The price on the bottom line of your ICT maintenance contract is often not what you actually pay for support. This is not because your service provider is billing inaccurately; in fact, it has more to do with costs incurred by your own organisation’s internal teams and structures.
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Consolidating IT support by partnering with a single, multi-vendor services partner, increases uptime by improving the level and consistency of support beyond a simple ‘break-fix’ maintenance solution. (more…)
The relief that the right international IT service provider can make to a global organisation with a complex, cost-inefficient and inconsistent networking environment is considerable. If you have globalisation goals to achieve in your IT environment, the chances are they touch every part of the IT lifecycle within your organisation – from procurement and integration to maintenance and support of the networks. (more…)
In the sphere of Information Technology, there are many experts. It’s easy for businesses to get caught up with a strong service provider that is not an appropriate fit for your organisation. (more…)
Wanted: reduction in complexity and improvements in consistency must result in reduced costs. What does that mean? Organisations looking to globalise have similar business needs namely, the need for simplifying their network and IT environments and the ability for their partner to remain consistent in managing operations. The question is which service providers out there can help you achieve your globalisation goals? (more…)
Operating in a multi-vendor environment is no easy feat, often requiring the micro management of a diverse group of internal and external service providers. Each has distinct service levels, escalation guidelines, reporting structures and warranty agreements. (more…)
Contracts at the best of times are complicated. Add a multifaceted IT support network and your contract can become monstrous. A supplier whose contract looks low cost may charge a small fortune long term, for example, on out-of-hours support. Know what to look for in terms of flexibility and you won’t end up with spiraling IT support costs. (more…)
IT is integral to the functioning of an organisation, but it is also one of the areas of business where most organisations look to reduce running costs. Partnering with the right vendor and committing to a long-term multi-year support contract is a win win situation, where your organisation benefits from not only favourable pricing, but also the peace of mind of a sustainable support plan that evolves with your IT maintenance needs. (more…)
Limited market presence and inexperience with global project delivery in new regions can slow down any organisations plans for international growth. Globalising companies have to overcome both predicted and unexpected challenges that could arise by understanding not only their own needs, but the nuances of new territories. It takes time and physical effort to navigate the pitfalls and achieve success. (more…)
Partnering with a service provider that has deep multi-vendor expertise can result in not only significant cost-savings, but also optimise performance and end-user service delivery. (more…)
When companies have offices in different locations, the IT organisation is sometimes decentralised and without a global strategy and process. When the delivery of IT services to the business is approached differently in each location, the inconsistency in IT management often stretches valuable resources and exposes the business to multiple areas of risk. The resulting slow, inconsistent and unresponsive levels of network deployment, support and maintenance services cannot sustain an organisation trying to rapidly grow. (more…)
Conquering new markets is a strategic way to grow, but if it were that easy everyone would not only be doing it, but succeeding at doing it. Once successfully established, managing the exponential growth of a venture requires a soundly managed IT infrastructure. (more…)
IT is an integral part of any business. Ignoring its role in global expansion can be detrimental to that expansion’s success. Once you’ve navigated the risks associated with expanding into new and emerging markets you need to establish sustainable growth. This requires a network that is well-managed and structured and that won’t buckle under the increased load. (more…)
With technology blurring boundaries, the speed of doing business around the world continues to increase exponentially. A common trend is for companies to beef up the skills of their own internal IT departments by sourcing a competent multi-national service provider to take care of their IT technology sourcing and IT operations management. Service providers have simply become better and faster at this. (more…)
In establishing a new investment management division across 23 countries, a top international insurance provider needed a faster, more responsive and personalised level of network deployment, maintenance and support. It was also looking to leverage the ease of implementation and pricing advantages that the right partner could bring, provided it partnered with the an integration expert who could offer deep expertise and a strong vendor relationship.
The Group has benefited from a number of aspects that form part of Dimension Data’s international business offering.
With offices in over 130 countries, an international insurance provider required a greater degree of simplicity, standardisation and cost reduction in the way in which it procured, integrated, supported and maintained its networking technologies across various regions. Dimension Data assisted the client to relieve these business pains in a sustainable, cost-reducing manner and offered the client a much valued single point of contact for all its networking service requirements.
A large international Asian investment bank faced many challenges in delivering on their global expansion goals, mainly caused by the inability to leverage economies of scale as well as limited global IT project experience. Entering Dimension Data’s Global Account Programme allowed the organisation to leverage individualised account management via a single point of contact, as well as globally orchestrated, but locally delivered IT procurement, support and managed services, which reduced complexity and brought about cost-savings and process efficiencies.
At the height of the global financial crisis, a large US insurance group investigated cost-saving measures as a matter of urgency throughout the organisation. One area that presented a major opportunity to cut expenses was the procurement of IT support and maintenance services.
Dimension Data’s three-year Uptime contract offered a number of unique commercial and contractual features customised to the client’s specific requirements.
A move into the emerging markets – particularly Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America – holds great appeal for many organisations. Rapid growth opportunities and little or no immediate competition in those areas are usually the drivers behind such ambitions.
Dimension Data’s Alan Turnley-Jones, Director of Managed Services Development and Operations, and Dave D’Aprano, Group Sales Director of IT Outsourcing, believe these markets attract both established multinational organisations as well as smaller, local businesses that want to expand within the same region. But what implications does this have for their ICT infrastructure, and how should they ensure that their ICT services keep pace with their growing footprint?
To download our latest thinking on the Ins and Outs of IT Outsourcing in Emerging Markets, please fill in your details below. You will receive an email with a link to download the PDF.
There are numerous advantages for setting up shop in South Africa. Low labour costs, excellent infrastructure and a sophisticated business environment make it the ideal base to export products internationally. The country also acts as a gateway to southern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and across the continent –where the business opportunities are currently limitless.
But what value does South Africa add to the global economy and what can a company expect to gain from venturing into it?
There are no real language barriers as most business is conducted in English. As long as there is respect within relationships and multi-cultural dynamics are observed, business transactions are relatively easy.
The legal and market environment are highly favourable, the country has a well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy and transport sectors. Moreover, the South African economy has been growing substantially for twenty consecutive years prior the global economic meltdown. Domestic competitiveness, growth and employment have been strengthened by robust investment and domestic expenditure. The trend, slowed by the global crisis, is still heading north, also thanks to an ambitious £56 billion government programme, focused on the transport and power generation sectors.
The costs for companies expanding a business in South Africa can vary from province to province; however, low labour costs and robust infrastructure guarantee a general convenient and wealthy environment for your investments. Licensing or incorporating a business in South Africa are also valuable options.
Corruption is the biggest obstacle on South Africa and can impede your road to economic success. If you’re planning on setting up shop in South Africa you must be aware of the legislation set by the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment. Make sure you meet the requirements of business etiquette and protocol, and collect information about the area in which you intend to establish a business in order for your ventures to be rewarding.
Globally, the IT outsourcing market has grown over the last few years as more organisations begin to entrust elements of their infrastructures to ‘expert’ partners. There are, of course, many cost and efficiency benefits to be realised with this model, not to mention lower risk and guaranteed service levels. But the road there isn’t always without its pitfalls. IT outsourcer Dimension Data turns a critical eye on the areas where businesses have run into trouble.
Pothole 1: Beware a lack of strategy
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to know what you want to outsource, where and why. Organisations often understand the need to outsource, as well as the potential advantages and disadvantages, but still haven’t formulated a sound sourcing strategy that’s consistent and makes sense across their organisations. What level of control does the business want to retain, and for which parts of its environment? How does that align with the strategic value of that service to the organisation?
Also critical is an understanding of how the internal service organisation currently supports the business, and how it would need to change to incorporate the new model. So, a clear and detailed sourcing strategy is of the utmost importance before entering into any outsourcing arrangement. It will help the business choose the right outsourcer to complement its internal capabilities.
Ask your outsourcer: can you help us build an outsourcing strategy which considers all sourcing models – insourcing, outsourcing or multi-sourcing combining on-premise or cloud-based models – and identifies which model, or which combination, is best for our business?
Pothole 2: Beware a hazy view of your internal costing model
Few questions can lead to an emotional discussion as quickly as who’s to pick up the bill. It’s also true in IT outsourcing. Many organisations enter into outsourcing arrangements without fully understanding how the cost will be charged back into their business. Often, it’s IT that signs the contract, yet it’s different business units that consume the services to varying degrees. It’s therefore critical that the organisation has a clear view of aspects such as units of measure, how and where the benchmarks must be set and, eventually, who will pay for which parts.
Ask your outsourcer: can you give us advice as to how we should split your bill internally to be fair and clear to all parties who’ll be using your service? Or can you work with us to define and agree the internal charge-back model to all parties who’ll be using your service?
Pothole 3: Beware the aggregators’ aggregator and the over-claiming outsourcer
When your business needs in-country or technology-specific capability in certain areas, it’s critical to understand your outsourcer’s level of capability in that geography or technology. It’s a risk to outsource to an organisation that only delivers 5% of the services and sub-contracts the rest to businesses over which you have no direct control. On the other hand, some outsourcers aren’t transparent enough about their true geographical reach or technical skills and claim to provide all services themselves in all territories and technologies, which is often not the case. The ideal model strikes a careful balance between using services from the outsourcer directly, and trusting the outsourcer to aggregate services from other providers on your behalf so that you still retain a single point of contact. Transparency is key.
Ask your outsourcer: how do your geographical footprint and technology capabilities match my own – country by country, and in practical terms?
Pothole 4: Beware a confusion of roles and responsibilities
When organisations move from a single-sourcing model with one large outsourcing partner handling all aspects of the engagement, to a multisourcing model in which the environment is split among various providers, they often have a muddled view of who’s responsible for which facet. The same problem creeps up when businesses move into outsourcing for the first time, having handled their environment entirely in-house before. Roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined upfront during the transition phase of the outsourcing engagement. This will help avoid fruitless finger-pointing later on when incidents occur. The effect of not having clearly defined responsibilities could be negative on both sides of the relationship: the business would have to cope with poorly delivered services, while the service provider would incur unnecessary costs in delivering that service.
Ask your outsourcer: exactly where and when do your responsibilities end and ours begin for each of the services you’re proposing to offer?
Pothole 5: Beware a cost versus quality imbalance
Cheaper isn’t always the same as lower cost. It’s critical to understand the benefits-to-cost ratio in making use of standardised services from off-shore providers based on contracted deliverables, versus a purely value-based delivery partnership. Many organisations fall into the trap of exclusively aiming for a lower price point and end up with dissatisfied business users as an outcome. They are then forced to incur additional costs to improve service levels, or deliver additional services to meet business expectations. The opposite may also be true: too much of the budget is spent on outsourcing services at levels that aren’t aligned with how critical they are to the organisation. Neither extreme is ideal.
It’s important to understand that true cost savings only occur through evolving your operational maturity to arrive at the optimal mix of on-shore, off-shore and near-shore service delivery. In an operationally mature organisation, functions and responsibilities are defined and documented clearly enough so that the business is able to move forward independent of the people who perform these functions. In other words, the business can make substitutions and replacements easily and quickly when it needs to, and is robust enough to handle critical incidents and transitions smoothly. An operationally mature organisation also learns from previous incidents in order to improve its processes and performance each time. This is why they’re far better equipped to recognise processes that can be outsourced at low cost, versus those that need to remain in-house.
Ask your outsourcer: are you able to help us evaluate and evolve our level of process maturity across the business, and map that against the ideal off-shore, on-shore or near-shore outsourcing combination?
Pothole 6: Beware a unstructured transition process
It’s also important that the outsourcer should be able to plot its own transition and onboarding processes against your organisation’s level of maturity. A mature outsourcer shouldn’t push its partner into an arrangement that it’s clearly not ready for, but should be able to structure the transition and onboarding process – the so-called ‘sprint’ before the ‘marathon’ – according to the partner’s capabilities. This is where a proper due diligence process is again critical in determining what the onboarding processes should involve, as well as its scope and time scales.
Ask your outsourcer: what does your transition process involve and will it match our level of maturity and capabilities?
Pothole 7: Beware ‘ring-fenced’ delivery models
Many large outsourcers have inflexible service delivery models to which their clients are obliged to subscribe. Inflexible models don’t always cater for all types of business in the best way possible. For example, parastatals and government organisations may have important requirements for data sovereignty, which could prevent them from using a shared services model delivered from other regions. But these issues may be different for a large financial services organisation that already operates globally. So, there should be a degree of flexibility on the service provider’s side in order to structure its delivery model by building on a basic, standard foundation. This will help ensure the maximum benefit for the client’s business.
Ask your outsourcer: how flexible is your delivery model in order to match my organisation’s specific requirements?
Pothole 8: Beware a misunderstanding of ‘innovation’
‘Innovation’ is easily the most over-used word in the IT outsourcing arena and, while it may sound progressive, it’s often of little substance. It’s necessary to discuss the detail around the intention to innovate during the contractual stages of the engagement. Innovation may include anything from how the outsourcer intends to evolve its delivery models to how it will embrace new technologies. The point is to define precisely what it means, so that there’s a clear and concrete strategy attached, which will meet your expectations.
Ask your outsourcer: what do you mean by ‘innovate’? Can you describe your innovation strategy in clear and concrete terms and insert those into our contract?
Pothole 9: Beware of over-complicated contracts
Mature service providers and client organisations are able to ensure that there’s an appropriate level of contracting that governs the relationship. A contract that doesn’t provide adequate cover for both parties may sour the relationship if there’s constant disagreement when incidents occur. But more often than not, the opposite is true. ‘Over-lawyering’ can lead to unnecessary spend on legal services that deliver little value, as well as time wasted on producing contract documentation that covers scenarios which are highly unlikely to occur. Unnecessary legal fees erode the outsourcer’s margins, and damage the client organisation’s business case.
Ask your outsourcer: to what extent is your master services agreement standardised in order to provide a legal basis that would save us legal costs and contracting time?
Pothole 10: Beware ignoring the opinion of independent analysts
A question to pose to your own IT team is how well they’ve researched all the available information about proposed or potential IT outsourcing partners. The decision to partner shouldn’t be based necessarily on existing relationships, but also on which outsourcer’s skills, experience, capabilities and global footprint match your business needs. In order to gain an independent view, it’s best to consult with industry analysts that conduct research about a wide range of outsourcers and engage with their clients in a variety of ways to form a clear picture of their capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. It’s not about partnering with the largest or most well-known outsourcer – but about finding the partner that suits your business in the best possible way.
Ask your outsourcer: have your skills and capabilities been evaluated by independent market analysts and, if so, how did they compare you with your closest competitors?
This IDC Insight discusses Dimension Data’s offer for support services, entitled Uptime. The suite of offers includes services and tools for effectively supporting and maintaining complex multivendor environments in a proactive way by leveraging not only Dimension Data’s unique intellectual property (IP) but that of the company’s vendor partners throughout the life cycle.
FOR ORGANISATIONS WITH OFFICES IN A SINGLE COUNTRY . . . Dimension Data commissioned Forrester Consulting to examine the total economic impact and potential return on investment (ROI) medium-size to large organisations that operate within a single country may realise by using Dimension Data’s Uptime Services. The purpose of this study is to provide readers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of the Uptime Services on their organisations.
FOR ORGANISATIONS WITH OFFICES IN MORE THAN ONE COUNTRY . . . Dimension Data commissioned Forrester Consulting to examine the total economic impact and potential return on investment (ROI) medium-size to large organisations that operate across borders may realise by using Dimension Data’s Uptime Services. The purpose of this study is to provide readers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of the Uptime Services on their organisations
The price on the bottom line of your ICT maintenance contract is often not what you actually pay for support. This is not because your service provider is billing inaccurately; in fact, it has more to do with costs incurred by your own organisation’s internal teams and structures. Rich Schofield, Managed Services Lead for Network Integration at Dimension Data, points out that the bulk of support-related expenses fall outside the scope of traditional support offerings. The goal should therefore be to reduce total cost of support by recognising and eliminating ‘hidden’ expenses, and not to cut down on externally provided services that you might later regret discontinuing.
Faced with the challenge of squeezing the most out of shrinking budgets, IT decision-makers are taking a long, hard look at where and how they allocate funding and resources for technology support. This always comes down to balancing cost and risk. A critical area of the infrastructure that goes offline owing to cheap, slow support can quickly cost the organisation more than it would’ve paid for a higher service level. Conversely, spending exorbitantly to keep a non-critical function up and running can be the slow drip that bleeds the budget dry.
Do you want to do business in a world with skilled partners to help with IT support or a world without? The partners you choose for IT support will greatly impact your success or failure. If you’ve partnered wisely, you will receive proactive IT support, meaning your IT infrastructure is always available, your IT assets are under control and your IT service experience is transparent with information easily accessible whenever you need it.
But how are providers developing proactive services? What is a good starting point and what makes for a strong partner? We’ll examine those question and more with two leading experts, Gartner Analyst Rob Addy and Anouck Ran, Global Product Manager for Support Services at Dimension Data.
As an Internet Protocol-based communications service provider, the organisation is at the forefront of telecommunications innovation in the region. It runs a stable, resilient and redundant network with a wide and innovative scope of service offerings, including connectivity, communications, cloud and carrier services.
With more than 400 brands focused on health and well-being, the organisation’s substantial portfolio includes food products, personal care, and everyday household care products. It produces world-leading brands alongside trusted local names. The manufacturer operates in over 130 countries, employing 173,000 people from 252 manufacturing sites.
This Australian government department contributes to national social, economic, cultural and environmental goals by providing a range of environmental science-related services and by undertaking research into related issues in support of its operations and services.
As a global fuel and energy supplier, this well-known organisation provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, engine lubricants, and petrochemical products used to make everyday items as diverse as paints, clothes and packaging.
An international law firm headquartered in New York City, specialising in complex legal challenges for corporate clients. The firm has over 1,200 lawyers in its more than 20 offices across the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Yes, you read that correctly. Approximately two thirds of your IT budget and the budgets of other organisations across the globe are spent on maintenance and support of the IT estate. Maintenance and support includes more than just the price of your support contracts. It also includes items such as: failed resolution attempts; spares inventory; an in-house support
Globally, the cost of supporting IT environments is estimated at over $21 billion every year and of this $21 Billion it has been estimated that the hidden costs can be as much as 2.5 times the known maintenance costs. To a business owner, IT manager or procurements officer, this should be a frightening figure, especially since some of these hidden costs are incurred in the efforts to
One of the many challenges associated with maintaining IT support in-house is containing the associated costs. Not only do companies have to employ dedicated staff to perform IT support functions and keep employees’ skills up-to-date with technological advances across multiple vendor technologies, but in addition to this, in-house IT staff members are expected to
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There is no sign of relief as fuel prices continue to rise. In the logistics arena, fuel costs are a primary driver of price and a key focus when companies need to find ways to manage expenses. Many organisations make the mistake of assuming that the best way to manage costs is to reduce their logistics expenses. While it’s true that logistics costs can be high, organisations incorrectly
As the maintenance and support market matures and changes, we expect clients to want – and providers to supply – more services for less cost. This includes better availability of their estate, more control of their assets, and more service transparency. A number of service providers are responding, including Dimension Data, and are moving from lower value
Companies are outsourcing to reduce cost and increase efficiency, but there comes a time when outsourcing to too many third parties can backfire and leave you with more relationships to manage than you are able to effectively handle. Our clients struggle to balance the pros and cons of in-house vendor management and we have some thoughts to share on the topic: