As part of your digital transformation strategy, you’ve made the decision to move key applications, even mission critical parts of your business, to the cloud…for all the right reasons.
It’s the key to creating a more agile, responsive and competitive IT organization; a highly efficient and effective environment where finite resources are able to focus less on maintaining IT operations and more of their cycles creating new capabilities for the business.
But what about all the remaining mundane, break/fix, keep-the-lights-on operational tasks that are ‘essential’ to supporting the always available, 7 x 24 expectations of the business?
If the care and feeding of your office applications have been moved to Office 365 or Google apps, and the most critical business apps are now being delivered aaS, what about the remaining physical infrastructure that connects users when they are in the office or their physical devices – desktops, laptops, tablets and phones?
What about the care and feeding of those end user devices that consume a tremendous amount of cycles to configure, track, and deploy, as well as the service desk functions that are ‘essential’ to delivering availability, uptime and an exceptional experience to your user community?
Essentials as a Service (EaaS)
In 2019, IT leaders and CIOs will want to consider Essentials as a Service (EaaS), offloading the remaining operational aspects of support to IT infrastructure experts to further drive agility and efficiencies throughout their organizations.
Based upon the limited growth of budgets in 2019 (Gartner estimates only a 3.2 percent increase worldwide), IT organizations are not going to be able to add dollars or people to the mix, so they will want to leverage their limited resources to do higher value creation work, increasing the competitiveness of their organization versus simply maintaining the health and well-being of their IT infrastructures and end user support.
Put in the context of Gartner’s Bimodal IT delivery model, EaaS is simply a better way to consume mode 1 services.
Bimodal is all about transforming legacy IT into an agile, rapid response organization that quickly adapts to changes in a company’s competitive landscape.
In this operational construct there are two modes of IT delivery: Mode 1 focusing on stability, being operationally sound, keeping the lights on, and Mode 2 focusing on creating new capabilities and applications that drive better end user and customer interaction, e.g., web-based apps, mobile apps, the really cool stuff that differentiates them from their competition.
One can argue whether there really needs to be two modes of operation to deliver a more agile IT environment, but the idea that offloading the mundane break/fix aspects of IT support to free up limited resources to focus on higher value and more fulfilling pursuits is a sound concept that organizations need to explore in 2019.
Delivering to new expectations
In addition to helping organizations more rapidly respond to the needs of the business, EaaS can also help organizations deliver to the heightened expectations of the new demographics made up of millennials and gen x/z’s, and that’s all about delivering an exceptional customer experience whether that is an internal customer like an end user, or an external customer buying a product or service.
Today’s ‘customers’ expect an experience that is highly available anytime, anyplace, on any device; an experience that is simple, intuitive and secure.
The question is, does an IT organization want to invest the time, money and resources to set up and maintain an operational support structure to deliver this heightened level of user experience or should they leverage an essentials as a service provider that specializes in delivering that experience as a consumable service, as a contracted outcome?
Does it really make sense, given your strategy of offloading operational tasks to focus on higher value business targets, to invest in global, follow the sun 7 x 24 x 365 multi-lingual end user support with predictive, proactive, automated intelligence, natural language and omni channel support?
Or is it better to leverage an essentials as a service provider that delivers these state-of-the-art support services that are architected to deliver an exceptional end user experience?
The most essential EaaS elements
Uptime and reliability – In order to deliver a truly exceptional experience people need to stay connected to their technology.
The reality of delivering to the everything on demand, need it now, consumer driven expectations of end users today is that downtime, interruptions in service and slow performance are simply unacceptable.
EaaS providers are constantly looking for ways to infuse innovation in the form of tools, process and automation into their service offerings to improve uptime, reduce clients’ costs and enhance the end user experience.
Today, delivering to standard expectations and even satisfying SLAs and KPIs are table stakes. Organizations are looking for new ideas and enhanced services that save time and money, increase efficiencies and reduce ticket counts, and that’s all about delivering innovation.
From a support standpoint, the goal is to eliminate issues proactively, so an interruption to the user never happens – and if there is an issue, to resolve it faster so the user is impacted as little as possible.
This includes leading edge technologies such as automated self-healing to capture and resolve issues in real-time and predictive analysis to mitigate issues before end-user escalations.
It also includes proactive analytics detailing the health of a device as well as the ability to look back retrospectively to determine root cause of an issue. And finally, self-help interfaces to allow end users to hit an ‘easy button’ for one-click resolutions to fix issues without having to call for help.
Kiosks and Genius Bars – A challenge facing companies today is how to provide instant access and support to users in a consumer-oriented environment. In 2019, a trend that IT organizations will want to consider is leveraging an EaaS provider to deliver technical support via café-like locations in high traffic areas on corporate campuses convenient for end users.
These walk-up support desks are staffed with qualified technicians with great customer service skills. Quick fixes performed immediately or loaners provided for longer repair. Kiosks and Genius Bars are also used to showcase approved corporate technologies like an Apple or Verizon store.
This is a great way to support traditional workers who demand the most out of technology and to hyper-enable tech-savvy workers who bring their own device (BYOD) to work.
Self service portals – EaaS providers have developed one stop digital portals that allow end users to see the status of their service desk tickets and request items to procure or services to be delivered via automated service catalogs. Service catalogs are a central listing of the goods and services that are available to the end user.
So instead of the putting a new employee through what can be a long, frustrating onboarding process, instead they go out to an automated service catalog to choose their corporate sponsored device, business applications, corporate credit card, etc.
Validation and authorization of the requests are automatically generated to their manager or approval party for authorization. The employee then receives their device configured based upon their persona, ready to go when they power up the first time.
Voice authenticated password resets – Although password resets are typically relatively short calls to the service desk, they represent increased costs, compliance issues, and security vulnerabilities.
Another trend that organizations will want to explore in 2019 is automated password resets based upon voice sampling and authentication technologies delivered by EaaS providers.
In addition to delivering a great experience that provides for convenient access to change or reset passwords no matter the location of the user, this is another way to shift to self-service resolutions that require less effort, are more secure and can ensure a better adoption rate by the user community.
Mobility Device Support – It’s all about connectivity anytime, any play, on any device but delivering that experience from a mobility perspective based upon the many tasks that have to be orchestrated and executed can be frustrating and time consuming for IT support resources.
Essentials as a service can deliver a more seamless experience by delivering devices fully configured, not just with a browser and email but with the mission critical applications that the user needs to do their jobs.
They can also manage the security of the devices and mobile end points and finally, provide Telecom Expense Management to audit and resolve cellular billing issues on a monthly basis.
Product Lifecycle Services – Procurement, integration and logistics may sound pretty old school, but the reality is that many large organizations do not want their finite resources focusing on the tactical execution of integration, configuration, storage, shipping and asset tracking of end user equipment and devices.
Whether it’s a single laptop or a complex deployment of a highly integrated set of technologies, essentials as a service providers can assess requirements, develop the plan and then source, configure, integrate and ‘palletize’ the solution. And then as part of full lifecycle support, they can also receive aging equipment back into
logistic centers for asset disposition, brokering the equipment and sharing the proceeds or decommissioning hard drives and certifying disposal.
Focusing IT on higher value creation
In 2019, IT organizations can continue to deliver these types of ‘essential’ services using their own internal resources much as they’ve done in the past, but the question is, why?
According to Gartner, 28 percent of spending within key enterprise IT markets will shift to the cloud by 2022, up from 19 percent in 2018.
If it makes sense to move mission critical applications to multi-cloud environments and SaaS providers, what additional efficiencies can be gained by offloading the remaining, often mundane and repetitive IT support functions?
Essentials as a Service allows organizations to focus resources on higher value creation, deliver even greater agility to the organization to respond faster to the needs of the business while at the same time, enhancing the end user experience.