Arraya Insights | September 22, 2016
How has your company’s thought process around IT changed during the last eight years? Considering the speed at which technology moves, that’s basically a lifetime or more. As a business’ technological vision changes, so too can the partners it relies on to help execute that vision. Building long-term relationships, while beneficial, can be tough – unless a partner is flexible enough to support evolving technology ideals.
Let’s flash back eight years. Back then, the iPad was two years away from making its debut and many still thought of the weather when they heard the word “cloud.” Acts Retirement-Life Communities, Inc., a large not-for-profit owner and operator of continuing care facilities, was in need of an extra set of hands to support a growing infrastructure footprint. Acts turned to Arraya Solutions for help, with the idea of staffing a resource temporarily to cover storage and infrastructure. The initial commitment was for 2-3 months, but the relationship grew and carried well past the intended timeframe. Arraya delivered onsite support every week at a level above and beyond traditional staff augmentation. In addition to ongoing tasks and maintenance, Arraya provided recommendations and insight on upgrades, management and future investment.
After nearly two years, Acts’ IT vision shifted. In place of onsite support, Acts wanted remote support a la Managed Services. At the time, this was relatively new territory for Arraya. However, we had the resources in place to work with Acts to make it happen. At first we handled patching and storage support. As our service matured and Acts’ faith in us grew, we expanded. Within a year, we’d added application support for SQL and SharePoint.
But as is often the case in IT, another change wasn’t far off.
During the third year of the Managed Services agreement, Acts grew interested in moving away from a traditional data center model to decrease their tech footprint and reduce management complexity. In its place, Acts sought to migrate business applications and support to the cloud.
Also, this would allow Acts to give all employees an email address. Even though it’s a rarity in the continuing care space, Acts saw great value in providing employees with a reliable and efficient way to communicate and stay updated. Acts addressed this with Office 365, which includes Exchange Online. Arraya was asked to assist during the initial cloud migration and amend the Managed Services contract to include Office 365 support.
Far from reducing the need for traditional Managed Services, Acts’ cloud journey has opened up new opportunities. For example, Acts recently increased the scope of its agreement to include the network. This ensures high-performing wireless and network performance to accommodate the influx of connected devices becoming essential to how employees do their jobs.
Adjusting how we think about service delivery
The transitions taking place at Acts are a microcosm for what’s gone on in IT over the last decade or so. Previously, capital expenses were tied up in equipment which was housed onsite, in data centers. At the same time, businesses would hire onsite resources to install, configure, and support that equipment.
Just as businesses now see the cloud as an alternative to those monolithic data centers, so too have they begun to see similar value in Managed Services. Rather than have resources onsite, businesses can utilize an “as-a-service” model, calling down the expertise of IT pros when necessary. Instead of hiring, providing training, and tending to HR duties, businesses can entrust those details to an offsite partner, minimizing the time spent on activities outside of their core mission.
Over the past eight years, Acts’ vision of the perfect IT environment has grown and evolved alongside the industry itself. A more static partner may have helped Acts through one of these iterations before a change was required. However, Acts has counted on Arraya through four generations of IT-thinking and nearly a decade of service because of the quality of the service we provide and our willingness to grow and evolve with our customers. Click here to view a first-hand account of Acts’ experience from its VP and Chief Information Officer, Peter Kress.
Learn more about Arraya’s Managed Services
To strike up a conversation about how Arraya’s Managed Services can help your business reach its IT goals, now and long-term, please go to: www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/. Our team can also be reached through social media. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.