What Are Co-Managed IT Services?
Practical, reliable information technology (IT) solutions are essential for today’s businesses. Customers count on the external programs that companies provide to ensure access to the products and services they demand, while employees use various software and hardware to do their jobs and strive toward company goals.
Managing a company’s IT equipment and services takes substantial work. While some enterprises have the resources to hire internal IT staff, others look outward for support. One way many of today’s businesses navigate IT challenges is by partnering with a co-managed IT service provider. Co-managed IT services merge internal and external personnel to strengthen a company’s IT capabilities.
How Do Co-Managed IT Services Work?
When a business chooses a co-managed IT service, it partners with a third-party organization for some but not all IT needs. IT co-management often includes services like helpdesk support, active monitoring, antivirus checks and data backup solutions.
Co-managed partnerships allow companies to augment their existing staff with the technicians and resources of another company dedicated to IT. The IT co-manager provides technical support and offers ways to enhance the company’s existing IT infrastructure.
Co-Managed IT Versus Managed IT
Co-managed IT is a different service from managed IT services. When a company chooses a managed IT service, it hires an outside organization for its IT needs. The hiring business pays the managed service provider a monthly or annual rate to join their team and provide high-level support. Some IT co-managers allow companies to pay hourly or by the project.
Co-managed IT includes many of the same services as managed IT, but the company chooses which services it wants to outsource and which it will keep in-house. As a result, businesses can access co-managed IT services for less than they’d pay for a complete list of managed services.
Implementing Co-Managed IT Services
Co-managed IT services are ideal for companies hoping to improve their IT capabilities without a complete internal staff. Here’s how your business could start utilizing a co-managed IT structure:
Determine Your Needs
Implementing a co-managed IT strategy starts with an assessment of your needs. What technology does your company use? Do you have the staff to support your current demands? Is that staff adequately equipped to handle your needs as they grow?
To determine your IT requirements, start by assessing your current workflow. Ask your employees about their processes and where they could use support. Inquire about knowledge gaps or technological shortcomings. Immersing yourself in your operations at this level will let you uncover the areas where your team could benefit from expanded capabilities.
Your assessment’s ultimate goal is to determine if your team could take on new projects at its current size and with the resources it has available. If not, identify the areas in which they need more support so you know what to request from a co-managed service provider.
Assess the IT Management Services Available to You
After determining the type of support that would help your IT department perform at its best, browse the market for co-management solutions. Develop a list of potential providers and see which services they offer. The company you choose as your co-manager should provide services that correspond with your needs. Common co-managed IT services include IT monitoring, end-user support, cybersecurity, data recovery, training and IT consultation.
Choose a Partner
After determining your needs and goals, choose an IT management company with the skills and resources to help your business. You’ll sign a co-management contract with the company you choose as your partner. The agreement will detail the rate you’ll pay and the role the co-manager will play in your daily operations. It will also set forth the roles and responsibilities your company will cover. A detailed contract with your IT co-management partner will ensure transparency and maximize the value you receive from your investment.
Maintain an Ongoing Relationship
Now that you have a contract with an IT co-manager, you can capitalize on the support your internal IT team receives. The co-management provider’s services will empower your business to embrace new projects and expand its digital capabilities. As you roll out your IT co-management solution, track your progress toward your goals to see which services provide the most value. You’ll have the flexibility to adjust your package as your needs or goals evolve.
What Types of Companies Use Co-Managed IT?
Co-managed IT is a common investment that businesses across numerous industries make to foster success. If your business relies on computers, co-managed IT will help you improve efficiency, bolster cybersecurity, enhance internal communication and boost customer satisfaction.
Hospitals work with co-managed IT providers to maintain and protect records and payments for thousands of patients. Schools partner with IT co-managers to facilitate transparency between teachers and parents in the district. Manufacturers implement IT co-management to launch technology upgrades that increase production. Businesses of all types and sizes benefit from co-managed IT because it helps their IT departments accomplish more.
A few common circumstances connect the businesses that use co-managed IT. You can partner with an IT co-manager to:
- Embrace new projects while keeping your existing staff focused on their current assignments.
- Increase your staff’s size to remain agile as your IT needs grow.
- Access knowledgeable personnel with training in specialized areas or recent innovations.
Advantages of Co-Managed IT
Co-managed IT works wonders for many businesses. Implementing this strategy unlocks a wide range of benefits:
- Grow: Increase your IT department’s size as needed as your business expands.
- Save: Build your staff at a lower rate than what you’d pay to hire in-house.
- Scale: Retain the flexibility to raise or dial back your IT team as needs change.
- Adapt: Embrace new technology that drives efficiency and cybersecurity alongside a knowledgeable staff.
- Control: Determine the areas you want to prioritize and put your team to work.
- Respond: Receive tech support around the clock from experienced troubleshooters.
- Secure: Fortify your business’s data defenses by launching new, more secure tools.
- Harmonize: Integrate outside IT professionals into your staff to accomplish complementary tasks.
- Engage: Provide the tools and support your team needs to feel like valued contributors to your mission.
- Mobilize: Implement the IT department changes you want to see immediately.
While IT co-management offers numerous advantages, there are a few barriers to entry. Finding the right partner for co-managed IT services helps mitigate complications like:
- Unsatisfactory services: Any partnership involves risk. It’s important to know that the IT management company you work with has the experience, technical capabilities and communication skills to fill the role you need.
- The wrong fit: Some IT management companies are more robust in some areas than others. It’s critical to know that the company you choose has the personnel, resources, hardware and software for your situation. Consider your partner’s values, too, so you know they align with your own.
- Entry fees: IT management partnerships often include upfront fees. Learn what you should expect to pay before signing a contract and budget accordingly.
What to Look for in a Co-Managed IT Company
If a co-managed IT solution sounds like a worthy investment for your business, choosing your partner is the next step. Inquire about these traits as you search for your ideal co-managed IT company:
- Capabilities and services offered
- Customization and flexibility
The IT world is complex and dynamic. New solutions to complicated problems arise all the time. Experience shows that a company has an arsenal of effective IT solutions and the adaptability to embrace innovation.
Ask about your potential partner’s history, especially with organizations in your industry and of your size. Verify that the company’s experience stretches from its business leaders to the technicians you’ll work with daily. Reviews from past clients and referrals from existing ones can also help you determine if a particular IT co-manager fits your business.
Capabilities and Services Offered
Choose an IT co-manager that offers the services you need within a service model that complements your situation. They must also have the time for your project and enough employees to commit.
As you decide between providers, ask about the precise services they offer and whether those services are available to a company as large or small as yours. Their service plan should include gradual details covering everything from daily operations to emergency response and options for scaling your services.
Customization and Flexibility
Your business is unique, and so are its IT needs. Your ideal IT co-manager should offer customizable plans that include the types of services you need while excluding those you don’t. Their flexibility should extend beyond the bargaining table too. Businesses grow and contract as their needs change. Choose a co-manager willing to scale your service plan when the time comes.
Communication is essential in any business partnership. When choosing an IT co-management partner, ask for specific details regarding their communication processes. Your IT co-manager should communicate using the methods you prefer, whether you value occasional face-to-face meetings or would rather speak regularly over the phone. Establish your communication requirements with co-management prospects early to narrow your selection.
Launch a Managed IT Strategy With Kirbtech
Outsourced IT management is valuable because it saves businesses time and money. At Kirbtech, we provide comprehensive IT management services for businesses in south central Pennsylvania and beyond. Our organization has enhanced clients’ capabilities through reliable, agile IT management solutions. Contact us online for more on our IT management offerings.