Businesses are increasingly migrating away from providing their own infrastructure for IT-related tasks, toward a model wherein necessary services are managed in the cloud by other companies. Before relying on JD Edwards managed services, it is essential to know the advantages and tradeoffs of having a third party manage key infrastructure.
The technology needs of businesses continue to increase. Once it was sufficient to host a website and perhaps to provide a few organizational mailboxes. Eventually, web applications came to replace tools such as calendars, contact lists and other physical components of running a business. Today’s smart companies manage information electronically by default, producing hard copies only when necessary.
This has vastly increased the burden of maintaining the infrastructure that any business must have to compete. Businesses can respond to this in one of two ways. They can either host all necessary services themselves, hiring essential staff and purchasing additional equipment, or they can contract a managed services provider to do it for them. Managed services bring along a number of benefits and disadvantages.
Managed Services Pros
Easing Maintenance Infrastructure
First, managed services encapsulate a number of solid choices and best practices. Choosing a suite of applications to meet a given need is challenging, but any business that hires a managed hosting company can be certain that the proposed solution will be well-integrated to meet a given set of needs. Said services will also be kept updated, are managed securely, and often come with a service level agreement which commits to high availability.
Managed services generally cost less. Just as buying in bulk saves money, so too does hosting in bulk. Buying new servers and bandwidth while also hiring new staff to host a single set of services costs more than does hiring another company. By hosting multiple instances of a similar stack, efficiency is increased and costs are reduced.
Managed services are also fast to deploy. It is often possible to set up infrastructure in minutes or hours, rather than the days that would be necessary to set up and network physical servers, as well as to hire essential maintenance and support staff. Managed services can also scale to meet new demand, thus eliminating the need to acquire new hardware and personnel as demand increases.
Managed Services Cons
There are also disadvantages to managed services. When hiring another partner to host critical business infrastructure, one hopes that their business will endure. If it fails, any businesses relying upon them might be left scrambling for a way to replace email, web hosting, calendars and other critical pieces of infrastructure without which any business cannot run.
Managed hosting offers less flexibility. While the choice of which applications to use for a given need might be a daunting one, it does allow meeting specific requirements to exacting standards. Managed services take some of this choice away, resulting in combinations that may not be as ideal for a given use case.
Finally, managed service providers generally store information outside of a business’s own infrastructure. In many industries this is a perfectly acceptable choice, but regulated sectors such as health care may require that service providers adhere to additional standards such as HIPAA and HITECH. Such compliance increases complexity and costs.
Whether to use managed services is a complex issue. For some businesses, they represent a great way to cut costs while quickly coming up to speed. For others, the risks and added complexity might override any benefits. As such, there is no right answer for everyone, and businesses and organizations must individually weigh these factors to make the right decision for their unique circumstances.