You’d be hard-pressed to find a business today that doesn’t rely on technology for some essential part of its operations. Modern organizations are dependent on IT functions to do business, to grow and scale, and to meet customers’ needs and expectations on a daily basis.
Compliance standards and the reliance on IT systems and applications to perform even the most basic functions in a business make IT one of the most important aspects of a business today.
This widespread dependency on technology necessitates that organizations be strategic about how they structure their IT operations. Some companies build in-house IT departments, while others completely outsource, and some opt for a mix of the two in the form of co-managed IT services.
The decision of where to house IT services is often dependent on the overall needs and capabilities of the organization rather than solely being an IT choice. When considering co-managed IT services, keep in mind their benefits and how they can affect the overall processes of your business.
Structures for Co-Managed IT Services
There are a variety of ways an organization can manage its IT functions, and the right fit really depends on the organization’s goals, internal capacity and skill sets, and budget. At the end of the day, most organizations outsource some part of their IT. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons organizations outsource a portion of their IT functions.
Let’s say your internal resources do a great job at managing the day-to-day technology needs of the organization, but you’re looking at taking on a new project, such as implementing a new ERP system, doing a major WiFi upgrade, or increasing your cybersecurity posture, for example. In re-allocating internal resources to large-scale projects, you run the risk of declining service to your internal stakeholders to accomplish this one-time project.
Additionally, you may not have the skills or knowledge internally to vet and procure the necessary products or services. In other words, it would stretch your current team too thin and doesn’t make sense for you to hire more internal resources for a temporary project.
Engaging an IT Managed Services Provider (MSP) would allow you to continue to serve the day-to-day business needs and simultaneously accomplish strategic initiatives.
Outsourcing the Day-to-Day Needs
Conversely, you may have highly-skilled internal resources who are unable to accomplish strategic initiatives because they spend all their time on day-to-day tasks, in constant “react mode.” Hiring for the variety of skill sets needed to keep IT systems up to date, to respond to help desk requests from users, and to manage endpoints and networks, for example, may be cost prohibitive. In this case, co-managed IT services may be the right option.
An IT MSP can provide outsourced help desk support while also using ITIL toolsets and automation to streamline the monitoring and management of networks, servers, and endpoints. This not only frees up your internal resources to focus on projects and strategic initiatives, it also helps ensure you have visibility into all your systems, moves you from a reactive state to a proactive state, and helps ensure maximum up-time.
Your internal resources gain a better understanding of recurring issues and problems and can not only make better, more informed decisions about IT spend, but they can also focus on IT initiatives that help drive your business forward.
With so many elements of business relying on technology, it’s sometimes hard to get out of the day-to-day and specific projects to focus on strategic initiatives that will drive your business forward. Developing good IT governance or an entire IT strategy for your organization while attempting to align with business goals can be difficult, to say the least.
Having an actionable plan to execute technology upgrades, achieve scalability, and reach short- and long-term goals requires IT expertise that may go beyond your own IT specialists’ scope. Partnering with an IT MSP for consulting can help move these initiatives forward while you’re focused on keeping the business running. They can provide industry-recognized frameworks and processes, engage the right stakeholders at the right time, and give you perspective outside your business and industry, and, importantly, help you implement and measure new initiatives.
“Co-managed IT services act as an extension of your existing IT team.”
Common Reasons to Invest in Co-Managed IT Services
Many businesses are opting for co-managed IT services, but what are some of the main services they’re looking for? This list can give you a good idea of what common services businesses request when opting for co-managed IT services:
Increase Cybersecurity & Maintain Regulatory Compliance
Cybersecurity is becoming more and more critical for businesses to invest in and update as cyber crime increases and “bad actors” become more skilled at accessing and manipulating IT environments. Additionally, regulations (such as PII, PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, etc.) continue to become more strict with respect to data protection and privacy rights.
Unfortunately, many SMBs lack the time, knowledge, and resources necessary to implement advanced security solutions. Fortunately, though, there are an abundance of external resources available to help businesses assess their current security posture, and implement and manage cybersecurity frameworks, tools and processes.
With that being said, it can often be difficult to determine which resources are right for your organization. Engaging an outsourced IT provider can not only help you assess your current state, but can also facilitate engagements with industry experts and organizations who can address your specific needs.
More Efficient Help Desk & Endpoint Management
The most important element of any business is its people and their ability to work efficiently and productively on a day-to-day basis. In order for this to be the case, IT departments must ensure the tools employees need to do their jobs work properly and are secure (e.g., computers, tablets, phones), as well as respond to requests for support in a timely manner.
Many SMBs find themselves with growing IT teams that focus solely on end-user support and device maintenance and security. Further, many companies still manage devices manually, which can be extremely time-consuming and inefficient (and lead to security vulnerabilities). As businesses grow and scale, having an in-house help desk and IT team to manage devices can become cost prohibitive and/or mean slower response times to user issues.
IT MSPs can provide Managed Support using industry-recognized toolsets to centralize management of devices, including monitoring device health and automating security patching and updates, and to remotely access machines for quick and efficient resolution of issues and problems.
Outsourcing these IT services can be more cost effective and give you more value for your money while also creating better IT governance and security. This also allows you to allocate more resources to strategic initiatives and specialized IT functions within your business. Much like many pricing models for software, pricing models for IT MSPs for help desk and endpoint management allow you to scale up and down very easily as well.
Effective and Proactive Network Management
As businesses become more technology-dependent, networks become increasingly complex. This makes it difficult for in-house IT departments to understand and manage the entire network they are responsible for while simultaneously evaluating new and better technologies (and in many cases, also managing end-user devices and support).
Often, the staffing and financial requirements for keeping a network secure, modernized, and with maximum up-time can be cost prohibitive. Using an MSP provides businesses with a team of experts for a fraction of the cost—a team that uses industry-recognized toolsets to centralize management of network devices, can provide real-time information on a single, central console, has remote management capabilities, and has direct access to the industry’s leading technology providers, such as Cisco and Extreme.
Discover Co-Managed IT Services That Will Give Your Business a Boost
If you’re considering outsourcing a portion of your IT to a managed service provider, it’s important to take some time to evaluate your current capacity and capabilities and to explore your options.
Our IT experts at AIS would be happy to help you explore your options. We provide honest, transparent information and pricing and meet you where you are to help you get to where you want to go. Among other things, we can help you:
- Evaluate and implement cost-effective solutions that provide quantifiable business value.
- Increase strategic alignment to address your business’s technology needs and get you up to industry standards.
- Provide immediate and continuous support to your end users.
- Create and implement IT processes and governance that meet industry regulations.