Rethinking Your Internal IT Staffing

ITReading this blog post could potentially save your company thousands of dollars a year.  Ok now that I have your attention, I’d like to discuss the ways in which your company manages its IT services.  Do you have an onsite IT guy that handles all of your network services and troubleshoots any personal computing issues, or do you have an IT department within your organization that handles all of your technology related planning, implementation, and support?

Believe or not, like many other areas in business that have become more streamlined and efficient, IT management has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 10-15 years.  Providing these services onsite may not be the most efficient offering for your business, and this may be costing your company thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.  It is becoming more normal for organizations to turn to managed services providers (MSP’s) to handle their IT needs rather than employing their own IT staff.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am currently employed by an MSP, but I am contracted full-time to provide SharePoint support for a Fortune 500 company.  It is my goal in this blog post to provide an objective rationale for why or why not an organization would decide to turn to managed services offerings or their own on-site IT staff.

The case for managed services:

1)     Collective knowledge is often greater than that of an individual.

With an MSP, rather than having one or two IT staff, you can leverage the expertise of an entire company of IT professionals.

2)     Different support experience provides different views.

Onsite IT staff can oftentimes become insulated from issues outside of those perceived within the organization.  An MSP will have outside experience, and they will be able to offer different vantage points on how to address recurring problems.

3)     Strategic planning will incorporate more past experience.

An MSP will be able to assist with strategic planning needs based on what they have seen in the industry.  Their perspective will be broader than internal staff, but a good MSP will still work with the insight and vision of your organization to meet strategic goals.

4)     It can save your company money.

Employing one or two IT staff depending on the roles and experience can be incredibly costly for a business.  Depending on your company’s requirements hiring an MSP can result in increased support coverage and decreased costs.

The case for onsite IT staff

1)     Your business is highly dependent on legacy software.
If you have onsite IT staff currently supporting legacy applications, it is likely that MSP’s would not have prior knowledge of how to support it.  It could be costly to find providers that support said application.

2)     Your organization is too large to receive any cost saving benefits.

If you run an enterprise level organization (1000+ end-users), it could still be beneficial to hire an MSP, but you could see diminishing returns versus maintaining an on-site IT staff.

3)     IT has a consistent presence in the office.

With onsite IT staff, the majority of troubleshooting calls will be done by the technician walking to the user’s desk to work on their computer.  MSP’s will send out techs when necessary, but the majority of work that can be, will be done remotely.

4)     Employees can be resistant to change.

If you have had an IT guy in the office for several years, some of the users within your organization may have difficulty accepting an outside organization providing IT services.  With this resistance, some users may find flaws in any learning curve within the MSP.

While changing the way that any department within an organization is managed can lead to some internal strife, it is important for organizations to analyze all options and do what meets their needs best.

If you have any comments on the post or experience with MSP’s please respond by clicking the comment button at the top of this post, and be sure to follow me on twitter.

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