40 per cent of IT leaders are now relying on outsourced providers to deploy Unified Communications (UC) solutions in their organisations (according to 451 Research Hosting and Cloud Study 2014) and 78 per cent have adopted at least one cloud service, according to recent statistics by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF). However, the recent report by 451 Research has also found that a third of all customers are not satisfied with the level of service provided.
Piers Linney, Co-CEO of UK-based Cloud Services Provider (CSP) Outsourcery says that one reason why one in three IT leaders are not satisfied with their provider is because their cloud supplier has not been able to keep up with their evolving requirements – and as customer awareness of the options grows, existing suppliers are not engaging in conversations with their customers about a world beyond on-premises deployments of ICT and managed services.
Linney explains: “Adopting a cloud-based email or UC service is one thing, but moving compute and data storage wholesale to the cloud and then integrating it with legacy systems is something entirely different. It’s great to see that more IT departments are approaching and using outsourced providers to deploy cloud-based services within their organisations. However, taking an incremental approach to adoption brings its own challenges. IT leaders will either need to continually extend the range of cloud suppliers they use, which could bring issues around accountability, service integration and value for money, or they would need to change their existing supplier to one that offers a broader cloud offering. Neither option is straight-forward.
“We have found that the UC market is highly fluid because of this issue. Cloud has been a particularly popular approach for this area of IT due to the complexities of converged solutions; as organisations become more comfortable with outsourcing IT service provision, they are looking to their supplier for a broader range of cloud deployment options. However, some only find disappointment. IT leaders need to look ahead to where they want their business to move in the future. They need to consider whether the outsourced provider under consideration has the ability to move at the same pace as their business and if not, how to handle this situation. The universe of IT and UC suppliers will divide into those that make the substantial investment required in new platforms, systems, intellectual property and personnel, versus those that focus on offering professional services and reselling subscription services. Many organisations in this space will not be able to achieve either.
“What’s more, this means that resellers need to choose their target markets and service range carefully. If they are going to face demands for greater product and service offerings from their customers, they in turn need to assess their partners to make sure that they can swiftly respond in the same way”, Piers concludes.