Today’s manufacturing enterprise is a complex entity with multiple moving parts that must work in unison and harmony. Unlike the simpler, standalone manufacturing operations of the past, the 21st century manufacturing facility is layered with IT infrastructure, enterprise applications and business processes. Managing and maintaining these highly-sophisticated kinds of operations can consume considerable amounts of resources in terms of time, money and tools.
As IT systems and networks grew increasingly complicated, many companies began outsourcing system management and maintenance to outside resources, giving rise to the managed services provider (MSP) industry. Typical MSPs focused on servers, LANs, PCs and the other nuts-and-bolts of early IT ecosystems. Companies concerned with tactical challenges such as finding or developing appropriate software for their industry or getting more from their existing systems hired software consultants.Those looking to improve manufacturing operations or resolve strategic issues such as identifying and achieving business goals hired business consultants. These three separate resources (MSPs, software consultants and business consultants) brought different skillsets to the table and frequently worked in happy isolation independent of each other with little, if any, overlap. Although periodically issues would arise where the manufacturer was unsure of which to contact, and when they did, often resulted in finger pointing.
How things have changed. As the manufacturing IT environment increased exponentially in complexity and importance, three fundamental areas of business functionality and management took shape: the underlying IT infrastructure, enterprise applications and business/operational processes. With the rise of core methodologies such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM), and customer relationship management (CRM), it’s become no longer possible to consider as separate entities the IT infrastructure, the applications that run over it, and the processes they control or affect. They have become so intertwined that anything done to one of them affects them all and impacts the business. It’s time to come up with a better solution for managing and maintaining these three core areas critical to running the company efficiently and profitably.
The new breed of managed services provider
Enter the integrated managed services provider, or iMSP. This new breed of outside resource is the next logical step for IT and manufacturing operations support – a strategic and tactical partner with the expertise, experience and breadth of resources to manage systems as well as deliver comprehensive enterprise software and business consulting. Not relegated or limited to the separate silos of hardware, software, and business consulting, the iMSP can optimize and manage the entire IT and manufacturing operations environment providing:
- IT Managed Services
- Enterprise Application Support and Services
- Manufacturing Business Operations Process Consulting
What makes the iMSP the next logical (and inevitable) step for IT and operations support is its ability to integrate, optimize and streamline the entire enterprise platform, aligning the IT infrastructure and operational processes with strategic business goals to help companies achieve operational excellence.
To learn more about integrated managed services and how your company or organization can benefit from partnering with an iMSP, download our latest white paper, The Next Generation MSP: How SMBs can benefit from integrated managed services.