Trust is at the root of all successful outsourcing partnerships. Without trust between all parties, commercial relationships can break down. And as I’m sure you know it’s far more expensive to get new business in the door or find new partners to work with; than it is to keep the status quo.
So how can outsourcers build and maintain trust? I may be biased but I firmly believe that the availability of technology that provides round the clock oversight is the answer.
In recent times there has been a move to hybrid IT environments spanning both mainframe and legacy systems, private clouds and hyperscale cloud providers such as Google and Microsoft.
These are complicated environments and outsourcers need to be able to provide complex skill sets, processes and tools that are essential to manage this kind of infrastructure consistently and at scale. If the outsourcers can’t deliver, it can lead to serious problems for the customer, and impact the overall relationship.
This shift in IT outsourcing has resulted in the client demanding more transparency, control and visibility. To provide this level of service, most traditional outsourcing business models would require root and branch upheaval.
But thanks to the advent of applications performance monitoring and network performance monitoring it is possible to build a level of trust between both parties that is beneficial to all concerned.
These are two industry recognised and complimentary, but currently diverse technologies. In my experience the best solution for complete outsourcing oversight is a combination of the two with bells on. I refer to it as advanced performance management (APM), a much more holistic approach using just one tool and providing ultimate visibility and control.
Using this APM technology it is possible for true transparency to be automated and delivered round the clock. Implementation of monitoring technology in data centres allows for reporting to all stakeholders, giving a true understanding of exactly what is happening and so building trust.
The performance management technology does this by building up a picture of what ‘normal state’ is. Once integrated into a system the software will run and monitor the activity on the network for a period of time. It will observe the peaks and troughs of activity, where users are accessing files and when. Having captured this normal state alerts can then be set up to flag unusual activity, people accessing certain files and anything else that is deemed to be outside the norm. APM’s auto discovery and proactive problem identification capability makes for far more efficient use of the human resource and in fact lowers the cost of the outsourcing overhead.
This automated oversight helps with system transparency in many ways. It can aid the detection of security threats from both inside and outside the network, it can pre-emptively detect problems across the network, for example it could see unusual activity affecting the DBA team or the network team, allowing the incident management team to pin point this and ask the relevant people to investigate before a major problem occurs.
Currently, finding exactly what is causing problems in a network is time consuming – up to 30 per-cent of total time currently spent on IT support is fault finding. This obviously adds to the length of resolution time and to the frustration of end users. Advanced Performance Management technology can virtually eradicate this and helps to create a transparent optimised and efficient environment. Good news for everyone.
There are other added benefits beyond trust in deploying this tech. Thanks to understanding what ‘normal state’ looks like, monitoring software is able to predict and detect where future issues may arise, this allows incident management teams to proactively target areas that might cause system slow downs or outages before they happen. The technology also enables modelling and testing prior to the roll out of any new technology and applications.
As well as building trust via transparency, once in place the advanced monitoring technology can be updated and calibrated as the underlying system changes over time and keep up with innovations in the market place. This means that an expensive and time consuming overhaul won’t be required as the software can keep pace with current TCI/IP requirements.
The development of a trust-based transparent business model that generates longer-term contracts based on real working partnerships is valuable to both outsourcer and client, in terms of cost, resource continuity, and general productivity. To build trust through transparency saves money and ultimately delivers enhanced services.