The Pros and Cons of Co-Managed IT Services
IT outsourcing through a managed IT services provider (MSP) has become an increasingly popular option for businesses regardless of industry. In fact, the market is estimated to hit $557 billion by 2028, and for good reason. With managed IT services, organizations without an IT department can maximize their IT budget while retaining expert IT resources. On the other hand, organizations with an IT department can outsource some of their IT workload and risk to an MSP, or augment their internal IT team with an MSP through what is referred to as Co-Managed IT services.
With Co-Managed IT services, the goal is to form a partnership in which the MSP can support, enhance, and supplement the organization’s existing IT team. Internal IT teams can use this model to enable robust cooperation with the MSP to tackle critical tasks and achieve higher productivity.
The Co-Managed IT approach can vary depending on the organization, and even evolve as demands or resources change. For example, some businesses may rely on their in-house IT staff for helpdesk support services, and at the same time outsource infrastructure management and security to an external partner.
While the co-management model is now being widely adopted, it comes with both advantages and disadvantages depending on how it is executed. In this article we discuss the pros and cons of Co-Managed IT services and offer advice on choosing the right IT partner that can deliver on this hybrid approach.
Advantages of Co-Managed IT Services
IT co-management shares many of the same advantages as traditional third-party IT management and then some. Here are the key advantages:
Better Crisis Response Model
Businesses using Co-Managed IT Services will have access to an external team of experts that can help them recover faster than they could on their own in event of a hardware failure, data breach, or any other IT crisis. At the same time, they will also be able to depend on their in-house team who may have greater familiarity with the workplace and business needs. Any diligent managed service provider will also utilize their skills and knowledge to discover a disaster’s fundamental cause and assist in the development of a plan to minimize such risks in the future.
Autonomy of Operations
With Co-Managed IT services, the in-house team has control of all administrative access – and even has access to the service provider’s tools and services. Co-managed services give businesses the opportunity to choose which areas they want to streamline with outside help and delegate the rest to the in-house team. With IT staffing issues becoming a bigger issue for many businesses, this hybrid approach ensures the business is well supported even during a transition of internal staff.
Fewer Management Responsibilities
Using third-party aid to keep all processes operating smoothly and functioning faster means businesses have fewer burdens to handle on their own. By using Co-Managed IT Services, businesses will not be responsible for training or guiding a third-party expert, as they would be if they hired a new employee. Businesses will also have increased access to a wide range of IT professionals with varying levels of experience who can assist in developing or implementing strategies, providing vital insight, and improving day-to-day operations.
Cutting Edge Expertise
Co-Managed IT allows businesses to access experts who are up to date with the latest technology trends without devoting additional time and resources to training an in-house team.
Another advantage of the co-managed approach is that businesses can make use of an MSP’s after-hours support, which means clients can get timely help when they need it without businesses having to pay overtime or have their own team on-call 24/7. Furthermore, the HR department will save time by not having to recruit and hire individuals with the necessary IT capabilities. Instead, they can concentrate their efforts on attracting employees who will help you achieve key business objectives.
Disadvantages of Co-Managed IT Services
Despite the many merits of co-managed IT services, there are still some disadvantages that businesses should consider.
Conflict between the In-house IT Staff and the MSP
There may be friction between the two IT groups when adding an external IT team into the mix. For example, the in-house IT staff may feel threatened by the external team. This can be avoided if management is proactive in clearly defining the role of the external team and reiterating to the internal team that the goal is improve the productivity of the IT department, not replace it. An experienced Co-Managed IT Services provider knows their job is to make the internal team look good, and support them in achieving the business’ objectives.
Delicate Selection Process
It’s extremely important for businesses to select the best IT Partner for the co-management model to succeed. The partner to be selected must have all the necessary tools, experience, and adaptability to suit the unique requirements of the business. Businesses may also have to go through lengthy onboarding or transitioning periods, depending on the collaborating organization. An diligent Co-Managed IT Services provider will have a well defined on-boarding process and will insist upon an audit of the companies systems prior to executing a contract.
While there are financial benefits to co-management, businesses will need to be accountable for the upfront costs of their new relationship. They will, however, have some control over these expenditures and can tailor an on-budget solution based on leveraging the strengths of their own internal team and the external provider. An experienced Co-Managed IT Services provider will provide detailed recommendations prior to on-boarding and help the business budget for big ticket items in advance.
Finding the Right Co-Managed IT Partner
Managed and Co-Managed IT services have been proven to dramatically improve overall reliability, performance, and user satisfaction, while reducing IT costs. Although it isn’t an easy process to find the right co-managed IT partner, the pros far outweigh the cons. Here are some key focus points which can increase the chances of finding the right fit:
- When selecting a partner, identify clear roles and responsibilities of internal team members as well as the responsibilities of the managed service partner.
- Review potential scenarios such as after-hours support or situations requiring above normal work efforts and ask how this affects billing.
- Identify how the provider will supplement internal staff during vacation or other away time.
- Have a clear appreciation for on-boarding costs and timelines.
- Identify what tools and regular reports will be shared between internal IT team members and the MSP.
- Schedule regular touch points with key technical individuals from both internal and external teams with a clear priority agenda.
- A co-managed services partner should operate exactly as an extension of the existing team – be sure they have the capability and availability to achieve this without unexpected additional billing.
Outsource IT provides complete managed IT services as well as a co-managed IT solutions. Our à la carte model for delivering Co-Managed IT Services works well in allowing internal IT departments to leverage us in the areas where it matters most, or across the entire business. We allow IT Managers to sleep better at night by providing peace of mind their critical systems are monitored and maintained 24/7. Regardless of the IT need, our experienced team of IT experts never disappoint. Talk to an Outsource IT account manager today to learn more.