During the Cisco Live 2024 edition, Axians Germany showcased how well-established Managed Services and processes can facilitate the adoption of collaboration tools, making the transition smooth and efficient. Managing IT environments can be challenging for businesses due to the inherent complexity of networks, systems, and services.

Axians, expert in Managed Services, steps in to handle operational responsibility for data center and cloud infrastructure, cyber security, enterprise networks, SAP environments and managed applications on behalf of clients. This enables businesses to concentrate on their core activities while relying on expert IT support. Axians interviewed Oliver Schnau, Business Unit Manager at Axians Germany to delve deeper into the advantages of this service.

Axians: Can you provide an overview of Axians Managed Services?

Oliver Schnau: At Axians Germany our Managed Services prioritize meeting customer needs and requirements within the existing network technology environment. We have the expertise to offer services on different types of solutions and applications such as LAN & Wi-Fi infrastructures, and collaboration applications tailored to our customers’ needs.

Axians: What specific managed services does Axians offer, and how do these services address the diverse needs of businesses across different industries?

Oliver Schnau: We have designed fitting services to meet the technical and business requirements of our customers. For example, one of our largest customers requested a substantial collaboration service, which is on-premises for more than 5000 users. This is a service we built through our network-as-a-service offering, tailored to the customer’s requirements, providing added value to them.

Axians: How does Axians ensure the seamless integration of its managed services with existing IT infrastructures within client organizations?

Oliver Schnau: One of our current challenges is balancing existing cloud solutions and future cloud solutions, along with existing on-premises solutions. Our goal is to seamlessly integrate our services into the customer’s existing environment, leveraging our skills and expertise to add value. This allows the customer to maintain their current network with the option for us to take over its management, relieving them of the associated efforts. Simultaneously, we can enhance the network by incorporating modern solutions, be it on-premises or through cloud services.

Axians: In order to align with the unique requirements of clients, what is Axians’ strategy in customizing its managed services?

Oliver Schnau: To meet our clients’ needs, our approach is to configure about 70% standardized services which represent the best practices and lessons learned derived from our collective knowledge in a specific vertical or technology stack. The remaining 20% to 30% of the total Managed Services configuration is customized to fit the individual requirements of each customer. This way, customers benefit from established processes and services, and we don’t start from scratch for the last portion. The result is a 100% tailored package for the customer. Whilst the tailored managed services configuration is unique, the majority of our tools and processes are standardized, ensuring they are already established and stable.

Axians: Could you provide an example of a successful use case where Axians’ managed services have resulted in tangible improvements for client organizations?

Oliver Schnau: Absolutely, one of our major customers is Carhartt, a clothing company. We set up a Wi-Fi solution called Esteban, connecting over 70 sites to the main headquarters. The CIO mentioned that since Axians took over the operations, there has been a 70% decrease of faults and issues. This is mainly because many problems arose when the customer made changes to their network, leading to downtime and decreased user/customer experiences. With our standard processes and quality framework, we ensure that any network changes we make won’t cause problems for the customer. This has been one of the most impressive outcomes in my view.

Axians: What is Axians’ strategy for training and supporting client teams to optimize the benefits gained from its managed services?

Oliver Schnau: In managed services, the concept is to take over the daily operations so that clients don’t have to worry about it, and hence, as an example there’s usually no additional need for team training.

Axians: In terms of service delivery, what are the key features that differentiate Axians’ managed services from other providers in the market?

Oliver Schnau: Axians has a large network across Europe. Many of our branches in different countries use the same network as a service framework. This means that for customers with an international presence in Europe, we can offer similar services across different countries. This is quite unique in the IT world and provider landscape.

Axians: How does Axians collaborate with clients to create a roadmap for ongoing improvements and optimizations within the scope of managed services?

Oliver Schnau: What we do is incorporate new and advanced network developments into our managed services lineup. When we see that a customer finds a solution too complex to handle themselves, we offer it as a managed service. Over the years, network solutions have become more intricate, and customers often struggle to manage them. So, we add these solutions to our managed services, developing the necessary skills and providing value to the customer. We handle everything from design to implementation and ongoing daily management. In addition, we can offer an appealing financing model as well.

Axians: What mechanisms does Axians have in place to provide transparent reporting and analytics, allowing clients to assess the performance and impact of the managed services?

Oliver Schnau: In our solutions, we provide standard reports generated by the systems in service for our customers. Additionally, we’ve created a customer dashboard that provides them with a high-level view of their network’s health. While not overly detailed, it offers an overview of the entire network under Axians’ scope of responsibility. Customers can easily see if everything is working well with a green indicator. This gives them confidence that their network is in good hands, which is our main goal.