Enlist a managed IT services provider for better network maintenance


Even as they face tight budgetary pressures, many organizations are having trouble managing the costs of their networking infrastructure maintenance, according to a recent Forrester study. Following maintenance plans and refresh cycles dictated by equipment vendors, many organizations may be spending more than necessary to keep their network infrastructure working, a problem that could be alleviated by working with managed IT services providers instead.


According to the study, 72 percent of companies are concerned or very concerned with reducing IT operational costs to free up money for new technology development and product/service innovation. However, many may be paying more for maintenance services than they need to, since most buy maintenance plans directly from their vendors rather than considering third-party managed services options.


Nearly four in 10 respondents said vendor-provided maintenance services offered lower-than-expected cost savings, while 24 percent said vendors were inflexible about contract changes and 18 percent said their vendor did not respond rapidly to changing business needs. Additionally, 17 percent said their vendor lacked a fully functioning service delivery model. Given such performance metrics, many companies may find value in entrusting maintenance to a managed services provider such as FlexITy, which works to meet each client’s custom needs and supports partner hardware through a 24/7 Technical Assistance Center.


Planning refresh cycles

One major area in which organizations are following vendor directives rather than custom needs is with refresh cycles, the research firm found. The top two sources for information informing equipment upgrade decisions were both vendor-provided, and 56 percent of respondents said their refresh decisions were driven by industry average cycles. In response to these trends, Forrester advised companies to consider third-party maintenance alternatives that are shaped to their needs and to make refresh decisions based on their needs rather than broad industry guidelines.


At the same time, many organizations are seeing new hardware demands. For 57 percent of respondents, requirements for new functionality were listed as reasons driving networking equipment upgrades. One major driver of such improvements, according to a recent 451 Group report, is unified communications. Other technologies driving network equipment refreshes were mobile device management, 802.11n wireless and WAN optimization.


As companies evaluate how to adjust to these technologies and plan their network equipment refreshes, they can benefit from working with a managed IT provider like FlexITy, which can help develop a plan to integrate new solutions with legacy hardware, improve network designs to support UC and other technologies and offer recommendations for managing refresh cycles.