IT managed services can increase up-time, reduce costs, and give your business access to advanced technology solutions. These services can also connect you with greater expertise than you may be able to nurture in house. In most cases, IT services providers offer monthly managed services plans instead of the traditional break-fix model.
That’s why the IT managed services trend is ramping up. According to Clutch, 69% of small and medium businesses hire an IT services provider, and 39% of those with a provider plan to increase their spending.
For an established enterprise, an outsourced IT team can either supplement or replace an internal IT department. In either case, making the shift from an IT staff to managed services can be challenging.
To simplify the process, try these six steps:
- Before you select a managed service provider, decide what activities you will keep in-house and which ones you will outsource. In general you want to consider two factors: which activities have the greatest strategic impact, and where your internal team’s strengths lie. You may choose to outsource strategic initiatives while keeping maintenance in house, or you might determine that an outside firm could best handle your day-to-day needs.
- Consider your team’s morale. Will your staff members be excited about much-needed help and new learning opportunities? Or will they become fearful for the future of their own positions? Bringing on an external team member can also alter the dynamics of a tight-knit group. Think about how to handle the situation in ways that benefit your whole company and your IT department.
- Select the right managed service provider. Look for an IT firm that has several years of experience, helps you cut costs from the beginning, possesses hard-to-find expertise, and delivers what it promises. Most importantly, a managed service provider needs to understand your business, what you expect, and how you want it delivered.
- When interviewing potential managed service IT firms, ask about their onboarding process. It should include a training day, a 30-day check in, and a feedback process at minimum. Better still, the new provider may bring in their whole team for a meet-and-greet. Whatever their process, it needs to exist and be something you feel good about.
- While you could use a third-party to manage the transition, most enterprise-level businesses don’t have the budget for that. Instead, create a written plan that all stakeholders can review before the transition period begins.
- Decide how you will evaluate success. Introduce your in-house team and your outsourced service provider to the goal, objectives, activities, and timeline you expect them to meet. Show them the evaluation tools you plan to use and announce how and when you’ll monitor their progress. Most people love to surpass expectations, but no one likes surprises in how they’ll be evaluated. A well-communicated plan with clear benchmarks can go a long way toward creating a thriving work environment.
Making the shift from an IT staff to managed services can determine your technology team’s success. With a little planning and some strong people management skills, you can have a seamless, powerful IT department working for you around the clock.