Today’s IT professional has so much more on their plate than ever before. “IT infrastructure leaders often feel that they’re constantly in catch-up mode because it is difficult to quantify IT contributions”
Why Might a Co-Managed IT Services Model be Right for You?
Challenges that often impede IT:
- Constantly changing or emerging technologies
- Finding, hiring and retaining experienced talent
- Ongoing training on new systems
- Keeping up with patching and updates
- Day-to-day service requests
- The added burden of increased cybersecurity needs
With all those things to consider, it’s hard to find enough time during the day to do some of the higher-level things that need to be done to ensure your company is keeping up.
Many of these challenges didn’t exist to the same degree as they do now even a few years ago.
We can categorize these challenges into 3 groups, Breadth, Depth and Time.
Today’s IT department has a wider obligation and expectation than ever. While in the past, they may have been responsible for maintaining the corporate network with file-servers and a few applications such as email or an ERP system, the types of technologies used in business have proliferated.
Businesses are now faced with supporting a range of stationary and mobile devices. The IoT (Internet of Things) is exploding with McKinsey & Company estimating the “worldwide number of IoT-connected devices is expected to increase to 43 billion by 2023, an almost threefold increase from 2018”.
More employees are opting to bring their own mobile devices to work (BYOD) and the number of cloud apps used in a business is exploding as well with WSJ estimating the number of apps used in business today to be 129, and that was back in 2018!
COVID-19 has accelerated workforce mobility trends with more employees needing to work from home or remotely, and as workers return to offices, new challenges such as social distancing requirements mean wholesale changes to office layouts and new requirements for meeting rooms including no-touch controls.
IT often must manage technologies as varied as VoIP, building security, and access control and Zoom rooms, all while ensuring that none of these is an entry point for a cyber threat.
Today’s CIOs or IT Directors need to make critical decisions about the direction of technology investments.
- When to build infrastructure internally, and when to move to the cloud.
- When to end of life software and hardware in favor of packaged solutions and apps and when an existing tech stack is a competitive advantage.
As you move down the hierarchy, security monitoring and threat protection, patch management and security awareness training are all imperative to stay on top of with the increasing creativity of bad actors creating ever new business destroying exploits such as RansomCloud. Should your business suffer a disaster or your invaluable data be held for ransom, you’re going to want to turn to someone and ask them where backups are and how quickly can we be back in business.
Unfortunately, some estimates put the percentage of businesses that don’t back up their data at over a third (36%), with about half (49%) that have inadequate backups, leaving them vulnerable to corrupted, inaccessible or outdated data should a breach occur.
Comprehensive management of the breadth, depth, and timeliness of managing and maintaining IT is no longer a one-person job or two-person job even for small businesses.
IT departments are under intense time pressure. With the Consumerization of IT, employees are expecting quick access to services like they get at home, with multiple options to get the support they need including email, phone, chat, and video. This comes while IT departments are under cost pressures which can force limited headcount. The proliferation of apps, devices, and technologies is shoehorning more support needs into the same, or fewer, person-hours per day.
Enter Co-Managed IT Services
In the past, there were two ways to do IT – either an in-house IT department or hire out, whether through an MSP (managed service provider) or a vendor for certain projects. Business size was often the determinant here – too small and you couldn’t afford someone internally (MSP), too large and you wanted someone dedicated specifically to you (in-house). But a shift from this either/or mentality to an and/and one has created a new option. It’s called Co-managed IT services.
Co-managed IT services is a “best of both worlds” scenario.
Organizations keep their current in-house IT, but it partners them with outside resources that can take care of the things that they don’t have the time, training, or sometimes the desire to do. It also gives access to technical expertise without adding headcount. Co-managed IT does not replace the existing team within the organization, it simply adds more people and capabilities to what is there. And it’s customized to the needs of the organization: the IT services company can do as little or as much as needed, at the discretion of the IT manager.
We've talked to some of the companies who are leveraging many of the benefits from a Co-managed IT relationship. The feedback give is that they’ve strongly benefited for some many of the reasons below:
- Not just putting out fires anymore
- Able to work on strategic, high-level projects that had been put off
- More time to research and consider new technologies
- Able to get to some of the important tasks that weren’t done: documentation, process development, compliance requirements, etc.
- More resources dedicated to Cybersecurity
- They can relax on vacation because they’re not afraid of what might happen while they’re away
- In house IT are seen as the hero and rewarded for finding and creating a Co-managed relationship
Co-managed IT services allow your internal IT team to do more important work while compressing response times for employees. Important strategic decisions can be bounced off experienced peers as a sounding board with direct knowledge to your systems and deep experience in the question at hand, improving the odds of business success.
As more companies see the benefits of Co-managed IT services, we anticipate more businesses moving to this hybrid models as IT Managers and Service Providers work together to create efficiencies and find the right balance that works for their organization.
If you’re looking for Co-managed IT services in the Tri-Cities, Washington or Bend, Oregon areas, or simply want to learn more about how to effectively structure this type of model, give us a call at 541.848.6072 in Oregon, or 509-396-6640 in Washington.