Offshore Considerations for Infrastructure Management

Infrastructure management is increasingly offshored these days. Everest Research Institute predicts that remote infrastructure management will grow to $8.6 billion in the next three years with an annual CAGR of 61%. Gartner predicts that infrastructure management is the third wave of services to be offshored after IT services and business processes.

Apart from traditional driving factors like cost savings and leveraging offshore so IT can focus on other strategic imperatives like planning and development, there are three major reasons for the increased trend of offshoring infrastructure management:

  • Skilled workforce availability;
  • Falling telecom costs enabling cheaper data and voice connectivity; and
  • Web enabled monitoring and management tools helping remote management of applications and IT infrastructure.
  • However there are certain aspects enterprises need to consider when contemplating the offshoring of their infrastructure management.

    Choose the Right Partner

    When you off-shore your infrastructure management, your IT infrastructure will be monitored and managed by engineers sitting tens of thousands of miles away. You have to be sure that you place your infrastructure in the right hands. Make sure that your partner has the capability and experience of managing complex, mission critical IT infrastructure.

    Make sure they have enough case studies and references to demonstrate successful remote management of the entire IT infrastructure. Partners who have done production support will understand all the nuances of mission critical IT infrastructure management.

    As infrastructure management offshoring is a reasonably new trend, there are some providers who have entered the fray recently. In order to avoid picking a partner without relevant experience and supporting infrastructure, make sure that they have invested in experienced and talented leadership, state-of-the-art voice infrastructure and network operations center. Make sure you ask for the bios of their leadership team and their three year roadmap for IT infrastructure services. It may be worth a trip to the offshore location to see their facilities.

    infrastructure outsourcing is a long-term strategy. You have to make sure that your partner has a strategic interest in infrastructure management and has made the right investments to grow this practice.

    Extensive Knowledge Acquisition

    Once you have chosen the right partner, allow your partner to conduct an extensive knowledge acquisition. A common mistake many enterprises make is to hurry the knowledge acquisition and knowledge transition phase. This is the most important phase where your partner will understand your current operations, your business imperatives, your business objectives, business users and their demands. This will also allow your partner to assess the gaps and allow them time to plan the closure of the gaps when they start the offshore transition.

    A typical knowledge acquisition phase is anywhere between two weeks to two months depending on the complexity and geographical spread of your IT infrastructure. During the KA/KT phase, your partner will interact with your business users, IT team and the leadership teams and the typical knowledge areas they acquire are:

  • Business Processes
  • Technologies and Architecture
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Standard Operating Procedures and Quality Processes
  • Policies
  • Statutory Obligations
  • SLOs and SLAs
  • Escalation Processes
  • Production Support Systems
  • Baseline Your Operations

    It is important for both the enterprise and the partner to determine the baseline of the current operations. Baseline is a process where you benchmark or take a snapshot of your current operations, staffing, processes, SLOs, SLAs, metrics, etc. Many times, the enterprises either under-rate or over-rate their current operations. This will confuse the partner and they may start with a wrong expectation. Share as much data as possible and expose your partner to the current operations so that a proper baseline is done. This baseline can be used to monitor the progress periodically.