It would be safe to say that the COVID-19 Pandemic has been unlike anything humanity has witnessed earlier. So, though Application Managed Services have been around for a while, IT Leaders are now looking to meet emerging needs. The global managed services market is forecast to reach more than 200 billion U.S. dollars in size in 2020. Over the next few years, revenue from the managed services market is set to grow to more than 300 billion U.S. dollars (Statista). There is a visibly marked shift in this trend moving towards informed spend, especially in the face of the pandemic and unforeseeable external conditions. The good news is that IT heads now have the perfect opportunity to tap into their enterprise potential with managed services—Discerningly, logically, and without losing the innovative edge. Putting AI into the mix, will only accelerate business growth at an unprecedented pace.

The demand for Managed Services has been fueled during the COVID-19 Pandemic as businesses have shifted to remote working models. The success of the remote working model is almost entirely dependent on the efficiency of support operations. With efficient managed Services, businesses have been able to continue as usual. Managed Services vendor's efficiency has been the deal clincher for most companies who have survived the pandemic with minimum losses.

That said, most organizations are still tackling deficiencies in current operating models. Adopting managed services can be a faster and effective route to transformation. Many customers using the traditional "resource based" or "Keeping the lights on" model of Managed services have felt the pressure to change their business model to Next-Generation Managed Services. This includes automation and AIOps. They promise to enhance visibility across operations and provide better risk management simultaneously reducing cost and vulnerabilities.

Many companies may be opposed to "complete transformation" due to dwindling budgets or ambivalent about the impact it will have. Thankfully, for most, this is superseded by the need to innovate. Thus, the winds of change, a poignant movement from "keeping the lights on" Budget (OpEx) to Transformational projects (CapEx) budget. This entirely coincides with the Global Managed Services 2020 report, revealing a pivot to smart sourcing with 45% of the companies amongst those queuing up to outsource.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can help choose from several transformational approaches to enhance operational efficiencies by leveraging built-in tools and processes to expedite this journey. The focus in 2020 and the following years are going to be entirely on intelligent transformation. This also entails keeping your business service health up to speed with AIOps. With an AIOps driven business approach, you can reduce risks, cancel out noise, identify root causes and set up for remediation. Additionally, saving tons on software licenses and cloud usage. Kanverse, Xenon, and many other Knowledge Management, Process Mining, and User experience focused tools can help improve businesses' daily operations.

Kanverse, for instance, is a "Conversational Enterprise" solution focused on the consumerization of enterprise data. It is an AI-based cross-platform digital virtual enterprise assistant that aids business communication tasks. It routes your query intelligently to the right enterprise system and executes the necessary transactions, erasing redundancies out of the way.

Xenon, on the other hand, is an On-demand, Scalable, Test Lifecycle Management Cloud Platform built for enterprise applications' business process testing needs. It caters to various testing paradigms, including Manual Testing, Automation Testing, Mobile Testing, API Testing, and Performance Testing for a wide range of enterprise applications in a single platform. With tools that leverage AI, IoT and more, MSPs help organizations create opportunities for the business and its customers.

Additionally, it can also help create a new stream of digital transformation projects within the existing budget. Some specific needs of IT Leaders in this Pandemic are:

  • Cost Reduction
  • Do More with Less – Transform OpEx Budget into CapEx
  • Keeping ahead of the competition in this digital world of selling
  • New demands for analytics and reporting
  • Improve User Experience while still operating completely in a Remote model

COVID-19 has accelerated and exacerbated the effects of these forces. As businesses begin to recover and move into the next and beyond phase, they face an urgent need to do more than address them more effectively – they must reimagine entirely new solutions. Owing to the above requirements, MSPs can help Businesses through the following strategies:

  • Improve Operational Efficiency by identifying Problems accurately:

    MSPs have traditionally helped businesses to identify problem areas that lack efficiency. This is doubly critical now as most companies work remotely, and there is little room for lost efficiency to survive the pandemic ensued economic downturn. MSPs can help businesses identify repeatable processes across departments such as invoicing in Finance and Onboarding processes in HR. These are just two primary examples of the many processes in which businesses perform repetitively, leading to high costs but lowers the efficacy of personnel who can be otherwise gainfully engaged.

    The right MSP, not just a basic ticket solver, can leverage innovative capabilities to bring Robotic process automation solutions, Enterprise Virtual Assistant, Intelligent IT Help Desk, and make such repetitive business processes efficient. They can also help identify employees' training opportunities, adoption issues and build more intelligence wherever required to improve operational efficiency during the on-going pandemic. This will substantially reduce operational costs for businesses; thus, helping them continue making profits even during these times.

  • Identifying Innovative ways to turn Opex Budget into Capex:

    Managed Services can successfully help customers upgrade their IT Platform without finding an additional budget. Since budget approvals have become stringent, managed services allow businesses to leverage services in a piecemeal format. This makes it easier for businesses to leverage modern technology without overshooting budget constraints.

  • Predicting Challenges even before they arise:

    The ability to foresee challenges and take corrective measures immediately is what will help many businesses remain profitable during this pandemic. Hiring a seasoned MSP with varied expertise across industries will play a crucial role now. Such an MSP will have the capability to manage your entire application footprint. They will take unique steps for maintenance by developing a culture focused on prevention and problem solving versus the typical reactive model. This can help reduce the time of systems drastically. This allows businesses to experience minimal to zero downtime, which is a significant advantage considering that an hour of downtime costs a small business about $8000 and a large business approximately $700,000.

  • Enabling Efficient Remote work:

    We understand that it is a challenge for most businesses to maintain the level of efficiency they had during on-site work. With remote work, many businesses are feeling the pinch of lack of efficiency in workers. This is mostly due to inefficient technical collaboration capabilities. With Managed Services, companies can support customers remotely through various collaboration tools. Employees can be trained through interactive self-training videos and self-service solutions.

    A lot of these self-service solutions can also be enhanced with automated approval workflow. Deploying self-service tools and automated workflows reduce dependencies of teams on IT Staff. Kanverse can help draw insights from past conversations and suggest agents and user's next steps in ticket resolution. This enables the business to solve their own problems and work more efficiently intuitively.

  • Test Automation:

    MSPs can implement Test Automation capabilities, providing businesses with various benefits. One is that businesses are launching various applications to better cope with the current situation at breakneck speed. These applications need comprehensive testing before they are launched. Automated testing platforms such as Xenon can help test such applications quickly and launch them.

    Another significant benefit is that many businesses are adopting Cloud SaaS applications that undergo upgrades almost every two months. This can lead to unprecedented downtime for the business. Post these upgrades; such applications need regression testing to ensure that all features are functional. Such automated regression testing can help onboard new users to the application through regressing testing videos.

Summing it all up, it is safe to say that MSPs can effectively help businesses chart through these choppy waters. They have evolved into being Strategic Collaborators. MSPs empower CIOs to emerge unscathed from these volatile times. Their role has transcended from facilitating mere day to day smooth IT functioning. Today MSPs allow leaders to innovate, drive business results, secure enterprise, focus on core business operations, and bridge the gap between IT and business, while creating operational landmarks with AIOps. With emerging benefits such as these, businesses can work successfully and overcome challenges thrown their way during and post COVID-19.

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About the Author

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Manoj Machiwal

Associate VP, Managed Services

Manoj leads the Technology, Infrastructure and Managed Services Practice at Jade Global. He understands enterprise business problems and translates them into solutions enabled by technology. Manoj has a strong background working in various enterprise systems including Oracle, Salesforce, NetSuite, Cloud Apps, Cloud Infra, etc. He works closely with Jade Global's innovation team to derive solutions using AI-based technologies to reduce the cost of operations and increase user satisfaction. He has helped customers across various industries including Financial Services, High-Tech, Semiconductors, Social Media and Health Technology.

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