We spend a lot of time arguing the case for outsourced IT. In many, many ways it’s much better than having an in-house IT department. However, for some people they still can’t get over the perception that a Managed Services Provider may not necessarily have the intimate knowledge of their organization that someone in-house might have. More than a year ago we addressed this concern with the creation of a position that we call a “strategy manager”. As you might guess, this person is meant to advocate on behalf of the client, having intimate knowledge of how their business works and their long term goals. This allows that person to help them plan their budget around goals and processes and what’s best for the business. If you believe you need an in-house IT department because of strategic elements, hear me out, because having a strategic IT resource truly does close the gap between an in-house and outsourced IT provider.
They advocate on your behalf.
Part of the reason that so many companies get taken advantage of with regard to Managed Services is there is a massive gap between what the business owner or executive knows about technology and what the Managed Services Provider knows about technology. Where some companies may take advantage of this, having a strategy manager ensures that the business can be spoken for. It’s their job to make sure that your technology is working for you and that it stays within your budget.
They align your business processes with innovative technology.
Business needs evolve, they don’t constantly stay the same and that means that your technology strategy should continually evolve along with them. But if you’re outsourcing time and materials IT or have an in-house staff that is too bogged down to strategize, it becomes impossible to align your technology and business processes. All that changes when you have a strategy manager. It’s their job to meet with you regularly to determine how your needs are changing, what your long term goals are and how the Managed Services Provider can help you accommodate your employees, budget and growth goals.
They’re not too busy putting out fires to focus on you.
When you’re busy focusing on business operations, the bottom line or day to day logistics and administrative tasks – you can’t see the big picture. Having an outsourced strategy manager that takes the time to understand your business and isn’t inside the business putting out fires, means that he or she will have just enough internal insight. They’ll be able to look at your growth goals, the issues your users are encountering with your technology and then make plans for how the Managed Services Provider can address these issues.
There are pros and cons to having in-house and outsourced IT providers, but when you add a strategy manager to the equation, it pushes outsourced IT up on top. You need someone that is going to be on your side and truly look out for your best interests and you need a partner that will manage your technology effectively with the right tools, processes and experience.