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2020 may have been the year of the outbreak, but 2021 has become the year of the outsource

The attitude toward managed services has changed significantly as a result of the pandemic, and the drivers for adoption, whether it be out-source, out-task or out-staff have changed for good. This is according to managed services provider eacs, which is reporting on the profound impact COVID has had on the sector.

Kevin Timms, CEO, eacs, stated: “During 2020 and all the tumult surrounding enabling people to work from home and the raging uncertainty, there was little appetite to change outsource suppliers or indeed adopt managed services. There were also very few procurement tenders released in the public or private sector and eacs saw clients simply renew their managed services without going to market.

“It felt like in 2020 companies were just holding their breath, riding things out and delaying any decisions.

“We have seen however that at the end of Q1 2021 things have started to change and there is a certain amount of optimism in the market and tenders are flowing again. Incidentally, eacs have secured more managed services business in Q2 of 2021 than the whole of 2020 and it is the fastest-growing area of our business this year so far,” he added.

At the beginning of the pandemic, trusted IT partners like eacs sprang into action ensuring that the right equipment was available in the right locations and the remote access systems were stable and reliable as everyone disappeared from the comfort and security of their offices to work from home.

Timms continued: “Perceptions changed remarkably in the early days of the pandemic with the oft heard calls of ‘by-the-side’ onsite support falling away as end-users were forced to raise tickets using all sorts of channels such as chat, email, online portal and the phone.

“What they couldn’t do, however, was raise them with an engineer face-to-face. This has shifted the mindset of the leadership of companies that consume Managed Services and necessitated partners such as eacs to innovate to make this transition as painless for the users as possible.”

It doesn’t appear to be that the benefits of outsourcing are increasing or changing, but more that the blockages to adoption are reducing. With end-user resistance waning, technology more reliable than ever and platforms such as the PowerPlatform providing easy automation the reasons not to outsource IT Support are diminishing rapidly.

Whether it be outsourcing wholly, out-tasking backups/patching or out-staffing to augment the team the question which is being asked isn’t why outsource IT functions but when.

Driven by this mindset change, eacs has developed tools like eacsAssist which allows the user to raise a service desk ticket with one press of a key. The tool collects all the pertinent technical information in the background including the last actions of the user over a given time. This is then passed on to the technical analyst who mostly resolves the call there and then with little need for the protracted, lengthy, and sometimes awkward phone calls which the users don’t seem to like.

“The attitude toward managed services has changed significantly too, the questions we are being asked are different. For instance, clients who were forced to reduce staffing levels last year are finding it hard to recruit again, salaries are climbing steeply for good people and Managed Services are becoming a more attractive option commercially. An interesting motivator we see are companies consolidating properties, embracing home working as a standard and shutting offices they have occupied for decades. Also the rise and rise of Cloud technologies can ensure companies are no longer tied to bricks and mortar data centres. In effect detaching users and datacentres from physical offices means working from anywhere is a reality,” concluded Timms.

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