Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Advent of the "Service Game"

How frequently have you been a "Guest"?

I don't expect to hear very many responses of the "What's that?" variety. When you are traveling, staying in a hotel, occupying a "guest" house, visiting friends & relatives, or just relaxing in a beach-side resort - you are experiencing what I'm trying to drive at.

Which really is - you assume the "guest" status when you are not likely to be permanently "there".

That in other words means that there is a "Host" taking care of your needs. You are being "Managed" well, if you return satisfied wearing your "guest" mantle.

Now further stretch your imagination to apply this unique and fulfilling personal experience to a business situation. Why would you not want your business to be taken care of thus?
Especially when it is not "permanently there", it's being set-up, or simply because you want a perfect "Host" to take care of those aspects of your business that you would not rather handle yourself?

Enter "Managed" Services a.k.a. "Hosted" Services. This is the new mantra currently doing the rounds in the business corridors. Hosted Messaging, Hosted Contact Center, Hosted Security, Hosted Storage, .. the list goes on...

The benefit to the business is evident -
a) There are no hassles of setting up those complex technology pieces
b) Experts will be managing the systems for you
c) You don't have to invest in the entire technology
d) You only pay for what services you avail of
e) You are spared the technology obsolesence because you do not own the technology, it's someone else's problem to keep pace with the new advents being made in the field
f) The OPerating EXpense model particulary suiting many a industry in a variety of situations....

The benefits for the Service Provider -
a) Amortize one time technology investments over a period of time by providing services and getting periodic payments from multiple businesses
b) This provision of services to multiple businesses indicate a better utilization rate, because of economies of scale (it will cost lesser than setting up different individual platforms to provide services to each business)
c) Usually the Service Providers are doing this as an allied business, which would usually boost their primary business. e.g: A Telecom Service Provider "Hosting" a Contact Center, would ensure that businesses availing of this Contact Center service will use their bandwidth and 'last mile'. In Business As Usual, these customers might normally have gone to competition
d) Bring in Technologies ahead of their usual times - by making it affordable, practical, and feasible for many more businesses to "try" them out; instead of a mere handful of early adopters having a go at it, thereby expanding the addressable market

This last point finally also means that the Technology companies too will benefit as a result of this "Hosted Platforms" syndrome!

Many regions in the globe have completely imbibed this phenomenon, or are rapidly seeing multiple Service Providers introducing these services. In this regard it's really heartning to see the major Indian Telcos too beginning to open up their bouquet of services, introducing various "Managed Services" offerings to the Indian Corporate sector.

Their timing could not have been better.
With the Indian economy looking up, Indian Corporates requiring sophisticated technologies to keep them in the global race, and most importantly, the trends of "Software As A Service" and "Service Oriented Architecture" taking shape to give the "Managed Service" a new fillip; the future seems bright for the "Hosted" party.

I wish the Indian Telcos all the best.