Greenhouse effect: A world of IT systems in one facility

Greenhouse effect: A world of IT systems in one facility

Dave Ricketts, head of marketing at Six Degrees, explores how varying industries can benefit from the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ that comes with outsourcing to a managed service provider.

A very apt comparison can be made between a greenhouse and a data centre. The purpose of the average greenhouse is to shield a variety of plants and crops from extreme external factors such as heat, cold or unwanted pests, while providing a stable environment to support optimal growth throughout the year. In a similar way, data centres provide this combination of perfected environments to support a variety of vertical industries’ IT needs, each requiring bespoke protection, management and service in a temperature-controlled, secure facility.

Public sector organisations will require a data centre to fulfil specific certifications to ensure that valuable data is kept absolutely secure, while the top priority for retailers is more likely to be eradicating downtime during periods of increased sales. So while all industries will have their IT infrastructures housed under the same roof, each IT system requires tailored solutions to maximise efficiency and capabilities for the benefit of the businesses they support – just as different plants in a greenhouse have diverse needs in order to thrive.

Not all IT systems in a third-party data centre are the same. Here are examples of four industry verticals that can use third-party data centres for IT needs and how a managed service provider (MSP) can tailor support and services to offer the best possible ‘Greenhouse Effect’.

Retailers buy reassurance

The retail world experiences fluctuations in customer demand and sudden bursts of website traffic throughout the year. Its IT infrastructure therefore needs to be able to consistently support the business, and scale quickly on demand during times of increased sales. Busy periods are easy to manage from a physical shop floor perspective – extra staff can be hired and stock can be increased – but in the age of the online consumer, from an IT point of view, it’s key for retailers to ensure that their systems are able to perform under similar pressures. If servers crash, there is no easy way to make up for this downtime, which can affect income and reputation.

Many organisations are now realising that there is a way to stay one step ahead of the customer when it comes to IT. According to a recent survey by Martec International, the retail industry in the UK and Ireland experienced substantial growth in both the trust and adoption of cloud-based technologies, citing the lowered risk of loss of sales or inability to trade, and potential loss of customers as central motives. Up to 94% of respondents confirmed that they felt confident using cloud-based systems for business-critical applications, with 77% already outsourcing at least one.

By outsourcing one or more IT functions to a MSP, retailers can eradicate downtime and experience the added benefit of 24/7 expert support and reassurance.  

Legal firms find their way out of a paper work mountain

An increasing number of legal firms are recognising the positive impact of utilising third party data centres – typically to help improve the efficiency of their client service delivery.

The legal sector is well known for its copious amounts of paper work generated on a regular basis, all requiring careful management and attention to detail. All this ‘admin’ is extremely time-consuming, leaving staff with minimal time to focus on valuable client service delivery that adds true value to the business.

MSPs are able to manage central IT and communication infrastructure, as well as offer a range of sector-specific services such as business intelligence, productivity and security applications. Legal firms can therefore work with a third party technology partner to achieve remarkable results and reduce that paperwork. In this way, MSPs can help free up precious time that law firms can allocate to achieving principal business goals.

Public Sector data stays secure

Being responsible for such valuable and sensitive data means that public sector organisations are arguably in most need of robust data protection and management services. But achieving such capabilities for any IT team that operates on strict government budgets can be difficult.  It’s therefore easy to recognise the benefits for these organisations when outsourcing their operations to service providers with expertise in cloud-based technology.

Organisations within the public sector should specifically look for MSPs with relevant industry expertise. Doing so is likely to mean that businesses are offered a more tailored service in which more traditional, sensitive applications are moved to an internal, private cloud hosted in a data centre, while the more accessible applications are moved to a public cloud vendor. This dual approach promotes zero downtime while providing increased security, with the flexibility to transition to the cloud at a pace that suits them.

Construction staff stay connected

The construction and building industry is thought by many to be a hands-on business, but in fact, it is one of the most information-intense industries. Any large construction process requires extensive exchange of data between all staff involved in the process to ensure smooth running of the project. In today’s information technology era, where fast, efficient output is simply expected, how can businesses in this sector incorporate the right technology at multiple levels to successfully achieve deadlines, reduce cost and ensure quality?

A good starting point can be to identify areas of growth. Where there’s growth there will be a need for systems to support progress, and setting up an IT infrastructure to underpin this expansion – and future needs – makes good business sense.

Organisations can then go on to decide if those systems and infrastructure can and should be managed internally. But when taking into consideration the skills, physical capacity and costs that are required to manage the network, many find that it makes more business sense to outsource to a third party. Larger construction businesses may well opt to turn to a service provider with data centre facilities that can provide the relevant IT infrastructure and expertise needed to future proof operations. Utilising this kind of service, particularly for businesses with branches in multiple locations, enables the company to stay connected, without having to worry about systems overload or unwelcome downtime.

Many may see managing IT systems internally as the best approach – as the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. But when it comes to an MSP, who can ensure that an organisation’s systems are consistently up and running whilst reducing the time spent on IT internally, the rationale behind outsourcing is simple. Just like a greenhouse, MSPs can ensure that, no matter what industry, all customers within a data centre receive the right services for their IT requirements, giving back time back to focus on the core business objectives.