Co-managed IT services are rapidly becoming a smart option for many mid-sized businesses. With multiple strategic demands around driving business growth, improving workforce productivity and increasing profitability, in-house IT groups are feeling the pressure to demonstrate their contribution toward these objectives.
And in today’s ever-changing technology landscape, it’s unrealistic to ask a small IT group to both possess the necessary skills to handle all the daily IT tasks and strategically plan for technology necessary to achieve higher level business objectives.
While there may be single box solutions that serve most needs of a small business, mid-tier company IT environments are more complex. These companies are likely running multiple ERP applications, have advanced security requirements due to the nature of their business (e.g., HIPAA, NIST, CMMC, PCI, SOX) and many more employees to support.
Thus, there are many reasons why a co-managed IT service relationship is probably worth considering if you are a mid-sized business.
What are Co-Managed IT Services?
Co-Managed IT is a “less than” version of a complete managed IT service relationship. It’s an ideal solution for a medium-sized (i.e., 50+ employees) business that has an internal IT function of 1 or more employees. A co-managed IT partnership is meant to augment your in-house team, not replace it.
By developing a relationship with a co-managed IT partner, each party can do what they do best based on the needs of the company. And commit each party to take responsibility for managing those IT needs of the business.
15 Reasons You Could Benefit from a Co-Managed IT Partnership
The list below is organized into two major groupings – one that more directly affects the in-house IT team and the other more significantly benefits the company at a business level.
Supplementing an In-House Technical Team with Co-Managed IT Services
- Proactively monitor your network and update patches
In today’s cyber risk environment, you need to continuously monitor your network and frequently implement software and security updates, especially if you’re in a highly regulated industry like healthcare or perform government contracts. When internal IT teams get busy, these tasks often suffer. Updates not only repair security holes that are prime targets for malware attacks, they often add new features and replace outdated ones. A co-managed partner will have the automated tools which enable continuous monitoring to reduce downtime and perform regular updates keeping your environment safe.
- Quickly deploy new solutions
Save time researching, learning and setting up multiple toolsets and integrating them into your network by letting your external IT partner handle that. They will already have a collection of codes that can be easily adjusted to the configuration your business requires.
- Free up IT for more responsive in-house help desk support
If your support person is spending more time on monitoring your network and installing patch updates, users are likely experiencing more downtime. The result is lost productivity and frustrated employees.
- Put it on paper
IT documentation may seem trivial, yet it is critical to the efficient operation of an IT department. A central, standardized location for documentation allows for the smoother transition of any IT staff loss. A quality IT partner already has the process discipline and tools to make that documentation easier.
- Fill critical skills gaps
Access subject matter experts for escalated help desk cases or one-time project implementation. A larger IT partner will have many more experts that a mid-size company cannot afford to hire. And your internal IT team will benefit by retaining that knowledge for the benefit of the company.
- Eliminate “single point of failure” risk
What would happen if that one person in IT who knows everything was suddenly gone? Developing a relationship with a co-managed IT partner who learns your business can provide a safety valve for short term needs or could assist you in finding a permanent replacement.
- Elevate the skillsets of in-house IT personnel
Working with an external IT partner provides the opportunity to expose your IT team to the latest technologies giving them professional growth they might only get if they go elsewhere.
- Outsource support of your remote offices
You could have a top-notch IT team at corporate headquarters but supporting that Milwaukee field sales office of 15 professionals is hard to assign to the in-house group and hold them accountable. Outsource that responsibility to an external partner.
Why Business Can Benefit from Co-Managed IT Services
- Focus internal IT on strategic initiatives that grow business capabilities, top line efforts
By tasking your co-managed partner to handle the mundane tasks of monitoring and patching your network 24/7, you free up valuable internal resources “to tackle larger, more complex projects they would otherwise not have the time nor capacity to take on.”
- Acquire industry leading toolsets at a price you can afford
Take advantage of your provider’s scale to gain access to enterprise-level tools that are beyond the ability of most mid-sized businesses to reasonably afford. Reinvest those savings into other IT efforts that boost productivity, security or accomplish other business goals.
- Protect your data from loss
Allow your co-managed IT partner to maintain your firewall and take responsibility for backing up your data to the cloud. This is a key foundation to any disaster recovery or business continuity planning objectives you should have in place. If you don’t have plans, your IT partner can assist you in preparing those you need.
- Develop a strategic plan to chart your technology infrastructure growth path
A talented IT partner has the tools and experience to help you build a strategic technology roadmap. They also provide a third-party perspective to plan and rationalize your technology investment and justify an ROI rooted in your business objectives.
- Enable a more distributed workforce
As your workforce becomes more mobile and distributed, typical in-house support will become more difficult and time-consuming placing more load on an already overburdened IT staff. Bringing on a co-managed partner could relieve that burden while also providing strategic guidance on how best to streamline the user mobile experience.
- Boost your employee productivity
Are you spending that little extra to realize the full productivity potential of your investment in end-user technologies such as Teams and Office 365 or the latest in security protocols? Best of breed co-managed IT partners provide learning tools to ensure your entire staff can become proficient in their use.
- Support rapid company growth
Your company is growing rapidly but may not justify hiring full-time IT resources. Yet, the demands on IT continue to grow. A co-managed IT partner can easily scale to meet your requirements. Let your partner assume responsibility for the “commodity” type tasks, such as patch updates, and be a strategic resource for you in planning for rapid growth.
As this list makes clear, mid-size businesses have many demands on their IT functions. And it is unrealistic to expect a small team can effectively carry out both the tactical and strategic IT needs of a mid-sized company.
Partnering with a highly capable IT company in a co-managed services relationship can help your business to grow both your top and bottom line, support and retain your employees (including IT staff) and provide the peace of mind that your business is secure.