Why Internal IT Departments Rely on Managed Service Providers
ABS partner Solarwinds N-able has developed an IT infrastructure management platform that enables remote management and monitoring of network and desktop assets. The platform, N-central, is an extremely comprehensive tool for keeping systems and applications current, inventoried, and protected. But in order for such a tool to be effective, service management issues and remediation tasks are best handled by certified network experts thoroughly versed in the platform’s capabilities and how its plethora of features are best applied. Recently, Stefanie Hammond (pictured left), Channel Sales Specialist at N-able Technologies by Solarwinds, co-hosted a webinar in which she explained why internal IT departments, particularly in the small to mid-sized arena, are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to organize and manage their IT infrastructure.
1. Disparate Tools and Scattered Assets
“Typically the IT staff doesn’t have a clear view of all the devices and software applications that are on their network. And if there are multiple offices or mobile employees, the challenges get compounded even further. Due to this lack of visibility, trying to get additional hardware or software purchases approved tends to be more difficult as this incomplete view makes it harder for the IT people to justify to upper management the reason behind why some of these additional expenditures may be needed. And without having a good overview of what comprises their overall network, internal IT staffs are not really able to be proactive in the care and in the maintenance of their internal network.
2. Too Busy Fighting Fires to Develop a Long-Term Strategy
“Instead of spending time being strategic and implementing processes and putting procedures in place that really work to prevent issues and instead of being able to create a safe and secure and reliable and stable network for their employees, they’re running around from issue to issue, fighting fires, maybe performing a lot of tasks manually using a variety of different tools that they’ve accumulated over the years, or worse, maybe inherited from previous IT staff.”
3. Resident Expert Turnover
“The average internal IT person changes companies about every 18 months and that kind of turnover can be extremely disruptive to an organization especially if they happen to be the only IT person in-house. This turnover exposes the company to network performance and possibly reliability issues, potential data and security risks. As the new IT person needs to be sought out, recruited, time is needed for them to become familiar with the network infrastructure and the company’s overall internal procedures surrounding the network and the employee help desk support area. And this new person may have a very different view of how things should be handled compared to his or her predecessor. So this creates a great amount of flux for the organization for a period of time where they work to get a kind of groove back again.”
4. Lack of In-Depth Knowledge
“Depending on the size of the company and their IT budget, they may only have a generalist on staff who is capable of handling maybe some basic network issues, provide help desk support, and they may be lacking the skill set and the expertise needed for more specialized services like security, firewall, disaster recovery, or business continuity. And they may lack the vision because they may not have the experience or the foresight required to deliver effective CIO type of services especially when it comes to making large scale, strategic decisions around the company’s future and maybe hardware or software requirements especially with the move to the Cloud. And these deficits justify the need for an MSP to augment the internal team’s knowledge level and what they’re doing today without necessarily having to invest themselves in more permanent, senior level engineers.”
5. Acknowledged Value Add of an MSP
“Managed services is no longer this threatening term that it once was. Years ago IT people dreaded this notion of managed services thinking that it meant the end to their livelihood and they fought management somewhat stridently against using an outside firm. But today with the rapidly changing state of technology, the excruciating attention to detail that’s being paid at the organizational level where money is being spent and cutthroat budgets are imposed. They’re beginning to realize that there is room for everyone and that managed services isn’t the menacing term that it once was. Now they have a partner that they can actually turn to for additional support for the larger projects and other staff augmentation requirements without having to go through the whole hassle of hiring externally and then being committed to that new tech resource that they’ve just brought on board.
Additionally, companies will be able to eliminate the number of disparate tools that the internal team may be using today, because MSPs are able to provide a platform that will combine all aspects into a single pane of glass. So these teams can more easily track the health and the performance of all their devices within the organization. And they can leverage the platform to serve as an early warning on exactly how the network is performing especially when something’s about to go awry. The reality is that MSPs are going to be better able to assist firms in helping create and define the scope of work for each class of device that’s on their network and develop a more structured IT environment.”