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Collaborative Services Approach: A Smart, Intimate Approach to Managing your Network

Rob Rosa, U.S. Public Sector Channel Partner Services Organization

November 18, 2015  |  Collaboration  •  Networking

For some IT manufacturers, the managed services arena is simply not their area of expertise. While they may have robust global helpdesk and technical support mechanisms in place, customers are seeking a smart, proactive, intimate approach to the management of their network. When manufacturers and channel partners team up to provide a collaborative services approach, the customer ultimately receives the best of both worlds in terms of their network management. Not only does the customer receive the expertise from the manufacturer, but they also receive a more intimate experience from the channel partner who can implement a more personalized level of engagement with dedicated resources who understand the federal market and its challenges.As federal IT leaders and buyers are collaborating on the best approach for transitioning their organizations to new managed services and consumption models, IT manufacturers are also collaborating with their channel partner community to determine the best way to provide technical support services to the federal market space in this “new frontier.”

What are the other benefits a collaborative services approach provides a managed services environment?

  • Improved Risk Management
  • Faster Problem Resolution
  • Reduced Operating Expenses
  • Personalized, High Touch Support

One of the biggest challenges the federal IT community faces is visibility into their actual network inventory as well as the lifecycle status of the network. Since federal IT buyers aren’t able to procure network equipment from one sole vendor due to Federal Acquisition Regulations, they are left to deal with multiple vendors creating multiple warranty contracts making it nearly impossible to have one view of the network.

Under a collaborative services approach, the channel partner can submit a “Letter of Authorization” from the customer to the manufacturer to gain full access to the customer’s network inventory and lifecycle schedule. When IT operators have a full view of their entitlement status, they can resolve issues more quickly with the helpdesk resulting in minimized network downtime and increased business continuity. It also gives operators a full view of the lifecycle so they can work jointly with procurement to budget and plan for replacement of equipment reaching End of Life (EOL) and End of Support (EOS) dates defined by the manufacturer.

The channel partner may also implement manufacture-sponsored smart, proactive tools on the network to facilitate collection of inventory information, which results in improved reporting and entitlement experiences. This approach not only helps the IT end users receive support more quickly, but it also helps IT buyers procure annual maintenance renewals more efficiently and economically as they will only purchase support for live nodes currently on the network. Lastly, it eliminates the need for IT staff to spend valuable time conducting manual inventories of the active network devices.

In addition, one of the largest benefits a customer receives from a collaborative services approach for network management is the more intimate and higher touch support they will receive from the channel partner. Instead of feeling lost in the shuffle of the manufacturer’s global technical support structure and processes, they will sometimes receive dedicated support resources who understand the challenges of federal IT network management. Other potential value-adds the partner can bring to the customer are personalized quarterly business reviews to help demonstrate how the service is being used, monthly or quarterly install base and device diagnostic reporting, disaster recovery support and planning, onsite professional services, and multivendor support options.

In the federal IT environment where IT leaders and buyers are being asked to transition from large CAPEX expenditures to more predictable, affordable OPEX expenditures via managed services models, a collaborative services approach is definitely one to consider. When managed services is a collaborative model between the manufacturer and the channel partner, the benefits of lowering risk, reducing costs, increasing network uptime, and receiving a personalized technical support experience far outweigh the standard approach of manufacturer-only level support. Ultimately, these benefits impact both the IT staff as well as IT procurement making collaborative services a win, win for all.

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