What is CMS, and why should you care?

By Elisa Silverman

The market for cloud managed services (CMS) is expected to more than double from $35.54 billion in 2016 to $76.73 billion by 2021, according to MarketsandMarkets. That’s nearly as large as VentureBeat’s forecast for the global gaming industry projected to reach $90 billion by 2020, and well beyond what Statista predicted the Hollywood box office will be able to produce.

In other words, CMS is big business and a big deal.

What is CMS? Specifying that can get murky. Everyone is familiar with the SaaS model — businesses and consumers use it all the time, from file-sharing to accounting services. More businesses are opening to other cloud services, such as PaaS (cloud-based development platforms), IaaS (cloud-based infrastructure) and the newest option, MBaaS (cloud-based mobile back-end development).

However, taking advantage of all these services creates a patchwork that requires management, both to ensure all the various services play well and securely with each other and to fill in service gaps the individual services may lack. Sure, an IaaS vendor can provide on-demand data storage to grow with your data, but does it leave the database management to you? Having to manage this type of service gap reduces the value of moving to the cloud in the first place.

This is where CMS comes in. A CMS provider oversees your entire environment, local and virtual, building integrations and optimizing overall performance. The provider also makes sure you don’t build your network into a corner that limits your options to pivot and grow your IT infrastructure as opportunities and needs change.

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Most common CMS types

When you ask yourself, “What is CMS?” the most typical services that come to mind include the following:

  • Security and network services: These services manage and monitor networks, both to protect, detect and respond to intrusions and to optimize performance. Providing continuity and disaster recovery services that keep business operations running is a part of these cloud-based services.
  • Managed data centers: These are the server farms, often with a global presence, that store the ever-booming volume of data collected and manufactured by business. These services use their expertise to optimize data location, delivery and processing. A CMS provider here would work with businesses to diversify their data centers and provide oversight for how their network, security and application cloud services work together to access and use data.
  • Business applications: For enterprise companies, this can be enterprise resource planning and other mission-critical systems they develop or customize but host in either a public, private or hybrid cloud architecture. This can also include back-office SaaS options for businesses of any size, which enable them to offload non-core business functions such as project management, accounting, HR and customer service.

A growing area of CMS is MBaaS, which is intended to speed up development and deployment of mobile apps. The backlog in mobile app development remains a pressing issue for IT and business managers, according to Baseline. Thus, the field of mobile app development is ripe to benefit from the efficiencies and expertise CMS offers.

Where CMS is going

The exciting growth in the CMS market is due both to the expanding array of cloud-based services and technologies, as well as the increasing number of businesses open to using a variety of CMS types. IDC research revealed that 58 percent of the organizations surveyed have interest in using cloud services, which is more than double the 24 percent who said so 14 months ago.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key drivers to the growing demand. These businesses are natural fits, as the potential to lower costs, improve access to non-core expertise and remain agile is an attractive benefit. Moving operations to the cloud also grows the talent pool SMEs can now access, improving execution on their revenue-generating core work.

A second area accelerating demand for cloud services is the growth of the IoT. As more devices connect to the internet, companies have a greater need to communicate with them, including collecting, analyzing and acting on data passed back and forth. Doing this securely, reliably and in real time will require the services to manage these back-end processes.

However, CMS growth isn’t limited to SMEs and the IoT. The improved flexibility, lower cost and less risk CMS offers is too appealing for organizations to pass up. Really, the CMS boom simply mirrors the shift from pre-industrial limited divisions of labor to the specialization of the Industrial Age, but as a part of the digital revolution. People stopped sewing their own shirts and making their own soap back then. Why should businesses today require their own network security or app development expertise today when they can buy it?

Written By

Elisa Silverman

Technology Writer

Elisa Silverman is a freelance writer, with a professional background in law and technology. She writes for technology companies and professional service firms. In addition, Elisa writes other types of B2B marketing content that help them establish authority and foster relationships…

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