Managed Network Services for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are primarily defined by their size – the number of employees is an often-used measure to categorize them. Compared to large enterprises and, say, Fortune 1,000s, they have fewer resources to count on, financially and otherwise. With smaller budgets and staffing, they need to do more with less to achieve their goals.
With the advent of digital transformation, core business services and operations are more and more dependent on advances in technology. The network infrastructure that connects users with the applications, data and computing is fundamental to the delivery of these services.
This turn of events places a huge burden on SMEs to operate and maintain the complex network infrastructure that delivers business services.
SMEs have two options:
- They can take a DIY approach and go for it on their own.
- Or they can enlist a managed network service (MNS) provider who takes on the onus of managing the infrastructure.
The DIY Approach Has Significant Challenges
There are financial considerations around setting up and managing network infrastructure. The total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) involved with network management tooling and software is intimidating. It includes not only the upfront CAPEX but also the ongoing OPEX associated with maintenance and upgrades.
The second consideration is staffing. Finding, hiring and retaining skilled IT staff is a non-trivial exercise. SMEs by definition have small employee pools – and the more staff that are dedicated to infrastructure management, the fewer that are then available to focus on core day-to-day business needs.
The MNS Approach Delivers Significant Benefits
From a financial perspective, MNS providers operate on a subscription basis. For SMEs, this essentially removes the CAPEX element and moves the funding towards an OPEX arrangement.
The fact that there is no massive upfront cost is alone a huge reason for SMEs to engage with the MNS model. It eliminates the expenses involved with getting the infrastructure management up and running. Another advantage is that, depending on the needs of the SMEs, MNS providers can rapidly scale efforts up or down to match the swings in business cycles.
The MNS provider also maintains its own staff, tooling, and operational processes to deliver the service.
For SMEs, we can identify three clear benefits of partnering with an MNS provider:
- The entire staffing issue, including finding and retaining skilled people, is taken on by the MNS. In times of need, the MNS can even augment SMEs by providing staff with the relevant skillsets as required.
- The MNS organization provides the service delivery platforms (SDP), the management software, and the NOC They take on the cost of setting it all up and maintaining it over time. They also are on top of the latest trends and have good reasons to constantly upgrade their capabilities to take advantage of emerging technologies.
- MNS providers bring a huge amount of expertise and knowledge to bear in the course of the execution of their service delivery. This provides SMEs with a valuable partner that can help with the strategic planning and evolution of the infrastructure to match the needs of emerging businesses.
Unlocking Business Potential
For SMEs to succeed, they need to utilize their financial resources efficiently. With limited staff available, they need to align their efforts to maximize effectiveness in terms of meeting business goals.
By taking on the onus of managing the network infrastructure, MNS providers make it possible for SMEs to efficiently offload this particular aspect that is so key to the success of their business. Of course, this comes at a price, but as described, there are sound financial reasons to justify such a course of action.
By reducing TCO, reducing CAPEX, and providing skilled resources to efficiently manage the network infrastructure, MNS providers free up the SME’s resources to focus on what they do best – concentrate their efforts on the success of their core business.