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Does Support Still Matter In The World Of Hybrid IT?

Three support considerations for enterprises looking to move to Hybrid IT

Over the last three years, we’ve seen the emergence of hosted hybrid clouds as a great alternative for enterprises looking for a balance between the agility and flexibility public clouds provide and the security and control of private clouds. Forrester, IDC and others predict massive growth in this segment and we’ve seen this trend at Rackspace as well. Given the proliferation of cloud models (public cloud, hosted private cloud and on-premise private cloud), getting the model right is critical for IT departments looking to create great internal and external customer outcomes. As a result, the way enterprises think about support needs to change.

Clearly defined support roles and responsibilities between IT and service providers are critical

Many of the CIOs and IT organizations that I’ve worked with are starting the process of transitioning from a service delivery organization to a service management organization. This evolution is important because as these IT organizations deal with incorporating cloud computing and hosting, they also have to contend with supporting significant legacy environments. To maintain service quality, it is critical that clear lines of delineation between service providers and IT are developed and documented for each type of service. Careful attention must be paid to aligning in-house expertise with service provider capabilities, escalation processes and reporting. Enterprises also need to keep in mind that roles and responsibilities can vary significantly by service provider, type of platform and location of the environment.

Leveraging service providers’ support is a great way to manage your talent

In this era of flat IT budgets and talent shortages, utilizing service providers to augment your staff can be a great way to deal with these issues. For example, a quick search for “VMware” on yields nearly 18,000 postings; competition for needed talent is significant. While service providers can be an effective means to deal with talent shortages, not all service providers are created equal. Pay special attention to a service provider’s reputation for customer satisfaction, number of certified support personnel and track record.

Support costs are not always easy to evaluate, but are important to understand

Without performing extensive (and expensive) time driven activity-based costing analysis, it can be very difficult to get a true handle on internal IT support costs and even harder to analyze support costs across a wide array of hybrid service options. While service provider costs are known, due to bundling it is often not clear what is attributed to support vs. CAPEX, bandwidth, etc. In addition, those support costs have to be mapped to roles and responsibilities for each organization and service provider. The result is that an apples-to-apples comparison is difficult. Various service providers, including Rackspace, offer TCO analysis services that can shed light on costs in a hybrid IT environments, but these offerings tend to focus on the portfolio of that particular service provider. This is a good option for enterprises that already have an understanding of their internal support costs and can accurately assess the TCO analysis results. Another option is to utilize third-party consultants – that can be expensive but the analysis can be more encompassing and tailored to the specific situation more easily.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Tyler Johnson.

Tyler Johnson is a Senior Product Manager at Rackspace in San Antonio responsible for VMware based service offerings. A holder of more than two dozen US and international patents, Tyler has held positions over the last 14 years in sales and business development, alliance ecosystem development, product strategy, and engineering. In these roles, Tyler has worked with/for some of the top names in IT: Rackspace, HP, CSC, EMC, NetApp, VMware, and Dell (Perot Systems) among others. A father of two sets of twins, Tyler has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

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