The Different Methods of Managing IT

There are broadly 3 different methods of Managing IT – each with their own variations. Let’s have a look at the 3 basic approaches.

In-house team

Fully Managed or Outsourced IT Service

Hybrid in-house IT supported by a Managed Service provider (MSP)

1) In-house IT Team

IT operations are typically a 24/7/365 activity. Also IT includes many specialist areas which emerge and evolve regularly. The traditional in-house team has struggled to meet these requirements. Consequently in Recent years, there has been a significant shift away from in-house only teams to either outsourced or Hybrid. Typically only the largest or specialists businesses have the resources to manage all their IT in house effectively.

Key benefits of an in-house IT team:

  • Total business control – The business has complete control over response time, quality of work and activity with ability to prioritise depending on business priorities.
  • Can be more accessible – Internal support can feel more accessible and more controllable than external support
  • Predictable costs – Salaried Wage is fixed and predictable. If the capacity exists new projects can completed within existing monthly budget at least for service costs.

Disadvantages of an in-house IT team

  • One and last line of defence – Total control also means total accountability which can be a problem if the team doesn’t have the ability to cover 24/7 operations, scale for peak or troughs as well as cover specialist requirements.
  • Accessibility myth – If internal resource is stretched and busy then an in-house team can also be inflexible
  • Can’t scale quickly – Dedicated resource doesn’t scale quickly or efficiently to cover challenges or peaks or always on task such as 24/7 Proactive Monitoring & Management
  • Can be more expensive – Dedicated resource can be more expensive and is a waste when underutilised during quiet period troughs

2) Fully Managed IT Service

In recent years, smaller businesses in particular have shifted to Managed Service providers (MSP) to address gaps in IT operations and also access skills. Our Survey UK SMEs* found that 68% have moved to managed service contracts to manage their IT operations to address the top challenges cited of Security, 24/7 tasks ie RMM, helpdesk & access to specialist resource & advice, saving money. 86% stated they have seen clear benefits and over 97% plan to expand this or maintain it. However top areas for MSP improvement were usage flexibility, UK data centre and Migration services, SLAs and Support. Fully outsourced or managed IT is very common in smaller organisations as the options are often limited for in-house resource.

Benefits of a Fully Managed IT service

  • Future proof operations – An MSP can more easily access the latest skills and technologies to manage and innovate your IT to meet business needs – something that can be a challenge particularly for small in-house teams.
  • Low and predictable monthly costs – MSP’s benefit from converged services and can manage underutilised resources to cover all requirements, peaks and 24/7 operations without waste or additional cost – something an in-house IT team can’t do easily.
  • Flexible service – MSPs can scale quickly to cover peaks and growth as well as scale back during quiet times. MSPs can offer Flexible pay as a you go or monthly plan options for customers
  • Better Service Levels & SLAs –Through service level agreements with an MSP, you can have greater control of you service levels and performance and also extend reach or hours of service.
  • Resilient and secure infrastructure – A Managed data centres and managed network infrastructure can be much more robust than a standard Enterprise IT service. Infrastructure can be run under 24/7/365 proactive management with governed incident response SLAs and procedures.
  • Accessible Expertise – Sometimes specialist skills might be required once or at short notice, MSPs can provide to this specialist resource more easily and also spread the cost across their customers.
  • Business continuity – Services are the life blood of every MSP. They are designed and organised from data-centre setup to helpdesk and service desks to ensure availability, resilience, business continuity.

Disadvantages of a Fully Managed IT service

  • Lack of innovation & integrated workforce management strategy – Does your MSP IT feel part of your team and a true partner? Not every MSP works in the same way. So make sure you check. Furthermore regarding innovation topics, are you get industry best practice or just what that MSP can offer? Do they just manage problems or do they proactively help you to drive you innovation strategy through technology and services?
  • Not always cheaper – In some circumstances MSPs will cost more than in-house team especially where hours or reach of service has been extended.
  • Lack of Physical presence – Remote support has been many benefits and can address almost all problems. Certainly Covid has seen really test of this approach. However what happens for task that require onsite support or further investigation. Is the MSP able to provide onsite support if that is required?
  • Scope can be limited – Whilst the parameters of Managed Service are typically very defined, what happens when you need IT support outside of the Managed Service. MSPs also tend to have specialisation and use recommended partners to cover any gaps. It is important to ensure your requirements are covered. Key areas to highlight – any specific applications, end points or operating systems. This is a key argument to always start with a formal assessm

3) Hybrid model – In-house supported by Managed IT from a MSP

For SMEs or larger, it is common to have an internal trusted IT resource managing IT and supported by one or more MSPs. An IT manager acts as trusted internal manager of a MSP. This hybrid approach allows the IT manager to focus on supporting the business & IT transformation and strategy as well as the key issues. The MSP, under the management of the IT manager, would deliver one or more of the daily IT tasks as a service. For example 24/7/365 monitoring, management or helpdesk support. The same principle can also be used to provide access to  specialist knowledge in a certain field of IT that that IT manager doesn’t have in house.

Hybrid Model provides the opportunity to get the best of both worlds when it comes to managing your IT.

Which method of Managing IT is right for you?

An advantage from one perspective can also be a disadvantage from another perspective. Ultimately there isn’t a one best approach – it depends on you, your business priorities, your requirements and the context of your operations today across People, Process and Technology.

ProcessFlows can deliver and support all 3 approaches to Managing IT. To discuss your specific requirements request to speak to a Technical consultant below.

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