIE workshops are complimentary through the end of the year. Register for one today.

The Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) is a hands-on introduction to Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools. A true-to-life user experience, CIE takes you through everyday business situations, such as working remotely, analyzing sales data and collaborating with coworkers, and lets you see how Microsoft products make it all easy, convenient and secure.
All products are setup and configured with representative (fictional) users and data, allowing real life scenarios to be instantly simulated.
The CIE is a great way to get hands on with the latest productivity tools including Office 365, SharePoint 2013, and Yammer, in an interactive, experiential and fun environment.

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