Chicagoland Businesses Increasingly Turn to Managed Services For Information Technology During Recession

September 8, 2009   //   News

Oak Brook, IL | September 8, 2009 – The number of businesses turning to a third party to implement and maintain their information technology continues to grow as IT departments seek ways to further cut costs and reduce their on-premise infrastructure.

SWC Technology Partners, a consulting firm with roots going back 30 years, has seen an increase over the past 12 months in the number of organizations seeking managed services for networks, computers and software.infrastructure. Managed services are delivered through a combination of technology, people and processes to remotely monitor, identify and proactively repair any issues that could challenge network or server performance, thus avoiding service disruption. Managed services solutions are embraced by a variety of industries including manufacturers, non-profits, financial services, educational institutions and professional services.

In a November 2008 report, Forrester Research analyst Henry Dewing noted multiple factors lining up to increase the attractiveness of managed services over the next 24 to 30 months, including rapid technology evolution, a coming investment wave in information technology and market constraints on capital.

“As the economy fights to regain its footing, small and midsize businesses are more readily and more decisively turning to managed services,” said Bob Knott, President, SWC Technology Partners. “A managed environment is an ideal solution for small and midsized businesses, and it makes economic sense to manage systems remotely instead of investing in equipment, technology and manpower.”

Knott cited some of the benefits of a managed environment:

  • It fills gaps created by a downsized IT department, usually for a fraction of the cost of a full time staff member.
  • It decreases the challenges and risks associated with having a sole IT manager with whom all knowledge resides.
  • It provides a flexible level of support that can grow or change with a company’s needs.
  • It enables the replication of a company’s core system for disaster recovery purposes.
  • SWC’s Managed Services contracts are delivered via a fixed monthly fee, eliminating surprises, and customers aren’t locked into a lengthy multi-year commitment.

“We’re seeing more companies delay hiring and turn to a managed environment instead,” Knott said. “Managed services means less risk, less stress, improved stability, more predictable costs and affordable access to expertise across a variety of technologies. These factors contribute to customers embracing managed services with much more gusto now than in the past.”

SWC gains total visibility into a client’s network performance and how systems interact with one another by installing a network probe that collects data and monitors network health and performance every five minutes around the clock. In the event of a problem, the SWC team can immediately diagnose what happened, assess the severity, notify the customer, and troubleshoot and resolve the issue to get the system up and running with minimal downtime.

Knott noted some recent SWC projects that illustrate the trend toward managed services:

Affy Tapple

A Chicagoland tradition since 1948, Affy Tapple is a supplier of caramel apples and specialty confections. As the company changed ownership and evolved from a simple operation to a major manufacturing firm, it found itself with an increasingly complex IT infrastructure and a heavy reliance on technology.

Because Affy Tapple’s reputation for quality depends upon the freshness of its products, orders received in the morning are made to order and often ship the same day. As demand grew, it became increasingly important that Affy Tapple’s orders were processed with speed and accuracy. As a result, the company turned to SWC to provide it with IT systems that were highly reliable and able to manage high spikes in demand.

SWC upgraded the servers, backup and network to ensure these systems would appropriately support Affy Tapple’s business needs, and provides ongoing monitoring, maintenance and security for its systems.

“We needed to update our IT systems, but did not want the upgrades to interfere with our production. SWC embraced our goals, implementing the changes we needed within an aggressive timeframe. This allowed us to keep our production schedule on track heading into our busy season,” said Bill Henry, chief operating officer of Affy Tapple.

Morton College

Morton College came to SWC seeking network administration and technology support. The college’s board of trustees was impressed by SWC’s unique solution to managing Morton College’s IT needs. Through its Managed Services team, SWC proactively collects data on a 24-7 basis and monitors Morton College’s network infrastructure, generates alerts when thresholds are breached and provides best practice recommendations based on results.

SWC provides a dedicated onsite engineer who provides the comprehensive support and coverage Morton College requires.

“When a problem does occur, the wealth of information available to the SWC team allows them to quickly triage the issue, identify a solution and begin working toward resolution,” said Philip Pena, Morton College’s Director of MIS. “Their experience shows us also that maintaining a regular updating and patching schedule ensures the security, longevity and operational efficiency of our systems.

“SWC’s intimate knowledge of the Morton College environment and the related technologies to provide the required support eliminates the cost, frustration and high turnover associated with traditional support models,” Pena said.

About SWC Technology Partners

SWC Technology Partners (www.swc.com) is a leading provider of innovative IT solutions to small and medium-size businesses. For nearly 30 years, SWC has excelled at providing strategic guidance and delivering solutions tailored to the needs of growing organizations. SWC’s areas of expertise include best-in-class Managed Services, Performance Management, Business Applications, Messaging & Collaboration and Network Infrastructure & Security solutions. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, SWC is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, a Symantec Gold Certified Partner and a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Partner.