Extracting the most with managed IT services
The Edge spoke exclusively with Ghada Philip El Rassi, deputy chief executive officer of MEEZA, a leading Qatari information technology (IT) solutions and services provider about how organisations can benefit the most by focusing on their core business, assigning the managed IT services to dedicated professionals.
What are managed IT services and what types of services does MEEZA offer?
Managed IT services is a term used when companies outsource their day-to-day IT management responsibilities as a way to improve their business operations. This enables them to allocate resources (people, equipment, investments) for their core business instead of managing their own IT. These services are provided by managed IT services providers such as MEEZA, who in turn manage, operate and are responsible for all end-to-end IT requirements.
How can managed IT services help businesses? What are the advantages for companies outsourcing these functions?
Like any other service, outsourcing IT services is generally a strategic decision a company makes to support its business growth. Outsourcing these services will ultimately reduce cost, save time and increase resource utilisation and efficiency. Companies can focus on their core business, and leave IT matters to a third party expert.
As a leading provider, MEEZA works with clients to fully understand their specific IT challenges and offer cost effective IT services and solutions to help them focus on their core business and enable their business to scale rapidly.
What are the complexities involved in managing and monitoring company IT infrastructure? How does MEEZA do it?
Companies realise as they go on setting up and managing their on-premises IT infrastructure that it is not an easy task to manage and bring it to a good level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. First, they need to acquire the physical infrastructure, which includes hardware and software. Then they need to recruit IT experts to manage and operate the infrastructure. Furthermore, it is important to implement a strong security, back-up and recovery plan for all IT systems as a significant component in the overall business strategy.
With our multiple, interconnected and geographically diverse data centres in Qatar, MEEZA provides all IT solutions and services. Our team of experts are certified to manage and operate complex IT services to different types of companies.
Can partners develop or run their own applications?
To build their own applications, companies have to carry the burden of all expenses for the software and hardware infrastructures as well as allocate resources for support. However, like any other IT solution, business applications are better outsourced through a provider like MEEZA.
The payroll application for example, is a personalised application which can be offered through a private or public cloud platform, allowing companies to speed up the payroll process (in addition to other benefits). Companies, who are enrolled in this solution, would get a user name and password for an account on the application where they will enter the relevant data, and by then they are live on the solution. This is a pay-per-use model offering agility and flexibility, in a secure environment running under local regulations.
Cyber attacks are on the rise in the Middle East, while high profile organisations are exposed to more threats. Does the same apply for other government organisations and smaller private sector companies?
Security applies to all sectors whether it is a government organisation or a small private sector company. The probability of focused (targeted) cyber-attacks on government organisations and larger enterprises is much higher than small, medium enterprises (SMEs), however the prevalence of intelligent viruses means everyone needs to be aware of the risk and make appropriate business decisions to defend the company’s assets.
What can companies do to prevent data loss and downtime?
Ensure that business continuity plans are available and tested on a regular basis. An increased awareness to test and ensure that their disaster recovery is part of their overall Business Continuity Plan that covers people, processes and technology.
How do MEEZA’s back-up solutions work?
The MEEZA backup solution utilises Tier 1 backup technologies, and we offer a multi-tenant solution that supports all recent major advances in technology. A recent advance in our methodology is that we now utilise and offer the latest features available through our virtualisation platform and fibre channel based backups, significantly reducing backup times from hours to minutes and providing full image recovery, this in turn offers extremely fast restore times, reducing recovery time objectives.
Can MEEZA drive down IT start-up costs for projects?
MEEZA services are provided through a shared platform, allowing us to offer cost-effective solutions. We help clients minimise business risk, reduce IT capital expenditure and speed up time-to-market for new initiatives.
These services address the growing need that companies in Qatar require to manage their IT infrastructure and ensuring that their IT strategy delivers real value to their business.
Our services also provide businesses access to a robust IT infrastructure and the latest applications without having to bear the high costs of license ownership and maintenance. Thus, our investment helps businesses drive down IT start-up costs for projects.
Can this be applied to SMEs?
MEEZA services and solutions are applicable to companies of all sizes. Cloud services in particular are the best way to start up and grow a business moving onto attaining a range of services. The aim is to provide companies the ease of time and costs on IT so they can focus on their business development. In addition, these services are suitable for companies in many verticals; be it finance, healthcare, government, in the private or public sector.
In the example of cloud services, we have more than 40 SME clients who have taken on this solution. On the other hand, solutions such as back up as a service or disaster recovery have become mandatory solutions for companies of all sizes. Given the recent security breaches in some large organisations in the region, companies now acknowledge the importance of having well tested and well built solutions, and are eager to outsource them to leading providers such as MEEZA.
Do you think companies in Qatar moving towards managed IT services will benefit the economy?
Moving towards managed IT services is one of the components that will help companies mature and develop, hence if a majority develops in this manner, it will definitely impact the local economy. Companies are now able to focus on their core business, they will grow rapidly and generate more business.
Virtualisation of business functions is becoming very real, do you feel organisations in Qatar are ready to make this shift?
Yes, businesses and government organisations in Qatar are developing innovative e-business models. Cloud computing is one of the single biggest shifts in computing that we have seen in recent years. Companies are realising that it makes business and economic sense. The cloud will be an important part of the future of IT.
When Qatar’s e-commerce law was enacted in April 2010, it represented an important step forward in fostering the growth of e-commerce in the country.