I’ve worked in the services field for over 20 years and have seen it evolve over time. In the last few years, the changes have been much more rapid and have driven technology vendors, like Polycom, to be ever more diligent in adapting to meet customers’ needs and requirements. It has not necessarily been an easy transition for some manufacturers or for their channel partners. When a company moves from a traditional product focus to a services focus, the changes can be daunting. One very big blue company took over 8 years to make this transition.
However, one key advantage to a services-led approach is that there are fewer limitations so there’s much more opportunity for manufacturers and resellers to adjust features and capabilities to fit the needs of individual customers. Solutions that are better integrated into existing technologies, workflows and processes are more likely to address the specific requirements of customers, provide the business outcomes desired, and drive a faster return on investment.
A vendor’s or reseller’s services portfolio might include professional services, such as consulting or training offers, or the increasingly popular “X as a Service”, including Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Video as a Service, and so on.
However, when manufacturers talk about their services, many people still think primarily about traditional support or break fix services. Indeed, traditional hardware companies and their customers are quite familiar with adding a support contract to a hardware product purchase. For customers, support is like purchasing insurance for a high value item.
The downside of a break fix approach, of course, is that it’s a reactive service, which means that problems are fixed after they occur. For lower priced products, an organization may decide to keep spare stock on hand rather than covering their assets under a support contract. But when we begin to talk about more critical solutions, a component failure could cause serious impacts to the business.
More and more, I’m seeing customers looking for a proactive approach to the service relationship. Managed Services, like Polycom’s Remote Monitoring and Management Service, take a proactive approach to supporting our customer’s environment thereby limiting risks and improving the reliability and end user experience. Outsourcing operational responsibility also frees up the internal IT team to focus on other strategic initiatives. Offers that encompass hardware, value-added support services and managed services are seen as end to end solutions.
Polycom’s approach to assisting customers with the remote monitoring and management of their collaboration solution brings numerous benefits. Off-loading day-to-day operations to skilled technicians that live and breathe Polycom solutions on a 24x7 basis allow internal IT resources to focus on other core areas of their business, reducing overall solution management risk, providing better uptime and ultimately increasing user satisfaction and solution adoption. With this service, Polycom will get the call at 3am not the internal IT team.
Over the long term when all service elements are taken into account, Polycom’s remote monitoring and management services save our customers money compared with them doing it themselves. A commonly asked question is “why should we use Polycom to manage our infrastructure?” Video collaboration environments today are typically a mission-critical part of the business. However, customers rarely have dedicated IT teams that are focused purely on the monitoring and management of their network which means they are more reactive as opposed to proactive.
There’s also a common misconception that it’s more cost effective for customer IT teams to contact a Polycom helpdesk to resolve issues as they arise. Unfortunately these internal IT resources tend to be limited and can be easily overwhelmed. This can have an adverse impact on the day to day requirements of managing infrastructure or endpoints when backups, patches, security, changes, or MACD (Moves, Additions, Changes and Deletions) arise and the internal team has insufficient bandwidth to manage them efficiently. If these elements are not properly managed, the risks of infrastructure outages increases.
By using Polycom managed services as the owner for the remote monitoring and management of a video infrastructure, customers are able to control, and reduce, their overall operating expenses. This service is provided as an OPEX offer meaning the cost is spread out over the length of the contract period (typically three years).
As with Polycom’s design, deploy, support and optimize offers, managed services are often delivered with or through a partner. Many of our partners have close relationships with customer organizations and use Polycom’s services to complement or augment their own offers. This approach, with its clear focus on customer success, offers a win-win scenario for everyone involved.