by Granville Triumph
Most small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) are accelerating their adoption of cloud-based applications and services in efforts to achieve increased agility, flexibility and budget predictability. However, persistent skills shortages often prevent them from realizing expected benefits.
According to a new Forrester study, 52 percent of SMBs report that a lack of in-house expertise is impairing their cloud operations, and 74 percent say they don’t have the capacity to train employees as the cloud grows in complexity. The skills shortage also impacts other operational areas, limiting their ability to effectively address cybersecurity, remote network access, edge computing and process automation initiatives.
As a result, more SMBs are considering outsourcing arrangements to gain access to the expertise they need. Many are finding that a co-managed IT services arrangement is an ideal way to get a helping hand.
Like other staff augmentation models, co-managed services are designed to give you the additional manpower and expertise needed to tackle both routine and innovative technology requirements. Unlike other models, however, the co-managed approach gives you a much greater degree of control.
In a pure managed services arrangement, for example, the managed services provider (MSP) monitors and manages the IT environment for a predictable monthly fee. The MSP helps ensure availability and performance while relieving you of the need to budget for salaries and benefits. However, this approach can be overkill for organizations with internal IT staff that simply need additional manpower or specific expertise. Furthermore, some organizations fear giving up too much control over certain functions. They feel that their own staff has a better understanding of their IT environment, processes and priorities.
With co-managed IT, outside experts work in partnership with your staff in a shared-responsibility model. Your internal IT staff directs the external experts to ensure that services are customized to meet your technical and operational requirements. This allows you to cost-effectively boost staffing levels while maintaining a great degree of control over your IT environment.
The co-managed model delivers a high level of flexibility. You can scale staffing levels up or down for certain projects, including cloud management, help-desk functions, security, application management and network operations. You can add staff for remote branch locations. You can choose whether you want outside help with day-to-day tasks to free your staff for strategic initiatives, or vice versa. Plus, you’re always covered when your own IT staffers take vacations or sick leave.
A co-managed arrangement also lets you ramp up quickly by eliminating the recruiting and training process — the supplemental staff already has the skills needed to hit the ground running. And they’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to meet mission-critical requirements.
Your internal staff will also appreciate the benefits. They’ll be freed from some of the pressure of maintaining the IT environment yet still maintain a great degree of control. This will enable them to use their skills and talents to enhance their careers while helping the organization operate more effectively and efficiently.
Organizations of all sizes and in all industries are eager to exploit emerging technologies to gain competitive advantage, but the lack of in-house expertise often frustrates attempts at strategic improvements. Co-managed IT services provide a cost-effective way to gain the manpower and expertise you need to keep pace with the changing tech landscape.