How to Get the IT Services You Need (Without Paying for the Ones You Don’t)


How to Get the IT Services You Need (Without Paying for the Ones You Don’t)

Rackspace Service Blocks allow customers to consume IT as a service, on demand, with the flexibility to drop and add new services as business needs change.

As we look for ways to better serve our customers, we try to learn from other companies that excel at that discipline — and also from those that don’t.

Consider, for example, cable TV companies. Why are they losing so much business? One reason is that they keep forcing customers to buy big, expensive bundles of channels, rather than letting them pay only for the ones they do want. According to a recent Nielsen survey, the typical U.S. household must pay for 206 cable channels to get the 20 it actually watches.

Unfortunately, this frustrating approach to customer service has spread beyond the cable TV companies. Most big, traditional providers of IT services operate in a similar fashion. They make customers choose among costly bundles of many services even when they only want two or three.

Away from bundling

At Rackspace, however, we’re taking a different approach, away from bundling. We’ve heard you. We know you want to consume IT as a service, on demand, paying only for what you want, when you want it. We know you want the flexibility to drop and add new services as your business needs change.

Our new offering, Rackspace Service Blocks (which we referenced last week in our Next Generation Cloud Service announcement) enables you to do just that. Each service block represents a set of capabilities to achieve one of your goals.

Some service blocks cover broad needs such as those for reliability engineering, operational support or comprehensive assessment of a company’s IT resources and needs. Other service blocks address more-specific needs: say, for cost governance, serverless computing or adoption of Kubernetes and other container technologies.

Under our new framework, we help each customer choose and combine the service blocks that will deliver the specific outcomes that it wants, when it wants them, with full transparency into cost and value. Service blocks also make our services more consistent, in terms of exactly what resources and outcomes the customer gets, and at what price. They also ensure that each customer benefits from the pattern recognition and proven methodologies that we’ve developed by serving thousands of complex customers over the past two decades.

“On-demand services require on-demand support and management,” wrote Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst for Cloud-Driven Innovation James Staten in a recent blog post. “Finally, a leading cloud services provider, Rackspace, is making the shift, aligning to help customers truly achieve holistic pay-per-use values.”

To see how our service blocks work, consider the experience of one of our longstanding customers, a global insurance giant. It has embarked on an effort to consolidate its many data centers around the world and wants help with certain parts of that effort. A big, traditional IT services conglomerate would require that this customer sign a comprehensive (and rigid and expensive) multi-year contract. We instead are meeting the customer where it stands in its journey toward digital transformation, and at the pace that the customer chooses.

Our insurance company customer has already formulated an extensive assessment and overall strategy to consolidate its data centers, so it doesn’t want our help with that. What it does want is our help with design, architecture and provisioning. So we’re enabling the customer to buy service blocks for each of these specific needs — without paying for anything it doesn’t want. Later in its data center-consolidation effort, the customer may want our help with other parts of the work, perhaps including, say, application migration and modernization. We stand ready to provide those service blocks if and when they’re needed.

Our service blocks are available for customers who use our broad professional services offerings and for enterprise customers who use our expertise, tools, and managed services to maximize the power of the public cloud infrastructure of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. These large, complex customers have told us they need more customized managed public cloud services than we offer in our established Aviator and Navigator service levels.

‘Exactly what we need’

One such customer is Synchronoss Technologies, which helps telecom, media and technology companies create new revenue, reduce costs and delight their subscribers with cloud, messaging, digital, and IoT products and platforms supporting hundreds of millions of subscribers across the globe.

Synchronoss was looking for a service provider with extensive experience running large scale cloud deployments and one that delivered a customizable service model that was flexible with their evolving needs on AWS. While it has plenty of AWS experts on staff for day-to-day management and operation, it needed expertise designing its AWS environment, and as well as ongoing support.

Rackspace is delivering our “Cloud Foundations and Tooling” service block for on-demand support and our “Architect and Deploy” service block, which includes a dedicated full-time solution architect, for ongoing cloud builds and design optimization. Said Pat Doran, Synchronoss Chief Technology Officer: “We’ve found great value in Rackspace’s new Service Blocks offering, which enables us to get exactly the expertise and help we need, exactly when we need it, without paying for anything we don’t need.”