Is IT as a Service right for you?

In short; IT as a Service can make complete sense for small and mid-sized businesses that want access to enterprise-class infrastructure and features without having to manage all the mundane support needs, all while consolidating tech expenditures and overhead into a predictable monthly fee — just like a utility. It does not, however, fit for all businesses.
I’ve been working with some very innovative guys over here at Symbio and am compelled to share some of my learnings regarding IT as a Service. First off, the business model for ITaaS is quite unique and better aligns business interests with those of the client. By charging a flat, per-user fee that covers ALL hardware, licensing and support expenses, Symbio is incentivized to ensure that the support lines ring as little as possible… that means that the infrastructure is extremely well maintained and preventive measures are taken to meet client needs before they arise. When was the last time you called your utility company to tell them what a great job they are doing because your power hasn’t gone out in 3 months? Exactly.
The other thing that stands out is the cost savings to the customer while at the same time always having upgraded tech. One possible IT as a Service model, and the one Symbio uses, leverages desktop virtualization via their own hosted environment, which essentially means that your desktop lives in a data-center (where it should be) and you access it via software or a ‘thin-client’. The benefits far outweigh the cons for most organizations; efficient upgrades and patches deployed to customers remotely, a desktop that can be accessed from anywhere or any workstation, rapid resolution of issues, disaster recovery and audit compliances to name a few. Additionally, what I’ve seen on average is that most firms are able to lower their average annual cost by over 20% when embracing the IT as a Service model, and at the same time dramatically improving their technology and productivity.
There are however businesses where this does not make sense. Organizations that are heavily dependent upon graphics processing or primarily using Macs are not a good fit for this technology as the enterprise management tools aren’t quite there yet. Also, systems dependent upon absolute guaranteed uptime (high frequency trading, medical emergency, etc.) would be best suited to locating all infrastructure as close to the user as possible. In some of these cases it makes sense to bring all the expertise in-house, and in other scenarios it may be best to hire a managed service provider to manage your infrastructure. One size does not fit all, but it may fit most.
Just like outsourcing payroll or legal functions, it seems like more and more often, outsourcing IT makes complete business sense for small to mid-sized businesses. Some food for thought.