By: Jennifer Buckley
Irish IT Company Ergo is set to create 18 new jobs on foot of its managed service offering, writes Jennifer Buckley.
Established 17 years ago, Ergo already has 176 staff. The company's chief executive, John Purdy, put rising demand for its managed services down to the on-going emphasis in recession hit businesses, to cut costs.
"We have 18 jobs coming up, and a number of deals which we will also be expecting to announce, so it is good news for a company like ours right now," he said. "Managed services make more sense for the business, which - like the rest of the country - is budgeting, as it is very cost-effective.”
"Previously, the only companies we would have seen using services like ours would be on the top-tier of business. Now, it is mid-tier businesses, and this is because it is actually cheaper to have your IT systems managed by an outside company than having a number of dedicated staff."
Another trend which, said Purdy, would further shape the growing market was the use of cloud computing.
"Why would a company have all of this hardware and infrastructure taking up space in their own offices when they can have it somewhere out of sight, on a Cloud computing system? This is an increasingly noticeable trend and also cost effective and space-effective for the efficient business."
For a potential customer, however, there is little or no use, he said, in availing of these services without a clear understanding of what is really needed.
He recommended a written agreement or statement, clearly detailing the exact problems the company wanted a resolution to. After this is done, he said their service requirements could be analysed and contract costs estimated.
"The first thing that is important in our view is that you insure the recipe for delivery for a component of managed services is there, whether you are looking for health desk management, managed print services, desktop services - any aspect at all."
"It needs to be agreed, the roles and responsibilities, and it all depends on what you are looking for."
"It has to be very well defined; the provider must know exactly what the client wants. The client must say: 'Here is what I want resolved, here is your job.'
"That is why giving an average cost of these services is not possible, as it depends on the scale of what you are looking for. There will be different costs depending on whether you want' a five-day-a-week service, 24-hour service, on site or off site. It all revolves around what scale the company operates on."
Purdy added that a contract could be tailored to suit a company's fluctuating business needs. "We work with a major retailer and, at Christmas, we change our contract so that they can have us on-site more often," he said.
"There are increased demands on the systems during this time, so there might be situations like this to analyse too. There is that degree of flexibility available too, so not everything is rigid in those
Under a good management service agreement, Purdy said that the customer should not be required to deal with any IT issues that were outside their control or beyond their scope.
"It is up to the service provider then to do the job right. For example, if there is someone who is working on the system and who takes a day off as they are sick, there must be someone there as back-up ready to take the seat and assume that role. The customer must never know of any issues of this sort or any sort."
When choosing a provider, Purdy said it was vital that companies look for referrals from existing customers. "It is vital that the company has credibility, a strong foundation underneath it to actually follow through with the tasks,
There has to be a department behind them. "There is more of a demand for services now than ever before and so this is more of an issue. Listen to word of mouth, read testimonials, and do your research on the company."
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