What Are Co-Managed IT Services?
Due to the rise in remote working and businesses needing to rapidly transition to remote or hybrid working, co-managed IT services have seen considerable growth in the last two years – with 41% of surveyed professionals are now seeing IT co-management “frequently” or “almost always”.
Co-managed IT is a partnership between a managed service provider and the organisation using the IT service. It allows businesses to gain the benefits of outsourced IT without needing to sacrifice control, and still be able to put to use in-house IT resources where they are best fit.
As IT requirements grow more complex and more central to the functionality of all types of businesses, the combined approach of co-managed IT is an ideal option worth considering. Although you may have existing IT capabilities, it can become overwhelming for a single team to be responsible for:
- Managing all system requirements
- Cloud computing
- Cyber security
- Keeping on top of system updates and patching
- Software licensing
- Hardware and software procurement and replacements
- Fixing any issues that occur
- Support end-users and VIPs
- Managing all system requirements
- Onboarding new starters and offboarding leavers
- Cover any sickness or holiday within your existing team
- And much more…
Co-managed IT services make it possible for your team to focus on core areas of expertise, bring in help where needed, and retain strategic direction over your IT function. Here, we’re going to look at the use cases for IT co-management, help you identify the right strategy, and explain how to look for the right partner. Let’s get started.
How can a co-managed IT service help you?
Your ability to define how involved that provider is in your internal IT processes means that the number of options here are nearly limitless. Fundamentally, co-managed IT services allow your in-house team to focus on their core areas of expertise, while still delivering the full spectrum of outcomes that your business needs.
Fully outsourcing your IT services has a number of benefits, which can help your business. These can include:
- Fast implementation of a dedicated team: You have the ability to engage with a team with expert training, experience and relevant knowledge to meet the needs of your IT. This can reduce your own company’s time and expense in recruiting your own employees and the risk of hiring ‘wrong fit’ employees.
- Lower overheads: By outsourcing and not hiring in-house additional IT support, you are reducing costs long term – mitigating the costs of hiring a specialist team and related costs to them (bonuses, pensions, hardware, etc.) This can be valuable to small businesses and startups looking for quick and cost-effective IT help.
However, adopting a co-managed model for your tech needs provides the above benefits, plus more. These can include:
- Widening your business IT knowledge: Welcoming a co-managed IT partner into your existingIT team structure will allow you access to a wider pool of IT knowledge and experience. This will ensure that you never miss new developments and technology in IT. By partnering with experts that have exposure to the latest developments in their fields, you’ll be keeping in line with technical best practice and exposing your in-house team to new technologies.
- Less risk: Having access to another, outsourced, team of IT experts de-risks your business. You’ll create continuity and stability – both in terms of having a resource pool to cover holidays and sickness but also an additional safe pair of hands who can support on IT security tasks and so reduce potential cybersecurity threats and problems.
- Long-term planning and guidance: A co-managed IT partner wants to be just that – a partner. They want your business to grow and succeed just as much as you do. With your goals shared, they will be with you, identifying how they can best help you; commercially, operationally and strategically.
Which businesses suit co-managed IT services best?
Almost all businesses benefit from having some of their IT functions outsourced to specialist teams. Here are a few of the more common scenarios that trigger a business starting to consider a co-managed operating model:
Scenario 1: Your current IT team is too small for your business needs, and they are becoming overworked
When your business is experiencing rapid growth, it’s often hard for all functions to grow at the same rate, and for processes and systems to keep up. Your IT team is central to implementing new technology or capabilities, and is also responsible for onboarding new employees and setting up new accounts and software.
They are also responsible for maintaining and expanding an entire IT infrastructure, and as your business expands, your IT capabilities will have to do the same – this is especially true if you’re considering trading internationally where there may be new cybersecurity or data protection rules to follow.
Without preparation and growth within the IT team, that area of your business could be at risk of falling behind or becoming overwhelmed – resulting in critical projects stalling, delays implementing vital growth plans and the potential for lost revenue and profit.
Scenario 2: You have specific IT projects that need additional support
Certain IT projects will be too complex or time-consuming for your team to currently take on without disruptions to the day-to-day running of your business.
Projects that benefit from being managed by an expert team include:
- Cloud migrations
- Web hosting and management
- Computer and server backup support
- Identity management
- Mass hardware and software procurement
- Cybersecurity inc training, pen testing and phishing simulations
- Disaster recovery planning
You may only need to bring in external tech expertise for a single project. However, it’s important to think about the long-term impact of that change – for example, how will it be supported and maintained post implementation? Your co-managed IT partner can continue to support and maintain the set-up after the initial improvement project has been delivered.
To get the most out of your relationship with a co-managed IT service provider, consider how they can continually aid your company’s growth and development. Consider a co-managed relationship as a long-term solution to aid your company’s growth and development.
Scenario 3: You have a knowledge gap within your IT team
A managed service provider will have teams with a broad cross-section of skills. You’ll find that some tech providers are specialists in certain areas such as, cyber and IT security, cloud services or Mac specialists, projects or infrastructure.
In some cases, what you need in your business is someone to handle high-skill capabilities for you – like advanced network engineering or cyber security management. Other companies may need the complete opposite; a partner who can provide routinehelp desk support or take control of some of the more repetitive tasks such as patch management, whilst your in-house IT tackles more complex projects and activities.
Essentially, working to establish a successful co-managed relationship with the right provider can bring huge benefits whilst allowing you to retain control of your existing team and infrastructure.
Any of these scenarios sound familiar?
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How to pick the right co-managed IT service partner
Before opting to work with a co-managed IT service provider, there are some things to consider:
Find a partner with the right specialities
Not all IT partners cover the same specialist areas – for example, some services may only offer cyber security expertise, or specialise in Google Cloud Migration. Consider your reasons for seeking co-managed IT support, and align those with the capabilities of your provider.
Hardware and software compatibility
Alongside finding the right partner, the software and hardware you are using is another area to consider.
You should ensure that the tools you have and use align with the partner you’re onboarding. For example, if your company uses a lot of Macs predominantly, you would need to work with a partner who is a Mac specialist; otherwise, their level of knowledge and expertise may not align with your needs.
Finding the right cultural fit
You need to make sure that your partner aligns with your own company culture. For example, if you are a company that prefers a conversational, agile and informal approach to your partnerships, you’d probably want your IT partner to be like minded in this approach.
The same can be said if you have VIPs who require specific care and attention with their IT – you want to ensure your partner can provide this in the manner expected. Managing expectations early on is hugely beneficial to a long-lasting relationship. Also, you wouldn’t employ someone you don’t like or wouldn’t work well with, so why partner with one?
With the right co-managed IT partner, any concerns will be addressed at the initial “chemistry” meetings. And a good managed services provider will also want to ensure that they are the right fit for your business – it’s in everybody’s interest that they can form a long-lasting, positive relationship with your business.
We specialise in long-term IT partnerships at Dr Logic
Dr Logic has provided managed and co-managed technology services, Mac deployment specialism and IT consultancy since 2003. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that when it comes to IT Service Management and outsourcing needs, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work.
We work with our partners to tailor IT solutions by getting to know the business and discussing how best to meet their needs. We offer a fully outsourced IT services function, the option to outsource specific services to us or a dedicated Dr Logic IT team based within the business premises but fully employed and managed by us. Our goal is to nurture a long-term IT partnership with you – simply put, we help businesses grow.
If you are interested in working with a top-class co-managed IT team and want to know more about us and what we can do together, get in contact. Let’s talk today.
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