Cloud-based environments and other technology trends are changing how businesses support the desktop and IT needs of their organizations. Many are turning to outsourced solutions to help them through these critical transitions and for ongoing tech support needs. We sat down with Adam Velardo from PLANNET’s IT Managed Services team to get his insights on key trends, solutions, and what organizations are looking for to support their needs.
Q- Are most of your clients transitioning to a cloud-based environment?
Adam- Generally, we see clients of all types transitioning their desktops to the cloud. However, this transition can be complex, and many individuals, companies, and organizations do not have the time, experience, or resources to make the transition. PLANNET’s job is to help our clients to cross the finish line into the cloud-based environment.
There are many reasons for this transition. Cloud-based environments are evergreen, offering the latest versions of applications through cloud suites like Microsoft office, and universal accessibility to cloud environments and data is also a huge draw to clients. Cloud-based environments have helped the shift to a more mobile and nomadic workforce, especially during the pandemic where workers can no longer be in a traditional office space together. Also, if executed correctly, cloud-based environments can improve upon and provide additional security posture to keep data safer than on-premises methods.
“Cloud-based environments have helped the shift to a more mobile and nomadic workforce…”
Q- What kind of programs/technologies does the PLANNET team specialize in and support?
Adam– The PLANNET team can support various technologies based on client requirements. Most of our clients utilize many different productivity and security services within the Microsoft Office 365 and Azure suite of services. The most common are Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and evergreen versions of Microsoft Office applications. Moreover, PLANNET delivers comprehensive support services like external DNS management, internet content filtering, best-of-breed endpoint protection and response, Office 365 data protection services, network management, and monitoring for common network manufacturers.
Q- What are the recommendations you most often make to clients?
Adam- New clients often try to figure out if they should transition to a cloud-based environment. Typically, my advice to them is if your on-premise requirements are simple and cloud-based solutions are available to take care of those specific needs, then you are a good candidate. When it comes to cloud services and stacks of technologies, they can build a best-of-breed solution, but clients are often better off keeping it simple. For example, suppose Microsoft can do 80% of the required tasks. In that case, it makes sense to go with a Microsoft cloud-based solution to keep everything within the same ecosystem and deliver a homogeneous approach to both data storage and application use. PLANNET can support best of breed or best of class requirements.
Q- What has been your favorite project to work on?
Adam- My favorite project so far has been the work we are doing with Morlin Asset Management at Los Angeles Union Station West. PLANNET specializes in work with historic facilities like Union Station, and it has been a pleasure to learn about the storied past of this amazing landmark while working on-premise.
Historic Union Station, Los Angeles, CA
Q- What are the biggest technical challenges your clients most often come across?
Adam- The biggest challenge I have seen involves migrating large amounts of data from on-premise network-attached storage systems and file servers. There is a technical challenge due to limitations on data transfer, file storage, and how access is provided and controlled for that data. Beyond the technical challenge is a financial challenge; clients need to prepare for the initial “sticker shock.” Unless a client has enough data to drive discounts in storage costs, the costs can add up very quickly on a month-to-month basis. The cost to store online can seem like a hefty price tag, but the cost-benefit of increased reliability and durability makes the transitions worth it. Also, when transitioning to a cloud environment, the way the user interacts with the interface will change, so this comes with a learning curve. Employees will have to allow for the time to learn and train on the new systems and approaches.
Q- What makes PLANNET’s managed service team so unique and sets PLANNET apart?
Adam– PLANNET is not the typical help desk operation focused only on reactive support of issues. PLANNET’s value is helping users resolve an issue they are having, plus the proactive approach to searching for and addressing problems when they are small or preventing an issue altogether. PLANNET’s approach is to partner with our client’s organization and function like we are their IT team. Teams of resources are assigned to accounts based on specific technology needs, resulting in faster issue resolution because the resources know the environment and the organizations’ user base. We also have the advantage of having several in-house practice areas focusing on audiovisual, security, physical infrastructure, and datacenter that can lend their expertise to come to a fast and reliable solution for the client.
Q- What do you see as future advancements in the managed service industry?
Adam- We will see the continuation around remote environments and more organizations that leverage managed service organizations, especially with the impacts of COVID. Many companies, especially smaller ones, don’t have traditional in-house technical support and are increasingly relying on companies that offer a responsive and holistic approach to managed services and IT support like PLANNET.
PLANNET provides industry-leading, independent IT and technology support services where our clients’ business needs come first. Please feel free to reach out for a consultation on how PLANNET can help you support the desktop and IT needs of your organization.