How to Evaluate Your Managed Service’s Needs


Laurie LeBlanc, iTech Solutions

Managed Services can be tailored to fit the needs of your business, which means you need to evaluate where a third party provider can provide you with the most benefits. Identifying where you have vulnerabilities or gaps with your system administration is the easiest place to start.

When building your case for managed services, we recommend you focus on three key areas:

  1. Your resources
  2. Their available time
  3. Skills gaps

Existing System Administrator Resources

Do you have only one IBM i System Administrator?  Is this person a dedicated System Administrator?

Replacing an IBM i system administrator can be a challenge. If your current administrator is near retirement, now is a good time to consider managed services.  You should compare the cost of a full-time employee versus the cost of outsourcing tasks to a third party.

In companies who have a dedicated system administrator, this person is often the only person who knows certain things about your environment.  When they go on vacation, chaos ensues.  If this person were to leave your company would be in chaos.  In cases like this, it is good to have a backup who can step in for planned time off.

[7 Considerations Before Choosing a Managed Service Provider]

Available Time

Is this person a dedicated System Administrator? Are you monitoring your system 24 X 7?

Often in small shops, the person who handles IBM i system administration is also responsible for other areas.  In these situations, the system administrator often has to be reactive because they lack time to be proactive.  Tasks like OS upgrades and PTF maintenance get put off because of the time and effort required to plan properly for these projects.

Speaking of being proactive, are you monitoring your IBM i environment?  Are you able to be notified of system and application errors when they happen?  Have you been talking about implementing a monitoring solution for a long time, but don’t think you have the time to manage it?

A major component of managed services should be 24 X 7 monitoring provided by a solution.  The benefit of having a managed services provider for this is you don’t have to purchase and install software, and you don’t have to maintain it. The monitoring is part of your monthly fee and is managed by the provider.

Skills Gap

Do you have gaps in your knowledge?

Have you ever executed a disaster recovery test?  Do you have high availability needs?  Do you want to encrypt your data?  When is the last time you did an OS upgrade?

The rate of change in IT is staggering, and it can be hard to keep up with everything. If there are areas you would like to explore but, you lack the internal skills to execute those types of projects and manage them long-term, then you should consider if managed services can help.  Implementing new technologies is a great place to get some help from a managed services provider.

Managed services offer you the ability to replace or augment your existing staff while being able to get more tasks accomplished.  You can choose to fill the gaps or completely replace your staff.  Being able to gain the knowledge of a team of experts can help take your company to the next level.


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