There’s no doubt that IT initiatives have become more challenging to successfully implement with the rise of digital business transformation. Most organizations continue to struggle to attract the type of IT talent needed to execute digital strategies that, all too often, fall short of their stated goals.
None of this has gone unnoticed by IT vendors that are now making available services that promise to make it simpler to manage IT. The latest, launched today by Cisco, makes available a set of IT lifecycle services that organizations can either tap for advice, hire to work alongside them or use to entirely execute.
The main driver for the launch of Cisco Lifecycle Services is to make it simpler for organizations to leverage the expertise of more than 20,000 IT professionals that have access to a broad range of telemetry data, says Alistair Wildman, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Customer Experience. “There’s another 10,000 people on our professional services teams,” he adds.
Cisco is also investing in various artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that will also make it simpler to automate tasks ranging from automating testing to providing virtual engineers capable of managing incidents.
Each organization will need to decide for themselves to what degree they might wish to augment their internal IT teams or, in some cases, replace them with services provided by a vendor. There can be little doubt that vendors have better insights into issues that affect their platform, but the issue that most often creates the most trouble typically involves the way platforms from multiple vendors interact with one another.
There are, of course, a raft of professional services firms that specialize in those issues, but over time, relying on them can prove to be more expensive than hiring an internal IT team – unless the scope of work assigned to them is fairly narrow, with fees based on the outcome rather than time and effort. That approach requires the IT services provider to put more skin in the game by assuming more risk.
As IT environments become more challenging to manage, the cost of IT labor has been steadily rising. IT professionals, despite the rise of automation and AI, remain the most expensive element of any IT budget. Business and IT leaders now, for several years, have been resistant to acquiring new IT platforms simply because they don’t have the budget needed to hire additional IT specialists to manage them. In fact, many of them are pushing IT vendors to automate the management of those platforms as part of the support services contract they typically sign.
As a result, many internal IT teams are now working more closely than ever with IT professionals that are actually on the payroll of multiple IT vendors participating in an IT project. That cooperative approach to IT management helps reduce the total cost of IT but sometimes results in competing agendas that need to be kept in mind, because asking the proverbial fox to guard the henhouse never turns out well.
Savvy business and IT leaders will keep all those issues in mind as their organizations become more dependent on IT that is increasingly being managed by a coalition of IT talent that is being employed wherever and however it can be found.