Managed Services: Branching Out to Branch Offices
Companies with branch offices are facing a technology paradox: On the one hand, businesses are expanding their branch office locations by 6.8 percent annually. On the other hand, only 15 percent of those remote locations have on-site technology staff members, according to Nemertes Research.
Those stats beg the following question: How do you empower branch office employees with the proper technology when you can't afford to staff those remote offices with more IT staff?
The answer (as our regular readers already know) is managed services. Increasingly, companies are moving their IT assets out of remote offices and into either (A) a centralized data center or (B) an Internet cloud.
The march toward centralizing and virtualizing IT has some benefits and some challenges.
Next Generation Empowered Branch
The good news: Centralizing applications and IT infrastructure can make networks easier (and less costly) to maintain. The bad news: Accessing centralized applications from remote offices can be a painful, time consuming process. And application performance over a Wide Area Network (WAN) connection can be horrendous.
A range of managed services, however, can potentially eliminate those challenges. Application acceleration services, hosted VoIP, hosted unified communications and managed 3G services are now all mainstream solutions for branch offices.
And the trend toward managed branch office services will surely accelerate -- especially as companies explore next-generation technologies such as TelePresence.
The lesson for readers: Keep expanding those branch offices.
But, check in with managed service providers (from big companies like Verizon Business down to small companies like your local VAR or integrator) to see what type of managed branch office services they offer.