If your business needs IT services but can’t afford to hire full-time IT staff, then co-managed IT is exactly what you need. The co-managed IT model combines the benefits of outsourcing your IT management with the control of in-house IT administration. This gives you more time to focus on business strategy while also having reliable IT support when something goes wrong.
Let’s look at what co-managed IT is and how it works before deciding whether it’s the right option for your company.
What is co-managed IT?
The term “co-managed IT services” refers to an IT support model in which an organization and an IT service provider, such as a managed service provider (MSP), share responsibility for managing the organization’s IT infrastructure. While this arrangement can take many different forms, it typically involves the company outsourcing some or most of its IT management functions to an IT service provider. The service provider is responsible for ensuring that the customer’s systems or outsourced IT functions run smoothly and meet the company’s needs. Sometimes, IT service providers provide expert guidance and support while the customer controls the IT environment internally.
How does co-managed IT work?
Co-managed arrangements have many benefits, including cost savings, improved efficiency and increased flexibility. It is estimated that successfully deploying managed services will help reduce IT cost by 25% to 45% and increase operational efficiency by 45% to 65%.
However, it’s important to note that co-managed IT is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The right approach for one company may not be right for another. Each business needs to carefully consider its own needs and resources before deciding whether a co-managed IT model is right for them. Co-managed IT services can also help businesses transition to a new IT system or platform by providing support during the implementation process.
How to choose the right co-managed service provider?
You should analyze your IT department to identify gaps before considering outsourcing. Identify your department’s strengths and limitations and be realistic about what you can accomplish by hiring new staff or outsourcing. If you haven’t been able to hire a new sysadmin in more than SIX months, consider outsourcing. About 42% of organizations with at least three-quarters of their IT currently managed by third parties aim to leverage the advantage to capitalize on market opportunities or scale quickly.
There are a few key factors to consider when choosing a co-managed IT service provider:
- Services offered: Ensure that the company you consider offers the required services. They should have a strong track record managing IT for other businesses in your industry or those with similar business models as yours.
- Experience: It’s important to choose a company with experience in managing IT departments. They should have a good understanding of how to streamline processes and manage day-to-day operations effectively.
- Scalability: Your IT needs will change as your business grows. Choosing a company that can scale up or down as necessary is important, so you do not end up paying for services you do not need.
- Pricing: Of course, price is always a factor to consider. It is a good idea to get quotes from several companies before deciding so that you can compare pricing structures and find the best value for your money.
- References: Ask for references from past clients and check them out online.
Reasons to consider co-managed IT
As your needs or resources change, so should your co-management strategy. Since every company’s IT needs differ, co-managed IT looks different for every organization. There are several situations in which co-managed IT is a perfect fit:
- Your staff is overworked: An overworked IT department could be due to the IT team being too small or the business growing too quickly. If your internal IT team cannot meet your needs for a certain period, your co-managed IT service provider can fill the gap. If you have seasonal or cyclical spikes in demand for IT services, co-managed IT services can help your business be more flexible and scalable.
- You’re taking on a big new project: You may feel confident in your ability to take on a big new project. However, if you don’t have the internal IT resources to support you through the lifecycle, the workload can get daunting. Co-managed IT service providers can give you the extra support you need to get the job done right.
- There’s a knowledge gap: If there are specific areas where your internal IT team lacks knowledge or expertise, it may be worth bringing in a co-managed IT service provider. This way, you can fill the gaps in your team’s skillset and ensure that your projects are delivered successfully.
- Robust security: Security is challenging. There were a total of 236.1 million ransomware attacks worldwide in the first half of 2022 alone. If you don’t have an in-house expert, it can be a good idea to seek outside support. Co-managed IT providers often have robust security protocols in place,Â giving you priceless peace of mind knowing that your data is safe and secure.
Benefits of co-managed IT
Co-managed IT services offer many benefits. For starters, it can help reduce your business’s overall cost of IT management. When two teams work together, they can share the burden of keeping your IT infrastructure up and running smoothly. Here are some common benefits of co-managed services:
- IT management gets easier: By providing your in-house IT staff with a partner that can monitor and manage your systems, co-managed IT can help relieve some of the pressure on them. It will free your IT staff to focus on mission-critical projects or tasks.
- Stay on top of IT trends: Managing your IT infrastructure can be a full-time job, and it can be challenging to keep up with all the latest trends. Co-managed IT providers stay on top of the latest technology trends. This means that your business can benefit from their expertise and knowledge.
- Round-the-clock support: Co-managed IT service providers usually provide 247/365 support. This round-the-clock support can, in and of itself, be a value add for your business, leading to more system uptime, better cybersecurity and instant resolution of critical tickets.
- Save on hiring costs: Hiring an in-house IT team can be expensive — not to mention the cost of training and keeping them up to date with the latest technology. With co-managed IT, you get all the benefits of having an expert team without the high cost.
- Build employee morale: Employee productivity and morale rises when they don’t have to deal with technology issues. Their enthusiasm will also increase when they have access to the latest technology and know that their company is investing in them. This will have a positive impact on productivity and retention levels.
- Get increased security: Finally, increased security is another benefit of co-managed IT since your provider will help implement and maintain robust security measures.
Common pitfalls of co-managed IT
When it comes to co-managed IT, there are a few disadvantages to keep in mind.
Ensure you pick the right partner: Teaming up with the wrong partner could adversely affect your business. Not every service provider will be a good fit for your business, so do your research and make sure you’re collaborating with someone who shares your values and has the experience and expertise you need.
Upfront cost: Another potential downside is when the fee charged by the service provider outweighs the gains you hope to rake in. Make sure you’re aware of all the costs involved before you sign any contracts or you could be in for an unpleasant surprise down the road.
Compatibility issues: Co-managed IT can sometimes lead to compatibility issues. If your co-managed service provider uses a different platform than what you’re used to, it can take some time to get everyone on the same page (literally). This can lead to frustration and wasted time, so be prepared for a bit of a learning curve if you go down this route.
Why is co-managed IT on the rise?
The demand for co-managed IT services is rising as businesses realize the benefits of partnering with an IT service provider like an MSP to supplement their internal IT team. Here are four key reasons why demand is increasing:
- Teams are overloaded: Business operations are getting increasingly complex, spreading IT teams thin. By partnering with an MSP, businesses can offload some day-to-day management tasks and free up their team to focus on strategic initiatives.
- Hiring is challenging: The war for talent is real, and finding and retaining qualified IT staff is only getting harder. An MSP can help fill gaps in your team’s skillset and provide additional resources as needed.
- MSPs are getting better at partnering with internal IT shops: In the past, there was often tension between MSPs and internal IT teams. However, MSPs have become more adept at working collaboratively with internal teams and respecting their expertise. As a result, there is more trust and cooperation between MSPs and internal IT departments.
- Cybercrime is increasing: As the threat landscape evolves, businesses need to be proactive about cybersecurity. An MSP can help you implement best practices and secure your systems against the latest threats.
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