As a rapidly-transforming industry, the IT sector has seen many new models of organizational structure and workforce over the years. Rather than the traditional model of a full-time, in-house IT company, in recent years many organizations have chosen to make use of managed and co-managed IT services.
Co-managed services offer a range of benefits for businesses of all sizes. However, if your business has not worked under this model before, it can be difficult to know how to implement it. In this guide, we will explain what is involved with co-managed IT, the services it covers, and how your business can use its benefits to grow and flourish.
What are co-managed services?
A co-managed service combines the best of both worlds: an in-house IT team and the benefits of working with an expert IT partner. Many businesses choose to limit their internal IT operations to a small team that deals with strategic projects. At the same time, they outsource diverse and specialized IT support to an external provider. In this way, co-managed services are an advantageous blend of in-house management and external IT support.
When would you need co-managed services?
There is a range of situations when you may need the support or expertise of a co-managed service provider.
Three of the most common use cases are:
SMEs: Most SMEs would greatly benefit from working with a co-managed service provider to meet their IT needs. Given the small scale of their business, maintaining a large in-house IT team is not financially viable for the majority of SMEs. At the same time, situations arise when they need to call on additional expertise. In such cases, co-managed services can be extremely useful as they allow SMEs to access personnel with the skillset, expertise, and specialization that they require.
Growing businesses: Another instance when organizations would particularly benefit from co-managed services is when their business is experiencing accelerated growth. The technology, personnel, or expertise at hand may fall short of the increasing demands that the business is experiencing as it grows. In such a case, companies can immediately seek help from a co-managed service provider to ease the added pressure and support continued growth.
Businesses with a Lack of Personnel or Resources: An organization may typically survive with a small in-house IT team that is sufficient to meet its day-to-day needs. However, from time to time the company may require specialized technical support or expertise that cannot be provided by their in-house staff. This is usually because their IT team is too small and/or has a different skill set. Therefore, a co-managed service provider can offer much-needed additional resources and expertise.
What services do co-managed services provide?
Co-managed service providers offer a wide range of options, from routine IT support and help desk to high-level strategy and risk management. Co-managed services can include other services such as updating and patching software and program systems, preventive or breakdown maintenance tasks, and procurement responsibilities. At the same time, the external provider operates under the strategy and direction given by their client. Ultimately, a business can choose which services they require, which could include managing servers, networking, voice and telecommunications, and network cabling.
Co-managed services vs. managed IT services
Under managed IT services, the responsibility of managing a significant part of the operations is handed over to the external service provider. However, in the co-managed model, the main part of management and strategy is the responsibility of the organization’s internal IT team while the IT support is received from the provider. Both models have their pros and cons, so refer to your business model and operations when deciding on the best option.
The benefits of co-managed services
Businesses can enjoy a range of benefits when using co-managed services. Listed here are a few of the major benefits businesses can expect from co-managed services.
A co-managed services provider will have an extensive network, including a large number of experts and specialists. Therefore, by working with a partner like this, you’ll have access to all the best and latest solutions. Your in-house resources may not be able to provide this.
Diverse subject knowledge
With your co-managed services provider’s in-depth knowledge, expertise, and networks, you will have comprehensive support across all aspects and areas of IT. A co-managed service provider can always source personnel with the required skills for any project, and advise you on all subjects relating to IT. For example, a co-managed service provider will bring their cybersecurity expertise to the table, to help you manage the increasing risks of cyberattacks.
Security breaches have increased by 11% since 2018, so this expertise can be crucial.
Co-managed service providers offer services in various styles and configurations, from short-term to long-term. Not only does this mean you’ll only pay for the services you need, but also that your provider can easily adapt their offering as your requirements change.
Co-managed IT can provide comprehensive solutions such as 24/7 help desk support, or 24-hour server monitoring, This, in turn, helps you to reduce the risk of costly server downtime, which costs more than $300,000 per hour in most instances.
Whether due to business growth or any other reason, your organization sometimes needs additional staff, expertise, technology, or resources. With co-managed services, you don’t need to hire full-time staff or invest large amounts on resources and technology. Instead, you can simply scale up or scale down the support given by your co-managed service provider according to your needs.
When you rely on a co-managed service provider, you only need to spend a fraction of what you spend on recruiting full-time staff to have personnel with specialized skills and expertise. Co-managed IT allows you to greatly reduce staffing, training, and operational costs while giving you access to comprehensive IT services and expertise.
If you’d like to learn more about how co-managed IT services could benefit your business, get in touch!