Organizations can manage their digital infrastructures in either two ways. The first is to handle everything in-house with an internal IT department. The second is delegating all IT-related tasks and responsibilities to a third-party contractor. The latter is the fully managed IT approach and already a rapidly growing business solution. And although it’s the most cost-efficient, results-oriented, and convenient way to support corporate IT, it doesn’t always work for every organization.
Nowadays, most organizations prefer to combine these two approaches to get the best of both worlds. Such a scenario is known as co-managed IT, where a third-party contractor takes care of typical, everyday IT support tasks. At the same time, an internal team handles high-ticket duties (or the other way around). Co-managed IT augments your technical workforce, relieving some of the IT burdens and challenges so your staff can focus on more important jobs.
Working with a co-managed provider is arguably more complicated than taking the fully-managed path. But it’s easy when you know how to structure a co-managed relationship. Here is a short step-by-step guide to signing the right co-managed IT partner.
Assess your IT needs
An IT audit should result in a detailed report about the state of your IT infrastructure. By analyzing this report, you can quickly identify unmet IT needs and gaps. For instance, you can measure your internal IT department’s support scope, revealing areas where a co-managed partner might come in handy. Additionally, an objective assessment of your IT can pinpoint some of the obstacles hindering your IT performance, costs, security, and efficiency goals. And again, these might be problems that outsourcing can help solve.
Investigate and interview providers
Having figured out precisely what’s missing in your IT support structure, you can now start vetting co-managed providers that can fill in the gaps. Interview potential hires, look up online reviews and forums, and seek out credible referrals to find the ideal co-managed IT provider for your business. Consider the following factors in your vetting criteria:
- Coverage and scope of services
- Qualifications, certifications, and work experience in your niche
- Availability and preferred communication methods
- Work processes and professional conduct
- Cybersecurity awareness and caution
- Commitment to meeting client’s expectations and achieving set goals
- Value for money
Review and sign the SLA
A service level agreement (SLA) is a binding contract between the managed provider and the client. It basically describes the terms of the partnership, from the MSP’s role, the client’s responsibilities, and payment arrangements to the methods of service delivery. Ensure you read and review the SLA thoroughly to understand what to expect from your co-managed partner clearly, and only sign it if you’re comfortable with its content. But you can always negotiate some of the terms if the service provider is open to a bit of flexibility.
One of the main drivers for seeking out co-managed services is the overwhelming digitization of the business environment. This was exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic when co-managed IT demands for many organizations skyrocketed following new challenges such as remote work, a shrinking IT talent pool, and a widening cyber threat surface. If your business faces the same kind of problems, it’s about time you found a lasting solution.
Working with your team not against
The goal of a co-managed service provider is to work side by side with you and not replace your team. As modern businesses become more and more reliant on their technology, internal IT staff are being stretched thinner and thinner. Co-managed services can help your team with mundane tasks such as updating and patching software and program systems, preventive or breakdown maintenance tasks, and procurement responsibilities. On the other hand, co-managed service providers have expertise in helping your team with bigger and more complex projects.
KME Systems is ready to walk hand in hand with your internal IT team to navigate all the worrying technical challenges of the dynamic business landscape. Reinforce your IT support structure with our three-decade worth of expertise and experience in the digital space. Contact us to learn more.