Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) services will be the next growth engine for the offshore service industry as reported by leading consulting agencies and media. In fact, the global RIM industry has grown at more than 80 per cent CAGR from US$2 billion in 2006 to US$6 billion to US$7 billion in 2008 where India has been a significant beneficiary. A common question that would come to our mind is – with the industry hit by recession in 2009 and with the dark clouds of recession still looming on the horizon of 2010, what potential does the RIM service market hold in the future?
If studied closely, RIM makes more sense not in terms of a measure to cut costs during recessions but more as a business sense. How? Let’s see.
Today enterprises leverage the power of IT to streamline their key business processes and gain a competitive advantage. Even with the investments already made, the key issues relating to application performance, scalability, security, management and effective utilization are mostly unresolved. Apart from helping to reduce the overall IT Infrastructure Management costs, a well structured and managed RIM relationship can bring significant benefits.
Flexibility of Service
Customers hiring service providers have an advantage here as they can align the business needs with the services provided by the Service Provider. Services can be flexed to meet peak times and loads, mission-critical and non-mission critical or a combination of both. This type of flexible pricing model and service delivery helps in apportioning the infrastructure management costs.
In this highly volatile IT industry it is hard to keep up with the latest technology trends and it is almost impossible to have on pay roll a staff that can match the ever demanding and changing face of IT technology across all segments. A RIM service provider can add value here as they have diverse IT staffs which are at a client’s disposal, working 24×7. Moreover, these specialists are constantly updated with the latest technology trends via internal training programs, technical training programs from vendors, etc.
This basically helps companies to gain a competitive advantage as it helps to reduce the time to market. Companies can take the bold steps of adopting and switching to new technologies to gain a competitive advantage. Serious service providers in the RIM industry would normally have alliances in place with leading technology suppliers and as a result clients can also enjoy a single window of service from them with an assurance that the team working on their projects would be capable of handling the technology and related needs.
Visibility and Control
Companies retain full control of its strategic components such as physical IT assets, technology refresh, policy and architecture which provides visibility into the availability, performance and utilization of each component. Many of the established RIM suppliers have embraced the ITIL framework which lends itself to RIM very effectively. Putting the collected data in to this type of best practices framework provides lot of insight and visibility. This visibility further enables companies to take control of the situation, make informed decisions on future investments in IT and improve current service levels.
Remote Infrastructure Management not only assists in reducing the manpower cost of managing the infrastructure, but also brings down the costs related to future infrastructure investments. It has been reported and endorsed by agencies like McKinsey and NASSCOM that outsourcing the infrastructure management services can save dramatically reduce the labour related costs by 30% to 40%. On the other hand, companies can also reduce costs associated with future infrastructure investments using expertise of the service provider by way of infrastructure optimization, standardization using industry best practises and consolidation using virtualization technologies.
Most of the time RIM services engagements are driven and governed by SLA’s (Service Level Agreements). Service providers, in order to maintain the SLA, invest in to software and technology that enable them to gain an insight on failing components in the IT infrastructure, usage patterns, thresholds, etc. These tools enable a service provider to provide 24×7 proactive monitoring and management via a Remote NOC (Network Operations Centre). This helps to resolve issues in a faster and structured manner.
So, in today’s fast paced and ever changing IT world, RIMs makes more business sense and CIOs have to step back and ask themselves what they’re trying to accomplish with infrastructure outsourcing. Cost savings, optimization, transformation or efficiency? CIO’s decisions on outsourcing infrastructure management are going to be driven by more than just cost savings and as a result it is also going to create a challenge for the service providers to tweak their service models to show more benefits and not only cost savings.