As tight as IT budgets can be, it’s tempting to frame the managed services outsourcing decision in terms of dollars-and-cents alone. But many trends are convincing executives to think differently. Six in particular are worth noting:
Tight labor market
The ability to adequately staff service desks, repair depots, network and systems monitoring, and endpoint management has never been more difficult. Many organizations attempt to cover staffing shortfalls with in-house IT engineers.
User support and system uptime, however, are two factors that heavily influence a company’s IT brand perception. Slow and/or inadequate responses to IT issues can do significant damage. Moreover, when trained IT personnel are saddled with support services, deadlines on critical projects are not being met—and engineers and technicians eventually realize their most important skill sets are underutilized, which leads to job dissatisfaction.
Consumerization of IT
While this trend is not new, its impact is still being felt. Employees have expectations that their workplace apps, devices, and systems will operate 24/7.
Low-quality support means employees can’t get their work done on time. Frustrations mount, productivity suffers, and eventually workers leave. No one wants these circumstances to be traced back to hardware and/or software support issues.
The trend for “rogue” technology activity outside IT is often caused by insufficient support. When IT is unable to adequately support technology, departments create their own workarounds—and almost always without the IT’s knowledge or control.
By definition, Shadow IT operates outside the system. No one is sharing solutions, nor is there continual improvement. By contrast, a managed services provider offering top-quality personnel and best practices discourages Shadow IT activity. It improves end-user satisfaction by resolving issues quickly, often through first call resolution, and the data it collects becomes a valuable source of IT insight.
The Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data, digital assistants, artificial intelligence, social media, and smart devices are having an immense impact on IT. In this environment, people expect immaculate performance—which is why centralized, around-the-clock system and network tracking is imperative. Furthermore, a qualified MSP can catalogue data from incident reports and trouble tickets, making a useful repository that can inform future deployments.
Vendors as partners
It used to be that IT service providers operated with a Chinese takeout approach: pick the items you want from the menu, and we’ll deliver. Today, the world is a lot more complex—and good vendors have evolved into full strategic partners.
Top quality service providers are concerned with their customers’ business. If they have the latitude to step up with honest feedback, the result benefits everyone. Those kinds of partners deserve a seat at the table during the early stages of project development—and forward-thinking enterprises are giving it to them.
The demands of business require new ideas from every corner of the enterprise. A managed service provider can free IT to be more creative; it can also support innovation by capturing information about existing and new applications and services. By feeding this information back to IT and providing analytics, it can do the work IT hasn’t the time or bandwidth to accomplish.
Once IT fully understands the trends that affect the insource/outsource decision, the choice becomes strategic, rather than purely tactical. Operational, competitive, and financial advantages become apparent. When combined with the measurable costs of hiring and training staff, keeping up with best practices, maintaining infrastructure, and dealing with emergencies, the true value of qualified IT support becomes clear. Nothing ever stands still in the world of IT—and with a proper service provider as partner, those changes become much easier to bear.