Managing IT Storage Growth through Uncharted Territories

Walter Musto, Director and Patrick Conway, Practice Manager, Forsythe Storage Solutions
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Walter Musto, Director and Patrick Conway, Practice Manager, Forsythe Storage Solutions

When Lewis and Clark led their famous expedition to explore the uncharted West, they didn’t do it alone. They were aided by a team of explorers, including Sacagawea, who served as a translator during the journey. Together the team helped the men navigate new territories, languages, and cultures.

“Storage and backup can easily spin out of control when organizations grow quickly, suddenly forcing IT to work in reactive mode”

In the age of cloud computing, convergence, virtualization, and mobility, IT organizations must chart a new course. They are expected to do so with agility, especially toward the business’ demand for more storage. They must meet success metrics around utilization, response time, recovery rates, and more. Expert navigation can help organizations make informed, cost-effective, and forward-thinking decisions about their storage and can transform the way they operate.

Assembling Your Team

Savvy IT leaders are realizing that it’s not possible to be great at everything, especially when a converged infrastructure requires knowledge of the entire IT stack and virtual environments. Instead they are determining which skills they want to keep in-house and are utilizing partners for the rest.

In many cases, it takes more than one employee to gather skills, time and, resources necessary to maintain a holistic view of the IT environment. And if an organization is lucky enough to have a single employee with the skill set to consistently monitor and optimize its IT systems, imagine the cost to the company if it were to lose that single employee.

Increasingly, organizations are taking advantage of managed services to leverage a pool of resources. Research and consulting firm MarketsandMarkets even predicts the managed services market will grow from $107 billion in 2014 to $193 billion by 2019, nearly doubling in five years.

Roadmap to Longevity

Organizations often realize that they lack core competencies during a time of transition; for example, when someone with significant institutional knowledge leaves the company or when the IT infrastructure changes significantly. Storage and backup can easily spin out of control when organizations grow quickly, suddenly forcing IT to work in reactive mode.

The right managed services provider partner can help organizations set a roadmap for what they’re good at, what they need help with and how to accomplish their goals. This roadmap is one of the most valuable exercises that IT goes through when entering such a partnership, because it outlines in black and white its core competencies and how it must realistically adapt to reach long-term objectives.

Times of change provide a great opening for taking a deeper look at the way the organization manages people, processes and technology. They are also a good time to think about where they can strategically reallocate resources so their IT environment has longevity. Savvy integration of a managed service provider can result in great value and cost-savings from an operational and environmental perspective.

New Directions

If you are going this route, look for a partner that shares your values and puts an emphasis on enabling your in-house team. It may seem counterintuitive, but the best partnering relationships are ones where your team gets better and more self-sufficient. Partners ultimately help them become more self-sufficient by guiding them toward their end goal and outlining together the best way to get there. Don’t settle for anything less.

IT organizations, ultimately, know their environment the best. An effective partnership involves sharing information, putting it in a collaborative environment, and helping you develop the right strategies and conditions for success. The right partner will provide you with the toolsets for elevating your own organization’s vision, visibility, and proactively embracing IT transformation.

And that’s when you know you’ve found the right partner. They are by your side, guiding you through this journey as you chart a new course for your IT organization and helping you navigate toward future IT agility.

Monitoring: a Perfect Use Case for a Transformational Partnership

Monitoring and reporting software is easy to buy but often ends up being difficult to own because it requires so much upkeep—usually more than one person can handle. And, even in the rare instance where the software is properly implemented, it doesn’t take long for it to go stale due to migrations, acquisitions, or even just regular progress yet the information the software provides is crucial to the effective IT planning required to support business growth.

The internal options for managing, reporting, and monitoring software fall somewhere between a rock and a hard place: You can train a single person on multiple products with shallow results, or you can hire multiple people with specific expertise but at a great expense. Without dedicating significant time to the software, collections get missed and new reports fail to be produced. IT organizations often don’t have that much time to devote to one endeavor because of all of the other support and maintenance activities their environment requires.

Working with a managed services provider can help relieve this administrative burden. Look for a partner that can give you access to your monitoring and reporting 24/7, as the SaaS solutions model can. When you improve visibility into your environment, you increase your ability to be proactive: maximizing storage capacity, minimizing risks, continually improving the environment, and establishing a long-term transformational strategy. Each of these elements comes down to knowledge—and when you have better information without the administrative burden, you can run a better business.

Take, for example, one organization that needed help effectively monitoring a refreshed environment. The managed services partner amplified the organization’s ability to maximize the environment day-to-day, as well as to plan for the future.

The reporting strategy reduced the organization’s tactical workload, while giving them insight from daily reports. The overall strategy ended up saving the organization $200,000 a year, just around its monitoring and reporting practices. That’s $200,000 more that can be directed toward activities that will help accelerate the business.

Deeper Visibility

By partnering with a group of experienced explorers, Lewis and Clark built a team with the necessary skills they needed to succeed. Now, think of how much more they could have done if their partners had not only the best skills, but also the best technology at their disposal. Imagine if they had some of today’s navigation technologies. They could have seen over mountains and predicted challenges such as weather events, hostile environments, or rough terrain even before they even encountered them.