Outsourcing IT Management and the Top 5 Services Being Provided
The latest IT outsourcing delivery models, coupled with the sheer number of vendors and IT services offerings, are changing the outsourcing conversation – and the way we work, says Dominic J. Asta, a VP and practice lead for Global Managed Services for KellyOCG.
Asta notes that the outsourced business model is moving away from “the non-strategic, non-core space into higher value, strategic tasks.” The decision for outsourcing IT management itself, he continues, reflects this trend, and is less about cost-savings and based more on business drivers:
- Competitive Agility – the ability to respond quickly to new opportunities
- Scalability – the flexibility to adjust to fluctuating demands and access just-in-time resources
- Innovation – access to high-demand, low-supply talent in order to deliver innovative products and services
While the need for traditional IT services, specialized skills, and break-fix tasks certainly won’t cease to exist, the overlap with more business-focused offerings is growing, and organizations are partnering with outsourced providers “to transform the way they engage with their customers,” says Marc Tanowitz, a partner with outsourcing consultancy Pace Harmon.
The profile of the traditional outsourcing “buyer” also is changing – and now reaches beyond IT to include non-technical business units that can plug into the abundant supply of existing and fully managed technology alternatives easily, without the need to engage the internal IT organization (see also, Shadow IT: A Foreshadowing of the Future).
As a result, the number of service providers each company uses is growing dramatically, says Scott Feuless, principal consultant at Information Services Group. This shift toward multi-sourcing, he says, is “driven by growing popularity of cloud…and Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] in particular.”2
So, what types of IT functions are today’s companies outsourcing?
A recent reader survey by Business Solutions Magazine, indicates the following top 5 managed IT services provided today:
- Backup & Disaster Recovery (76.8%) – It’s not a surprise that this often under-supported yet critical IT function would be an ideal candidate for outsourcing. Proper maintenance of the backup and disaster recovery systems – including regular testing and secure storage – remains a priority as an outsourced service, and frees internal IT resources to focus on other critical initiatives.
- Remote Monitoring and Management (75.8%) – The failure of a single server on your network can bring your applications, your systems, and your business to a halt. Outsourced proactive remote network monitoring and management services keep a watchful eye on your network performance and availability – around the clock – ensuring that your business is supported continuously.
- Managed Network Security (56.6%) – According to a survey by security technology firm CSID, 55% of American small businesses store employee and customer social security numbers; 80% keep email addresses and phone numbers; and 70% save home addresses. Yet, only 12% surveyed have a data breach preparedness plan in place. Outsourced network security offers solutions that protect access points and sensitive data effectively – allowing companies of all sizes to embrace game-changing trends including BYOD and mobile.
- Hardware-as-a-Service (43.4%) – The evolving technology landscape can make capital investments a difficult decision, particularly for IT organizations with tight budgets. An HaaS managed offering is an efficient and flexible way for IT to supplement existing infrastructures, or stay current on the latest hardware technologies to support business innovation.
- Software-as-a-Service (41.4%) – The on-demand nature of SaaS allows organizations to access a range of both commodity and specialized software solutions – such as messaging, CAD software, CRM – without the costly burdens of infrastructure support, integration, and maintenance. Benefits include scalability and anytime-anywhere access through a web browser, often from any device; with the added bonus of giving users access to leading software solutions.
In the end, Shane O’Neill, managing editor for InformationWeek says, “There’s no perfect formula for which IT resources to keep and which to ship off to a third party.” With the growing number of outsourcing strategies available, though, it’s easier to find something that will fit your budget – and transform your business.