The perfect storm

* Why managed services are in the majority of organizations

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I'm seeing a perfect storm developing in the area of managed services, specifically to help IT and telecom staffs serve their branch offices and remote workers.

In 2008, 63% of organizations plan to use some form of managed services, up from 46% in 2007, according to Nemertes newly released Advanced Communications Services benchmark.

What’s driving that growth? A few key factors:

* Only 44% of companies are increasing their IT budgets in 2008; and only 28% plan to do so in 2009.

* The number of branch offices is increasing by 12% a year

* 83% of companies say they operate a virtual workplace, in which more than one-quarter of employees work away from their supervisors or workgroups.

* More than 80% of organizations have centralized or are centralizing their applications and databases to serve the distributed workforce.

In this environment, managed services make perfect sense. More people work remotely, all trying to access applications and data stored centrally. At the same time, IT departments aren’t expecting increases in their personnel through 2009.

The result? More demands from remote workers, more demands for a solid-performing network that connects these remote workers with the apps and data they need.

What’s more, with a quarter of the employee population working away from their supervisors or workgroups, there’s a greater onus on the IT staff to make sure those people remain productive. Without reliable communications, they suddenly become a productivity drain on the company. And whose fault is it? IT’s.

By turning to managed services, IT and telecom staffs can offload the day-to-day responsibilities of managing routers, WAN circuits, IP telephony, training, installations, and more. They more easily receive budget approval for increased operational costs than they do for increased headcount. And, the in-house IT staff can focus on new applications that help those remote workers become more productive.

Next week: What managed services are companies using to help their branch office locations, and why?

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