14 December 2016 12:27PM
By Paul Dunlop

Have you heard the latest buzzwords - “Next Generation Managed Services” ?

Are you wondering just what this means?

This blog post, and subsequent parts, helps to shed light on this new paradigm.

The term Next Generation Managed Service (NGMS) is used as Cloud Computing changes proactive infrastructure management. The term Invisible Ops, or Self-Healing are becoming the new norm.

So why pay for Managed Services you may ask? If my platform runs itself why do I need anyone anymore?

To help us understand the new paradigm of Next Generation Managed Services it is useful to map old to new.

Let's use this definition from wikipedia [found here] for what a managed service is:

“Managed Services is the practice of outsourcing on a proactive basis management responsibilities and functions and a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. It appears as an alternative to the break/fix or on-demand outsourcing model where the service provider performs on-demand services and bills the customer only for the work done.”

A good illustration of this, breaking down the areas of functions and responsibility is below:

managedservices scope

Over the next couple of blogs posts in this series I will break down each section.  Let's start with the first three.

IMPROVED COLLABORATION & IMPROVED COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Let’s be honest. Historically, most traditional managed services have faced issues with this and it hasn’t been that much of an improvement. The main gateway into companies offering managed services is a phone call or an email. These methods often result in long wait times with long turn around. The customer is often left wanting in terms of feeling part of the team that looks after their systems they own. Ironic, right?

Enter the next generation of collaboration and communication such as  Slack, Microsoft Teams and  Hip Chat.

These SaaS tools are an evolution of the International Relay Chat (IRC) messaging systems and improve collaboration and communication by:

  • Providing a centralised communication and collaboration platform for all interested parties such as  customers, developers, architects, testers, support etc

  • Introducing chatbots to the managed services tool kit

  • Enabling the use of webhooks to call AWS serverless functions for tighter integration with customer accounts

  • Being accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, aka ‘Cloud Enabled Software as a Service’

With next generation tools, we can address the pain points that traditional methods bring.

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

Historically, by outsourcing to a managed service provider, one of the main reasons your productivity increased due to their platform introducing virtualised servers. Virtualisation allows companies to create new servers quickly, saving you time.

However, it also meant they had to build the hosting platform for virtual servers, often in large data centers. Often when data centre capacity is reached everyone feels the pinch. The partner has to extend existing or utilise new data centers, get racks organised, buy more blade chassis, and servers. Then, everything has to be physically installed, connected to the network and the virtualisation hosting platform is built. A real headache that actually slows down productivity.

Cloud computing takes away this pain. NGMS partners leverage the cloud as their primary hosting platform.  As NGMS partners no longer have the worry of physical equipment infrastructure is morphed into software-defined-infrastructure, a skillset closely aligned to developers methodologies. The benefit of which is an increase in productivity and closer integration between developers and infrastructure support teams.

As you develop and release your applications, the NGMS integrates themselves into your development pipelines in multiple ways.

  • Possess a CI/CD skillset that customers benefit from such as AWS code deploy & code pipeline

  • Utilise infrastructure-as-code in place of manual hardware and resource deployment. AWS Cloudformation templates bring a power to managing infrastructure unlike any before

  • NGMS providers use DevOps tools and practices that allow them to continually assess, implement, manage and track changes in exponentially faster timeframes

This facilitates an accelerated release to production, allowing NGMS partners to significantly improve their customers’ agility and productivity while delivering exceptional value.

NGMS partners like API Talent are continually evolving their own internal toolsets, cultures, and processes to bring themselves closer to their customers.  We appreciate the supported applications are your company's product and the speed in which these got to market is imperative to your success.

In the next blog post I will dive deep into:

  • Industry expertise and insights

  • IT and Business Goals and Alignment

  • Long-Term IT Strategic Plan