Six things to look for in a hybrid IT solutions provider

By Century Link

Choosing the right managed hybrid IT solutions provider can help organisations achieve long-term business goals cost-effectively. It can be difficult for businesses to choose a managed services provider because there are several to pick from.

Gery Messer, managing director Asia Pacific at CenturyLink, said, “As with any prospective partnership, choosing the right hybrid IT partner is about placing trust in their capabilities. A provider that is transparent in its strategic intentions, understands the market and delivers consistent levels of service globally, will help ensure a successful partnership.”

RELATED TOPIC: 5 reasons to adopt a managed hybrid IT approach

CenturyLink believes companies should look for these six capability indicators when selecting a managed hybrid IT provider:

1. Strong portfolio. Hybrid IT providers need to be able to deliver on all current enterprise requirements as well as those an organisation anticipates having in the future. Check that their existing portfolio is strong, broad and deep enough to suit the strategic goals.

2. Commercial flexibility. A hybrid IT partner should do more than just provide cost-neutrality or savings through economies of scale. Both contract and service flexibility should be on offer. This includes the ability to scale up one particular service, like cloud, and scale down another, like colocation, as needed. In addition, they should include the possibility of online service portals. They keep internal teams in the driver’s seat so they can provision compute resource and storage, monitor workloads and make changes as required.

RELATED TOPIC: How IT function has changed since aligning with business

3. Independence. Vendor-neutrality is an important consideration when choosing a hybrid IT provider, especially if the current ecosystem is fragmented. Look for a provider that can extend the organisations options with plug-and-play as required, even to other clouds. Also check for broad telecom carrier diversity as it will indicate whether the provider can offer the right connectivity within reasonable timeframes.

4. Connectivity. Expect the hybrid IT provider to deliver connectivity on a global scale, not only on a local or site basis. Look for an abundance of fibre into the data centre building is a capability indicator to look out for. Check that physical and virtual cross-connect services and access are provided, from one building to another or via a private network. Knowing whether the potential partner has the capacity to connect globally is critical if the business has plans to grow overseas. This can stunt a business’ growth if they are limited in how they can connect.

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5. Onboarding and support. Organisations need an environment that balances performance, resilience and value for money. Hybrid IT partners should design a personalised environment for the business. Differentiated service levels that map to individual applications and specific demands mean organisations pay only for what they need. The support process is equally important. The provider should offer experienced consultants for strategic planning and to execute migration, and an implementation team to ensure everything runs smoothly. Look for a 24/7 global helpdesk and check that it is staffed with certified experts to ensure the service is sufficiently supported.

6. Security. Security, privacy and performance are three key performance areas that the provider must deliver on with world-class infrastructure and data security. The sectors a provider serves can indicate competence. If trust is placed in a hybrid IT solution provider by organisations with stringent compliance requirements for safeguarding sensitive data, such as governments, financial and medical institutions, it is likely they perform to high standards.

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