Giving up control of information technology (IT) to outsourcing is always a difficult decision—for a variety of reasons that include staff tenure, critical business support, innovation, perceived strategic value, and the uncertainty of having an outside party perform the work with the same quality or passion. As a result, the pendulum of IT outsourcing has been swinging back and forth over the last decade in terms of scope, off-shore delivery, skills, cloud services, costs, and more.
No doubt, IT managed services adoption has been slow. In its Third Annual Trends in Managed Services study, Comp TIA Research notes that three of 10 organizations have adopted managed services in some form. But there is some confusion as to what constitutes “managed services.” The research suggests that adoption may even be lower, since some organizations consider Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to be managed services.
Why so low? One explanation may be that many organizations perceive outsourcing as an “all-or-nothing” proposition, and middle-market companies in particular are hesitant to “hand over the reins” and risk giving responsibility to another party.
In fact, an all-or nothing model is far from necessary today. Many companies can realize quick benefits of a hybrid managed services model that allows an organization to transition certain IT functions while retaining responsibility for other business-critical functions. Through a defined set of services, generally at a fixed price, managed services can fit effectively and easily into a company’s overall IT structure and become a true extension of the organization—the product of providers that have developed and deliver best-in-class operational management, governance, and maintenance backlog execution under annual contracts.
Managed services happens to be one of our fastest growing service areas—and looking at feedback from our clients, there are a few key reasons why our clients are accelerating their use of these services:
- It eliminates the need to attract and retain people with specific skills that may not warrant full-time utilization
- It adds an element of incident and problem management/root cause analysis and proactive remediation into daily operations to which many IT functions simply cannot devote sufficient resources after fulfilling all the other priorities
- It functions as an insurance policy of sorts for maintaining stable, available, and high-performing operations
In short, managed services can play important roles in helping organizations leverage technology to advance their businesses—if integrated effectively into the business and in a way that complements internal capabilities. It most definitely does not have to be an all-or-nothing strategy.