As an increasing number of organisations consider outsourcing all or part of their IT to improve efficiency or lower costs, managed services become an attractive option.
However, there are several points businesses should understand about managed services before they take the plunge. Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting, says many businesses perceive that adopting managed services is an ‘all or nothing’ approach. “This is simply not true, although it is a common misconception. You don’t have to outsource the whole IT function in order to achieve the cost savings that attract so many businesses to managed services.”
Misconception a problem
He says this misconception is putting companies off adopting managed services, as they fear they will have to relinquish too much control over their IT. Naidoo says that many organisations are cautious, and test the waters by outsourcing individual functions to specific suppliers. “Key to success here, is the choice of vendor,” Naidoo says. “The market is flooded with suppliers, but it is crucial to choose a supplier that is in line with the individual business requirements, and doesn’t dictate the provisions of service with a ‘mud against the wall’ or ‘one size fits all’ offering.”
He adds that choosing the right provider can in fact, give a business more control over its IT, as opposed to less.
“Although there is the accepted wisdom that keeping things in-house equals more control, this is not necessarily the case. In-house services are often limited in terms of resources and budget - spreading themselves too thin to adequately meet target service levels, or deliver top-notch customer service demanded by today’s customers.”
Partial outsourcing the answer
Partial outsourcing can be the answer to all these problems, as a company has only to set up the required service level agreements (SLAs) and how to meet them becomes the supplier’s problem. Again, Naidoo says it is important to choose a supplier that you can build a long-term relationship with, and who can be viewed as an extension of your own IT function. “Partial outsourcing is also safe, as the company maintains both control and ownership of their systems and their sensitive information, including how their data is managed and stored. This is particularly important in light of the tightening regulatory controls around data protection.”
Outsourcing offers many benefits over and above increased service levels, he says. “Efficiencies are boosted, and costs lowered - a major driver for all businesses in these highly competitive times. It also opens the door to new possibilities, and the adoption of new models and technologies, which are often too costly to have in-house. It gives
businesses access to a pool of services, technologies and skills that would be unaffordable in-house. Companies can add additional skills during busy periods, or peak times, without breaking the bank.”