Outsourcing IT functions to managed service providers (MSPs) is hardly a new phenomenon. Organizations have leveraged MSPs to supplement their operational needs for decades. The MSP model, carried forward from the ASP model of the 1990s, evolved as an alternative to the break/fix or on-demand outsourcing model. A managed service is a proven engagement model and, when leveraged correctly with the right partner, it is an efficient way to manage cost, quality of service, and risk. As the managed service model has evolved, there is much more value you can realize from your MSP. You should expect more than just fixing what is broken or augmenting your staffing.
Recent Trends and Drivers
The Managed Services outsourcing model has traditionally been positioned as a way for the business to augment their existing IT capabilities, stay up-to-date with technology, address skills gaps, increase efficacy of internal resources, and improve overall quality of the IT experience.
With recent industry trends, the role of the MSP in the IT paradigm is growing and we will continue to see diversified MSP portfolios across various Information Systems (IS) functional areas, such as, software, security, systems, disaster recovery, cloud productivity services, network infrastructure, and human resources functions.
One of the fundamental objectives of a quality MSP is to achieve a balanced and collaborative relationship with the client’s IT organization in order to allow that organization to focus its energy on core business objectives and outcomes. In other words, the MSP should do what it does best to allow its client to do the same.
This objective has never been more valuable than it is today. Multi-system environments and siloed infrastructures can slow innovation and hinder go-to-market strategies, which can negatively impact growth initiatives of the business. How a business manages IT investments is a key factor of future growth.
The number and variety of solutions, products, and platforms employed by organizations today is broader in scope and is much more complex. Moreover, the pace of change and the fundamental shift in consumption models, service delivery chains, and the associated risk to the business to secure and operate the evolving landscape is exceedingly difficult to manage with in-house resources alone. The IT skills gap is widening, and IT organizations must face real challenges with hiring and retaining talent.
At the same time, the networks and services IT organizations provide and manage are becoming borderless. Most organizations have a cloud migration strategy in place and many have had to accelerate these initiatives in the wake of a global pandemic. The responsibilities of the IT organization are expanding.
Realizing Greater Value from a Managed Service Provider
Your organization can benefit greatly when selecting the right managed service provider. With a collaborative partnership in place, you can establish an operational framework that leverages the technical expertise of your MSP partner and allows you to focus more on initiatives that are core to your business success.
Incorporating managed services into your IT organization’s portfolio is no longer about basic up/down monitoring and system management. To realize meaningful value from your MSP investment, that investment must be able to deliver:
- Increased efficiency and operational agility – The reality is that our IT organizations need to be able to constantly adapt to changing business and technical requirements while navigating a churning sea of constant disruption. You need your MSP to provide more than incident response and post-incident reporting. Your MSP needs to be able to proactively help your IT organization anticipate problems, trends, and changes in the underlying factors that drive your operational needs.
- Convenient and immediate access to knowledge and skills – The right MSP is not looking to displace your current technical resources. Instead, they are motivated to extend and enhance the capabilities of your existing resources, plugging skills gaps and enabling the organization to keep pace with a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
- Reduced IT security risk and regulatory compliance – Your MSP should be able to help your IT organization establish a more proactive cyber security posture by being able to define standards and establish governance for architecture, design, software, and system configurations. Further, your MSP should have the capability, technologies, and processes to manage, monitor, and maintain compliance to established standards.
- Increased efficacy of new technology adoption – The pace of innovation and technology advancement is accelerating. New “tech” is almost always interesting, but it doesn’t always deliver on its promise for a better tomorrow. The IT organization needs to be able to evaluate emerging technologies and trends to determine if and how they benefit the business. Moreover, you must act quickly and purposefully to realize the full benefit of these changes. Partnering with an MSP that has proven depth and breadth of experience in adopting new technologies AND gives your organization direct and immediate access to this experience will increase business agility and maximize the benefits of new technology adoption.
- Strategic guidance to drive business goals and prepare for the future – A well formulated and executed enterprise IT strategy is a critical element in the success of any organization. Your managed service provider should be working with your team to support the development of a technology strategy that delivers business results. The MSP should also have regular reviews with your team, assessing the progress of initiatives and providing forward-looking strategic recommendations.
Investing in a managed service provider is going to add an operational expense to your business, though all of these services can be rolled into a fixed-fee model for predictability. With the right partner, your organization stands to benefit overall from reduced expense due to increased efficiency, improved operational agility, mitigation of risk, improved business continuity, improved services and user experience, and a technology strategy that helps drive business results.