Khalid Parekh is the Founder & CEO of AMSYS. He launched FAIR bank in 2021 to provide cutting-edge financial services to all Americans.
This article is a hard truth about your firm’s ability to use effective technology and staffing to stay perpetually relevant. Good management and a strong track record are often no longer enough. Companies need to be further along in their digital journey because growth is underpinned by technology. Regardless of sector, your company must take the time to work through a digital strategy, and these conversations require engaging people in all relevant departments in order to put together a winning framework. This not only helps streamline teams into agile, cross-functional departments, but it also helps monitor the results.
As we are seeing more every day, the pandemic has resulted in a shift in the way that management must staff their businesses—and this is a global phenomenon. As Dominic Ashley-Timms, CEO of Notion, was quoted just last month in London Daily News, “One consequence of this has led to the growth of hybrid teams.”
In some ways, information technology has been ahead of the curve, as Ana Fernández del Castillo writes in Corporate Lab. After all, these days the IT teams at most companies consist of a hybrid of full-time employees, consultants and contractors. There are many benefits to having this sort of mix, especially when it comes to making sure that your company has the right combination of human capital at work that is qualified, flexible and affordable. It can also boost your capabilities. In many ways, employing effective technology is now at the forefront of many businesses’ competitive advantage. For that reason alone, this is a topic that needs your attention.
I’m the founder and CEO of a $400 million information technology (IT) company that I founded 20 years ago in Houston, Texas. With the rapid rise of cybercrimes and the increasingly complicated nature of technology in general, I know companies need to be constantly aware of new threats to their data and their ongoing ability to function securely and effectively.
After all, the number of cybercrimes goes up all the time. Estimates are that they affect the security of more than 80% of businesses around the globe. And the complexity is a serious matter as well: cloud computing, software licenses, system requirements, industry regulations, VOIP, application updates, hardware replacements. It is all-consuming, increasingly complex—and more expensive. Establishing and maintaining a full internal IT staff involves full-time salaries, benefits, office space, equipment, ongoing training, etc.
Given all this, it has become clear to me that co-managed information technology is one way to ensure companies have qualified, flexible and affordable teams available to look out for their interests at all times. As Forbes Advisor and writer Shweta has pointed out, working with an outside managed services provider (MSP) is therefore an increasingly feasible option for many companies, which involves the growing trend of combining internal and external IT resources.
It’s important to review some of the multiple challenges that companies face when they are trying to make sure their information technology systems are functioning effectively and efficiently. This will help you decide if you’re a good candidate for co-managed information technology services. Do the below conundrums ring a bell?
- Teams becoming budget constrained to the extent that they cannot hire new team members.
- Senior management feels uncertain about the protection against cutting-edge cyberattacks.
- IT staff finds itself stuck in a never-ending reactive cycle of support tasks that keep them from being proactive and getting “ahead of the curve.”
- Knowing your ability to improve and optimize your business technologies is lacking, but unsure of how to approach improvement.
- Your staff is getting increasingly frustrated, complaining about their computer issues daily, with no solutions on the horizon.
- You have projects in the pipeline that your staff is never able to accomplish—or even start.
If at the very least one or more of the above bullets apply to you and your company, then you should at the very least consider working with an MSP on co-managing your information technology.
Let me explain how it works.
Efficient IT management is not a one-person or even a two-person job. Therefore, IT staff and MSP staff can work together to manage everyday tasks as well as troubleshoot bigger issues to do with your overall IT structure and security. In this way, management and companywide staff can focus on running and growing the business as opposed to being concerned about the threat of data breaches, the benefits of IT patches and an unlimited series of other threats.
For example, a common occurrence is that your internal IT staff may be able to tackle a serious malware program attack but then not have the capabilities or expertise to recover the missing files without compromising quality. That’s when a co-managed partner can jump in and assist. They are also fully capable of assisting with cloud migration, patch cadence, remote monitoring, network administration and other critical IT projects.
A typical allocation model often sees internal IT resources focusing on staff support, database management and application security, while the MSP is dedicated to website development and management, data backup and recovery, email security, and application testing.
There are often questions when it comes to MSPs and how they fit into the framework of a company. These are a few of the more common questions, with answers based on my experience.
1. Are costs tiered based on the number of tasks outsourced to MSPs?
Yes, but in many cases, the costs are based on the outcomes desired. For example, many clients want an all-inclusive strategy including cybersecurity and want the price presented as a “per supported user” budget amount so that they can easily predict escalating costs from growth. Some clients prefer strictly advanced troubleshooting or server monitoring so that they can better utilize their in-house personnel. In such a case “custom” pricing packages can align with the client’s goals and/or budget.
2. Is there a situation where MSPs wouldn’t make the most financial sense?
From a financial standpoint, probably not. Most seasoned MSPs support a cross-section of client types which has allowed them to develop more efficient processes or staffing models over time. It’s much more difficult to experiment with technical support concepts within a single organization and achieve a probable outcome.
3. Should MSPs be considered as a staffing cost when planning out the IT department budget?
No. In order to gain the full benefit from your MSP, you should consider them as an extension of your IT department and core business. An established MSP will offer vCIO and vCISO guidance and budgeting as part of their services. Their expertise can be leveraged in examining the holistic budget and technology stack.
In conclusion, co-managing your IT services can help maximize your productivity by boosting their capabilities as required, as Rory Cooksey states in a recent piece. This collaboration can help companies with limited IT staff as well as companies with IT staff ready to focus on core projects while the MSP provider focuses on end users.