As more and more organizations are adopting a “technology first” mindset, new and different IT solutions are gaining adoption at a rapid pace. From the cloud to AI-enabled workflows, businesses interested in leveraging new tools and systems to outpace the competition have a wealth of options to consider.
One such option for many small and mid-sized businesses is co-managed IT services. This new look on a standard need optimizes operations and cuts costs. Further, co-managed IT services help businesses reallocate resources away from management and maintenance towards growth and transformation.
Benefits of Co-Managed IT Services
Co-Managed IT services are a type of outsourcing where a business works with two separate IT service providers. One provider manages the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the network while the other focuses on strategic initiatives and long-term projects. In many cases, the latter provider is an internal team. This team is focused on key initiatives and projects while leaving the “care and feeding of the network” to a third-party or outside partner.
Consider the following benefits of co-managed IT services:
When a business outsources non-essential tasks, they free up resources that can be better used elsewhere. This includes maximizing return on capital expenditures. Co-managed IT services deliver a lower total cost of ownership and investment relative to employing full-time IT team members to handle the same tasks.
By outsourcing routine tasks, businesses can refocus their attention on strategic projects that have a greater impact on the bottom line. Internal teams that understand the business are able to focus on key initiatives that drive the business forward.
Outsourcing IT management means tapping into the experience and expertise of the partner. An experienced IT partner can deliver process improvements and recommendations that help the business.
In many cases, businesses that outsource routine tasks see an improvement in service levels. This is because the provider is able to focus their attention on providing quality service.
Drawbacks of Co-Managed IT Services
An undeniable appeal does not, however, mean that co-managed IT services are the right fit for every business. There are benefits for certain. There are also drawbacks worth careful consideration before choosing co-managed IT services for your organization.
Co-managed IT services can add a layer of complexity to your operations. This is because you now have two different service providers to manage. Two different IT teams. Two different sets of operating priorities.
While co-managed IT services can save you money, they can also add to your overall costs. This is because you now have two different service providers to pay.
Communication is a challenge if you do not plan well and establish guidelines. This is because you need to make sure that both service providers and internal teams are on the same page. This can be a challenge, especially if you are working with service providers in different parts of the world or even different time zones.
Deciding When Co-Managed IT Services Are the Right Fit
So, when is it the right fit to use Co-Managed IT services? Here are five situations where it may make sense:
When you are resource constrained or have to make cutbacks
If you are a small business with limited resources, it may not make sense to have an in-house IT team. Co-managed IT services can help you get the support you need without breaking the bank.
When you are scaling up or growing quickly
If you are a startup or small business that is experiencing rapid growth, co-managed IT services can help you keep up with the demand.
When you need expertise that you don’t have in-house
If you need to fill a skills gap or want access to expertise that you don’t have in-house, co-managed IT services can help.
When you have IT needs that aren’t core to business growth
If you have IT needs that are non-essential or not directly related to business growth, it may make sense to outsource them. This frees up time and resources that can be better used elsewhere.
When you lack specific expertise
If you need help with a specific project or don’t have the expertise in-house, co-managed IT services can provide the support you need.
When you want to allocate resources to growth and away from managing/maintain
If you want to focus on strategic initiatives and grow your business, co-managed IT services can help by taking care of the routine tasks. As explained above, a third-party handling important tasks that do not drive growth will free up your internal resources to focus on building the business.
Aligning your needs with Co-Managed IT
If you’re thinking about using Co-Managed IT services, the first step is to assess your needs and align them with what’s available. To do this, ask yourself these four questions:
Where are you now?
Start by taking a step back and looking at your current situation. This will give you a baseline to work from and help you identify gaps.
What are your goals?
Next, think about your goals. What do you want to achieve? What are your priorities? This will help you identify which areas need improvement and where to focus your attention.
What are your pain points?
Now, think about what’s not working. What are your pain points? This will help you identify which areas need improvement and where to focus your attention.
What are your IT needs?
Finally, think about your specific IT needs. What do you need from a service provider? What are your priorities? This will help you identify which providers can best meet your needs.
Choosing the right Co-Managed IT services provider
Once you’ve assessed your needs, it’s time to start looking for a service provider. Here are five things to look for:
Look for a service provider that is flexible and can tailor its services to meet your specific needs. Co-managed IT services are about getting the resources your business needs, not being put in a box of pre-configured solutions.
Look for a service provider that can scale up or down as your needs change. This will help you avoid overpaying for services you don’t need. If your business is seasonal or requires extra support at irregular times, then scalability is crucial.
Look for a service provider with experience in your industry. If you are a law firm, find an IT provider with experience in the legal field. If you are an architect, accountant or any other business, do the same. This will help you avoid potential pitfalls and get the most from your investment.
Look for a service provider with a good reputation. Ask for references and check online reviews. This will help you gauge customer satisfaction and get an idea of what to expect.
Finally, don’t forget to compare pricing. While many people perceive IT services to be heavily commoditized and expect prices to be similar, nothing could be further from the truth. Look for a service provider that offers value for money. This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing the cheapest option, but it does mean getting the best bang for your buck.
The Right Time to Make the Move
In summary, Co-Managed IT Services can be a great solution for businesses that are resource constrained, growing quickly, or lacking specific expertise. They can also help businesses save money and improve service levels. However, there are also some drawbacks to consider before choosing co-managed IT services for your organization.
If you have any further questions about whether Co-Managed IT Services are the right fit for your business, please reach out to the team at Axxys Technologies. We’d be happy to chat with you about your specific needs and help you find the best co-managed IT solution for your business.