Breaking With Tradition: The Need for “Niche” in Managed Network Service Delivery

By John Bidgood, CTO, Systal.

  • 5 months ago Posted in

If there’s one lesson that’s emerged from the past year, it’s that large-scale change can happen without warning – emphasising the network’s importance for adapting to emerging technologies, tackling cybersecurity challenges and navigating economic shifts. 

It’s therefore imperative that businesses explore alternative ways of managing network requirements and look for a less “out-of-the-box” model that adapts to the needs of complex organisational structures without restricting their ways of working.

To expand on this, let me explain why global organisations may want to explore an alternative way of managing their network requirements.

Traditional Managed Network Service Providers

When faced with client challenges to meet demand for cost-efficient and effective services, many of the larger more traditional MNS providers have removed any levels of customisation. This has been achieved using a combination of offshore staff delivery models and a complete standardisation of products and services. Their goal is ultimately to be competitive by reducing cost - even at the expense of service.

Whilst driving down internal operational expenditure can be extremely beneficial to the MSP shareholders, this approach can be counterproductive for clients unless your business requirements remain static and solely focussed on cost reduction.

The lack of integration of the network with other areas of IT hampers visibility and ultimately leads to more service risk when issues are not resolved quickly.

More critically, if a business is to grow or merge, then it may be hard for the new areas of the IT operation to be replaced and integrated together – potentially even leaving the newly acquired business separated in all but name. 

Likewise, the client won’t be able to make the most of new technologies and adapt quickly to new trends or geographical operating areas. Meaning they need to wait for their MNS provider to offer support as part of their standard service or be left to do it themselves. This delay will inevitably leave a company at a competitive disadvantage.

 

Adopting a Niche Delivery Model

  

Niche MNS players are often overlooked against larger, more traditional MSPs or other well-known network ISP companies. Whilst traditional MSPs may be viewed as the least-risk alternative – the reality is the opposite. Niche players can offer a service that is more cost-effective, more agile and flexible to business needs whilst still meeting the highest levels of service for business continuity goals.  

By offering a niche delivery model, MSPs adapt to client requirements, leading to greater levels of business efficiency and innovation rather than a traditional ‘by the numbers’ constrained service. New trends and emerging technologies can be researched and deployed quickly, allowing organisations to adjust to market changes and cultural shifts without the need for lengthy internal productisation first.

Agile niche players also have the flexibility and capability to better integrate non-networking services. For example, a niche provider's network solutions can be fully integrated with other non-networking areas such as cloud, digital workplace and cybersecurity. This offers customers a chance for end-to-end application visibility across their network, even if it is cloud overlay-based. In fact, by encouraging overlays, MSP won’t carry the expensive burden of infrastructure WAN, POPs and Data Centres unlike other providers, and won’t need to recoup the investments from these assets which would otherwise tie to a limited number of traditional service offerings.

Niche players can also more rapidly make use of AI, machine learning and automation to help identify and resolve incidents quickly across a wide range of vendor implementations and a wide range of non-network IT technologies. But, while a delivery methodology based on people and processes remains absolutely necessary, a niche player that offers these ideals in conjunction with AI-driven services can help organisations understand and get ahead of any network incidents before they even happen.

Non-traditional MSPs can do more than solely focus on cost-efficiency initiatives, but rather provide value in ways that were never previously imaginable. By offering a flexible approach along with well-proven and standardised delivery methods, these providers represent the least risk option for organisations facing today’s market uncertainty that we all need to react to.

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