By Patrick Reeves, Managing Executive for Axiz Field Services
The cloud is a fantastic advancement in modern digital technology. But it also created a fair bit of hubris. Promises that cloud would be cheaper or more resilient used to be more prevalent. But reality eventually caught up: cloud technologies are a leap forward in many regards, yet they don’t magically remove challenges around cost and system availability.
Instead, they may have made things a little worse. The remarkable positive revolution of the cloud era is that we can move away from heavily centralised IT infrastructure deployment and ownership. Modularity, service and integration pave the way to smarter, faster and more affordable digitisation. But with that comes the stress of complexity.
The more an organisation relies on a healthy mix of internal and external technology products and services, the more it worries about complexity. Many surveys and reports reveal how CIOs, CISOs and other technology leaders are concerned about complexity. They worry that it reduces their ability to manage IT, devours valuable time from their teams and creates significant security risks.
No wonder we see a boom in adopting services and platforms that provide consolidated IT visibility and management. The trend to ‘rent’ services such as managed services, software as a service and data centre co-location stems from a desire to reduce complexity’s demands.
Yet companies often overlook another advantageous way to reduce complexity: support and field maintenance, such as Axiz Field Services, that put the right people in the right places at the right times. With sufficient skills and a comprehensive footprint, support and field maintenance services cover scenarios that routinely crop up due to modern digital systems:
Support calls: the average employee accesses several digital services daily, particularly cloud services. This puts more pressure on IT teams to handle support calls. A proper support service provider offers tier one call centre support tailored to common employee problems.
Data centre maintenance: many enterprises are relocating their servers to third-party data centres. It saves a lot of costs but requires onsite visits for specific maintenance procedures. Keeping staff on standby, requiring them to drop everything and rush to the site, is ineffective (and impractical for remote areas). But a leading field maintenance service can cover such needs while keeping fees reasonable.
Maintenance skills: skilled IT people are scarce. Maintenance is a poor use of their capabilities when they have other priorities. Likewise, keeping a skilled professional on standby in case something breaks is expensive. A field maintenance service pools such skills, continually trains its people and uses economies of scale to make the practice affordable.
Predictive maintenance: relating to the previous point, many IT professionals have to wait for something to break before they can fix it. They cannot constantly check on the health of different IT components. Best-of-breed field service technicians train to spot developing issues and recommend interventions before something breaks and causes expensive cascading failures.
Regional access: enterprises with multinational branches and facilities find it particularly challenging to address problems in different geographies. From having people on the ground to navigating labour and visa requirements, they can get snagged in red tape and unnecessary costs. Proper field services leverage partner networks and local offices to resolve such challenges – a particularly relevant feature for companies operating across Africa.
Single contact and strategy: many of the above issues hobble cohesive IT strategies and maintenance. Effective field service providers work closely with CIOs to align with the enterprise IT strategy and provide a single point of contact, no matter how far and wide the client’s sites are located.
Local development: many countries, particularly across Africa, expect enterprises to support local skills development – including for field service technicians. But that’s a big ask when your core business function isn’t IT support. Support and field maintenance services provide a more straightforward path to cultivate such local skills and these investments reflect well on their customers.
Modern IT complexity makes maintenance and support a big headache for many companies, and the bigger they are, the more intensive the headache. Too often, they do the minimum, which encourages cascading failure down the line, or they overspend on support. Both actions erode the advantages we gain from the cloud and its peer technologies.
Axiz Field Services is a comprehensive, multi-tier and deeply skilled service provider. We make support and field services affordable and effective through scale and specialisation. We have an established footprint across Africa, using local partners and offices to navigate regional requirements and laws. If something goes wrong – a broken device, an employee request, data centre problems, etc – it gets attended to quickly and with minimal impact on our customers.
Don’t allow the drawbacks of IT complexity to take away its benefits. The cloud, virtualisation, co-location, software-defined networks and software services are part of an incredible revolution that elevates how we work, live and play to new heights. With the right field services partner, those drawbacks stop becoming your problem, letting you focus on the innovation and improvements that strengthen your enterprise.