Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, John Katrick, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Industrial IoT, Adobe Flex

Microservices Expo: Article

Great Solutions for Big Problems…

IT Managed Services may be visible and tangible

Managed Services Providers face a variety of challenges. They struggle trying to sell an intangible and invisible service. Quoting Harry Beckwith, author of the book “Selling the Invisible”: ‘You can’t see them – so how do you sell them? That’s the problem with services.’  However some services can be transformed into something tangible, PR services can be touched and sensed in the publications for instance, telephone services are sensed when making a call; but the IT managed services are never sensed, these services just are there. The computer works, the antivirus is updated, the printer prints, they are supposed to do so, isn’t it? It is their purpose. But behind all this normally expected performance are the IT Managed Services, intangible and invisible to users, but a key activity for the devices’ deploy and performance.

IT Managed Services are turning into an important trend for this year and the coming ones; hence bringing the own mobile devices to work is becoming a norm; according to Gartner, in 2015 a 50% of the mobile devices will be employees self tablets. Companies’ information will be flowing freely through Big Data and Cloud Computing technologies in these personal devices. The question is; how can all these information be secured and controlled?

The IT infrastructure’s remote monitoring and managing then becomes a highly productive opportunity for the Managed Services Providers –MSP-, either giving pure managed services or providing technical support if IT also are solutions providers; these activities may help these companies to become important players helping their clients to address their business goals.

Insight Research predicts the managed services market growth from USD $29 billion in 2010 to USD $47 billion in 2015, with an approximate 15% annual growth. This scenery seems to be a very good business opportunity for Managed Services Providers (MSP).

In a study performed by Forrester with 208 IT executives 36% consider the mobile applications for tablets and smartphones as important change factor, 32% consider mobile applications deliver worth to business. All of them consider all these devices need to be managed, controlled, and secured.

However, the IT managed services and remote monitoring are invisible and intangible; the challenge is convincing managers about their worth, these activities are in the lowest part of the network, it is not a software that executives use to be more productive, not an add-on to their devices; it is a constant monitoring service performed by another company. According to Fernando Tejeda, Founder and Managing Director of Consulta ITS, a well known MSP in Mexico, it’s in this moment when a hundred questions and doubts arise on the prospect side. What about my information and devices? Will you have direct access to all of them? What about the security? How do I know that your staff is doing their job? How do I know that the monitoring is really continuous and effective? IT Managers concerns go from being substituted to lose their infrastructures control. Directors become unsure, they can’t see or touch what they are paying for, they experience it every day in an indirect way; yes that’s an issue, results are indirectly appreciated in the tangibles – devices- therefore the ROI becomes hard to measure.

Facing all these challenges, require big solutions; building an effective marketing and direct sales strategy to support all the prospects’ questions and fears when offering IT Managed Services.

According to Jason Magee, Global Channel Director in a highly recognized remote monitoring (RMM) software solution firm -LabTech Software- IT Managed Services Providers also delivering IT Solutions have three interesting business opportunities: 1. Using the arsenal of remote monitoring tools in a help desk to give technical support and services to their IT solutions clients; 2. Providing complete sets of managed services to companies helping them to control their technological infrastructure, including all the hardware and software; 3. Reselling the software licenses to the large corporations trying to manage their own networks.

These three options presented by LabTech Software represent very interesting opportunities that may report a fast return of investment. But two of them are intangibles and invisible; the challenge is how to market them?

Selling the Intangible and Invisible
Taking IT managed services to the market effectively may need to main initiatives:
-    Build up your IT managed services levels and brand giving a sense of tangibility to clients, and
-    Generate quality leads

Yes, make your IT managed services tangible, give them a brand; make them stand out from the ones offered by your competitors. Your objective is to give them a – name+image – and a description that your prospects can easily relate with you and to the solution to their specific challenges, making your clients sense them into their daily business activities and financial results. However, never allow your IT Managed Services to become a generic; or else you will be promoting your services and your competitor’s as well.

To give the correct brand to your services; be aware of the analyst predictions and market trends. Perform a survey to know your prospects strongest challenges in this area. Remember that the bigger the obstacle you go over, the bigger your reward will be. Ask them the correct questions  including the business performance related ones in order to make them see the impact of the remote devices monitoring and managing in their daily activities; adopting IT Managed Services may not represent a need for them, but solving mayor problems in their daily business activities and profit may be all to them!
Use these survey results to define your services and their levels, take on account your prospects sample needs, challenges, size, as well as the kind and amount of devices in their companies. Write down a detailed description of each service level and profile. Now that you have all the information and foundation to create a brand; take a marketing professional service, an expert that will help you to transform your information into a brand and accurate messages that will attract your prospects. This way you will be giving great definite solutions to each company unique great problems; something that executives can hardly resist.

Next step is to generate quality leads. “Nothing endures but change” stated Heraclitus. And changes become priceless when they solve big problems. Once again, same as you did in your survey, when qualifying prospects ask them the correct questions as a key activity.

Let’s see an example; in early 2010, NII Holdings, a leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in Latin America decided to use IT Managed Services to standardize their processes and enhance the customer satisfaction through a higher voice, and data services quality. The CTO in the company stated that given the opportunities to deliver profitable growth, including their plans to deploy 3G capabilities, the IT managed services’ experience enhanced their IT infrastructure efficiency and flexibility.

If you interview CIOs about the technological mayor challenges they have regarding their IT infrastructure performance from a business perspective, it is very suitable that you would obtain interesting clues to give great solutions to their big problems, so take the place of the expert and provide the solutions using your managed services features and messaging! Mobile devices, for instance, represent a challenge to the IT management in most companies; so give a solution using your complete arsenal of remote monitoring tools, turning them into a complete IT infrastructure managing and control service.
Remember, the bigger the challenge is, the bigger the reward becomes; change means nothing if it does not give a solution to big problems; and listen carefully to be able to make the correct questions. Controlling IT infrastructures is a trend, and you as a Managed Service Provider – MSP - may get a key role in this activity of course with very interesting profit.

More Stories By Monica Paul

Monica Paul is a marketer and web developer with 20 years experience in local, regional, and global marketing strategies. In 2001, after eight years working as an employee for several IT companies such as Micrografx and Visio; Monica founded Marcomtec, a division of Magic Masterminds LLC, a marketing firm providing strategy and content services, as well as marketing campaigns in English and Spanish. In 2013 Monica launched Magic MasterMinds (www.magicmasterminds.com), a publishing platform to help writers all over the world to publish and market their books.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
You often hear the two titles of "DevOps" and "Immutable Infrastructure" used independently. In his session at DevOps Summit, John Willis, Technical Evangelist for Docker, covered the union between the two topics and why this is important. He provided an overview of Immutable Infrastructure then showed how an Immutable Continuous Delivery pipeline can be applied as a best practice for "DevOps." He ended the session with some interesting case study examples.
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Don’t go chasing waterfall … development, that is. According to a recent post by Madison Moore on Medium featuring insights from several software delivery industry leaders, waterfall is – while still popular – not the best way to win in the marketplace. With methodologies like Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery becoming ever more prominent over the past 15 years or so, waterfall is old news. Or, is it? Moore cites a recent study by Gartner: “According to Gartner’s IT Key Metrics Data report, ...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Kelly Looney, director of DevOps consulting for Skytap, showed how an incremental approach to introducing containers into complex, distributed applications results in modernization with less risk and more reward. He also shared the story of how Skytap used Docker to get out of the business of managing infrastructure, and into the business of delivering innovation and business value. Attendees learned how up-front planning allows for a clean sep...
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.