When someone in an IT department hears about a managed service provider, alarm bells may start going off in their head. This is not an unexpected reaction. After all, “outsourcing” has gotten a somewhat undeserved reputation as a bad word.
When people hear that something is being outsourced, they often think about worst-case scenarios where entire departments of people are laid off in favor of outsourcing.
Part of this has to do with the media. As they say, “If it bleeds, it leads.” You don’t read news stories about all the successful plane landings from the day before, much like you don’t read about successful outsourcing efforts where no one was laid off and the company became stronger.
The fact is that most managed IT service providers are not seeking to eliminate internal IT departments. Rather, the value offering to companies is that internal IT staff can become more effective and focused with the help of a managed service provider.
This move should be viewed as a partnership, rather than one team versus the other and, hopefully, this article can help break down the common misconception that internal IT and outsourced IT must be at odds with one another. When internal and outsourced teams work together in harmony, internal people can focus on adding value to the company thanks to outside skill sets, and more hands means everything still gets done.
10 Reasons Why Outsourcing IT Can Be Positive
As mentioned, the relationship between internal IT and a managed service provider does not have to be an adversarial one. There are a number of reasons why having both internal and outsourced IT options available to a business can be a positive arrangement for all parties involved.
1. Access to a Team of Technicians with Many Specialties
Needless to say, IT can be very complicated, and the changing tech landscape virtually ensures that IT departments will require people with a wider range of specialties. Of course, there are many IT professionals with knowledge and experience in many areas, but it is almost impossible for a single person to be a true specialist in all areas of IT.
For an IT team that does not work with a managed service provider, there are basically three options when facing a skill gap:
- Hire new employees with specialized experience in that area.
- Hire an outside provider for a one-off project.
- Attempt to muddle through the challenge of self-education (via YouTube, online tutorials, etc.).
Often the third scenario is what plays out. All three scenarios can be very costly. The first option also assumes that the right people can be hired in a timely manner, which may be a challenge considering the tech worker shortage in the United States. And, the second option doesn’t actually solve the skill gap over the long term.
With a managed service provider, internal IT teams know that they have an entire stable of experience that they can tap into whenever it’s needed. This can save costs and allow internal IT staff to focus on areas where they can make the most difference for the business, rather than trying to handle a project that may be outside their usual scope of work.
2. Advice of Technical Consultants
Planning a major project is a huge undertaking for any IT department. In many cases, companies will bring in consultants to help create a roadmap for large projects. These consultants often demand significant fees for the work that they do and once the consulting process is done, they are done as well, taking the knowledge gained in the project with them.
A good managed service provider will have consultants on staff to help internal IT plan a major project and, if needed, the managed IT service providers can also lend skills and expertise during the implementation and rollout of the project. They are there every step of the way from development to completion and provide complete documentation on the work done.
3. Managed IT Service Providers Take on Mundane Tasks
IT departments have to take on a lot of regular tasks throughout the day, in addition to major projects and challenges that may be on their plate. Not only can these mundane, day-to-day tasks make some people want to fall asleep at their desk, they are also incredibly time-consuming. Major projects and strategic initiatives may often take a backseat to the more pressing but less exciting daily tasks. In addition, internal IT people like hourly computer support companies often don't have an incentive to implement long-term solutions, only quick fixes.
With a managed service provider, the mundane tasks can be passed off, while internal IT tackles the big projects that may have been pushed down the road. Things like help desk support for staff or software update rollouts can easily be managed by an IT service provider without disrupting or changing regular operations for the rest of the business. It’s a seamless handoff that can be done quickly and easily, oftentimes during off hours when internal IT staff are off duty.
4. Give Internal Team Access to Important Tools
Internal IT teams are often forced to spend their budget on resources, like employee salaries, rather than tools to help them do their job. This is a common issue in IT departments across the country. With many IT professionals earning over six figures per year, it can be difficult to find the extra budget for helpful tools, like remote management and monitoring.
When working with a managed service provider, however, internal IT staff can get access to the same tools being used by the service provider. Many people assume that managed IT service providers simply provide more manpower, but the fact is the tools that come with managed IT services are just as valuable for both outsourced and internal IT staff.
5. Seamless Help Desk Ticket Escalation
A very common concern that arises when bringing in the services of a managed IT partner is that there will be confusion about who staff should go to with a concern. Some believe that adding another team within the IT department will only cause more issues. Too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak.
However, the process for ticket submission and escalation can be seamless. In fact, for those submitting tickets and making requests, the difference will be unnoticeable. With seamless ticket escalation, the managed service provider can receive all tickets initially, and then escalate to internal IT if the task needs to be managed internally.
With both teams working on the same ticket system, the process is simple and there are no speed bumps or roadblocks to getting the job done.
6. After-Hours and Weekend Support
There is no question that internal IT staff may be among the most hardworking people in any business. It’s not uncommon for internal IT to put in additional hours in the evenings or on weekends, long after everyone else has gone home for the day. Unfortunately, there are a lot of downsides to overworking employees, including poor work quality and increased turnover.
Even the most dedicated IT staff need a break to rest and recharge. Managed IT service providers can step in and take on the after hours and weekend support while internal IT enjoys a much-deserved rest. As a result, many of the negatives that can arise from employees working long hours can be avoided. For IT staff on hourly wages, the business may be able to cut back on overtime hours or holiday pay.
7. Manage and Monitor Backups
There have been a number of high-profile cyberattacks recently where businesses or governments discovered that their backups were either not working or not sufficient. This resulted in significant data loss and incredible costs for everyone involved. For example, the City of Atlanta is estimated to have spent over $10 million on recovery from a crippling cyberattack.
Needless to say, data backups are an important part of any business and need to be monitored closely. Unfortunately, this is often a task that gets pushed off in favor of more pressing issues that need immediate attention. Many businesses don’t find out that their data backups weren’t sufficient until it’s too late. The cost of finding this out too late can be staggering and, in some cases, may bring a business to its knees.
A managed IT provider can take on this task and ensure that data backups are done regularly and monitored on a daily basis.
8. Instant Access to a Team, Instead of Building a Team
Building a large department in any business can be a challenge. The cost of hiring additional IT professionals, as mentioned earlier, can be significant. In addition, recruitment can prove to be a challenge. Finding qualified IT professionals is a difficult task, as many businesses compete to attract these staff. These staff, through the use of a managed service provider, can be utilized for just a fraction of the cost that building out an internal IT team would cost.
Even if an IT department had a massive budget to hire a team, there may not be a need for a full IT team at all times.
Instead of having IT professionals on staff that are only working at 30% capacity with 100% of a full-time salary, a managed IT provider can ensure these professionals are there when they are needed but are not being paid a significant salary for when they aren’t needed.
9. High-Value Staff Can Focus on High-Value Tasks
This point ties into a few of the previous points, but it’s important to emphasize this information. Internal IT staff are typically high-value employees that are hired because of their skills and expertise.
Unfortunately, many of these team members get bogged down with tasks that are below their pay grade, for lack of a better term.
Management wants to see their high-value employees working on high-value tasks that will deliver huge benefits for the business. Outsourcing IT to a managed service provider gives an outlet for simple, low-resource tasks to be passed off and access to highly skilled specialists when needed. As a result, internal IT staff can now focus on projects that are very specific to the company and require an in-depth level of knowledge about the business. In addition, these people take pride in their work. Internal IT staff want to work on exciting projects rather than day-to-day support ticket submissions.
10. Eliminate Internal Bottlenecks
No one can possibly know everything there is to know about IT. Even an experienced IT director will have questions about implementing new services or how to tackle unusual challenges. Unfortunately, this can often create a bottleneck in an internal IT department. To get answers, internal staff must research on their own, which means they’re losing valuable time where they could be focusing on the tasks they are experts on.
One of the greatest benefits of partnering with managed IT service providers is that there is an entire team on hand, ready to be a resource. These team members have been exposed to a large number of companies and can bring in valuable outside opinions. You’ll have experts in every aspect of IT that are ready and willing to jump in and save the research time so that solutions can be implemented quickly without any delay.
The bottleneck to get this done has been eliminated and, as a result, internal IT can accomplish much more, with a lot less time required.
Choosing the Right Managed IT Service Partner
As you can see, there is no need to fear partnering with a managed service provider. In fact, internal IT teams and managed IT service providers should be a complementary combination. With an experienced team at your disposal you’ll be able to accomplish more valuable work and take your focus away from putting out fires. What’s more is that all of those fires still get put out and the maintenance still gets done because you have the support you’ve needed all along.
PICS ITech has partnered with countless businesses to work with internal IT teams and deliver an exceptional experience for everyone within the business. To learn more about our industry leading managed IT services, please contact us at 609-454-6152.