Strategic IT Staff Augmentation
Strategic IT staff augmentation can allow businesses to make the most of in-house talent and achieve desired outcomes while optimizing operations. Most business owners and executives understand that strategic use of assets is a key to business success. Many however, don’t think of their IT department as a strategic asset, and as such don’t organize it in a way that supports success.
IT departments frequently get bogged down by the daily “fires” they’re called to put out, and don’t have sufficient resources to allocate time to innovation and development. This is a critical oversight because these functions are frequently those that create the largest business impact.
The Pareto principle (80/20 rule) states that 80 percent of business outcomes come from 20 percent of efforts. In IT the largest outcomes do not come from daily activities, but rather from those times where innovation is allowed to happen. Business owners can leverage managed services to strategically augment their IT staff, allowing them to unburden daily tasks and focus on ROI producing activities.
Managed service providers can assist with daily activities such as helpdesk support, patches, backups, security, software updates, IT automation and more. MSPs can partner with your firm acting as an extension of your business and enabling the best use of resources across the board. There are many different ways that businesses are leveraging partnerships with MSPs.
IT is a broad field, and most IT departments don’t have a resident expert on every possible subject. Strategically outsourcing projects to fill in existing gaps in your teams’ knowledge base can produce successful projects.
IT toolset and automation are another area where MSPs can be a great business partner. Often in-house IT departments don’t have the budget or the time to research and implement the best IT toolset on the market. IT toolsets offer a more efficient way to deliver service as well as IT automation functionality, and critical performance monitoring. MSPs work with many businesses, and to be able to do so efficiently, often invest in the best toolset available. The best managed services providers know how to implement and manage this toolset on behalf of their clients. This allows them to enjoy many of the advantages with minimal additional overhead in either labor or cost.
A strategic partnership with a quality managed service provider can also save businesses money. Just because your IT team can get the job done doesn’t mean they should. If they’re not experts on a specific project, you may be better off leaving it to an expert. Otherwise they can sink hours and hours into figuring out complex new technologies, or worse, have a failed project that results in costly downtime. In addition, business owners should consider the opportunity cost of letting IT staff get bogged down when they could be engaged in more strategic activities.
Frequently when business owners hear the phrase “managed services” they think that MSPs only work for companies that want to outsource their entire IT department. While it’s not uncommon for MSPs to offer complete services, others focus on becoming business partners. They strive to compliment in-house work instead of replacing it.
IT is a constantly changing landscape. Business owners and technology executives need to look at IT as a strategic asset for their organizations. This change in thinking will allow them to better manage IT to produce the desired business results. In many cases MSPs hold the answer to strategically augment their IT staff.
MSPs are not a one size fits all solution. Business leaders should carefully evaluate what processes and projects can be successfully outsourced and which can’t. They should do analysis on cost versus benefits to ensure that this strategy will produce the desired results. Business owners should also seek flexible agreements with MSPs that allow them to adjust services as needed to fit the business need and maximize their return on investment.