What's on the minds of CIOs today? From my experience, it's the challenges of arming their IT departments with the right resources to support myriad business issues while still driving overall company strategies. Two common challenges include how to best protect their company's valuable assets and network infrastructure against downtime, and whether to outsource their data center or build and manage their own. The VAR community works daily with the network and IT groups within enterprises and has to be ready to help them solve critical outsourcing challenges.
Obviously, uptime is critical to all companies. As reported by The Via Group, three out of five companies that experience a major IT outage will be out of business in five years. From working with many agents and service providers over the years, we know that ensuring uptime and availability overlaps with the buy vs. build argument. The IT departments of VARs' end-user clients don't often have the resources to fully protect their infrastructures and ensure uptime themselves. Rising costs of power, and using the most efficient and reliable environmental systems for utilities often make it cost-prohibitive to operate data centers internally. Furthermore, IT departments should maximize their IT staffs with focus on critical application management and customer-facing business processes.
As a VAR, you can help your clients by guiding them through the many benefits of outsourcing. Tier 3 and 4 data center providers can help enterprises leverage full redundancies across critical systems and benefit from newer technology. It's also possible to tap into multiple carrier options on the network side to multihome and load balance traffic, as these types of secure facilities will often have direct access to multiple carriers. Data center providers can also be an extension of your VAR team, enabling consultation with highly skilled data center engineers and cloud infrastructure experts to develop reliable solutions and staff for 24x7 coverage. All of this adds up to a highly available and secure IT environment for your end users.
Finally, cloud computing is on the mind of every IT person. As a VAR focused on your own services and revenue streams, it can be difficult to layer on cloud access for your clients. A robust infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) data center provider creates an ecosystem within its walls with the ability to use cloud computing with minimal hassles for your team. IaaS providers can take you through the capex vs. opex benefits and ensure your client is using just the right amount of resources they need at any given time. "Pay as you go" ensures efficiencies all around and VARs can help their clients focus on the application layer where the brain trust lies.
By understanding some of the top CIO challenges such as these, you make yourself even more valuable to your client's IT department and ultimately win longer-term relationships and fewer headaches all around.
Monty Reagan is vice president channel sales for ViaWest.